Understanding a Birthmother’s Rights in the Adoption Process
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Most women who struggle to make decisions about their unplanned pregnancies do not have accurate information on how adoption works and what their rights are. This can complicate an already difficult choice on whether or not adoption is right for them. The world of adoption has adapted and progressed over the years. While the adoption community is more familiar with birthmother’s rights, there are still many myths and misinformation circulating the general public. Birth mothers today have complete control during their pregnancy, delivery and post birth.
A Birthmother’s Rights During Pregnancy
The majority of decisions birth moms make occur early on when they learn of their unplanned pregnancy. After thorough research and careful consideration, choosing adoption for their child is the first right a birth mom will exercise.
- Choice of adoption
- Choice of adoption agency
- Access to prenatal care
- Receive financial assistance (varies from state to state)
- Choose the adoptive family that is right for you
- Decide if you want an open or closed adoption
- Create an adoption plan that works for you
- Right to an attorney that represents you and is paid for by the adoptive family.
A Birthmother’s Rights During Delivery
Women have basic rights when delivering their baby. In the adoption process there are a few more additional rights to consider.
- Freedom from harm and ill treatment (no one can abuse you)
- Right to information, informed consent and refusal
- Respect for delivery choices and preferences
- Choice of delivery location (home state or other state)
- Choice of how you will deliver (this can be laid out in a delivery plan)
- Choice on seeing and holding the baby
- Choice on having adoptive parents at hospital during delivery
A Birthmother’s Rights Post Birth
Every state is different when it comes to signing relinquishment papers and how long it takes to finalize an adoption in court. For example, in Kansas, a birth mom can sign papers 24 hours after the baby is born. It is the same in North Carolina, but the birth mom has 7 days to change her mind. But keep in mind it is important to always consider your baby’s best interests in all the decisions you make throughout pregnancy and post birth.
- You can change your mind after the baby is born, until relinquishment papers are signed (some states allow for extra time after for birth mothers to change their mind)
- You have as much or as little communication and contact with the child as they would like (this is determined when selecting the adoption type during pregnancy)
- You can receive financial assistance after the adoption to help you recover and return home (depending on the state)
Birth Mothers are Empowered and We’re Here to Help
Adoption laws can vary slightly state by state, which can alter some of the birthmother’s rights. To alleviate these variances and help navigate each state’s laws, a lawyer is hired on her behalf by the adoptive parents.
Empowering birth mothers with detailed accurate information allows them to weigh all of their options and feel confident in their choice to choose adoption for their unplanned pregnancy. This confidence in their decision will in turn help birth mothers deal with the emotions they may need to process after the adoption has closed. Adoption laws can be complicated and stressful, but with A Birthmother’s Choice you have the support and resources to understand and exercise your adoption rights every step of the way.