Self Adoption vs Agency
Many prospective adoptive parents today are trying to self-match rather than match through an adoption agency or adoption attorney. Whether their adoption budget does not afford them the opportunity to work through an agency or attorney for matching or whether they want a little more control over the birth mother situations that they consider, self-matching can be less risky as long as you have the proper safe guards in place.
Most self-matching is done either through the internet or through “a friend of a friend”. Self-matching through the internet carries the most risk because you don’t know who you are communicating with on the other end. It is not uncommon for the person hiding behind the safety of the internet to not be who they say they are.
Self Adopting Tips
Tip #1. Be careful with the information you share with a potential birth mother. Do not give out your full name or address. Do not tell the birth mother where you work, do not give the birth mother your home phone number. Always protect your identity and confidential information until a proper background check and verification of pregnancy can be made.
Tip #2. To help minimize your risks, we suggest you ask the potential birth mother these simple questions:
1. The name of the birth mother and the city and state where she resides.
2. Ask if she is currently married. Is the father of the baby her husband or someone else?
3. Ask if her pregnancy has been confirmed by a doctor or midwife? Ask the name of the doctor as well as the city and state where he/she practices and ask them to send you their proof of pregnancy.
4. Ask if the father of the baby knows that she is considering adoption for the baby? Ask the name of the father and where he resides, when was the last time she saw him or spoke to him. Ask whether he is in agreement with her adoption plan. Could anyone else possibly be the father of the baby?
5. Ask if she is or has worked with any other agency, attorney or prospective adoptive family? If she says yes, ask the name of the agency, attorney or prospective adoptive family. Ask why she is now looking for a new family.
6. Ask why she is considering adoption for her child?
Tip #3. Never discuss money with a birth mother or give the birth mother money. You don’t want to inadvertently violate a state’s law or in any way give the appearance or impression that you are giving a birth mother monies in exchange for the baby. Although some states allow birth mothers to receive prenatal and postnatal living expenses, some states do not. As for the states that do allow expenses, often times those states have very specific limits or items that can be paid on behalf of a birth mother or procedures that have to be followed before a birth mother can receive any financial assistance.
Tip #4. When you believe you may have a potential match, retain an adoption attorney right away to vet out the birth mother/father for you, verify the birth mother’s pregnancy, gather the family, social and medical history through a Birth Parent Interview, obtain the birth mother’s medical records for you, advise you of the adoption laws in the state where the birth mother is residing, file the necessary documents to inform the court of the intended adoption plan and determine what if any financial assistance the birth mother can receive for her living and medical expenses.Our office provides this service as do many other adoption entities. It is money well spent in protecting you; not only against adoption fraud or scams, but to guide you in taking the necessary steps and precautions to ward against adoption disruption.
Tip #5. Make sure you have a favorable home study before the baby is due to be born. In most states, it is illegal to place a child in a home for the purposes of adoption if the prospective adoptive family does not have a valid favorable home study.
Tip #6. Always retain an experienced adoption attorney to handle and manage your adoption case and prepare and execute the final consents for adoption with the birth mother and birth father. The attorney you retain can also handle the termination proceedings, ICPC paperwork if the baby is going from one state to another and finalization of your adoption. Adoption law is very detailed and if not followed to the letter you could find yourself having a contested adoption or having the child removed from your home due to a technicality in the paperwork or proceedings. Therefore, it is very important that you hire an attorney well versed in adoption law and involve the adoption attorney early on in the adoption process particularly with a self -match through social media or a mere advertising or marketing company. There are a lot of pitfalls and landmines in the field of adoption about which an unsuspecting adoptive family may fall prey. My office can provide the specific legal services needed for your identified or self- match.
In the long run, self-matching can appear to be a budget-friendly way to match however, without the proper safeguards in place and the experience of a vetted professional, it may end up costing you more –both financially and emotionally. My office is available to help you screen a self-match with a Florida birth mom or provide you with a reputable referral to an adoption attorney in another state. Happy matching!