The adoption process has changed drastically over the years. Birth mothers who placed their children for adoption were once surrounded by stigma and shame. Until 1851, there were no laws in place to protect the rights of adopted children. These days, birth mothers are properly recognized as brave and selfless and adoption agencies work tirelessly to ensure the child is placed in a family that can best meet their needs.
In honor of National Adoption Month, we’ve created a simple guide to help you better understand this courageous and loving decision. Keep reading to learn more about adoption in New York!
What are the Different Types of Adoption?
Depending on how close you want to remain to your child, you can choose to pursue an open, semi-open, or closed adoption.
What is Open Adoption?
Open adoption allows for open communication between the birth mother and adoptive family, during and after the adoption process. They can communicate via email, phone calls, or even have in-person visits, depending on everyone’s comfort level!
What is Semi-Open Adoption?
Semi-open adoption is similar to open adoption, except that communication between the birth mother and adoptive family is managed by the adoption agency. The birth mother may or may not stay in touch after the adoption is finalized. However, the adoptive family can still provide updates and pictures, usually through a secure portal on the adoption agency’s website.
What is Closed Adoption?
Closed adoption doesn’t allow any contact between the birth mother and the adoptive family. Neither party receives any identifying information about the other. However, the adoptive family does receive a copy of the birth mother’s medical history so they can get the child the proper care if any medical problems arise in the future.
There is no “best” type of adoption. It all depends on what’s best for your unique situation! Some women choose closed adoption because they’re fleeing dangerous situations and want to protect their children’s privacy or feel that a closed adoption would make it easier to move on. Others choose open or semi-open adoption to remain close to their children.
Whatever the case may be, you get to choose what you believe is best for you and your child!
Do I Get to Choose the Adoptive Family?
Yes! You’re completely in control of your child’s future, and that includes the kind of family you’d like to give them through adoption. You can handpick the adoptive family based on a variety of factors, such as:
- Where they live
- What they do for work
- How many children they already have or plan to have
- Their race
- Their religion
- Their lifestyle, hobbies, and personality traits
Your adoption agency may provide profiles of hopeful potential families that you can search through to find the perfect match. Be aware that if you’ve chosen a closed adoption, you won’t have access to certain information, such as where they live or work.
Once you made your selection, the potential adoptive family is required to complete a home study to evaluate their:
- Ability to provide for the child
- Readiness to adopt a child
- Parenting skills
- Support system (the people they rely on during difficult times)
- Home and neighborhood (whether they have adequate space to house a child, neighborhood safety rates, and proximity to community resources)
The home study is an extremely thorough process that ensures your child is placed in loving and capable hands!
Do Birth Mothers Receive Financial Aid?
Birth mothers deserve nothing but love and support. The adoptive family or adoption agency may cover some of your expenses, so you can get all the care you need during and after the adoption process! According to New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the adoptive family may cover your:
- Maternity clothing
- Clothing for the child
- Prenatal care, hospital charges, and nursing fees
- Counseling fees
- Legal service fees
Can I Change My Mind About the Adoption?
Generally, you can back out of the adoption at any point during your pregnancy. After the child has been born, New York adoption law states that:
- If a court has taken away your parental rights and you wait too long to ask a higher court to change the ruling of the lower court, you cannot undo an adoption.
- If you have an attorney and come into court and agree to the adoption, you cannot change your mind and undo the adoption.
- When you sign a surrender agreement outside of court, you have 45 days to change your mind.
It’s crucial to be aware of your rights and honest about your feelings as the birth mother. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your caseworker! They will be able to address your concerns and help you speak up for yourself!
How Do I Place My Child for Adoption in New York?
If you’re facing an unintended pregnancy and considering adoption (or simply want to learn more), speak to a client advocate at Pregnancy Help NYC! We provide a safe and confidential space to explore adoption without any pressure or commitment. Whenever you’re ready, we’ll connect you with our trusted adoption partners, so you can create an adoption plan on your terms!
Call us at (212) 243-7119 or schedule your free appointment today!
Could Open Adoption be the Best Choice for You and Your Baby? Child Welfare Information Gateway. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/openadoption.pdf
New York State Office of Children and Family Services. (2016, March). OCFS-4690 – Adoptive Placement Fee Disclosure Form. New York. Retrieved from https://ocfs.ny.gov/forms/index.php?find=ocfs+4690&lang=5&topic=2
Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition New York. (2002). The Basics: Adoption in New York State. New York. Retrieved from https://affcny.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/adoptionbasics.pdf
Consent and Notice. New York State Unified Court System. (2017, April 26). Retrieved from https://nycourts.gov/courthelp/family/adoptionConsent.shtml#