Informational Resources Book of Choices

Bill of Rights for Birth Parent and Answers to Questions about Adoption

If any of the rights described below are not absolutely granted by the adoption resource with which you are working, or if you have any questions or concerns, please see your hospital social worker or call Spence-Chapin at 1-800-321-5683 for advice on how to receive these rights.

  1. You have the right to be free from pressure. This is an important decision and you need time to make it. Your adoption resource should assist you in planning for your child’s future, not insist that you make up your mind before the baby’s birth, or even immediately afterward.
  2. You have the right to total confidentiality. Even if you are a minor, placing a child in adoption is your decision alone and it should be respected.
  3. You have the right to get help with medical and other pregnancy-related expenses. If you do not have health insurance or are not eligible for Medicaid, your medical fees, including those of private doctors, should be paid for by either your adoption resource or by the adoptive family. Adoption agencies such as Spence-Chapin may be able to help you find temporary housing during your pregnancy, if you need it.
  4. You have the right to be put in touch with other women who have placed their babies in adoptive homes. Before making a decision, or afterwards, you may wish to speak with someone else who has had the same experience and understands your feelings.
  5. You have the right to counseling. A trained and impartial social worker familiar with adoption should be available to help you review all the options and make the best plan for you and your baby. You should be able to come back for counseling or to supply updated information at any time. An established agency understands adoption is a life-long process and not a spur of the moment decision.
  6. You have the right to choose your baby’s adoptive parents. If you are working with an adoption resource like Spence-Chapin, you should be presented with several families so that you can choose the family you would want for your child. If you are responding to an advertisement, you should talk with the family. You should consider meeting the family and this should be an option.
  7. You have the right to a safe, legal and efficient process. You should be able to review and familiarize yourself with all related documents and papers ahead of time, and you have the right to keep copies of anything you sign.
  8. You have the right to peace of mind. Every prospective adoptive family should be pre-screened to be sure they will provide your baby with an excellent and loving home. A licensed agency like Spence-Chapin prepares a thorough home study report detailing the family’s work history, physical and emotional health, financial situation, and personal history.
  9. You have the right to choose ongoing communication with the adoptive family including the exchange of pictures and letters.
  10. You have the right to choose an open adoption. You and the adoptive family can choose to be in contact with each other through phone calls, letters, e-mail, and personal visits.
  11. You have the right to take as much time as you need to make an adoption plan. Verbal promises or written agreements signed before the birth of the baby are NOT binding in any way. You should not sign or relinquish documents until you are absolutely sure that adoption is the right choice for you and your baby.
  12. You have the right to an adoption resource that will stand by a child with health problems. You should expect your adoption resource to locate adoptive families for any child regardless of health issues.
  13. You have the right to send the agency updated medical information. An established adoption resource will still be there for you if any medical condition develops which should be known to your child and the adoptive family. Your adoption resource should be able to maintain medical records and provide this necessary service.
  14. You have the right to be told about adoption “Reunion and Information Registries.” In the years ahead, you or your child can contact the Registries in an effort to learn more about each other and possibly meet. An agency can facilitate this.

Reprinted with the permission of Spence-Chapin Services

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