Informational Resources Book of Choices

Choosing Adoption

Hawai‘i Pro-Choice Adoption Resources 

Another way of handling an unplanned pregnancy is to choose adoption.  There are two types of adoption: open adoption and closed adoption.  In an open adoption, you and the adoptive family can maintain contact as the child grows, through picture, letters, email, phone calls and visits. In a closed or traditional adoption, the records will be sealed and you will not have contact with your child or the adoptive family. You can, however, enroll with a “Reunion and Information Registry” so that your child can find you when he or she turns 18.

If you think you might want to choose adoption, you should begin planning and working with a reputable adoption agency while you are pregnant. Many women do not realize that it is important to begin planning with an adoption resource before the birth. Women who have left their infants in the hospital are considered to have abandoned their babies. Unfortunately, when this happens, the newborn is often placed into foster care and it can take years to be adopted into a good family.

It is possible to plan an adoption after the baby is born by informing the hospital social worker that you are considering adoption. You can also find an adoption agency to handle all the arrangements of placing the newborn with a family and making you feel comfortable and respected. The agency may also assist you throughout your pregnancy, including arranging for prenatal care and even helping with housing and transportation. In the following section is a list of common misconceptions about adoption and the “Birth Parent Bill of Rights,” which was prepared as a public service by Spence-Chapin, a nonprofit, licensed child placement agency.

For more information about the adoption process in Hawai‘i, go to or

If you are considering adoption, you may be concerned about the medical expenses involved with continuing your pregnancy. You should know that the adoption agency you choose to work with can help by arranging financial assistance to cover this essential medical care. You may also be eligible for coverage under Medicaid’s Quest program.


Choosing an Adoption Agency

If you choose to explore adoption, there are several questions to ask the adoption agency. The answers will help you determine whether the agency will respect your rights to make the decision that is best for you and your baby.


What percentage of birth parents changes their mind and keeps the baby?

The answer to this question should give you an idea about whether or not the agency pressures women to give up their babies. If very few mothers change their minds and keep their babies, it is possible that they are not given the option to rethink their decision.

If you are interested in exploring open adoption, ask the agency about their open adoption policy. Open adoption, in which the birth parent(s) continue to have contact with the child after the adoption takes place, is a good option for some women. Children can also benefit from having access to their family of origin. 

What percentage of adoptive families opts for an open adoption?

Are adoptive families informed about open adoption options? Does the agency facilitate this kind of relationship? The number of adoptive families that choose this option may indicate whether the agency makes this option available to them.

Can I select my baby’s adoptive family?

Some agencies allow birth parents to choose an adoptive family with which they feel comfortable. Choosing and meeting the family can give a birth parent the peace of mind that their child is going to a good family. Birth parents tend to choose families that match the baby in terms of temperament and personality. Birth parents do a better job than social workers in choosing the family that fits their baby best. If this is an option you feel strongly about, be sure to ask if the agency encourages it.

Do you have an ethnically diverse group of adoptive families?

If an agency has an ethnically diverse group of adoptive families waiting for a child, it is more likely that children will be placed in a well matched, loving home.  Most birth parents prefer to choose a family similar to their own ethnicity.

Can I talk with a birth mother who has chosen adoption?

Talking with a birth mother who has gone through the experience of adoption may give you an opportunity to ask questions and explore how the adoption process may feel from the point of view of someone who has been there.

More information on Choosing Adoption

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