Oregon and Washington law allows adoptive parents to provide financial support for birth
mothers for expenses reasonably related to pregnancy, birth, and post-partum recovery.
Depending on what the adoptive parents can afford, you may receive financial help with uninsured medical expenses, living expenses (including rent, utilities, and food), transportation, maternity clothing, counseling, and attorney fees.
You will have an attorney who represents only you. The same attorney cannot represent both the birth mother and the adoptive parents. This ensures that your rights and interests are protected.
We will not charge you for any work we do for you. Once you have chosen a family, they will pay our fees for the work we have already done and all of your legal fees moving forward, whether we continue to represent you or we help you find another attorney.
We encourage birth mothers to carefully consider all of their options. We are happy to meet with you and discuss adoption as one of those options no matter where you are in the process of making your choice.
We work with birth mothers living anywhere. If you live outside of Washington or Oregon and wish to work with us, you will need to select an adoptive family living in one of those two states.
Yes. We help birth mothers at all stages of the adoption process.
We rarely choose not to work with a birth mother. We do not reject birth mothers because of drug or alcohol use, physical or mental illness, or minor criminal backgrounds. The adoptive families waiting to adopt a child have a wide range what they expect and what they are comfortable with. Many of them, like us, are interested most of all in finding loving homes for children regardless of your circumstances.
Because of this, we strongly encourage you to be honest with us and the adoptive parents about your circumstances and background, whatever they are. This is the best way to ensure the long- term health and safety of the child and to build a trusting and rewarding relationship between you, the adoptive parents, and the child.
All potential adoptive parents in Oregon and Washington must go through a careful home study by a licensed adoption agency or social worker to make sure they can provide a safe and happy environment for a child. They go through a second evaluation after they take the child home.
Choosing an adoptive family is your chance to affect how your child will be raised and what kind of life she will have. While you can never guarantee how adoptive parents will raise a child, we do encourage you to think about what kind of family you feel will best meet your child’s needs.
Some of the things to consider about potential adoptive parents include: ethnic background, religion and values, age, health, lifestyle, home, marital status, friends and family, interests and hobbies, career, and involvement in the community.
If you live in Oregon or Washington, you can choose adoptive parents living anywhere in the United States or even in another country. If you live outside of Oregon or Washington and wish to work with us, you will need to choose an adoptive family living in one of those two states.
We strongly recommend open adoptions, in which the birth mother meets and gets to know the adoptive family before the birth and has regular contact with the child once he is born. We believe this is the most rewarding and beneficial type of adoption for everyone involved, including the child.
However, if you decide you want to remain anonymous and not meet the adoptive family or be involved in the child’s life, we can help you with a closed adoption. Your name and identifying information will be removed from the adoption documents that the adoptive family receives.
Even in a closed adoption, it is necessary to disclose any of your social and medical history that could be important for the child and adoptive family to know. If your child is born in Oregon, he can request a copy of his original birth certificate, which includes your name, once he turns 16.
You can have as much or as little contact with the adoptive parents before the birth as you would like. We will work with you to develop a plan for before, during, and after the birth that feels right for everyone.
Although having the cooperation of the birth father is almost always better, it is not always possible. Whether or not you can legally complete your adoption without the birth father knowing or agreeing will depend on your particular circumstances and the laws of your state.
We will help you determine what steps, if any, you need to take to involve the birth father in the adoption and what to do if that’s not possible.
In Oregon, birth mothers usually sign the consent forms at the hospital after the child is born. You will only need to go to court and give consent in front of a judge if your baby is of American Indian heritage and the Indian Child Welfare Act applies to your case.
In Washington, birth mothers may sign the consent forms before the adoption or at the hospital following the birth. You will not need to appear in court.
There is no deadline by which you must make your final decision. Most birth mothers make their decision and sign the consent documents in the hospital soon after the birth of the child. However, if you feel you need more time to decide, our lawyers will support you and guide you through your options.
Your parental rights end when you sign the irrevocable consent documents saying you agree to the termination of your rights, which most birth mothers do in the hospital soon after the birth.
We will carefully review the documents with you before the birth and then again when you are ready to sign to make sure you completely understand what you are agreeing to.
You have the right to decide to keep and parent your child at any point throughout the pregnancy and birth, until you sign your irrevocable consent to the adoption. This usually takes place within a few days of the child’s birth. If you decide you want to keep your child before you sign your consent, we will continue to support and represent you.
After you sign your irrevocable consent to the adoption, your parental rights are terminated and you cannot change your mind and decide to keep the child.
The adoptive parents will take the baby home once he is medically able to leave the hospital and you have given your irrevocable consent to the adoption. This usually happens within a few days of the birth.
It is rare for adoptive parents to choose not to adopt after a child is born. However, they do have the right to decide not to adopt a child at any time before the court finalizes the adoption, which usually happens two to five months after the child is born. Once the adoption is finalized they have the same legal responsibilities to the child as if they were the biological parents.
In the unlikely event that the adoptive parents decide not to adopt your child, either before or after the birth, we will find another adoptive family for your baby. You will not be responsible for caring for the child at any time.
Oregon law requires adoptive families to pay for counseling for birth mothers if they want it. You will be allowed three counseling sessions before the birth and three sessions afterwards. Most Open Adoption Agreements also say that the adoptive parents will pay for more sessions as well.
In Washington, adoptive parents are not required by law to pay for birth mother counseling, but it is encouraged and almost always written into an Open Adoption Agreement.
In an open adoption, you will have contact with the child throughout his childhood. Before the birth, we will help you and the adoptive parents establish an Open Adoption Agreement that specifies how often you will be in contact with the child and what that contact will be like. This written agreement is legally enforceable once the court approves it.
Contact between a birth mother and child often involves visits (usually with the adoptive parents present), letters, phone calls, and photos.
It is rare for adoptive parents to break the Open Adoption Agreement. Most of them are eager to have you involved and want to honor your role in the child’s life. In the unlikely event that the intended parents refuse to honor the Agreement, it is enforceable by law.
Most birth mothers find that they enjoy spending time with the child and receiving updates after the birth. If you change your mind about wanting to have contact, you may speak with the adoptive parents and try to reach a new agreement. However, the Open Adoption Agreement is legally enforceable if the adoptive parents choose to hold you to it.