Right to make your decision at your own pace in your own time
The decision to place your child for adoption is an important decision which should not be rushed. Adoption professionals should not pressure you into making your mind to place in a hurry, and they should not pressure you to involve adoptive parents before you are ready to make that commitment.
Right to choose what type of adoption you want
You have choices about what type of adoption is available for you – closed, semi-open or open. Some agencies will try and persuade you that one type of adoption is better than another, but the choice of adoption in terms of degree of openness, is a decision that is yours to make. In North Carolina, agency adoptions can be “open” if the adoptive parents and the birthmother sign a form called Consent to Release Identifying Information. This form has to be signed before the adoption is finalized. If you do not desire an open adoption, you can choose from a semi-open, which may mean a meeting on a first name basis, or simply learning about the adoptive parents through a profile or Dear Birthmother letter. Some birthmothers choose to let the agency pick the adoptive parents without having knowledge of the choice, and this type of adoption is called a closed adoption. But the choice is yours.
Right to counseling before, during and after the placement
Placing a child for adoption is an important decision and one that is best made through the assistance of a trained and impartial adoption counselor/social worker. The counselor should assist you in thinking about all of your options with an unplanned pregnancy, and help you if you decide to place for adoption with deciding which type of adoption best suits your needs. You should consider whether or not the agency allows you to stay in contact with them in the future.
Right to review legal documents and receive copies
You have a right to be able to review carefully beforehand any legal documents that you will be asked to sign in connection with the adoption. You have a right to have an attorney explain the process to you and your rights, and you also have the right to waive the right to have an attorney in the adoption process. You have a right to receive and keep a copy of any documents you sign.
Right to receive financial assistance
Those in need have the right under North Carolina law to receive financial assistance related to the pregnancy and delivery for up to six weeks after the delivery. This assistance can also be extended to pay for your medical expenses related to the pregnancy and delivery.
Right to confidentiality
Birthmothers have a right to absolute confidentiality related to making a plan for adoption. In North Carolina minors can make an adoption plan and follow through with placement of a child for adoption without their parent’s consent.
Right to choose adoptive parents and to receive information about them
Birthmothers have a right to a choice of adoptive parents and to ask questions and meet them if you desire. You also have a right to receive information about them in detail. Prospective adoptive parents in North Carolina are carefully screened during the preplacement process, and a written report is compiled by the agency summarizing their physical and mental health, their financial status, educational background, religious preferences, and extended family situation as well as occupations, and other relevant facts. Birthmothers have the right to this information in the adoption process.
Right to be assured that there will be a home for your baby if the child is born with special needs
You have a right to be told by the agency/attorney that you are working with that a home can be found for your baby regardless of what special medical needs the baby may be born with. Birthmothers should ask the adoption professional whether or not they have prospective adoptive parents who are willing to accept a child born with special needs.
Right to keep the agency/adoptive parents informed over the years
Birthmothers have a right to stay in touch with the adoptive parents and agency over the years so that information can be exchanged as needed.