Assessing An Adoption Situation: 10 Questions to Ask First

This is it! It could be your chance at parenthood!

You’ve been sent information about an expectant mom and are so excited to be presented your first adoption situation to consider. Perhaps it’s pages upon pages of very detailed information — maybe even including a picture of her — or maybe it’s a short paragraph with just an overview. Either way, you want to do your due diligence BEFORE deciding to present your profile. After all, once you’ve been chosen, you are expected to move forward.

So, be sure — or, at least, be as sure as you can be.

First and foremost, don’t react emotionally. Although you are surely excited about being presented, you still want to check in to see if it really feels good to you. Being armed with questions can help to better assess the situation.

Here are 10 questions to consider before agreeing to show your profile for an adoption situation:

  1. How long has the agency has been working with the expectant mom?  
  2. How much time does the agency spend with their expectant moms? It’s best if they are building rapport and trust, making sure their expectant moms are getting the counseling and support they need. The agency should be reviewing all options with the expectant moms to make sure they are comfortable with making an adoption plan.  Being as hands-on as possible is great –and attending appointments with her is even better!
  3. Has the  expectant mom been responsive and following through with her appointments?
  4. What is the health of the expectant mom’s other children, if there are any?
  5. Has the expectant mom previously placed a child for adoption? If so, then she knows what it feels like and has a higher likelihood of following through with placement again.
  6. What is the age of the expectant mom? Teenagers have more of a risk of changing their minds.
  7. What is the expectant mom’s support system like? Is she close with family and/or friends? Has she told anyone, and are they supportive?
  8. Is the birthfather is in the picture?  Things can get a bit more complicated when it comes to the birthfather. Here are some things to learn:
    • If so, are they married? What is their relationship like? If their relationship is on-again-off-again, this COULD be a red flag; if they are off now, what happens if he comes back?
    • Is he in agreement with the adoption plan?
    • If the expectant mom is married, but the birthfather is a different man, that adds another layer in the legal process. In this situation, the legal father (her husband) and the birth father have rights that need to be terminated.
    • In some states, a claim of paternity can be revoked prior to the birth while in others, the revocation doesn’t occur until a certain period of time has passed (usually 30 days following the birth).
  9. Is there any likelihood of  substance use or medical/mental health issues? You must make sure you are comfortable with everything presented. I encourage you to do the necessary research you need to understand the outcomes. Sometimes, it can be helpful to ask a doctor to look it over as well for professional input. Here are some great resources to do your own checking:

    Mother To Baby: Fact Sheets

    RG Adoption Consulting: My Job Isn’t To Make You Feel Better

    Creating a Family: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

  10. Look at the whole person (including her interests, if shared), assess the information she’s provided (does it all seem to add up to you), and then do a gut check. How does this situation feel to you?

Don’t wait to be 100% sure – you NEVER will be!

No matter how much due diligence you do, a birthmother always has the right to change her mind. It happens about 23% of the time. Sometimes, there are no red flags to give any indication of a fall through, and yet it still happens. Whenever a fall-through occurs, it feels horrible for everyone involved…especially the adoptive parent. But hopefully, having these questions in your arsenal can help significantly decrease your risk.

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