Rights and Responsibilities for Expectant Mothers

So many times in adoption, all the focus is on the adopting parents.

People share their infertility stories or their faith commitment on social media and with friends and families. Women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy are seen as simply the way for the adopting parents to get their baby. It’s hard to get in the way of their excitement and joy, but no one need ever feel put down or be ignored for choosing to place their child for adoption. No matter how young or old you are, as an expectant mom, you have rights.

These rights include:

  • Be treated with respect and honesty.
  • Have an advocate for support before, during, and after the adoption placement.
  • Ask questions and receive answers about all steps of the process.
  • Review and understand all legal paperwork before you sign it.
  • Receive emergency living expenses totaling up to $4,000.
  • Receive counseling services before, during and after the adoption placement.
  • Change your mind about placing your child at any point before you sign consents for the adoption.
  • Choose the family who adopts your child.
  • Know how the adoptive family has been screened and evaluated.
  • See, hold, and care for your baby in the hospital.

Rights always come along with responsibilities. These responsibilities include:

  • Treating others involved in your adoption with respect and honesty.
  • Let your advocate know your questions, thoughts and feelings before, during, and after the adoption placement.
  • Ask questions!
  • Request a copy of the legal paperwork before you make a firm commitment to adoption.
  • Use the emergency living expenses as intended.
  • Use counseling services to help process your grief and provide a way to move forward.
  • Be honest if you are not planning on moving forward with an adoption plan.
  • Think about what type of family would be best for your child.
  • Ask what screening measures were done by the adoptive family to insure not just a safe home but one where adoption is celebrated.
  • Being available for your child when they have questions about their identity.

No single list is all inclusive. Maybe the best way to think about rights and responsibilities is to remember the Golden Rule—that is to treat others as you want to be treated. 


But What About Me? (Do grandparents count?)

“I know this is Taylor’s story, but I’m hurting too.”

Have you ever stopped to think that becoming a parent involves a series of “the first time…” events? One of the most exciting parts of becoming a mom or dad is experiencing all those “firsts”. It brings a feeling that the world is new and exciting. Do you remember the first deliberate smile from your baby? The first words, first steps, first time sleeping through the night? And then your baby starts becoming a little boy or little girl. The first day of school. The first sleepover. The first sports event. And then your little one is a teenager—and you experience the first dance. The first job. The first time driving a car.

There is a flip side to all those fun firsts. There are other firsts that aren’t so fun. The first fever. The first scraped knee. The first fight between best friends that has your darling crying herself to sleep. The first broken heart. And what if life doesn’t go as planned? You might learn that your daughter is having a first unexpected pregnancy and that your grandchild may become someone else’s grandbaby. These not-so-fun firsts may lead to personal feelings of sadness, regret and worry.

Taylor’s mom recalls that feeling well. When Taylor approached her with the news of both the pregnancy and her fears about raising a baby, it was time for some gut wrenching, heart breaking, soul searching. Taylor talked about adoption, and all her mom could think was “my baby is having a baby!” Her next thought was “What does she mean, adoption? This baby is part of us!” But as Taylor’s pregnancy progressed, and the adoption talk became more frequent and more certain, her mom wanted to become a part of the process. No one was going to take advantage of her daughter!

As Taylor looked at adoption, it became very clear there was no shortage of people wanting her baby. Taylor and her mom got phone calls from people who knew someone who had a cousin who was infertile, or who wanted a baby, or who knew someone who had adopted. All of them expressed interest in the baby…very few expressed interest in Taylor or her well-being. And Mom knew that handing over the baby to just anyone was not going to happen.

Being the mom of a woman experiencing an unexpected pregnancy is a tough role. Suddenly your voice becomes secondary. You can be an influence, but you can’t be the final decision maker. Taylor’s mom knew it, so she set about gathering information and learning what she could about Taylor’s options, rights, and responsibilities. Like any other major life choice, she sought the opinions of people she knew and trusted. She wanted to make certain that the adoption was done legally. She wanted to know that no one would be taking advantage of Taylor. She wanted to know that promises made would be promises kept.

The Adoption Support Center was there to answer the questions from Taylor’s mom and to help alleviate her fears. While they could not talk specifically about Taylor, they talked about what an adoption could look like—for Taylor, for herself, and for the baby. When Taylor contacted ASC herself, she found compassionate, listening women who were interested in her, not just her baby. Together Taylor and her mom found a family who wanted to adopt a baby, but also wanted to have a relationship with Taylor and her family. Taylor’s baby is growing up knowing that she is loved by many.

Taylor is one of the many “birthmomstrong” women who chose what she believed to be best for her child. Her mom also showed how strong women love their children through the tough things in life. The Adoption Support Center is honored to have been a part of their journey.