Archive for September, 2015

Agency Adoption vs. Identified Adoption

Many mothers that are considering adoption believe that an identified adoption is the only way that they are truly able to choose a family for their baby. This is not the case. When working with a private, licensed adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, expectant parents like you are in the driver’s seat. Your adoption plan is one hundred percent your own, and only you can make the best choice for you and your baby. As an agency, our mission is to help you choose a family that is well equipped, fully able and completely prepared to raise your child. Adoptions With Love works with prospective adoptive families that are waiting to lovingly adopt.

When you are exploring the positive choice to place your baby for adoption, you will have to decide how you would like to design your adoption plan. As an expectant/birth mother, you have choices. In many states, you have the option to find a family for your baby independently, and go through the adoption process on your own without any further guidance or assistance. You also have the option to work alongside licensed and experienced professionals at an adoption agency to find the perfect home for your baby. Through a private agency like Adoptions With Love, an entire team of compassionate adoption experts will support you as you select a family for your baby and navigate the entire process together. No matter which path you choose, know that there will be many loving families wanting and waiting to adopt your child. Before you make this decision, consider how each plan will affect you and which will be best for your baby in the long run.

An identified adoption is typically arranged directly by expectant/birth parents and prospective adoptive parents. Expectant families are often attracted to an identified adoption because it appears to be a quick, flexible alternative to working with an adoption agency.  Many choose this method because they want complete control over their adoption plan.

The majority of these identified adoption searches begin on the Internet. Couples looking to adopt a baby often place online advertisements, post in online databases, or create their own websites marketing themselves to expectant/birth parents. Expectant/birth parents can similarly use online resources to find prospective adoptive families. Some simply “google” families for their babies, but may not be aware of the potential dangers of this online search.

If you are considering an identified adoption, take precautions. What waiting adoptive families say about themselves on the Internet is not always true. There is really no way to verify the accuracy of the information they provide in their profiles. Most online services do not validate or meet with these families at all before the adoption takes place.

Before going ahead and choosing a family on your own, ask yourself how comfortable you are entrusting your baby to a family that may not have been verified or screened.  While there are laws that regulate all adoptions, they are not always followed. Adoption laws are in place to protect everyone involved in an adoption plan and to keep the child in a safe and secure environment. There is a process of receiving approval from the government, and a home study must be performed to verify that an adoptive family is emotionally, physically and financially prepared to adopt a baby.  Background criminal checks and child abuse checks are completed and reviews of the family’s medical and financial history are conducted by social workers before a family is approved to adopt a child. The problem is that many of the people adopting independently do not follow these laws, and therefore put the entire adoption in jeopardy. For this reason, identified adoptions are illegal in some states. For state-specific information regarding your local adoption laws, call Adoptions With Love today.

In some cases, “facilitators” will advertise their services to assist in these sort of identified arrangements. These facilitators could be compared to online dating services. For a seemingly small fee, they will connect expectant/birth parents with potential adoptive families and—that is it. They do not offer further counseling or emotional support for any of the parties involved in the adoption. They will not be there for you in the future, should you have questions or need to talk to someone.

Adoption is a life-changing decision. As an expectant mother, you should be fully informed of all your options, and all non-biased details of the adoption process so that you can make the best decision for you and your baby. Waiting families or online facilitators may try to pressure you into a quick decision, while a reputable, experienced private adoption agency will offer you guidance and support all the way through the adoption process. With Adoptions With Love, there is time to make a decision, every part of the process will be legal, and the choice will be yours.

At Adoptions With Love, your wishes will always be a priority. Our goal is to find the best family for your baby, and to make your perfect adoption plan come to life. Call 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072 to get started today.

Looking for Answers: Open Access to Adoptee’s Birth Records in Massachusetts

Humans are full of curiosity. We are in constant search for answers. It is natural for us to desire an understanding of our history. We long to know where we came from, who our ancestors are, and how their past will affect our future. This knowledge shapes our identity. It can be hard to imagine life without it, but many adopted persons do not have answers to these questions.

There are only about 14 states today that allow adult adoptees to fully access their birth records.  These records include an adopted person’s original birth certificate, medical records, family genealogy, and many other pieces that may have been missing from his or her puzzle. While a handful of states currently allow partial access to these vital records, the majority of legislatures are still hesitant to open up such private information.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for example, became a “partial access” state in 2007. Since then, state law has denied adopted persons born in Massachusetts between July 1974 and January 2008 the right to fully access their birth records. Adoptees born before 1974 and after 2007, however, can access their vital records upon turning 18 years old without any discrepancies. Those born within these “gap years” are left lacking answers. They want to know this information.   People who are adopted feel entitled to and understand their pasts, but are restricted by the law.

Massachusetts’ expansion of all adoptee rights has been in the works for years, and the prospect of equal access to personal records is now finally surfacing. Currently, a revised legislation is pending to restore the rights of all adopted persons in the state, regardless of the year they were born. Ohio passed new legislation opening up adoption records to adoptees in March 2015, and a handful of other state legislatures, such as Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New York and Texas, are also considering “opening up” birth records to all adoptees this year.  Thousands in search of their biological parents may finally be given some real, concrete answers.

Of course, there would still be provisions under this updated law if it were to be passed in Massachusetts. Birth mothers who placed their child for adoption during this 33-year period would have the option of filing a “no-contact” form. This form would prevent the release of any identifying information, and would ultimately keep her personal records sealed. Without this request all records would become obtainable to her child.

Initially, it seems like the obvious answer in all of this is to simply pass the bill and completely open up birth records in Massachusetts. Adoptees should have the right to know their histories. Many states have already permitted access, so why is there still a debate?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer here. The fact is, these lawmakers are dealing with a very emotional and complex subject. They must consider both the adoptee’s right to know as well as the birth mother’s right to privacy. Until they can compromise the two, it will remain a complicated subject.

Supporters of this bill believe that adoptees have the right to view their birth records, to gain insight on their family history and on potential genetic health risks. Those that oppose the bill feel as though birth mothers were promised privacy, and their identities should therefore be protected. At Adoptions With Love, we believe there should be a balance between the two sides.

An adopted person has the right to know who they are, genetically, medically, and ethnically. A birth mother should also maintain her right to anonymity, if that is what she requests. A birth mother today may not be the same person she was years ago when she placed her baby for adoption. It is inevitable that her life has changed.  She may now have a stable home, a significant other, a steady job, and even other children. She may be at a point in her life where she is more than ready to see her birth child. Conversely, she may be in a situation that is simply not right for this kind of unveiling. She may have never told anyone about the adoption, including a current spouse or other children. She may not be emotionally or physically prepared for a reunion. She may not want to be contacted yet, and that want should be respected.

Going through an intermediary, such as Adoptions with Love, can make the process of rediscovering a loved one much easier. Not only can we serve as a neutral, third-party in negotiating the relationship between adopted child and birth parent, but we can also assure the relationship stays on good footing. Through emails, letters, even private investigations, we can help you reconnect with family, find a friend, or gain any answers you have been seeking.

Adoptions With Love is a nationwide adoption agency, and our team of compassionate counselors and attorneys has been specializing in full service adoptions since 1986. For more information visit our web site here, or call us at 1-800-722-7731.