Adoption impacts thousands of American families. The latest government data shows nearly 112,000 children and teens were waiting to be adopted in 2015 — almost 4,000 were infants. On November 9 — World Adoption Day — NewsCenter 16 is outlining the adoption options for expectant or new mothers.
What are my options?
Every day, one or two pregnant women call the Indiana-based
Adoption Support Center for guidance.
“The biggest thing to do is to listen and not be judgmental because a lot of times, you have to understand women are trying to decide if they’re going to carry the baby,” explained Amanda Hammond, co-owner and director of birth mother services.
Having spent 19 years with the agency, Hammond added most women she has served place their babies for adoption due to a lack of emotional support. Many of them, she says, are mothers already and struggle to make ends meet daily. Therefore, she recommends inquiring women contact an adoption agency.
“I think a lot of people think once they make the phone call, that they’re going to have to put their name in writing too quick. And honestly, in Indiana, that’s not the case,” said Hammond.
Per Indiana law, Hammond said birth mothers may receive up to $4,000 from adoptive families to pay for pregnancy-related expenses including lost wages due to bed rest; housing; utilities; phone bills; food; clothing; and toiletries.
“A lot of times, birth parents don’t realize that until after the fact, and then it’s too late,” Hammond remarked. “That’s why it’s really important for an expectant mom to have an agency or a professional that can let her know what her rights are.”
Additionally, birth mothers may request counseling services, which can be paid through insurance, Medicaid, or by the adoptive family.
“It’s the biggest sacrifice a woman can say is, ‘I am willing to hand my child over for an adoption,'” said Hammond.
A woman on track to placing her child for adoption is allowed to change her mind. According to the Adoption Support Center, a woman in Indiana does not give her consent to an adoption until the baby’s birth. Women choosing to parent their babies do not have to repay financial help provided by the families who wanted to adopt.
Furthermore, Hammond said sometimes, the mother changes her mind — again.
“That happens,” offered Hammond. “What usually would be typical is maybe family members or the father of the baby comes into the hospital and says, ‘You know, we will make this work. I’ll help you. I’ll get another job,’ and so she takes the baby home.”
Realizing the promises are unfilled, the birth mother may re-contact the adoption agency.