Birth parent's bill of rights

 If you are considering placing your baby in an adoptive home, you are entitled to certain rights, some of which are guaranteed to you by law. 

This “Birth Parent Bill of Rights” was prepared as a public service by Spence-Chapin, the non-profit, licensed child placement agency which has been finding loving homes for infants for 100 years.

If any of the rights are not absolutely granted by the adoption resource with whom you are working, or if you have any questions or concerns, please see your hospital social worker or call Spence-Chapin, 1-800-321-5683, for advice on how to receive these rights.

Know Your Options. Know Your Rights

  1. You have the right to be free from pressure. This is an important decision and you need the time to make it. Your adoption resource (this is your agency, facilitator or other person/organization helping your with your plan) should assist you to plan for your child’s future, not insist that you make up your mind before the baby’s birth, or even immediately afterwards.You have the right to change your mind about adoption, even if you have already chosen or met an adoptive family.

  2. You have the right to total confidentiality. Even if you are a minor, choosing adoption is your decision alone and it should be respected.

  3. You have the right to a safe, legal, efficient process. You should be able to review and familiarize yourself with all related documents and papers before you make your decision, and you have the right to keep copies of anything you sign.

  4. You have the right to get help with medical and other pregnancyrelated expenses. If you don’t have health insurance, or aren’t eligible for Medicaid, your medical bills should be paid for by either your adoption resource or by the adoptive family. You can also request assistance with other pregnancy related expenses such as rent, food, or maternity clothes. Adoption agencies like Spence-Chapin may be able to help A Birth Parent’s Bill Of Rights you find a maternity residence if you need housing during your pregnancy.

  5. You have the right to counseling. A trained and impartial social worker who is familiar with adoption should be available to help you review all the options and make the best plan for you and your baby. You should be able to come back for counseling or to supply updated information at any time. An established agency understands adoption is a life-long process and not a spur of the moment decision.

  6. You have the right to choose your baby’s adoptive parents. If you are working with an adoption resource like Spence-Chapin, you should be presented with several families so that you can choose the family you would want for your child. If you select a family from the internet or an advertisement, you should talk with the family. You should consider meeting the family, as this should be an option.

  7. You have the right to choose an open adoption. You and the adoptive family can choose to have ongoing communication with each other through phone calls, letters, e-mail and personal visits. You have the right to take your time when making an adoption plan. Verbal promises or written agreements signed before the birth of the baby are NOT binding in any way. You should not sign relinquishment documents until you are absolutely sure that adoption is the right choice for you and your baby.

  8. You have the right to peace of mind. Every prospective adoptive family should be pre-screened to ensure that they will provide your baby with an excellent and loving home. A licensed agency like Spence-Chapin prepares a thorough home study report detailing the family’s work history, physical and emotional health, financial situation and personal history.

  9. You have the right to an adoption resource that will stand by a child with health problems. You should expect your adoption resource to locate adoptive families for any child regardless of health issues.

  10. You have the right to affirm your future options. An established adoption resource will still be there for you if you develop a medical condition that should be shared with your child and the adoptive family.Your adoption resource should be able to maintain medical records and provide this necessary service. Your adoption resource should also provide you with information on adoption reunion and information registries. In the years ahead, you or your child can contact the registries in an effort to learn more about each other and possibly meet; an agency can facilitate this.

Contact