Q. How can LSMNJ’s Adoption Program help me?
A. Our adoption program provides counseling at no cost during and after pregnancy. A pregnancy counselor meets one-on-one with you to assist with decision making, parenting resources, adoption planning, and post-adoption counseling. We want to help you prepare for all of the decisions and feelings ahead. Your counselor can give you accurate information about adoption and explain the process. We can also put you in contact with others with whom you share a similar experience.
Q. What if I decide to raise my child?
A. Your counselor will meet with you to give you information about all your options. If you decide parenting is best for you and your baby, your counselor can help you find resources for housing, health insurance, and parenting skills, depending on your needs.
Q. What choices do I have?
A. There are many choices in adoption today. Birth parents are educated about their options and encouraged to make choices and decisions that they are comfortable with. We will work with you and support you as you make decisions throughout this process. If you decide to plan an adoption, your most important decision will be: “Who should raise my baby, if not me?” We will provide you with profiles on many families who are eager and ready to adopt a baby. You will be supported as you choose a family that you feel good about—a family that you could envision your baby growing up with. After you have chosen a family, you and your counselor can meet with the adoptive family to create an adoption plan that suits both the birth and adoptive families and places the baby’s well-being first.
Q. What is a child-centered open adoption?
A. Open adoption offers children the opportunity to have a relationship with their birth family. The adoptive and birth parents pledge to maintain this connection (through visits or letters) so the child will always have a connection to his/her first family. Some birth families choose to receive photographs and letters throughout the years so that they can have the joy of watching their child grow up. Other birth and adoptive parents enjoy a greater level of openness and have visits over the years. This is not co-parenting and the adoptive parents will be the sole legal guardians of the child. However, your position and role as birthparent will always be honored. It is also an option to have a confidential adoption where identifying information is not shared between you and the adoptive family. The choice is yours.
Q. Are all adoptions the same?
A. Birth parents can decide on a level of openness or ongoing contact that feels right for them. There is a wide variety in the types of adoptions that adoptive and birth families agree to arrange. We support open adoption, but we honor your wishes for confidentiality if that is the path you prefer.
Q. What about the father of my baby?
A. Birth fathers are encouraged to be actively involved. They are welcome to participate in the planning of the adoption and have ongoing contact with the adoptive family too. If desired, an adoption counselor can meet separately with the birth mother and birth father.
Q. Can I change my mind after my baby is placed with their adoptive family?
A. You should take as long as you need to make the most important decision for you and your baby. New Jersey law states that you can sign legal documents terminating your parental rights as early as 72 hours after the birth of your baby. After you sign these documents you cannot change your mind.
Q. How do I know the adoptive parents will be good parents?
A. All adoptive parents participate in a “home study” process which includes several visits to their home by a licensed social worker. The social worker interviews them and compiles a report documenting their childhood experiences, motivation to adopt, and details about their professional life, education, values, hobbies, and financial stability. In addition, all families must provide LSMNJ with personal, employer, and medical references, and obtain clearances from the New Jersey State Police and FBI fingerprint databases and Child Abuse Record Information (CARI) background checks.
For more information, please Contact Us or call 1-800-458-0651.