Options for Families and Youth
5131 W. 140th St.
Brook Park, OH 44142
Choosing Adoption Frequently Asked Questions
I am considering both parenting and adoption. Can you answer questions about both topics?
Yes. We truly care about you, your baby and your situation and will do everything possible to help you find the information you are looking for. The staff at OFY will listen to your questions and provide you with honest answers. Our knowledgeable staff has experience working with teen parents, birth parents, foster parents, adoptive parents and grandparents who are providing care for their grandchildren. We are experts in finding resources in the community to assist you. No matter what your situation is and what you finally decide, we are able and willing to help you and your child.
If I chose to parent what services are available to me?
One of our experienced staff will work with you to identify a plan that is best for you and your baby and what resources you may need. We can make referrals for prenatal care, provide you with information about WIC, Day Care, GED Classes, Counseling, Parenting Support and many other services in the community.
I have a lot of questions about adoption and am not sure if it is the best plan for me. Can you give me information to help me think this through?
Just because you ask questions, and consider adoption information, does not mean your final decision will be adoption and we understand that. We will listen and do our best to answer your questions.
When considering an adoption plan, it is important to figure out what matters most to you. We can then provide you with information and answers to your questions. We trust that you will make the best decision for you and your baby.
If adoption is your choice we can assist you every step of the way. We will help you understand the process and your legal rights. Our staff will help you consider the many options that are available to you including: understanding open adoption; choosing an adoptive family; giving birth; permanent surrender. We can also help you deal with the many emotions that you may feel as you go through the adoption process.
Is there any financial help available to me?
Yes. If you choose to make an adoption plan, the agency offers you adoption support by providing allowable living expenses which can include rent, food, utilities, transportation, uninsured medical costs, maternity clothing, some education costs and other expenses. Adoption laws vary from state to state. We can inform you about what laws would apply to your situation and the process for requesting help with living expenses.
There seem to be so many adoption professionals to choose from, licensed agencies, facilitators and attorneys. How do I choose with whom I will work?
One of the first steps is gathering information about each of your choices. A licensed agency can provide for all your needs – opportunities to choose an adoptive family, direct financial assistance, counseling/information, as well as 24-hour availability. An attorney can provide legal support and assist with the legal paperwork associated with adoption planning. Attorneys can refer you to a counselor with whom they may work closely, but they cannot provide clinical counseling services directly. A facilitator can only provide the matching with an adoptive family and must refer you to a licensed agency or attorney for assistance with counseling and legal advice.
I am already parenting a child or children. Can you still work with me?
Yes. If you are already parenting, circumstances may not be what you thought they would be. Events out of your control may be making it difficult for you to parent your child or children. These are some of the issues we would explore as you decide whether to continue parenting or to place your child for adoption.
What happens when I call the agency?
After getting acquainted with you on the phone, and only if you are ready, you will be assigned your own caseworker. The caseworker will discuss many alternatives and resources available to you. She will encourage and prompt you to ask questions that will help you make decisions about what is right for you and your baby.
Does it matter how far along in my pregnancy I am when I call the agency?
No. We can work with you regardless of how far along you are.
Do I have a say in who might adopt my baby?
This is your child and you make the decisions. You can choose the family who will adopt your baby. If you decide to work with us on your adoption plan, we will provide you with “Adoptive Parent Profiles” to review to help you consider families who are interested in adopting. Adoptive Parent Profiles are letters from perspective adoptive families that include information about the family, their values, their interest in adoption, pictures of the family and other valuable information.
If you are interested in talking with the prospective adoptive family or even meeting with them, these are things that can be discussed and arranged with most families. We follow your comfort level. You can identify what matters to you most about an adoptive family. You can then choose who you feel is the right family for you and your child. If you want us to help you come up with questions that you might ask the family to see if they're right for you, we're happy to help you with this.
How do I know the couple I choose can provide a good home for my child?
All of our adoptive families have a full assessment called a "homestudy" which is an evaluation of their lives and backgrounds. The homestudy includes a series of meetings in the home between a licensed social worker and the adoptive family, as well as any other children or adults living in the home. The family provides information concerning the stability of their relationship, their reasons for adopting, their child-rearing beliefs, and their financial stability (among other subjects). Criminal records checks and a check of the "child abuse and neglect" registry are also a standard part of this assessment. All family members are required to see a physician and have a current physical which is included in the homestudy. We check the home for safety and we discuss what school systems are nearby and would be available for the child as he/she grows. Following placement of a child, a social worker visits with the adoptive family at least monthly for six months to make sure that everything is going well.
We know that you want to place your baby with a family who is loving, safe, stable and able to provide for your baby as he/she grows and develops. We want all of those same things for your baby.
Will I have any contact with the family I choose?
If you want this we will help you choose a family who is interested in an open adoption. If you don't want contact, we will respect your wishes. We will discuss all of your open adoption options with you. When you choose a family you feel is right for you, you can talk with them directly by phone or in person. We can help you to arrange these meetings or you can arrange this directly with the adoptive family. Regular correspondence through e-mail or regular mail is an additional option. As with all aspects of adoption planning, we will follow your lead as to what you want.
What if I don't know who the birthfather is or I don't want him involved?
This can be a very uncomfortable situation for some birthmothers. We understand. If you are not legally married to the birthfather or he has not expressed a desire to raise the child or he has not registered with the Ohio Putative Father Registry, then Ohio Law does not require the consent of the birthfather.
If I am under 18, do my parents have to give permission for me to place my baby for adoption?
No. In the State of Ohio, grandparents do not have legal rights to your child even if you are under 18 and therefore do not have to give consent for you to place your baby.
However, OFY requires that you have legal representation during the adoption process. We will provide an attorney for you or cover the expense of an attorney that you choose.
What will happen at the hospital?
That depends upon the policies of the hospital you're delivering at, but you will have choices to make. You can choose who will be with you before, during and after the birth of your child. You can say if you want others to be able to see the child and, if so, when. If you'd prefer, you can choose to be on a different floor from the maternity unit or you can be on the maternity floor. It is your decision whether you hold your child after birth and how much care you provide to the child while in the hospital. Some birthmothers would like the adoptive family at the hospital and some would rather see them later, or not at all. Whatever you want is the direction we would follow. If we know your preferences and if you feel it can be helpful, we can prepare the hospital staff ahead of time to be as sensitive as possible to your particular needs and requests while you are in the hospital.
Can I name the baby? Do I have to name the baby?
Some birthparents have particular ideas about what they would like to name the baby. If you want, you can name the baby on the birth certificate. You may wish to select a name together with the adoptive family. However, understand that the adoptive family may later change the legal name of the baby when the baby is formally adopted if they wish to. You don't have to name the baby if you would prefer not to.
Will the family come to where I am or do I go to where the adoptive family lives?
Usually we help you with your adoption planning where you are living. Some of the women we help have other children, so we try to help you where you are to minimize the disruption in your lives.
Where does the baby go when discharged from the Hospital?
You are the one who decides. Usually, most birthmothers are eager for the child to go directly to the adoptive family and this is what happens. If you feel unsure about your decision and would like some neutral, newborn baby care, this can be arranged for a short time. This is your adoption plan and we want to help you do what you feel is best for you and your baby.
Who pays the medical bills?
Most mothers are eligible for health insurance. We are very experienced in determining what is available for you and can help you obtain this. If for some reason, health insurance is not available, the agency can make arrangements to have the medical bills that are pregnancy and baby related paid by the adoptive parents.
When are my rights as a parent over?
In general, legal rights as a parent are usually concluded according to the laws of the state where you reside. We can help you determine the laws and timing that would apply in your situation. There are exceptions though and we can answer the question best by talking with you about your particular situation. Timing can vary widely (e.g. 3 days to six months) depending upon the state laws that apply.
Will I be able to have counseling after the adoption has taken place?
Yes, we encourage post-placement counseling. If you would like to have counseling after the placement, we will help you find someone who is right for you.
What happens if I change my mind about following my adoption plan?
The decision to parent or to place your baby for adoption is a very personal and difficult decision. This is one of the reasons that there is a period of time between the birth of the child and the time when your adoption planning is considered a legal commitment. If you change your mind before the commitment is considered legal, we understand that your desire is to do what you feel is best for you and your baby.
I don't know if I can live with myself if I decide on adoption. Will I regret this later?
Many women have this same question. We encourage you to listen to your heart when considering this or other questions. Women feel a variety of feelings after a placement. Some women feel "guilty" because they feel relief while others feel an aching sadness. Sometimes there are intense feelings immediately after placement, which softens over time, and other times it takes months or years to put words to the feelings you have following the placement of a child. We can provide you with articles and information to read that you may find helpful as you consider this question. We want you to be prepared for whatever decision you make. It needs to be one you can live with and is also a good decision for you and your child.
Are there any adoption support groups?
Yes, there are support groups in the area and we can provide you with information about what is available.
Am I eligible for services through Options for Families and Youth?
We work with birthparents that are: single or married; of any age, race, heritage or religion. OFY provides Adoption Services, Early Childhood Education, Parenting Education and Counseling services. Each program has specific eligibility requirements which can be found by looking in the FAQ’s for each program. If you have more specific questions about eligibility, please ask us, we're happy to help.
How do I get started?
If you are ready to talk more about your options you can contact us by either completing the form below and submitting it or by calling us at 216-267-7070.
For more information about choosing adoption, fill out our Birth Parent Request Form.