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What is the advantage of using A Loving Alternative together with the services of an Attorney or Agency?
A Loving Alternative focuses on locating pregnant women who may be considering adoption. We work with limited number of active clients; consequently, our average wait to be matched by a birth mother is shorter than average.
Adoption attorneys and agencies do not generally have an extensive search program. Their primary focus is to assist you on the emotional and legal aspects of the adoption process. By adding the services of A Loving Alternative, you can reduce the time it takes to be selected by a woman who want to place her baby with you.
Why use A Loving Alternative vs. running your own ads?
You will be part of one of the largest nationwide adoption networking programs in the United States. Your exposure will be far greater than you are likely to have through your own outreach or self-marketing efforts
It is not uncommon for couples to spend thousands of dollars on their own advertising without getting results.
When we adopted many years ago we attempted to self-match. We spent thousands of dollars on our own advertising. This took time and effort and meant being available 24/7. It also meant that we were left to screen potential situations ourselves. The stress that we felt during that time led us to start A Loving Alternative. We felt that there needed to be a better more reliable method for people to get exposure to women considering adoption considering adoption.
A Loving Alternative answer calls 7 days a week 24 hours a day. We do not use answering services or voice mail. Calls from pregnant women calls are pre-screened before you have your first call.
Will I need to hire an adoption attorney or agency to handle all the legal aspects of the adoption?
Yes – you will need to use a reputable agency or attorney for all the legal aspects of the adoption. A Loving Alternative does not provide legal services. We strongly recommend using only licensed agencies or attorneys whose practices are limited to adoption. We provide referrals to agencies and attorneys.
When working with an out of state expectant mother, you may also need to retain a second attorney or agency to ensure that the laws of both states are abided by. We have referrals in all states and we will guide you to professionals you can trust.
What is an adoption “Home study?
Prior to finalizing an adoption, all adopting parent(s) must complete a “Home study” in their state. This “Home study” usually involves several interviews as well as medical, criminal & financial background checks. Upon successful completion, this “Home study” will certify that the adopting parent(s) are qualified to adopt. This process typically takes 30 to 60 days to complete. We can provide you with names home study agencies in your state.
How are adoption facilitators regulated?
In 2006, legislation was passed to protect expectant mothers and adoptive parents in their dealings with Adoption Facilitators. California Family Code Section 8632.5 requires that all Adoption Facilitators providing facilitation services independently from an adoption agency or adoption attorney in California must be registered with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). The CDSS, through the Adoptions Support Unit, provides administrative oversight of the Adoption Facilitator Registry.
Adoption Facilitators must meet requirements established by the department of CDSS. Some of these requirements include meeting specific educational and experience requirements, posting a surety bond and undergoing criminal background check.
Will I be required to pay living expenses for a birth mother?
Many states allow potential birth mothers to receive assistance with pregnancy related expenses. Laws do vary from state to state; however, you should anticipate living expenses of $3,000 to $5,000 (on average). We recommend adopting couples defer all-expense-related issues to their attorney or agency. It is never a good idea to get into conversations about money during the matching process. If a birth mother asks you a question about money you should say, “I understand your need and I will have my attorney/agency contact you to see if this expense is allowable.”
How soon will I be expected to assist with birth parent living expenses?
This will vary from case to case based on the needs of the expectant mother. Some women will not need help for a couple of months while others may have very immediate needs, (i.e., shelter, food, etc.). It is not recommended that you give any financial assistance prior to receiving a proof of pregnancy. Once the proof of pregnancy is received you should rely on your attorney or agency for direction. Occasionally you may be asked to provide some assistance on an emergency bases while you are still deciding if this situation is one you are going to pursue. This “emergency” assistance should be limited in time and amount, again consult your attorney or agency for guidance in these situations.
Do I have to pay medical expenses?
Most birth mothers that contact A Loving Alternative either have medical coverage or will qualify for medical coverage. We always encourage a woman to get state aid for her own protection in case of a medical emergency where costs can go sky high. Most birth mothers are willing to apply for coverage if they don’t already have it. If a birth mother has private insurance, you will be asked to cover any co-pays or deductibles. All states allow for reimbursements to a birth mother for out of pocket medical expenses.
Can we specify the sex of the baby?
A Loving Alternative does not normally work with clients that are gender specific. Many of women that contact us do not know the sex of the child and most are too young to require an amniocentesis. Birth mothers connect emotionally to the couple they select, and they are devastated when a couple decides not to adopt her child because of the sex.
How open do we need to be during and after the adoption process?
The degree of openness you have with birth parents depends on your comfort level. Most birth parents want to talk to you by phone and meet you once before the birth. Often a birth mother wants to be able to talk to you to share her pregnancy with you. Prior to the birth you may find that some birth mothers rely on you emotionally. Often you may be the only person who is excited about her pregnancy. During the pregnancy these women’s lives are somewhat on hold and therefore they are more emotionally needy than they will be after the birth. If you are able to be a friend during this time and open yourself to her it can be the gel that holds your adoption together. At the time of birth when a birth mother is flooded with emotion she will think of who you are, and it can reassure her of her decision.
Typically birth mothers want pictures and updates after the birth. Many times, they don’t know if they will want the information sent on a regular basis or only upon request. Post placement contact should be well defined prior to the birth so that there is no confusion after the birth. We often talk to birth mothers about this on our initial intake; however, a counselor or social worker should spend time later in the process defining what a woman wants for post placement contact, since her needs may change during the pregnancy. A small percent of birth mothers want visitation after the birth and a small percent of adopting couples are comfortable with that degree of openness. You will not be presented to birth parents that want visitation after birth; unless you have specified that you are open to that type of contact. The degree of openness is up to you.
How often does a birth mother change her mind?
The goal is to determine a woman’s commitment prior to the birth of a baby. It is strongly recommended that birth mothers receive counseling prior to the birth by a counselor who specializes in adoption related issues. This counseling can help a woman prepare for the flood of emotions she may feel at birth. It should also help uncover any ambivalence she may have about adoption. When a birth mother is properly counseled and assessed by a good adoption attorney or agency throughout the process the chances of her changing her mind at birth are greatly diminished.
What rights do fathers have?
The father’s rights vary from state to state. Once you are in a potential match we will refer you to an attorney in that state who will advise you based on that state’s laws.
We already have children; will an expectant mother choose us?
Although some birth mothers do say they prefer a couple without kids, at least 40% of our clients already have children and they are still able to successfully adopt a second or even a third child. If you have children the average wait is nine to twelve months, rather than nine months for couples without kids.
Can we specify that we only want to be presented in a specific State?
Technically yes, however we would not recommend our services if that were your desire. A Loving Alternative provides multi-state adoption outreach and if you limit your criteria to only one or two states you would only benefit from a fraction of our service.