By Julie Zaruba
Paige, a college student, just learned she is pregnant. Terrified, alone and confused, she holds a positive pregnancy test in her hand, wondering what to do next. She wasn’t planning to have a baby at this time in her life, and needs to understand her options to make the best decision for herself and her unborn child. Paige wonders, “What should I do?”
This is a common scenario, one that can seem hopeless for many young women facing an unplanned pregnancy. But adoption agencies like Hope’s Promise can provide a guiding hand to Paige, and other girls in a similar situation. No one should face these difficult circumstances alone. It’s important to find someone you can trust to walk you through every option available. If you are an expectant parent and are pursuing your options with the pregnancy, what should you expect from meeting with an adoption agency?
Knowing Your Options
First you need to know that Colorado is an agency state, which means if you choose to make an adoption plan, then you will need to work with an adoption agency. However, you have the right to choose which agency you want to work with. You may want to interview several agencies to see which one is the best fit. Each agency should explain their philosophy and religious affiliation. Your chosen agency should present all the options without bias or pressure. You need information about parenting, guardianship, and the adoption process. If you choose to parent, they should provide referrals and resources to you on parenting. They should fully explain the adoption process in a fair and balanced way. You need to understand your legal rights at their client. As a birthmother, you have the right to choose the type of adoption and the adoptive parents before the legal relinquishment process is final. You also have the right to change your mind.
An unplanned pregnancy can be an emotionally difficult time. Choose an agency who will be supportive of you in this time and give you helpful, supportive, and non-biased counseling during the process. The agency should come to you to meet you at your location and you can bring a friend or support person along. You have the right to terminate your relationship with the counselor if it is not a fit. Grief is a part of the relinquishment process. Ask how this agency will walk with you during your grief and loss. Ask if they will continue meeting with you after the birth and placement of the baby.
Understanding the Relinquishment Process
The relinquishment process is also a legal process. The agency should give you a clear explanation of your rights during the legal relinquishment process. In Colorado, some counties give an option of not having to appear in court for the relinquishment. Ask if that is in option in your case. You also have the right to consult with your own attorney if you choose. All potential birth fathers must be notified in Colorado. Your agency can complete this process for you and walk you through what it will look like. Making an adoption plan is a life changing decision, make sure you have a good understanding of the legal issues involved. Counseling services to expectant parents and birth parents should have no cost to you. Some pregnancy related expense can be reimbursed to you. Your agency can give you more details about this. Just because you meet with an adoption agency does not make you obligated to choose an adoption plan.
If you are interested in meeting with someone to get more information about adoption or to get counseling about the decision-making process with your pregnancy, please contact Hope’s Promise and we will come to you for an information meeting.
Julie is a caseworker for Hope’s Promise working in the southern Colorado region. Julie earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. Before joining Hope’s Promise, she worked as an Infant Mental Health Therapist in Michigan and as a Pregnancy Counselor and Adoptive Family Caseworker in Colorado Springs. She is honored to be working with a wonderful team of people at Hope’s Promise and in an agency that is ministry minded. To see her full bio please go to https://www.hopespromise.com/more-about-julie/