Frequently Asked Questions About Catholic Adoptions
1. What is Catholic Open Adoption?
Open adoption is a loving option for adoptive Catholic families who want to keep their children in touch with their birth parents. An open adoption allows birth parents to continue the connection that is formed during pregnancy. The birth parents and adoptive parents determine the type of connection, and it is outlined in the Post Adoption Contact Agreement.
Some birth parents prefer to receive updates about the children through email or phone calls. Others may prefer to have personal visits. The birth parents decide what they prefer and seek adoptive parents who want the same. While the agreement is not legally binding, it is ethically and morally binding. A birth mother is placing her child, a piece of her heart, with you, and it is important to abide by the agreement.
2. What are Some Benefits to Open Adoption?
A child who is blessed with loving, adoptive parents is even more secure when he or she is allowed to get to know the birth mother. Knowing that the release of parental rights was from a place of love is a great relief to children. In addition, Catholic open adoptions allow birth mothers to see that their children are being raised in the Catholic faith.
Other benefits to open adoption include the ability for children to learn about their biological heritage as well as any genetic medical conditions of importance. Children who know their adoption story and have access to birth parents who can answer their questions are found to have higher self-esteem and have positive feelings about their adoption.
3. Who Chooses the Adoptive Parents?
Birth parents decide what they find most important in raising a child and choose the family. They may place being raised in a Catholic household first. They may want the family to have a strong emphasis on education. Some birth parents wish to find couples who share a similar background as the child. Others simply want to find parents who are loving and caring. Birth parents have the option to read through profiles, watch videos, and closely study prospective parents. They may even ask to speak with them by phone or in-person before choosing the perfect family for their child.
4. If the Birth Mother Has Chosen Us, Why Do We Need to Do a Home Study?
The home study serves multiple purposes. It helps to identify if adoptive parents are truly ready to face the wonderful, yet sometimes difficult, process of raising a new child. It also prepares the new parents for the adoption process. Many hopeful parents complete the home study well before a birth parent has chosen them so they can be ready when the time comes.
It also involves post-placement visits that take place once you are home with your baby or child. The social worker will visit to ensure all is going smoothly. This is not to check up on you, but to be a resource and ensure you have all the resources you need.
5. What is Involved in the Home Study?
Adoptive parents will undergo thorough screening to ensure they are ready and able to care for children welcomed into their family through adoption. This includes background checks, character references, employment records and more. The family is interviewed in their home. They also undergo adoption workshops.
6. How Long Does the Home Study Take to Complete?
The process takes about two to three months, if the adoptive parents are responsive and motivated, completing the paperwork. It is a process that involves many steps, and staying on top of everything you are asked for is the best way to make the home study process smooth and speedy.
7. Will Adopted Children Refer to Their Birth Parents as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’?
It is highly unlikely that an adopted child will think of their biological parents as their mother and father. They will refer to their birth parents by whatever names the families decide together to use. Some families use first names, “tummy mommy”, aunt or uncle, or whatever the birth parent prefers.
8. What if the Birth Mother or Father Decides They Want to Reverse the Adoption?
Birth parents, especially those of newborns, may have the right to terminate the adoption. This occurs only on rare occasions. Each state has its own laws regarding when adoptions may be reversed. In most cases, this is within eight days or less of the birth of the child.
Open adoptions can also take place when children are older. Birth parents may find they are unable to care for their children, who are then placed with a loving, Catholic family. These adoptions, once completed, cannot be reversed in most states.
Your adoption coordinator will be able to share with you the laws in your state. We work with our birth mothers to make sure they receive all the resources and counseling they need to be sure they are making the right decision for themselves and their baby. While there cannot be any guarantees, you will find that our “reclaim” rate is one of the lowest at 3-4%.
9. Where can I find Catholic orphanages in America?
There are no longer any Catholic orphanages or any other kind of orphanages in America. Today, children are placed in Foster Care or with other family members if their parents are unable to care for them. Most pregnant women considering adoption will do a direct placement to a waiting family, like those in our program.
10. Do birth mothers want Catholic adoptive parents?
Yes, we have many birth mothers who request Catholic families to adopt their child. They would like to know their child is baptized and being raised in the Catholic faith. Knowing that their child is being raised in a Catholic community gives them peace that their child’s spiritual needs are being nurtured, in addition to their physical needs.
11. We are hoping for a Catholic adoption in Florida. Is this possible?
Yes, it is. We are a Florida adoption agency, and we proved services nationwide. We can match birth mothers from across the nation with adoptive families across the nation. Sometimes, an adoptive family would like to live near a birth mother to participate in doctor’s appointments, be there for the birth, and to form a close relationship with the birth mother.