Frequently Asked Questions from Expectant Mothers About Adoption

Is adoption the right choice for you and for your child? How can you make a plan that will meet your needs and your child's needs? Here are some questions that can help you as you plan for you and your child's future.

Why work with us?

We have been providing pregnancy and adoption services in VA since 1947.  Adoption has changed so much and our program continues to grow and adjust to the needs of those we serve.  Our staff is available 24/7 to assist you as you consider your options.  We will meet you at times and locations that are easiest for you.

Working with a respected adoption agency ensures that you are provided accurate information about the adoption process and your rights.  You want to work with an agency who values you, who advocates for you and who connects you with supports to help with your pregnancy but also to help with other areas of your life that you may need support in.  It is important to us that whatever decision you make regarding your pregnancy, that you’ve been able to talk through all options available to you and make the best plan for you and your baby.  Only you know what’s best, we will never pressure you or tell you what to do- we will walk with you. 

We know adoption is a lifelong journey which is why we are a lifetime resource to our birth parents.  We host monthly birth mother support groups which are Lifetime Healing LLC certified.  We host annual events for birth mothers to celebrate and honor them and so they can connect with other birth mothers.

What kind of assistance can I get?

Your worker will meet with you to discuss what your needs are and how we can provide support for you.  Every circumstance is different and we will work with you to make a plan that works best for you. We can help with housing, prenatal care, medical expenses, transportation, and other needs*.  One of the great things about working with us is that we have many other programs at Catholic Charities that can meet non-pregnancy needs such as GED/ESL and professional development classes, Immigration Legal Assistance, job assistance, transitional housing, food bank donations and other programs that we can connect you with.  Any assistance or support provided is done in order to help stabilize your situation so that you can make a well thought out and informed decision regarding your adoption plan.

*eligibility varies- to get more information about what assistance you may qualify for, speak with a pregnancy counselor

Will I get to meet and/or talk to the adoptive family that I select?

Once you have decided that you want to make an adoption plan, your worker will help you to determine the type of family that you desire to place your child with.  You will have the opportunity to consider several adoptive families.  Once you select one that you’d like to meet or talk to, you and your worker will make those arrangements.  Our adoptive families would love to speak with you, answer any questions you have, and to meet with you.  We would encourage you to meet the family prior to the adoption and your worker will be there to support you through that.  Depending on your wishes, you may choose to get together with the adoptive family frequently prior to the birth of your baby. 

What happens at the hospital?

You can talk with your worker about the hospital plan you want to make for the birth of your baby.  If you would like us to be there with you during the delivery, or right after, we are there for you.  You may decide to have the baby stay with you in the hospital, or you may decide to have the adoptive family at the hospital with you and with the baby.  Your worker will help you to make arrangements at the hospital and make sure that your wishes are respected. 

Can I change my mind after I sign the adoption papers?

If you make an adoption plan, you are not obligated to follow through with that plan after the baby is born.  You may only sign legal adoption paperwork after the baby is born.  In VA, you have 7-10 days (depending on the circumstances) to revoke your agreement.  Your worker will inform you, and give you documentation, regarding your legal rights.

What if I don’t know who the father of my baby is?

It is OK if you are not sure who the father of your baby is or how to contact him.  Your worker will talk through your specific circumstances with you and explain how to best proceed based on the adoption laws in VA.  The most important thing is that you be honest with your worker so that we can best support you in the process.

What if the father of the baby doesn’t want the baby to be adopted?

We work with many pregnant women and their partners or previous partners are not in agreement with the adoption plan.  For information on your specific circumstance, please talk to one of our pregnancy counselors. 

Will my child be OK?

Research shows that children who are adopted are just as healthy and well-adjusted as non-adopted children.  Our adoptive parents are committed to raising their children to have a healthy and positive understanding of their adoption story, which is healthier for everyone- you, the adoptive parents and most of all, the child.  Your child will know that they were adopted because you loved him/her.

In Virginia, any adoptive family must have completed background checks, home visits, social worker interviews and reference checks.  Families complete trainings to best prepare them for being an adoptive parent.  Our parents understand how important it is for adopted children to understand that they were placed for adoption because their birth mother loved them so much and wanted what was best for him or her.  All of our families are interested in having an open adoption.

We are still involved after you place your child for adoption.  We conduct home visits to ensure that baby and the family are doing well.  Our parents are required to take at least 3 months off to be home with the baby after placement.  We are a lifetime resource to the family and your child as well as to you!   

How do I tell my other children I’m considering adoption?

Many woman who make adoption plans are parenting other children.  This is often why you might consider adoption, you aren’t sure that you could continue to give your children the love and attention they deserve with the addition of a baby. There are books and videos you can share with them that help them to understand adoption.  Your children will understand that this is a good choice for your family and that you are choosing to share this child with a family who can’t have children of their own.  Your children (current or future) can also have contact with your birth child throughout his/her life.  You decide how involved they can be through pictures, letters and participate in visits.  Your adoption worker can help you to figure out the best way to support your children during this process and after the adoption. 

When do I have to decide on adoption?

Some woman contact us wondering “Can I give up my baby for adoption at the hospital?” or “can I make an adoption plan for a baby I already had?”.  The answer to both of these questions is- yes.  We understand that everyone is at a different point in their journey and we are here to help.  We can come to the hospital to answer questions and provide support.  If your baby has already been born, we can talk with you about your options and we can offer temporary foster care if you need time to consider your decision.  You do not sign adoption paperwork until after the child is born and are under no obligation to sign paperwork if you change your mind after the baby has been born.  The more time we have to work with you before the baby is born, the more prepared you will be to make this decision so we do encourage you to speak with a pregnancy counselor soon.

What are some reasons pregnant women choose adoption for their child?

There are many reasons why someone might choose adoption for their child that are based on each individual persons circumstances, their values, goals and experiences. 

Some reasons that birth mothers decide that adoption is the best option for them and their child are:

  • She isn’t ready to be a mother or she does not want to be a mother right now
  • She can’t afford a (or another) child:  Children are expensive and when you decide to parent a baby, you must be prepared to assume all financial responsibility for that child.  Especially in Northern Virginia and surrounding areas, the cost of rent, daycare and transportation is especially high.  Expecting parents are wise to consider their ability to meet the needs of the child and make a plan that is best for them and their baby.
  • Difficult Personal Challenges: Some expectant parents know that they can’t be the type of parent that they want to be to their child because of situations that cannot quickly be fixed.  Mental health struggles, addiction, or criminal activity that has resulted in current or pending incarceration may be reasons that adoption is considered.  Some expectant parents are currently involved with the Child Protective Services or Foster Care systems and want to avoid exposing their baby to the uncertainty of foster care and make a plan that they can have more control over. 
  • Special Needs of the Baby: Some expectant parents know that their child will have medical or physical special needs that they do not feel that they can meet.  There are always families that will be overjoyed to adopt a child and we can work with expectant parents on making a special needs adoption plan their baby. 
  • She wants her child to have stability
  • Relationship with the father: Some expectant mom’s aren’t sure who the father of their child is and have no interest in trying to co parent and seek financial support from someone they don’t know.  Some adoptions occur because the birth mother is in a relationship with someone other than the baby’s father.  Another common circumstance is that the expectant parents do not have a good relationship and do not want to be forever tied to one another by sharing a child.  Whatever the relationship with the father is- if it is unhealthy, unsafe, or unstable it will be a difficult circumstance to bring a child into.
  • She was raped and got pregnant as a result
  • She has considered abortion and parenting and neither are options she wants to choose
  • She is empowered to take control of her situation and pursue her own career, educational or personal goals
  • She already knows people who have placed a child for adoption, have been adopted or who have adopted and has seen how wonderful adoption can be
  • She wants to help a couple who cannot have children complete their family
  • She wants her baby to have an involved father and positive male role model
  • She wants what is best for her child

We recommend talking with one of our pregnancy counselors about the reasons that you might consider adoption and decide if you are ready to proceed with making an adoption plan.  Remember that you are not under any obligation to choose adoption.  We want you to be sure in the plan that you make for your life and feel confident in that decision, whatever it may be