Over the last few days, a story has been making the rounds about a birth mother, Kimberly Rossler, who had chosen an adoptive mom for her baby and had accepted financial gifts from the adoptive mom. However, as her pregnancy progressed, she began to bond with her baby and decided not to place him for adoption.
The story claims that her son was removed from her custody by the sheriff’s office while she was breastfeeding and placed with the adoptive mother.
This is the kind of story that makes both adoptive parents-to-be and prospective birth mothers quake with fear. This story is fraught with allegations of corruption and misinformation. But adoption is not really like this in most cases. So whether you are considering placing your baby for adoption or considering adopting a baby, here are some important tips to keep you both emotionally and financially safe throughout the process:
Tips for potential birth mothers
1. Do your homework. Before you start considering the details of an adoption plan, make sure you are working with reputable adoption professionals with a strong track record. Ask for and speak to references of other birth mothers who have placed with them.
2. Know that, normally, there is no ‘pre-birth agreement’ signed before a judge. You should not sign any consent forms until after the birth of the baby. You have every right to wait until you are completely ready and free of pain medication. Most birth moms sign about 48 hours after birth, just before leaving the hospital.
3. At least up until you sign the consent forms (and sometimes for a fixed amount of time thereafter) you have the right to change your mind and to parent your child.
4. If you are not currently able to parent your child and the state does take custody of him/her, the child would not be immediately placed into an adoptive home. The baby would be placed into foster care until a conclusion is reached. During that time, you would be provided with a case plan to follow to prove your ability to parent. If you meet the criteria in that plan, the baby will be returned to your custody.
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Tips for prospective adoptive parents
1. Do your homework. Work with reputable adoption professionals who have a strong track record. Ask for and speak to references; spend some time properly vetting the pros with whom you will be working.
2. Make sure that the agency(ies)/attorney(s) with whom you work are having regular, in-person interaction with the potential birth mom. To help sense the situation and see if it is a right fit, try to meet the birth mother in person yourself and maintain regular contact throughout the pregnancy.
3. Never send money to a birth mom directly. Adoptions that do have complications and horror stories often are done outside the watchful eye of professionals who help protect all of the parties involved. These are often the cases that make the news. Always have all monetary transactions and adoption agreements handled through a reputable agency or attorney.
4. Know that an incredibly small number of adoptions ever have a hiccup after the placement of the child. In fact, statistically speaking, you have a greater chance of being hit by a bus than of finding yourself in a situation like this.
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We all hope that the best interest of the child is the ultimate winner in this case and our hearts go out to Ms. Rossler. But, whether you are considering placing your child for adoption or becoming an adoptive parent, don’t let this story derail you. There are many, many happy and successful adoptions that happen every single day that serve the best interests of all parties. Learn the facts and proceed with caution, but proceed nonetheless.