Adoption can be a complex process. The term “placing for adoption” connotes a lot more than the formal process of adoption. It contains all the mental, physical, and emotional experiences associated with pregnancy. Nonetheless, the physical birth of the child and formal placement of him or her for adoption, a process known as birth and relinquishment, is also important. Let’s talk about birth and relinquishment in more detail.
Birth sounds relatively straightforward. However, its much more complicated. Birth begins well before the physical process of labor with the creation of an adoption hospital plan. This plan outlines the birth mother’s preferences for the hospital stay, including, but not limited to, whether the adoptive parents will be present at the birth, who will hold the baby first, and how much time the birth mother will spend with the child. It also includes details like whether the birth mother will take pictures with the baby and whether she will keep hospital mementos like her ID bracelet.
Birth also involves the physical birth. This involves things like whether to have a natural birth, an epidural, or, depending on the birth mother’s health situation, a c-section. It also includes things like post-birth recovery time. Of course, these things are dictated by medical necessity, so they are subject to change at a moments notice.
Birth also includes the hospital stay following birth. And this doesn’t just mean the birth mother. It also includes the adoptive parents and the adoptee. The hospital stay includes the time that both the birth mother and adoptive parents will spend with the adoptee prior to formal relinquishment. This can be a stressful time because both parents may want access to the child at the same time. However, a good hospital plan will help mitigate these issues. The hospital stay also involves a lot of paperwork, both for the birth mother and the adoptive parents. This includes providing the adoptive parent’s with the child’s medical records.
Relinquishment is the formal placement of the child for adoption. Relinquishment is a legal term. It’s the process by which a birth mother formally consents for her child to legally become part of his or her adoptive family. A birth mother relinquishes her child by signing formal paperwork waiving her parental rights over the child. Most states don’t allow the birth mother to sign this paperwork until after the physical birth has occurred. The requirements vary, but signing typically takes place in the hospital or in the days surrounding birth.
Once the birth mother signs the paperwork, the next step is for a judge to formally sign off on it. The judge signs off on the paperwork by conducting a short hearing with the adoptive parents to make sure they understand the legal implications of accepting the child for adoption. The judge makes sure they understand the legal implications of adoption by asking them a series of questions and having them verify details like the date of the child’s birth and the date of his or her placement with them. Once the adoptive parents answer the questions to the judge’s satisfaction, the judge signs off on the relinquishment paperwork, which formalizes the adoption.
Adoption is more than it seems at first glance. This holds true for birth and relinquishment. Luckily, the specialists at Adoption Choices of Missouri are here to guide you through the process of birth and relinquishment, whether you are a birth mother or an adoptive parent. For more information, visit Adoption Choices of Missouri and we can discuss your unique circumstances!