1. What if the birthfather will not cooperate or refuses to consent to the adoption?
In Idaho, this generally does not present a problem provided you are not married to the birth father. Idaho law provides under § 16-1501A, that, “An unmarried mother, faced with the responsibility of making crucial decisions about the future of a newborn child, is entitled to privacy, and has the right to make timely and appropriate decisions regarding her future and the future of the child, and is entitled to assurance regarding the permanence of an adoptive placement.” The vast majority of unmarried birth fathers fail to legally protect their rights. As a result, their consent is typically not needed and their rights are terminated as “non-confirmed”.
2. I want the birthfather involved in the process – is that okay?
Absolutely. We encourage both parents to be involved in making a choice for their baby. If the birthfather is involved, then we will work with both of you. In such cases, the birthfather is typically involved with the selection of adoptive parents, helping through the pregnancy and available at the time of the child’s birth.
3. What if I change my mind about the adoption and want to keep the baby?
Of course, the adoptive parents will be disappointed, but the goal is to ensure you are doing what you believe is best for you. In Idaho, until you voluntarily consent to have your rights terminated before a judge, you can change your mind at any time.
4. When is it too late to change my mind?
After you go to court and acknowledge that you are freely and voluntarily agreeing to terminate your parental rights in order to facilitate adoption and you sign a document before an Idaho judge, your consent becomes irrevocable. Many other states have a time period to revoke your consent, but in Idaho, the legislature has chosen to require a formal process in front of a judge rather than have a revocation period.
5. When is the adoption final?
In Idaho, shortly after the child is born, the birth mother (and birth father, if he is involved) must appear before a judge to consent to terminate parental rights. Following the proceeding terminating parental rights, the adoptive couple file for the final adoption in their home state.
6. How do I know the parents I will choose are the right parents?
From many sources, we maintain detailed profiles of prospective adoptive parents who would provide lots of detailed information regarding their background, including ages, ethnic background, religious affiliation if any, photographs and their philosophy on child rearing. The parents are thoroughly evaluated, have criminal background checks and home studies are performed to ensure their suitability as parents. We will facilitate your meeting with and speaking to the prospective couples. Every birthmother has her own way of handling the process. We will help you decide on how best to meet and choose the right parents for your baby.
7. Can I get financial assistance during the pregnancy?
Yes, but the assistance is limited to “reasonable maternity and living expenses during the pregnancy and for a period not to exceed six (6) weeks postpartum based upon demonstrated financial need”. In order to obtain financial assistance for reasonable maternity and living expenses exceeding $500.00, your attorney would submit to a court of competent jurisdiction, a verified financial plan outlining proposed expenditures. The court may approve or amend such a proposal. Only after court approval shall assistance totaling more than $500 become available to the birth parent. There is no limit on the adoptive parents paying for medical expenses and attorneys fees and costs. We will help you prepare a budget to ensure you can get through the process with adequate resources. If we need to ask the judge for monies to assist with your living expenses we will be your advocate. No financial assistance to a birth parent shall exceed the sum of two thousand dollars ($2,000) unless otherwise authorized by the court.
8. Why should I hire a lawyer rather than go through an agency?
Because we represent your interests and will be with you every step of the way in helping you to select an adoptive couple, assisting you with counseling and living expenses, helping you with the hospital birth plan and advising you as to your legal rights. Although an agency can provide social services for you, they cannot give you legal advice and cannot advocate your interests in court. The agency will have to hire a lawyer to handle the court process which is an unnecessary and expensive middle layer. With my representation, you deal directly with the adoptive couple and know that you have your own lawyer to protect your interests.
9. What if I want an open adoption?
It is common for adoptive couples to agree to provide pictures and yearly updates on the child’s wellbeing for a period of time. There are many degrees of open adoptions ranging from in-depth ongoing relationships to limited once per year contact or communication. The truth is, if you decide to adopt, and desire an open adoption, you must rely on the representations and character of the adoptive couple. Once you terminate your rights, even if you are promised open communication and contact, you will have no legal recourse to enforce such communication and contact. This is why the selection process is so important.
10. Can I find my child when she becomes an adult or can she find me?
Yes, Idaho maintains what is known as the Idaho Voluntary Register which provides contact information about all persons connected with the adoption. As long as each party consents to have their information available, contact can be made once the child grows up.
11. What is the difference between an independent adoption and agency adoption?
Agency Adoption: A birthmother may choose to place her child with a public or private adoption agency which will then place the child with the adoptive parents.
Private or Independent Adoption: A birthmother selects and often will meet or have frequent contact with the adoptive parents. Idaho law allows birth parents to place a child directly with their chosen adoptive parents.