Adoption Papers: What You Need to Know

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Birth Parent Blog

Cropped shot of a woman signing adoption papersWhen you think about signing adoption papers, you may be thinking about the final paperwork that a birth mother signs to place her child with adoptive parents permanently. However, there are other adoption forms you will complete during your adoption process.
Adoption papers can be difficult to understand and take time to complete, but when you work with Lifetime, you will always have the help and support you need to complete them. As you plan your child’s adoption, some of your adoption paperwork will be legal documentation for your state, while other adoption papers will be held by Lifetime for records in case you need to pull information about your adoption in the future.
Don’t worry: you don’t have to tackle adoption papers alone. Lifetime Adoption will always be here to help you through any confusing parts of adoption paperwork and during your entire adoption process. If you’d like to speak with one of our Adoption Coordinators today, you can call or text 1-800-923-6784 at any time.
Here are some answers to the important questions that you may have about adoption paperwork.

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How to Complete Adoption Papers

You will have a dedicated Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime who can help you complete your adoption forms. Here is a guide to the types of adoption papers that you will likely complete during your child’s adoption.

Initial Adoption Paperwork

When you contact Lifetime, the first step is to work on our online questionnaire. This form asks for information about what you want in your child’s adoption. In it, we ask important questions about you and your baby, such as what state you live in, what you’re looking for in adoptive parents, and when your baby is due. This initial adoption paperwork can include everything about when, where, and how you want your adoption process to move forward.
If you’re making an adoption plan for your child who is already born, we will ask that you complete our online questionnaire for placing a child for adoption. This questionnaire asks about things like your child’s medical history, education, and favorite things.
You can access these online adoption questionnaires at any time. They are not the final adoption papers you will sign but are meant to gather information about you and your situation. As such, the questionnaire isn’t legally binding; completing it doesn’t mean you must go forward with an adoption. Instead, your answers help us provide you with information on hopeful adoptive parents who are ready and approved to adopt your child. Everything you tell us about yourself and your adoption is confidential and private.
At Lifetime Adoption, you’re in charge of your adoption plan. Your Adoption Coordinator will work closely with you to understand all of your hopes for your baby’s adoption. In order to do so, she’ll need to ask you lots of questions, such as what you’re looking for in an adoptive family, the type of contact you want to have with the family, how much contact you wish to share with your child, and how you’d like things to go during your hospital stay.

Your Social History

Our online adoption questionnaire will include questions about your background, social history, and daily life. The information you share will help your Adoption Coordinator get to know you and gather information about your pregnancy. Here are examples of the social history questions that will be asked:

  • Where do you currently live?
  • How many pregnancies have you had?
  • Do you currently work?
  • What is your highest level of education?
  • What is your race?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have other children?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you drink alcohol?

Your answers to these questions are important for the process of matching you with compatible adoptive families. When we suggest waiting family profiles for you to view, we do this by matching your preferences and situation with families that could be perfect for your baby.

Your Medical History

Information on your medical history is important because it allows us to learn what medical conditions you and your parents may have that could later affect your baby’s health. The adoptive parents you choose for your baby can be informed about your medical history so that they can be ready to get your child the medical care they need.
Some examples of the medical conditions you’ll want to share on your adoption form include:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • High cholesterol
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety

If you don’t know all the answers to questions about your medical history, that’s OK. You can consent to have information about any significant medical treatment or diagnoses you’ve had to Lifetime, and we’ll update your medical history in your adoption paperwork.
pregnant woman pauses to rest and looks down at her belly

Information for Your Child

As your child grows up, they might start to wonder about you and ask questions about you. If you decide not to have an open adoption, the answers you provide on our questionnaire can be used to provide your child with information about your interests, talents, appearance, and medical and genetic history. For these reasons, we ask that you answer all of the questions in full.

Your Baby’s Father

Lifetime encourages birth fathers to be involved in the adoption planning process. So, we ask questions about him in our adoption questionnaire too, such as his race, whether you live together, and if he knows you’re considering adoption.
If he’d like, he can give info about his health history, occupation, whether he has other kids, and his hobbies. The answers he provides will allow your child to grow up with information on their birth father, too. For more information about your baby’s father and adoption, check out these links:
How to Tell the Birth Father About Your Adoption Plan
Can Birth Fathers Get Their Own Open Adoption Updates?
4 Ways the Birth Father Can Support Your Adoption
As a Birth Father, Do I have a Say in the Adoption?

Your Choices May Change

It’s good to keep in mind that some parts of your adoption paperwork may change. Just as the online questionnaire isn’t legally binding, it’s also not set in stone. For example, you may decide at first that you want your baby’s parents to live in Texas but later find the perfect parents in another state.
Even though you know that these adoption decisions could change, it can put your mind at ease to have completed your initial adoption paperwork. Lifetime has heard from women that completing the online form has helped them become more confident in their adoption decision.
With Lifetime Adoption, you will always have our support in completing your adoption paperwork. For further assistance and free adoption information, you can call or text us today at 1-800-923-6784.

Final Adoption Papers

Adoption can only happen when you consent to terminate your parental rights to your child. The adoption papers you sign a few days after your baby is born are your legal consent to adoption. Signing these papers means you willingly relinquish your parental rights to your child. Adoption is irreversible, and the court will typically only decide to dismiss an adoption if it’s in the child’s best interest or if the paperwork was signed under coercion or duress.
If that sounds intimidating, don’t worry. You have rights as a birth mother, and an adoption attorney will explain your rights and answer your questions about adoption law. This attorney will be provided for you at no cost to you. Lifetime Adoption will be with you every step of the way, and we can share with you what you might experience. You can call or text us today at 1-800-923-6784 to speak with an adoption professional or contact us online for free adoption information.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 10, 2018, and has since been updated. 

Heather Featherston

Written by Heather Featherston

As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.

Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.

As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.

Read more about Heather Featherston

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