Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption

Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption

Adoptive Family Kissing Baby

We’ve included our most frequently asked questions about adoption below. If you still have questions, please call or text us at 1-800-923-6784. We’re here to help you.

What is open adoption?

Open adoption can mean many things from only speaking on the phone or a single meeting with your birth mother who receives your resume to ongoing contact or visits. Some birth mothers will not want any further contact until the child is 18 years old. The choice is as much the birth parents as it is yours and would be a consideration in the matching process. Click here for more on open adoption.

Is open adoption right for us?

Open adoption  is now the most accepted form of adoption domestically. An open adoption can come in many different forms, but at its base, information about the birth family and adoptive family is shared. From medical information to family history, this knowledge can be very important to you and your child.

One important aspect of open adoption is the sharing of medical and genetic information. This will help you and your pediatrician provide the best care for your child. There are certain genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia that if diagnosed early can be managed or treated. Having the family medical history and the pre-natal medical records is a valuable resource for your pediatrician. Being able to contact the birth family can also be an enormous benefit if a medical situation should arise, and your child should need a bone marrow or some other biological need that the birth family could provide.

We have found that open adoption results in fewer reclaims. Our birth mothers are offered professional counseling and peer counseling. They understand that placing their child for adoptions does not mean she will never hear how her child is doing or see her child again. Most birth parents really just want to know their child is growing up healthy and happy in a loving home. Matching with a birth mother interested in similar contact after the adoption is final is an important part of the adoption process. Open adoption is truly a benefit to everyone involved in the adoption.

How can we find out more about your organization, since we live in another state?

We are members in good standing of the Better Business Bureau; you may view our record online at BBBonline.org

We will send adoptive family and professional references to you once we have received your application, allowing you to speak to others who have adopted though us.

We live in another state. Can you still help us?

Yes. We offer services nationwide for pregnant women, birth parents, and adoptive families. We have assisted military families stationed in other countries adopt from the U.S.

How long will it take to adopt?

This may be our most asked question. The answer is that it really just depends on many factors. We have had a match within 24 hours of the signing of a contract up to two years. On average, once your profile is submitted at Lifetime, a match is generally made within six to 18 months.

This process can be faster for bi-racial and African American families. We often have birth mothers who prefer an African American or bi-racial family to adopt their baby or child.

One main determining factor is adoption preferences. The more open you are, in general, the more opportunities will come your way. If you are very limited in terms of race, age, and gender, the fewer birth mothers will view your profile. There are also factors such as substance abuse exposure and geographic area choices that can be limiting. While some of your preferences may prolong your adoption journey, it is still important that you truly search your heart for what is important to you. If it is important to you to adopt an African American or bi-racial baby, then you do need to share that information with your adoption coordinator.

Another factor is the quality of your profile. The important factor is to develop a profile that truly represents you and the amazing parents you will be. The adoption trek is not always easy, but your dream of growing your family makes it well worth it. Put the work and your heart into your profile. A birth mother will see the love and truthfulness come across. She is looking for a family that she can connect to, that she feels will suit her baby. This is why it is so important to be yourselves. You never know what a birth mother will connect to. You will have the assistance of an adoption coordinator to help you with your profile, but it is your story to tell.

How are we presented to African American or bi-racial birth families?

Once you have finished the steps outlined by your adoption coordinator, such as completing your home study and finalizing your profile, you will be placed on our website so birth mothers can view your profile and video if available. In addition, our caring adoption coordinators are very experienced at identifying which birth mothers and adoptive families would make a good match. They will know all of your preferences and the preferences of our birth mothers. Once birth mothers begin viewing your profiles, you will need to be ready. You could be matched with a birth mother that is just a few months into her pregnancy or one who just gave birth, and you receive that call that your baby is waiting for you at the hospital. Once a birth mother picks your profile, your adoption coordinator will set up a meeting either in person, on the phone, or through a face to face on a platform such as Zoom.

Do you have newborns or infants now?

Every day we receive calls, texts, and emails from expectant parents. We are contacted by birth mothers who are early on in their pregnancy, and we are contacted by birth mothers who have just given birth and are in the hospital. We also have parents who have children that feel they can no longer parent those children and are looking for loving adoptive parents to adopt them.

There are many different scenarios, and these all change by the day. You can read about many of our African American birth mother stories at Birth Parents Currently Seeking Families. Our adoption coordinators are constantly reviewing new birth mothers and adoptive families to match them, so we also have birth mothers who match quickly and are not posted on the site.

If I adopt a newborn, how old is the baby when I receive him/her?

Usually 24 hours to three days for newborns – most adoptive families will bring the baby home directly from the hospital. Very few states require temporary foster care before placing the baby with the adoptive family, but this is not the norm. Once you have been mutually matched with a birth mother, it is easy to obtain the requirements in her state, our staff can advise you with details.

Do you have older children in need of homes?

Through Lifetime Adoption, we help parents place children up to the age of six. This may be a single child or a sibling group. We do not separate siblings. There are many reasons for an older child to be placed for adoption. There may be a domestic abuse situation, a parent may be incarcerated, and there could be financial situations. The child may also be living with an older grandparent or relative who just cannot continue to care for the child. Avoiding their children being lost in the foster care system is often a reason to pursue adoption as well. With open adoption, the parents will have some control in choosing the parents to raise their child. Whatever the reason, these parents or guardians are making a loving sacrifice to find their child a safe, healthy, loving home.

A professional counselor will work with the birth family and the adoptive family to create a transition plan in an older child adoption situation. The plan will take into account the reason for the adoption, the child’s age, and the child’s personality. The well-being of the child or children will be the most important aspect of the transition plan.

What ages of children do you have available?

Most are newborns, and more recently toddlers, sibling groups and older children.

Who is eligible to adopt?

If you can provide a stable, loving home for a child, you should be able to adopt. What does that entail? You will need to show that financially you can support a child. You do not need to be wealthy or own a home. You need to be financially secure and be able to demonstrate you can pay your bills and care for a child. You will need to pass a criminal background check and have no history of child abuse or violence. You will also need to be over the age of 21. We are often asked if a single person can adopt, and the answer is “yes.”

At Lifetime, we limit the number of families we work with and try to maintain a mix of families. We do find that African American families and single African American parents are in higher demand with our birth mothers.

Where do your birth parents and children come from?

Expectant mothers and children come to us from all over the U.S. We advertise in social media, and many come from seeing our site on the Internet. Many of our referrals come from personal networking, hospitals, physicians, newspaper articles, TV appearances, radio shows, social media, nationwide outreach programs and counselors.

Do you ever have twins?

Yes! In the event of multiple births, our fees for the adoptive family are the same as for a single birth. We don’t charge any additional fees for twins.

We have children already, can we apply?

Yes. We have found families with less than 3 children, either biological or adopted, do best. The choice of the adoptive family is made by the birth parents most of the time.

Do you have age requirements for adoptive parent(s)?

Adoptive parents must be at least twenty-one years old. We have had adoptive parents in their late 50’s and early 60’s. Most of our birth parents are looking for loving families that are healthy and who can provide their child a loving and supportive environment in which they will thrive. We review your application to see if we are able to help you, and will not accept your fee if we feel we can’t help you adopt.

How much does adoption cost?

The cost of adoption is often a tough subject because it can vary quite a bit. People often don’t understand all of the resources needed to bring birth mothers and adoptive families together.

For birth families, there is never a cost. All services at Lifetime Adoption are free when placing a child for adoption. Many expectant mothers are having difficulty with the financial burden of pregnancy and may be having a hard time finding medical care and other essential services she needs at this time. We will provide counseling, legal assistance, and help with any other pregnancy-related expenses a birth mother is in need of. We feel a birth mother deserves these services, and we find that they have greater faith in their decision to place their child for adoption when they have been provided the resources and counseling needed.

At Lifetime Adoption, adoptive parents pay a one-time, flat fee that covers all of Lifetime’s services. This includes the extensive services for adoptive families as well as the services we provide for birth families. Lifetime’s services for adoptive families is comprehensive. We will guide you through the entire adoption process. From helping you create your profile, to providing educational articles and webinars, to actively promoting you to birth mothers we feel would be a good match. While most of your contact may be with your adoption coordinator, know that there is a whole team of people right behind her helping her provide the best service and support possible to make your adoption dreams come true.

When adopting through an attorney, facilitator, or agency, you will want to read the contract carefully to understand what is covered under the initial fee. Lifetime Adoptions has a one-time, flat fee for our services and the resources we provide. You will want to budget for your home study, which can cost between $1,500 and $5,000, and any travel expenses that may occur depending on where your birth mother is located.

Make sure you are working with an adoption professional that has a great success rate and a low reclaim rate. At Lifetime Adoption, we work with expectant mothers and make sure they understand all of their options, receive all of the counseling, and have access to all of the resources they need.

There are resources available to help you with the cost of adoption.

Federal Tax Credits

Grants

Loans

Employer Assistance

There are options available for financing your adoption.

Is there a fee to apply for your program?

There is no fee to fill out or submit your application. We feel it is important to first determine if we can help you in building your family through adoption.

What about the baby’s health?

We request all documentation regarding the child’s health being placed for adoption and will release that information to you. Included in this is generally a toxicology screen that most hospitals do on newborns as a matter of routine. When possible, we will also provide any health information on the birth mother during her pregnancy. Most birth mothers take great care of their babies while they are expecting. They are placing their child for adoption out of great love for their child. A benefit of open adoption is that medical history can be shared with the adoptive family. You will be provided with all the history that the birth family will share.

Can we come and meet the staff we will be working with?

Yes. You are more than welcome to come to our center and meet the staff at any time during the week. Some adoptive families like to visit if they are in the area or live in California or in Florida. The majority of our families are out of the area. Our program is set up to work with families that are not in our area, most of the paperwork is done by mail, fax and e-mail. It is not mandatory to travel to meet us, unless you would like to. The choice is yours.

Often we are able to meet our families when they are coming to pick up their child if the adoption is in California or Florida. This is an exciting time for everyone!

If you are unable to come to visit, you can still speak to us by phone. After you receive notice that you have been accepted into the program, you are then given the choice to schedule a phone conference with an adoption coordinator to answer your questions about our program. There is no cost for this. We want to make sure all your questions are answered.

What is a home study?

A home study is a thorough report required by every state prior to an adoption. The purpose of the home study is to prove to the courts that the adoptive child is being placed in a safe home and will be well cared for.

A social worker will be in charge of the process. She will conduct in home meetings, run a criminal and financial background check as well as a medical history. She will ask for personal references and interview all members of your household and perhaps extended family.

This process can vary from state to state, and your adoption coordinator will be able to provide the details you need for the state you live in. This process can take up to six months. This is where it will help to be very organized and to have a “to-do” list that will help you organize and submit all of the documents requested by your home study social worker. In general, this needs to be complete before an adoption can begin, so be sure to work as quickly and as accurately as possible.

Can we reach you after hours and on the weekends?

We provide our contracted families with a number of ways to contact us. We have cell phones, pagers, e-mail, 24 hour answering service and fax. For emergencies, unlike most organizations, our staff is available on call 24 hours a day and on holidays to take calls from birth mothers; this is a time when most other organizations are closed. We are also available for emergencies and birth mother calls on the weekends and evenings, 7 days a week. This can be very important if your birth mother goes into labor after hours.

What do we need to get started?

Start by filling out our no-fee application by clicking here.

What happens if the birth mom changes her mind before or after placement?

Due to the counseling and resources we provide birth parents, Lifetime has a very low reclaim rate of between 3 to 4%. In the case of a birth parent changing their mind, we will support the adoptive family through the disappointment, and when they are ready, we will add them back to our active status as adoptive parents. You will not have to pay any additional fees. We are here to make your adoption dreams come true, and while a reclaim or adoption that does not succeed is a heartbreak, your baby is out there and will be joining your family soon.

How can we prevent a scam?

With over 30 years of domestic adoption experience, we have learned what red flags to look out for. We have an extensive questionnaire for birth mothers to fill out, and a doctor must verify a pregnancy. We have professional counselors, and peer counselors available for our birth mothers, and our adoption coordinators are in contact with the birth mothers throughout their pregnancy.

It is unfortunate that there are people out there who would try to hurt you emotionally or financially when you are embarking on such a personal journey. We are here to use our knowledge and experience to protect you from that type of heartache.

We hope that you were able to find in our frequently asked questions about adoption, but if you still have questions, please call or text us at 1-800-923-6784. We’re here to help you.