Open Adoption Information and FAQ's
A PSS worker can help you get more information about adoption before making a decision.
All of the adoptive parents at ECFA are interested in maintaining a relationship with the birth family. We believe that openness in an adoption plan is important. We ask the birth family about what they desire for openness and then work to match the birth family with all families who have similar expectations about openness. The birth family selects the family.
In an open adoption, birth and adoptive families are provided with the opportunity to get to know one another and maintain ongoing contact.
The degree of openness will vary depending on the desires of the parties involved. Some women choose to have limited contact via pictures and letters, while others choose ongoing contact through personal visits with the family and child. Open adoption allows for the birth and adoptive families to get to know one another and form a relationship over time.
If you choose adoption, you will talk with a counselor about what you want your adoption experience to look like.
You will have the opportunity to view adoptive parent profiles, which will help you learn about them through photos and their descriptions of who they are. If you desire, you will have the opportunity to meet the family that you choose so that you can get to know them on a more personal level. The amount of communication between birth and adoptive parents is mutually decided. Every adoption plan is unique to the people involved.
ECFA believes that everyone can benefit from an open adoption.
The birth parent(s) can stay informed about how the child is doing which reaffirms the adoption decision. A caring relationship can form between the birth and adoptive parents as they get to know each other and maintain contact. The child also benefits from an open adoption because the child knows the love and planning that went into his or her adoption.
You can contact us at any point during your pregnancy by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 630-653-6400 and ask for one of our pregnancy support workers. There is no cost and no pressure. You have the right to be informed about your choices so that you can make the very best decision for you and your baby. We’re here to help.
Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption
“What is open adoption?”
Open adoption describes a relationship where the adoptive family, the child, and the birth parents remain in contact after an adoption. Openness can range from yearly letters to ongoing, in-person meetings. Openness is very important to ECFA and our adoptive families. Your worker will discuss openness with you as you meet together.
An openness covenant is signed by both parties with the expectation that the birth parents and the adoptive family will honor their agreements. Illinois law does not legally enforce openness agreements between families, so our agency is committed to providing quality education for families and to license families that truly desire an open adoption. ECFA adoptive families are Christian adoptive families, so they take the openness agreement, or covenant, seriously as they are making a promise to you and also to God.
“Will I get to choose and meet the adoptive family?”
Yes. After some initial paperwork and education, and once you feel comfortable with an adoption decision, you will be given profiles (scrapbooks that the families make) to review. Profiles contain pictures of the family, a letter to the birth parents, and other information about them such as whether they have pets and how they enjoy spending their time. All of the families are Christian adoptive couples or Christian adoptive families. You can meet the family you choose.
If you do not want to review profiles and/or meet the family, your wishes will be respected. You can choose to have ECFA select a family for your baby or child.
“Where do the families live?”
Most ECFA families live in the Chicago area and its surrounding suburbs.
“Can anyone adopt a baby through ECFA?”
All of ECFA’s adoptive parents go through a lengthy process to become licensed and ready to adopt. You can learn a little about their process by looking at the Criteria for ECFA's Families. Licensed ECFA adoption workers obtain information from the families and reviews the family as a team before approving them. The birthfamily is given profiles of families who have a completed, approved home study and are (more than) ready to adopt. All of our families are Christian adoptive couples or Christian adoptive families.
“Can I have ongoing contact with my baby and the family?”
All of our adoptive families are open to the following openness: pictures and letters from the adoptive family at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and annually thereafter until your child turns eighteen. Also, visits at six months and a year during the first year, and annually thereafter. Some families desire more openness, and adoption plans can be arranged to be more closed or more open if you have different preferences. ECFA can assist in the exchange of pictures, letters, and gifts between families.
“What are my rights?”
You have the right to make a decision to parent up until the time you sign surrenders of your parental rights. Once you sign surrender forms, your parental rights are terminated with no waiting period to change your mind. You will plan with your worker when you desire to sign the surrenders, and you will know the document you are signing and when you're signing it. The PSS Social Workers are here to protect your rights and help you make informed decisions.
If you need more time to make your decision after the baby is born, our agency offers temporary care for your baby. We know and love our licensed, loving Baby Care Families. Baby Care Families are licensed through our agency to care for and love the baby during the temporary stay in their home. They enjoy the time with the baby in their home and soak up every minute of the baby's stay. Our clients that have used a baby care family can attest to the love the family has and the amazing care they provided for their child.
“Can I sign surrenders before the baby is born?”
Illinois law states that the earliest a mother can sign surrenders is 72 hours (3 days) after birth. You will not be asked to sign adoption paperwork until you are ready. You and your worker will go over the paperwork before the baby is born so you are prepared and informed about your decision. Once surrenders are signed, you cannot change your mind.
“What if the birth father will not sign surrenders and wants to parent the baby?”
Each birth father situation will be discussed with your social worker who will consult with adoption attorneys about the birth father.
“What are my rights if I am the birth father?”
A PSS worker can meet with you and discuss adoption or answer questions about adoption. You will be able to sign, or not to sign, paperwork for adoption. Sometimes, if you decide not to sign, an adoption can still occur.
Additionally, if you are interested in counseling, you can contact the PSS worker of the case.
“Can I name my baby? Will the adoptive parents keep the name?”
Yes, you can name your baby on the original birth certificate. The adoptive parents have the legal right to change the baby’s name at court finalization. Some birth families choose to have the family name the baby, some families choose to name the baby together, some adoptive families use the name you choose, a version of the name, or use the name that you choose as a middle name.
“How much will my child know about me?”
That depends on what type of an adoption plan you chose: open, semi-open, or confidential. ECFA encourages each birth mother and birth father to provide complete medical and social history for your child, no matter what type of adoption plan you make. State and Federal laws related to confidentiality prohibit ECFA from releasing any identifying information between the birth parents and adoptive family without written permission, including addresses.
“How do I know if adoption is right for me?”
This is a difficult question to answer, and the final decision is YOURS. Through the Pregnancy Support Services program of ECFA, you will not be alone. A professional counselor will be assigned to you to help you be informed about your decision. If you choose to consider adoption, your worker will help you through the emotional and legal process toward adoption. The worker will meet with you regularly, listen to you, get to know you, support you, and address your various concerns. Our most important priority is to provide you with complete information so that you can make a well-informed and confident decision. Your worker is there to support you and will help you make a plan that is best for you and your baby. We care about you and want to walk beside you through your pregnancy.