Domestic Infant Adoption
Catholic Charities places domestic infants for adoption when a birth mother chooses to make an adoption plan for her unborn child. We believe the decision to place a child for adoption must be made freely and with an awareness of all implications. We work closely with birth parents before ending their parental rights to make sure they believe that adoption is the right choice. All services to birth parents are provided without conditions or cost.
The Adoption Process
The first step in adopting a child is to return the Adoption Intake Form with the $25 fee to be placed on our waiting list. When nearing the top of the list, prospective parents attend training sessions and begin home study. Once the home study is approved, the prospective adoptive parents’ profile (letters and pictures) is given to birth parents if they want to help choose the adoptive family. If the birth parents choose not to be involved, the agency selects a family based on the birth parents’ criteria, the needs of the child, and how long the family has waited.
When a child is available, potential parents are invited to review all non-identifying information, including medical history, family background, birthparents’ desires, and legal standing of the child. During this meeting, the individual needs of the child are discussed. The potential parents then decide if they want to proceed with placement.
Confidentiality of Records
Records relating to children placed for adoption are confidential. All information about the child, birth parents and the adoptive family is sealed and kept in locked files as prescribed by law.
Catholic Charities is available to all parties in the adoption after agency supervision ends. This support includes individual counseling, support groups or referrals for services. When birth parents and adoptive parents agree to ongoing contact, such as through letters or pictures, the agency acts as an intermediary between the two parties.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take?
There is currently a 4-5 year wait from the time you return your Adoption Intake Form until the time an infant is placed in your home. The wait may be shortened if the adoptive couple meets specific needs of a child in our care, such as a medically needy infant or a child of African-American heritage.
How much will the adoption cost?
Catholic Charities is a non-profit organization that strives to provide quality services with the lowest possible fees. We have a set fee for all domestic infant placements, so there are no “hidden costs.” For example, you are not responsible for the birth mother’s medical bill. Compared to other agencies, our fees are extremely reasonable. Contact our office for specific information.
Are there any restrictions on the age of the adopting parents?
Our age policy states that the younger parent cannot be more than 40 years older than the child, and the older parent cannot be more than 45 years older than the child.
What is an “open” adoption?
Open adoptions allow a degree of contact or sharing of information between a child’s birth family and adoptive family. Options include:
- Preparing an Adoptive Parent Profile to be shown to birth parents
- Meeting the birth parents or talking on the phone before placement
- Sending and receiving letters, pictures or gifts at placement and through the years
- Visiting with the birth parents after placement
Catholic Charities tries to place a child in a home where both sets of parents want the same degree of openness.
Will I receive medical information about the birth family?
Birth parents complete a Background History and Medical Information Form. This information is reviewed with the adoptive family during the matching process and a copy of the form is given to the adoptive family at the time of placement. In addition, you will receive a copy of the child’s hospital medical records from birth.
Can birth parents change their minds after the infant is placed in our home?
Birth parents cannot revoke their signed consents after the court terminates their parental rights, which typically occurs 3 to 4 months after birth. If the child is placed in your home directly from the hospital, this is considered a “legal risk” placement. Your social worker will explain your specific situation. If there is a high risk that the child could be taken from an adoptive home, the infant will be placed in pre-adoptive foster care.
When is the adoption final?
There is a six-month period of supervision after placement. Your social worker will make at least three home visits. After the supervision ends, the petition of adoption is submitted to the court. The adoption is finalized at a court hearing that you and your child attend.
Can a birth parent change their mind?
Yes. Birth parents can change their minds up to 30 days after their legal consent is signed.
Contact us for more information:
- Special Needs Adoption & Foster Care
Kelly Bolton, LSW
939 East Park Drive, Suite 103
Harrisburg, PA 17111