Answers To Big Questions

At Herrin & Leach, we will take the time to sit down with you, listen to your concerns and answer all of your questions in a confidential and compassionate setting. Many people have general questions and this list of FAQ for expectant parents.

What Financial Help May I Receive?

Under Indiana law, an expectant mother who is considering an adoption plan for her child is able to receive reimbursement for medical expenses and certain amounts to assist with her living expenses while pregnant and for up to six weeks after birth. These living expenses can include rent, utilities, transportation, lost wages, phone and maternity clothes.

A birth mother is also allowed to be reimbursed for reasonable counseling costs expenses, if she desires.

May I Receive Counseling?

Adoptive parents are allowed to pay for reasonable counseling costs relating to the pregnancy and birth. Counseling is available both during pregnancy and after birth.

Can I Choose The Adoptive Parents?

Yes, the expectant mother's wishes will always be honored and she may select the adoptive parents that she believes will provide the best life for her child. In fact, the expectant mother will often sign a consent to adoption that is specific to only the family she has chosen.

What Is Termination Of Parents' Right?

This is the legal act, either voluntary or involuntary, which ends the legal rights and responsibilities of the parent to the child. This means that the parent is no longer responsible for that child's education, health care, welfare or well-being.

This must happen for the child to be considered legally free for adoption. In most private adoption cases, these rights are voluntarily terminated. Birth parents who terminate their rights can still have a voice as to the placement of the child and can express their desires for the child to be brought up with certain stipulations such as religious exposure or educational opportunities.

Do I Need To "Consent" To An Adoption?

Indiana law has specific requirements so that a consent to adoption conforms to the law. The written consent must be signed and notarized. The consent confirms the birth parents' intention to place the child for adoption. In Indiana, if a child is 14 years of age or older and being adopted, for example by a stepparent, the child will also have to give his or her consent before the adoption decree is issued by the court. A putative father can sign a consent prior to the birth of a child, but an expectant mother may not.

What Happens After I Have Selected A Family?

After an expectant mother selects a family, she is considered matched with the family and may communicate with the family as often as she and the family desires. Frequently, the adoptive parents can be involved in pre-natal appointments. You can spend time getting to know the family if desired. We will also speak regularly regarding any legal issues and ensure that you are receiving the support needed.

Do I Have To Identify The Father Of The Child?

Expectant mothers may choose not to identify the father of their child for many very personal reasons. We respect the expectant mother's right not to have to identify the putative father of the child. Each case is unique, so you should discuss your situation with an adoption attorney to determine whether or not the father of your child has to be involved in your decision.

Will My Family Or Anyone Else Find Out About The Adoption?

If you want your adoption to be confidential, we respect your wishes. That is your decision.

Will The Department Of Child Services Be Involved?

No, if a birth parent executes a consent to adoption, the Department of Child Services is not typically involved in the child. In this case, the child is not in need of services because a loving, stable family has been chosen to adopt the child.

When Should I Sign A Consent Form?

The consent form can only be signed after the baby is born. A putative father may sign a consent prior to the adoption and waive any further notice of the adoption proceedings.

Can I Place My Young Child Or Already Born Child For Adoption?

Yes, there are many families wanting to adopt children of all ages and all races and ethnicities!

How Long Does An Adoption Take?

This varies. In Indiana, most adoptions can be finalized in as little as a few months.

Will I Need A Criminal Background Check?

No. Any background forms are used only to gather information for the adoptive parents so that they have more information about the birth mother. If you have criminal history or any other private matters, the attorneys at Herrin & Leach will respect your privacy and decisions.

What Is The Cost To The Expectant Mother?

There is no cost. In fact, an expectant mother may receive financial assistance during her pregnancy and for six weeks after birth.

More Questions?

For more details on these questions or answers to other questions, please call Herrin & Leach at our Indianapolis office and speak directly with a lawyer at 317-566-2174. Or send us an email and we will be in touch.