Starting an Adoptive Family:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average cost of adopting through Bright Futures?
The average cost of adopting through Bright Futures ranges from $20,000 to $28,000. The total cost of adopting through Bright Futures depends on a variety of factors, including the specific financial needs of the birth parents, the location of the birth parents, and your ability to pay. For example, adoptive parents working with a birth mother in a far away state will have increased travel expenses and the cost of an out-of-state agency providing services to the birth mother. Adoptive parents working with a birth mother who does not have medical insurance will have doctor's and hospital bills to add to their adoption expenses. At your Initial Educational Consultation, Bright Futures will work with you to determine an adoption budget that is reasonable for you. The adoption budget you set will be the upper limit for your adoption and Bright Futures will do its best to match you with birth parents whose needs match your budget. top
What is the average length of time it takes from starting the adoption process to bringing home a baby?
The average time from starting the process to bringing home a baby is one to two years. There are many factors that affect how long it takes to connect with a birth family and bring home a baby, including the flexibility of the adopting parents about the type of child they are interested in parenting, the adopting parent(s)' life situation, the age of the adopting parent(s), the birth parent(s) situation etc. top
Why do birth parents place their children for adoption?
There are many reasons why birth parents choose adoption: their life situation may not permit them to parent; they may not have the resources to parent the way they wish to; they may not be ready to parent at this particular stage in their life; or they may already be parenting and recognize the difficulty of adding another child to their family. top
What kind of birth parent expenses are adoptive parents allowed to pay?
Depending on the law of the state where the birth parents live, adopting parents may be permitted to pay certain expenses incurred by the birth parents prior to and after the birth of the child, including counseling, legal fees, living expenses, medical expenses, transportation to obtain medical, legal, counseling and other adoption related services, and support services. Many birth mothers are eligible for various state and federal programs such as welfare and Medicaid which help reduce the expense to the adoptive parents. top
How do adoptive parents pay for birth parent expenses? Can we pay the money directly to the birth parents?
Most states prohibit the payment of money to birth parents. All birth parent expenses should be paid out of an escrow account established for the purpose of the adoption. Many courts require that all birth parent expenses paid by the adopting parents be documented. Using an escrow account to make payments helps to insure that all payments are legal and easy to account to the court. top
Can birth parents change their mind after a consent or surrender is signed?
The law surrounding termination of parental rights varies greatly from state to state and the answer to this question will depend on the laws of the state where the baby is born. If the baby is born in Massachusetts, birth parents can sign a consent on the fourth day after the baby is born. Once the consent is signed it is final and irrevocable. This means that the birth parents can not change their mind after they sign the consent. Some states permit birth parents to change their mind until the birth parent(s) sign a consent or surrender in court (usually within 30 days of birth), while others permit birth parents to change their mind for up to one year after the baby's birth. top
Will the baby go to foster care?
The answer to this question depends on where the baby is born and the laws of that state. In Massachusetts there is not a requirement that the baby be placed in foster care. Instead, birth parents are allowed to sign a temporary placement agreement with Bright Futures that gives Bright Futures custody of the baby until the adoption is finalized. Once Bright Futures has custody of the baby, Bright Futures can place the baby with the prospective adoptive parents as a "legal risk" placement. This means that the baby is being placed with the prospective adoptive parents before the birth parents have signed consents. If adoptive parents prefer not to take custody of the baby until the birth parents have signed consents or if the birth parents are unsure about the placement, the child may be placed in foster care until consents are properly signed. Unlike Massachusetts, some states do require babies to go to foster care prior to the legal consent or surrender by the birth parents. top
How will I know when the baby is born?
In an open adoption situation where you have exchanged phone numbers with the birth parent(s), you will likely hear directly from the birth mother (or a birth family member) that the birth mother has gone into labor. In a less open adoption situation, you will likely hear from Bright Futures that the birth mother has gone into labor or that the baby has been born. top
Can I/we be in the delivery room?
This will depend on the desires of the birth mother. Some birth mothers want the adoptive parents to be in the room, others want the adoptive parents to be in the hospital, but not in the room, and still others do not want the adoptive parents to be at the hospital during the delivery. top
How often can I call Bright Futures to make sure everything is okay?
As often as you need to do so as long as you bear in mind the distinction between a check-in and an emergency. top