Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

Adoption Forms

Oklahoma Birth Parent Handbook

A Letter from Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, many women don’t consider adoption because they don’t know much about it. However, once they become informed about the reality of adoption, they often view it as a wonderful solution to a challenging situation. Therefore, before making a decision, we encourage you to educate yourself about the potential benefits of adoption for both you and your baby. We are here to assist you throughout this process because we genuinely care about you and your child. Rest assured, you have come to the right place!

As a licensed adoption agency, we offer a perfect blend of modern professionalism and resources and down-to-earth local support from compassionate individuals who prioritize your happiness and well-being. Our approach to adoption aims to empower you to make informed choices, providing a solid foundation for your future success. Even after you have completed our program, we will continue to offer unwavering support throughout your lifetime.

It is natural to have concerns about adoption initially, fearing that it may imply "abandonment" of your baby. However, the more you learn about adoption, the clearer it becomes that this is not the case at all. Adoption means the best choice for your child, ensuring they are placed with a loving family and provided with a beautiful life full of opportunities that you may not currently be able to provide. In other words, it means you are a good mother.

The most remarkable aspect of choosing adoption with us is that you retain control. Your baby's adoption plan will be tailored according to your preferences and choices. You have the right to select the family based on detailed information about their background and the type of home they will offer your child. Moreover, you have the freedom to decide the level of contact you wish to maintain with the family, both before and after the birth of the baby. Whether you choose to get to know them well, simply meet them once, or never meet them at all, the decisions are entirely in your hands. And we will be right beside you throughout, providing guidance and support.

We are excited for the opportunity to work with you and support through the adoption journey!

Adoption Language

EXPECTANT PARENT:
Prior to the baby’s birth, we use the term "expectant parent". Sometimes there are two expectant parents: an expectant mom and an expectant dad. But in the majority of adoptions, only the expectant mom is involved. Therefore, in most of the material and information we provide here, we will refer to the expectant mom or the birth mom rather than two expectant parents or birth parents.

BIRTH PARENT:
A birth parent is a parent who has placed a child for adoption. Before the baby is born, people sometimes use the term "expectant parent" or the term "birth parent" interchangeably. Birth parent, birth mother, and birth father are frequently used terms.

PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENT:
An individual or family who hopes to adopt, but hasn't finalized the adoption yet.

ADOPTIVE PARENT(S):
An individual or couple who has finalized the adoption. Sometimes, people use the term "adoptive parent" when talking about a prospective adoptive parent.

PLACE FOR ADOPTION:
This is an important term that is used instead of "give up for adoption" or "give up the baby". When a birth mother places her child for adoption, she has made a conscious decision for her child's future. She hasn't "given up."

ADOPTION PLAN:
An adoption plan is the plan expectant parents put together (with our help) for their unique and individual adoption. It involves many different elements like picking a family, receiving support and emotional counseling from an Adoption Specialist, creating a birth plan for the hospital, the type of contact they will have with the adoptive family, financial support needed, and more.

MATCH WITH A FAMILY:
A match occurs when the expectant parents select a family to adopt their child. A match can also occur if the agency is asked to select a family on behalf of the expectant parent(s).

Open, Semi-Open & Closed Adoptions

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is dedicated to supporting your preferred adoption plan in collaboration with prospective adoptive parents. We prioritize your ability to make an informed decision that aligns with your own feelings and values, and we will assist you in exploring all available options. We strive to connect you with families who share your desired level of openness if you choose an open adoption. It is important to note that every adoption plan is distinct, and no two are identical. Some birth mothers may opt for openness before the placement, but prefer closedness after the placement. The Post Adoption Communication Agreement is enforceable under Oklahoma law and is a binding contract between you and the adoptive parents. The agency is also here to encourage families to follow their agreed post adoption agreement. To give you an overview, we have provided general guidelines on the various types of adoption options below.

OPEN ADOPTION:
This is a common choice for many expectant mothers. The adoption is open because the expectant mother will get to know the family and she will have a plan for an ongoing relationship. With an open adoption, the expectant mother or the agency will select the family.

The relationship typically starts before delivery. A meet and greet face-to-face meeting will occur typically within 2 weeks after selecting a family. Depending on how the connection progresses, the expectant mother and the prospective adoptive parents may want to exchange direct contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses.

After delivery, the birth mom may want to spend time with the adoptive family and the baby at the hospital, depending on how she is feeling. Then, she may want to keep up with the family through direct contact (phone calls, texts), and all might even later visit. In many open adoptions, the visits are 1-2 times per year.

SEMI-OPEN (SEMI-PRIVATE) ADOPTION:
This is another common option. The expectant mother (or the agency) chooses the family and may decide to meet the family and build a relationship before delivery. After the baby is placed, the contact is mostly through pictures and letters, and there are usually no personal visits or contact.

CLOSED ADOPTION:
In modern adoption, this is far less common. In many cases the expectant mother will ask the agency to choose a family on her behalf, although that's not the case every time. After the family is chosen, the expectant mom typically won't meet or have a relationship with the family. There are usually no updates, pictures, letters, nor contact between the birth mom and the adoptive family.

Alternatives & Options

PARENTING:
Being a parent is an incredible experience, but it also carries significant responsibilities. It is crucial to consider various factors before embarking on this journey. Are you financially prepared to afford the expenses of raising a child? How will being a parent impact your future aspirations and dreams? Do you have a solid support system comprising friends, family, or a partner who can offer the necessary assistance? These are just a few of the many important questions that we will help you in considering. Our goal is for you to make an informed decision about whether adoption is the right path for you and your baby. If you determine that it is, we are here to guide and support you in taking the next steps.

ADOPTION:
The adoption journey is undeniably beautiful, yet it also poses emotional challenges. Fortunately, the advancement in adoption practices today offers an array of options. We will assist you in designing your own adoption plan and connect you with families who are aligned with your preferences. This ensures that the family seeking to adopt your baby shares your aspirations. Whether you opt to choose the family or not and/or meet them before delivery or not, the decision is entirely yours. You are in complete control prior to placement, and we will provide unwavering support at every step of this journey, including after placement.

FRIENDS & FAMILY:
Whether it be close friends or members of your own family, there might be individuals who are willing to take on the responsibility of parenting your child or providing short-term care until you are able to do so.

FOSTER CARE:
You have the option of temporarily placing your child under the care of Child Protective Services while you take necessary steps to become capable of parenting the child. This choice allows you the opportunity to secure employment, save up for an apartment, and obtain the financial means to afford necessities like diapers and childcare. However, regaining custody of your child will involve meeting specific state requirements, such as attending parenting classes and demonstrating your ability to provide a safe environment for them.

ABORTION:
Undoubtedly, abortion remains a highly controversial issue in American society, thereby making conversations surrounding it challenging and often uncomfortable. Should you want to explore this subject further or seek comprehensive information, it is recommended to consult with your healthcare provider. Ultimately, the choice of whether to undergo an abortion is an intensely personal decision that solely rests within your hands.

WHAT IF I'M NOT SURE? WHAT IF I CAN'T DECIDE?
If your pregnancy was unexpected, it's completely normal to initially feel overwhelmed and unsure about your next steps.

However, take comfort in the fact that you have the power to regain control and we are here to offer support and empathy. By carefully examining your choices and considering your true emotions, you will find a resolution that brings you peace and tranquility. Trust your instincts and prioritize what aligns with your own aspirations and the future you envision.

About Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

Who We Are:
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is licensed by the State of Oklahoma to provide professional, full-service adoption assistance statewide. We understand that everyone faces different circumstances and has different needs. For Expectant Parents: We are here to help you make an adoption plan that meets your needs.

Our Locations:
We have compassionate adoption professionals who work across Oklahoma to provide services to the birth parents and adoptive families we serve. We have offices in Tulsa and Norman.

2301 Westpark Drive, Norman, OK 73069

36 E. Cameron Street Tulsa, OK 74103

Contact Us:
- Birth Parent Hotline: 800-898-6028
- Text Us: 405-201-6643
(Call or Text 24/7)

Our Services

INTAKE SERVICES:
Our intake services are with qualified adoption specialists that are compassionate, understanding, and ready to start your choice of your adoption plan.

FINANCIAL STABILITY:
We can help meet your needs with court approved living expenses during pregnancy.

CASE MANAGEMENT SERVICES:
An expert Adoption Specialist will be assigned to you to guide you through all adoption services that we provide. They work hand-in-hand with the Executive Director to provide a wrap around approach. Your assigned Adoption Specialist will be with you every step of the way.

PLACEMENT & POST-PLACEMENT SERVICES:
Our adoption specialist are qualified to help with your placement paperwork around a plan around your choices. We follow that up with post-placement support services after placement.

MEDICAL CARE:
Taking care of yourself during pregnancy is the most important thing you can do for the baby. We can help you get medical care for a healthy pregnancy.

LEGAL SERVICES:
Our agency will arrange legal services for all your questions answered with an attorney.

SUPPORT COUNSELING:
We offer counseling both during the pregnancy and after the adoption. We have recommendations for experienced licensed counselors, but ultimately expectant/birth parents are free to obtain counseling services from anyone of their choice and our agency will cover the cost during the adoption process.

BIRTHING SERVICES:
Your assigned adoption specialist will be there with you through this adoption journey every step of the way. Including a support system at the hospital to ensure your desired hospital plan is being followed.

Your Adoption Specialist

Your Adoption Specialist will provide unwavering support throughout your adoption journey. Here are the some of the valuable services she will offer:

- Your Adoption Specialist will be available for appointments. She can accompany you to your medical appointments, assisting with both transportation and companionship.
- Assistance will be provided with applications for health insurance, if you do not already have coverage.
- Emotional support will be offered before, during, and after the birth of your baby, as long as you require it.
- If part of your adoption plan involves a relationship with the adoptive family, your Adoption Specialist will facilitate and cultivate this connection.
- Ensuring your safety and stability during pregnancy will be prioritized, and she will also assist with your financial plan.
- Birth parents can contact the birth parent hotline 24/7 via call or text at 855-940-4673 or 702-608-1241.

It is important to note what your Adoption Specialist is not:

- Despite her knowledge and expertise in the field of adoption, your Adoption Specialist cannot fulfill every possible need. It is best to communicate your needs in advance to allow time for finding appropriate resources.
- She is not a licensed attorney and cannot provide you with legal advice, but you will be provided an opportunity to speak with an attorney.
- While she can arrange transportation to certain appointments, your Adoption Specialist cannot act as a personal chauffeur for all your activities during the time you work together.
- Financial assistance cannot be provided by your Adoption Specialist. Your financial situation will be assessed and approved by the relevant individuals at Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. It is essential to discuss your support plan thoroughly to determine your needs.

We understand the immense stress and emotional toll that this process can have on you. Remember, your Adoption Specialist is here to support you. Openly discussing your emotions with her will allow us to guide you through this journey with our wealth of experience.

Grievance Procedure

You have the right to file a grievance or appeal a decision at any time. The Agency is committed to treating all clients fairly and with the dignity and respect they deserve.

To file a grievance or appeal, please submit a written grievance to your Adoption Specialist. They will respond in writing within three business days.

If the issue persists, the Executive Director will forward the grievance to the Agency's CEO within one business day. The CEO will respond in writing to you within three business days.

If a resolution cannot be reached, you have the option to take your grievance to the Licensing Representative assigned to Adoption Choices of Oklahoma.

Any alleged violations of licensing requirements can be reported to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Child Care Services at 405-522-2564.

Oklahoma Adoption Laws

BIRTH MOTHER CONSENT:
To proceed with the adoption process, you are required to sign an irrevocable consent to the adoption in the presence of a district court judge. This allows for the termination of your parental rights. This consent can only be signed after the birth mother has been discharged from the hospital and able to attend the hearing in front of the district court. It is crucial that you attend court when you are physically and emotionally prepared and free from the influence of any medication.

If your child is eligible for enrollment in a Native American Tribe, you must wait ten days after the birth of the child to give our consent in the district court. This consent can be revoked at any time prior to the final decree of termination of your parental rights or the entry of a final decree of adoption.

Adoption Choices provides the opportunity for every birth mother to receive legal counsel. We will connect you with your own attorney prior to signing relinquishment documents in court. This is done to go over your legal rights and have the paperwork thoroughly explained.

LEGAL COUNSEL:
Adoption Choices provides the opportunity for every birth mother to receive legal counsel. We will connect you with your own attorney prior to signing relinquishment documents in court. This is done to go over your legal rights and have the paperwork thoroughly explained.

BIRTH FATHERS (Not all fathers are the same):
Legal Father: These fathers are married to you at the time of conception or birth, or the judge signs an order determining him the legal father. If you are married to a man at the birth of your child, the laws presumes the child is our husband’s child, even if you have been separated. In Oklahoma, he may sign a legal husband waiver to appear to court hearing after the birth of the child. On these consent/Wavier he can accept paternity or deny paternity but ultimately by signing says that the adoption may proceed. A father can also be a legal father if he signs the birth certificate and accepts paternity of the child after birth.

Alleged or Biological Father: This is the legal term for any potential named biological father who is not married to the birth mother, and has not acknowledged paternity of the child in court. If the name of the potential biological father is known, he can sign a consent of adoption with a notary public prior to the birth of the child or a waiver of hearing after the baby has been born. On both of these forms he can either state that he believes to be or not to be the father of the child. By signing these forms he is consenting and stating that the adoption can proceed. If you chooses he has the right to contest the adoption in district court. Further information on contested adoptions can be discussed with Adoption Choice and/or own independent legal counsel.

Unknown Father/Unable to Locate: If you do not know the identity or do not have contact information for the biological father of the child, our agency attorney will attempt to locate him with the information provided by you. It is important that you are honest about all of the information you have regarding the biological father. If we are unable to locate him, our agency will file a Termination of Parental Rights Petition in court following your signing of your relinquishment of parental rights. There will be a court hearing to determine if the parental rights of the father will be terminated by the court. You are not required to attend this court hearing- an agency representative with attend and the court will be provided with the Affidavit of Paternity you submitted to the agency.

Next Legal Steps & Adoption-Related Registries

If you choose to sign a relinquishment of parental rights, a termination hearing will be conducted by the Court. Your presence, as well as that of the adoptive parents, is not necessary for this hearing.

During this hearing, the Judge will issue a judgment that terminates all rights of any potential parents. Furthermore, even though the child is currently residing with the adoptive parents, the Judge will appoint the Agency the child’s legal custody, as it is a legal requirement.

Subsequently, after the child has spent six months in the adoptive parents' home, an adoption hearing will take place to finalize the adoption. Prior to this hearing, all post placement visits must be finalized, and the Agency must provide consent for the adoption.

The Oklahoma Department of State Health Services operates a Paternity Registry, which provides a resource to investigate adoption or termination lawsuits pertaining to a potentially biological child. To benefit from this registry, interested individuals must register within 30 days following being served an adoption plan or prior to the parental termination hearing.

Community Resources

Children/Parenting/Pregnancy Services:
- Adoption Choices of Oklahoma: www.adoptionchoicesofoklahoma.org | 800-898-6028
- Child Support: http://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/child-support-services.html
- Child Care Assistance: https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/adult/ccsubsidy/child-care-subsidy.html

Housing/Shelter:
- City Rescue Mission: www.cityrescue.org
- Housing Authority (Section 8): www.ochanet.org
- HUD: www.hud.gov/states/oklahoma/renting

Domestic Violence Assistance:
- YWCA: www.ywcaokc.org
- DVIS Tulsa: http://dvis.org/

Government Benefits:
- Oklahoma Employment Security Commission: https://oklahoma.gov/oesc.html
- Social Security: https://www.ssa.gov
- Unemployment: https://Unemployment.state.ok.us

Medical Assistance:
- Soonercare/Medicaid: www.mysoonercare.org

Food Assistance:
- Snap Benefits: www.okdhs.org/services/snap
- WIC Services: www.oklahoma.gov/health/family-health/wic
- TANF: https://oklahoma.gov/okdhs/services/tanf/tanfhome.html

Expectant Parent Handbook Receipt of Information

I have read and reviewed the Expectant Parent Handbook with my Adoption Specialist. I have a copy that I can keep and refer to.
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