In these circumstances, expectant mothers who are considering adoption in GA should assess their needs and let that influence their choice of which...

Adoption in GA

Learn what you can expect as an expectant mother considering adoption in GA.

If you are an expectant or birth mother considering adoption in GA, you’ve probably already experienced a whirlwind of questions, decisions, and emotions regarding the adoption process. Understanding the lay of the land as far as laws, agencies, the adoption process, support groups, and the reunion process can be a lot to take in at once. Learn the basics and what your options are wherever you are in the process. Support, love, and hope are out there. The more you can prepare now, the more peaceful you can feel in the decisions you make. 

GA Adoption Laws

Who can adopt?

In GA, hopeful adoptive parents must meet qualifications regarding age and residency in the state. A single adoptive parent must be at least 25 years old and 10 years older than the child being adopted. Married couples who are looking to adopt must be living with a spouse and be at least 10 years older than the child being adopted. Additionally, all prospective adoptive parents in GA must be a resident of the state for at least six months to qualify. 

Can I change my mind?

GA adoption laws allow a revocation period of four days after adoption papers are signed. This means a birth mother has four days to change her mind regarding the surrender of her parental rights after her child is placed with a family. 

What happens to my records?

After an adoption is finalized, records are kept by the court where the adoption hearing was held. Records are then sealed, only to be opened if a child or interested party petitions for them. In cases where a child who was adopted does request to open their records, an adoptive parent will have the opportunity in court to stop that process if it is deemed potentially harmful to the child. 

Agencies and Organizations

An Open Door Adoption Agency 

An expectant mother who is considering adoption can speak to a counselor at An Open Door Adoption Agency to determine whether adoption is right for her. Services for birth mothers are free and counseling is confidential. An Open Door Adoption Agency services the entire state of GA, with offices in Albany, Augusta, E Atlanta, W Atlanta, S Atlanta, N Atlanta, Columbus, Macon, Rome, Savannah, Thomasville, and Valdosta.

AmericanKidz Adoption Services

AmericanKidz Adoption Services is located in Americus, GA. This agency seeks to help expectant mothers who are thinking about placing their children. All services for birth mothers are free. This agency is ready to help expectant mothers choose a pre-screened family from a myriad of profiles representing an array of backgrounds and faiths. AmericanKidz Adoption Services supports birth mothers throughout their pregnancy and for up to 6 weeks after a child is born. 

Crystal Adoptions

Founded in 2011, Crystal Adoptions, Inc. has been educating and supporting all members of the adoption triad for nearly a decade. This organization values the roles of all who play an essential part in a child’s life. Crystal Adoptions no longer offers placement services but acts as a resource for both expectant families, birth families, and adoptive families. 

Covenant Care Adoptions

Covenant Care Adoptions respects the circumstances that expectant mothers find themselves in and the needs that they have. Ready to travel to you and to discuss your options, Covenant Care is prepared to support expectant and birth mothers in making a plan and finding needed support during a challenging time. Counselors offer their services to expectant and birth mothers all over GA including Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Savannah, Valdosta, and Macon.

Abiding Love Adoption 

Abiding Love Adoption is unique in that they only work with the birth mother or birth parents in the adoption process. Their goal is to support and protect a birth mother’s and child’s well-being. Like other agencies, Abiding Love aids birth mothers in their emotional, physical, and financial needs throughout their pregnancy. The Abiding Love Adoption offices can be found in Macon, Atlanta, Savannah, Brunswick, Augusta, and Albany.

The Adoption Process 

Consider Your Options. 

As an expectant parent considering adoption in GA, it is important to understand your options. As mentioned above, there are many adoption agencies prepared with professional counselors to help you understand what your options are and the gravity of each. 

It is easy for an expectant mother to become overwhelmed with all of the different choices she feels she has to make in a short amount of time. Before committing to one plan, learn what each option has to offer you and your baby in the future. 

Pick an Agency

There are many adoption agencies in GA prepared (by years of experience with and understanding of an expectant mother’s position) to help her through the process. Adoption agencies almost always offer their services to birth mothers for free and will assist in meeting the various needs an unplanned pregnancy introduces into a woman’s life. 

Some expectant mothers who are considering placing their child for adoption in GA will choose to use an attorney rather than an agency. Opting for a private adoption may be a better option for an expectant mother who has already chosen an adoptive family for her child. 

Pick a Family

Different options exist for searching and finding a family to place a child with. Parent profiles are one of the more popular tools expectant mothers will use to find a family. Parent profiles are snapshots of who a family consists of, including a picture, a biography, and some answers to common questions birth mothers usually have for prospective families. 

Adoption agencies are a great resource for sifting through potential parent profiles, but other sources like Adoption.com also have a large collection of parent profiles from across the country.

Use Resources 

Throughout a pregnancy, expectant mothers will face financial and emotional hardship. Especially in cases where a pregnancy is unplanned, the immediate demand for extensive physical and mental healthcare can be overwhelming.

In these circumstances, expectant mothers who are considering adoption in GA should assess their needs and let that influence their choice of which agency, organization, and support systems they choose to utilize. Some agencies will fully support an expectant mother with housing, covered medical costs, basic needs for healthy food, and maternity clothing. Other agencies will, in addition, offer temporary or long-term counseling post-adoption. 

Finalize the Adoption 

It is common (and wise) of expectant mothers to make a birth plan before their due date. After picking an agency, a family, and an adoption plan, it is important for expectant mothers to do everything they can to prepare both mentally and physically for the arrival of the baby.

After the baby is born, the biological mother will sign the appropriate paperwork to complete her portion of the adoption process. The adoptive family will then proceed to court to finalize the adoption. 

Post-Placement

After her child is placed, a birth mother will experience a wave of emotions no one can truly prepare for. She will need the help, guidance, and support of friends and loved ones to help her through the tragedy and bittersweetness of adoption. 

As beautifully as adoption is spoken of in the grand scheme of things, it is never without a great deal of pain on everyone’s part. During this time, all members of the adoption triad have needs that must be met. 

Support Groups

GA Association of Licensed Adoption Agencies (GALAA)

The GA Association of Licensed Adoption Agencies is an organization whose mission is to “[promote] quality and ethical adoption practices among providers of adoption services. The association offers a training forum, a resource for community awareness, and advocacy services pertaining to adoption. 

GALAA hosts the GA Adoption Reunion Support group. It is open to adult adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptive siblings, and spouses. The group meets every Thursday evening at the Decatur Families First office. 

BirthMom Buds

BirthMom Buds was founded by two birth mothers. LeiLani Wood and Coley Strickland both came from two different worlds of adoption but found love and support together as they bonded over their experiences and fostered a lifelong friendship. 

Connected through Adoption.com, LeiLani and Coley felt the camaraderie of shared experience and wanted to open that option more specifically to other birth mothers and pregnant women considering adoption. Together, they began the program, BirthMom Buds. 

The program offers support through a buddy system, online forums and chats, live support, an annual retreat, celebration of Birth Mom’s Day, and volunteer opportunities. 

On Your Feet Foundation

The purpose of On Your Feet Foundation is to provide support to birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees, adoption professionals, and others. Even though On Your Feet is not an adoption agency, they still seek to support birth mothers emotionally, financially, and through educational resources. 

The On Your Feet Foundation understands that moving forward with any decision in an unplanned pregnancy can be daunting. They are prepared to support, love, and offer all the resources they have gathered from years of experience to empower expectant mothers. They even offer continued support to birth mothers after placement. 

Three Strands

Three Strands is a unique group that offers the most hands-on support to expectant and birth mothers. Believing that it truly does take a village to take care of a child, the sisterhood of women at Three Strands offers services such as doulas, postpartum doulas, mother’s helpers, babysitters, and cleaners. 

They believe that an unexpected pregnancy shouldn’t leave a woman alone and in need of support and love. Their services go above and beyond to help expectant and birth mothers plan, prepare for, and endure through the challenges they face in pregnancy and motherhood. 

Brave Love

Brave Love is an organization with the goal to “[change] the perception of adoption and [aim] to increase (domestic infant) adoption.” They seek to empower and celebrate the bravery of an expectant and birth mother in her adoption journey. On their platform, they share stories, resources, and other content regarding birth mothers and their bravery.

In 2012, an adoptive mother founded BraveLove, setting out to advocate for birth mothers and correct negative perceptions of adoption. The organization partners with adoption agencies as resources for expectant and birth mothers. 

Reunion

In cases of closed adoption, contact between a birth parent and child who is adopted ceases when the biological parent completes their adoption paperwork. Typically, the door to reunion opens when an adoptee becomes an adult. Both parties should consider the intent of reunion and whether or not the long-term consequences of a reunion are worth the possible emotional cost of reuniting. Adoptees and birth parents should seek counseling and familial support before, during, and after the reunion process is completed. 

The reunion process is often initiated by an adoptee or birth parent hoping to reconnect, gain closure, and/or fulfill curiosity about where life had taken one another. Reunion isn’t for everyone, but for those who wish to pursue it, it can be the start of a healthy, open relationship. 

A reunion registry is one source the adult adoptees and birth parents to use for beginning the reunion process. On each state’s reunion registry, participants consent to release their identifying information to their counterparts. When both parties use the reunion registry, a match is made. This is typically a cheaper way to begin the reunion process. Some birth parents and adoptees will use other forms of reunion such as personal investigators, social media, legal intermediaries, online registries, or word of mouth. 

Hope

If you are an expectant mother considering adoption in GA, you have felt the fear, you have felt the hopelessness, and you have felt the pressure to make the right decisions for you and your child. Rather than enduring this challenging time alone, reach out to your resources. Learn all you can about your state’s laws, agencies, adoption process, and support groups. When it comes time to make decisions and face the challenges ahead, you will be able to do so with hands to hold and confidence in your actions. At the end of the day, there is always hope for a brighter future beyond the trials you are facing today.

Courtney Falk