As you begin gathering information about adoption and determining which option is best for you and your child, your overriding question is likely, “How does the adoption process work in South Carolina? How exactly do I place my child for adoption?”
If you have found yourself wondering about these questions, this is most likely an emotionally challenging time in your life. The following information explains how the adoption process works in South Carolina with our law firm.
If you have questions about any of the following steps of the adoption process of placing a child for adoption, please don’t hesitate to contact our office confidentially and with no obligation to proceed with an adoption plan.
Step 1 – Choosing Your Path
By reading this article, you have begun this step of gathering information, finding answers to your questions about adoption, and determining if you are ready to proceed to formally creating an adoption plan for your baby.
One thing we want to make absolutely clear is that contacting the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson can be a part of this information-gathering stage. In no way does contacting us commit you to going forward with adoption.
Speaking with one of our adoption social workers simply allows us to get to know you and your situation a little bit better, answer any unique questions we haven’t addressed on our website, and inform you of the many ways in which we can help you and your baby.
So, as you discuss your options with your friends and family and consider your options, remember that contacting our office for detailed information can still be an important part of your decision-making process.
Step 2 – Moving Forward with an Adoption Plan
Only when you are ready will we formally begin to create a plan for the adoption. This can be done during our initial interaction with you or over the course of several meetings.
Essentially, your adoption plan describes to us the goals and preferences you have for this adoption, and it is our job to ensure your adoption plan is carried out in accordance with your wishes. We want to make this the best, most comfortable experience possible for you.
Thus, we will ask you several questions about your preferences, such as:
- What is your idea of the perfect adoptive family? Do they live locally or in another city or even another state? Do they already have children? What types of people are they: Outdoorsy? Religious? Adventurous?
- What types of contact would you like to share with the adoptive family before the adoption? Do you want to meet them personally or over the phone? Do you want to exchange emails with them, sending and receiving updates during the adoption process?
- What type of relationship do you foresee sharing with your child and the adoptive parents? Are you seeking more of a semi-open adoption, including picture and letter updates and emails? Or are you looking for a more personal relationship, sharing identifying information and even periodic visits with your child?
- How can we make your hospital stay as comfortable as possible? And how much do you want the adoptive family involved at the hospital?
Remember that your adoption plan is fluid and can easily change over time. For example, initially you may not want the adoptive family to be involved at the hospital, but as you continue developing a relationship with them, you may change your mind. Similarly, you may initially want them involved at the hospital, but after the birth of your baby, you may instead decide to spend time with your baby with just you and your family.
This is your adoption, and therefore your adoption plan.
Step 3 – Finding the Right Adoptive Parents
Aside from your brave decision to pursue adoption, finding the right adoptive family is the most important step of the entire adoption process. We take this process very seriously, as your choice of adoptive family will affect the rest of the adoption, the success of the adoption, and most importantly, your child’s life.
The Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson primarily works with families in South Carolina and North Carolina but also with families across the country and even from Canada. Therefore, you may decide to work with a family who lives nearby or thousands of miles away.
Furthermore, we work with families of all types, from single parents, to LGBT couples, to younger couples and everyone else in between. Whomever you identify as the “perfect” family, we likely have an adoption situation right for you and your child.
As we get to know you, your preferences for this adoption and your ideal adoptive family, we will begin identifying adoptive families who best match your wishes. We will present them to you with any additional information you’d like to know about them.
We will repeat this process for as long as necessary until you find the perfect match. You may click the following to look at our current, pre-screened adoptive families.
Step 4 – Interacting with the Adoptive Parents
For most women to feel 100 percent confident in their choice of adoptive parents, they want to get to know them. We, too, very much encourage this interaction, as it confirms the family is what you were attracted to originally in their adoption profile, and that you are indeed both ready to share the same adoption plan. The adoptive family you choose will likely be eager to get to know you too!
There are two ways in which you can meet the prospective adopting family:
- A personal meeting mediated by an adoption social worker – This may take place at the hospital, our offices or at another neutral location.
- A phone call mediated by an adoption social worker – We will find a time that works for both parties to participate in the phone call.
Oftentimes, women in your situation will request one of our social workers to participate in the call or meeting to help facilitate questions and keep the conversation productive. She will also ensure any identifying information is not purposely or accidentally shared unless agreed upon by both parties.
Lastly, we understand that meeting the possible future adoptive parents of your child can be a very emotional and bittersweet moment in your life. Your social worker will help you prepare for this major event to ensure you get exactly out of it what you want.
Step 5 – Legally Completing Placement
When your expected or unexpected due date arrives, the adoptive family will travel to the hospital, if that is your preference, and your adoption hospital plan will be enacted by the hospital staff and your social worker.
In South Carolina, you may legally consent to the adoption at any time after your baby is born. Most of the women we work with sign the consent to the adoption the day they are leaving the hospital, as it allows you to spend as much time as you would like with your baby in the hospital and to make sure you are not under the influence of any pain medications. We will never ask you to sign consent documents the day you deliver your baby. Also in South Carolina, there is no revocation period when you may change your mind: Once the papers are signed, your decision is final in accordance with South Carolina adoption laws. Because of this, our social workers are happy to work with you as much as possible during your pregnancy so you feel like you have enough information to make a decision for you and your baby that you feel confident about.
Before this emotional time, earlier in your adoption process, it’s common to be review the consent documents to understand exactly what it is that you are preparing to agree upon. Therefore, once these documents are presented to you after the birth of your child, you’ve already reviewed them in great detail, understanding what your signature will mean for you and your baby’s futures. When, and if, you feel that you are ready to sign the consent documents, you will meet with an attorney or certified adoption investigator that is there just for you who will go over the documents again and make sure you do not have any final questions.
Once you are discharged from the hospital, post-placement contact may begin in the coming weeks or months. The child will be able to leave the hospital with the adoptive family that you selected.
Step 6 – Staying in Touch
If you are considering adoption for your child, and if you feel that you are only able to proceed with it if you can maintain contact with him or her, you picked the right time in our nation’s history to pursue an adoption plan.
The vast majority of today’s adoptions are either considered open or semi-open, meaning birth parents receive updates of their children through pictures, letters, emails, texts, social media messages and more, many of which may be mediated by your adoption social worker. Some women even participate in phone calls or visits with the adoptive family and their child on occasion.
This is the perfect reason why creating the right adoption plan and picking the perfect adoptive family is so important – because there is always an adoptive family out there looking for a similar relationship as you are.
Believe it or not, this is actually a brief overview of how to place a child for adoption in South Carolina. There are many additional services, steps and processes on which your adoption social worker can provide further detail.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson today.