I'm not perfect. No agency, attorney, consultant or otherwise is. However I want to arm you with things to look out for when presenting and in the adoption process. I do my best to vet the places I work with however it can be hard to verify that some are what they say they are. Many can talk the talk well but I want them to walk the walk too.
I implore you to push for ethics and to ask questions. You hold the power to make sure your adoption is ethical.
Your fear of her deciding to parent is valid however would you want to parent a child who's birth mom didn't want to place?
Ask and verify that an expecting mom is getting unbiased legal counsel.
Expecting mom should have her own social worker separate from you.
She should be provided parenting resources and adoption education.
She should never be rushed to sign or after birth to stop holding her baby.
Ask and verify that she is getting unbiased counseling and post-adoption counseling.
Ask who she is working with and get real examples (dates/times of meetings for example) of post support they offer.
Post care should be life long.
Do your research and due diligence before working with anyone in this sector (reviews)
If you are seeking adoption independently it is your duty to provide unbiased counselling, post care, and legal guidance along with expecting mom expenses.
Some red flags to look for (they may not always indicate an unethical place but are worth pointing out):
They cannot provide detailed cost breakdown of fees
The vocabulary they use (for example calling her a birth mom instead of an expecting mom)
They require the expecting mom to pay back her expenses if she decides to parent
They have race-based pricing
They encourage closed adoption and will not allow direct contact.
They select you for the expecting mom (instead of allowing her the choice)
They may have had legal action taken against them (check reviews online)
They offer vague answers or big promises
They charge just to present to the expecting mom
They share their low percentages of "failed adoptions"
They do not speak respectfully or highly of birth/expecting moms
They don't have a separate case manager for the expecting mom
No agency, consultant, etc. should EVER provide you a Marshalese case. Marshalese adoptions are when an attorney or agency flies a pregnant woman from the Marshall Islands to the United States to give birth. This is human trafficking plain and simple. Please stay away.
ICWA (for Native American children) exists for a reason. Your agency or attorney should not be looking for a loophole. Don't let them ignore the law and please acknowledge the why of this law.
Birth father should be notified if expecting mom knows him. Signature from him is ALWAYS best.
Some other possible red flags are that staff don’t have personal experience with adoption or they only advocate for the hopeful adoptive parents.
Another red flag might be that they fly the expecting mom to their state. In some cases this is done ethically to provide her support but in other cases the agency is trying to get around adoption state laws by moving the expecting mom. I always advocate if you can to be in direct contact with the EM.
If you are ever concerned please give me a call or text me.
Here is also a really helpful document on how to report illegal or unethical adoption practices.