Frequently asked questions

Birth Mothers

I cannot afford a lawyer.  Will I be responsible for paying my attorney's fees?


As the birth mother, you are entitled to independent legal representation. Your attorney's fees will be paid for by the adoptive parents. You are not responsible for any other fees associated with the adoption process either.




Can I choose the adoptive family?


Absolutely. This choice is entirely yours. If you need help finding adoptive parents, please see the Resources section of this page.




What qualifications must adoptive parents meet?


Prospective adoptive parents must pass an in-depth home study and background screening in addition to other criteria depending on which agency they work with.




What if I have used drugs or alcohol?


If you have used or are using drugs or alcohol you may still choose adoption for your child. You should disclose your drug or alcohol use to the agency you work with and the physicians providing you prenatal care so steps can be taken to ensure your health and the health of the baby.




What is the difference between an "open" or a "closed" adoption?


An open adoption is one in which the birth mother and the adoptive family know the identity of each other and there is a mutual agreement to foster a relationship between the child and the birth mother. Although the birth mother will have a relationship with the child, the adoptive parents retain all legal parental rights regarding the child. A closed adoption is one in which the birth mother has no direct contact with the adoptive parents and the adoptive parents know little about the birth mother.




Can I meet the adoptive family?


Of course. You can meet any prospective adoptive family you are considering placing your child with. When you meet, you can discuss the level of contact you intend to have during the pregnant, and following the birth and adoption.




Will I have to go in front of a judge?


No. Consents to adoption are only handled in court in front of a judge in a few limited situations.




Can I see my baby after he/she is born?


Yes. This decision is entirely yours.





Assisted Reproduction

If I choose to be a gestational carrier, do I get to choose the intended parents?


Yes. You are in total control of deciding who you work with. The surrogacy relationship needs to be a comfortable match for all parties involved.




What does surrogacy entail?


Surrogacy is a lengthy but rewarding process for all parties involved. Please see the articles posted in our blog: The Surrogacy Process in Maine and The 'New' New York Surrogacy Law: The Child-Parent Securty Act




What are the requirements to be a surrogate/gestational carrier?


Legally, there are five requirements to be a surrogate or gestational carrier in Maine according to The Maine Parentage Act: Title 19-A Section 1931. In order to qualify as a surrogate or gestational carrier you must: (1) be at least 21 years of age; (2) have previously given birth to at least one child; (3) have completed a medical evaluation and a mental health evaluation; (4) have independent legal representation paid for by the intended parents; and (5) not contribute eggs or genetic material unless you are a family member of one intended parent. To be a surrogate or gestational carrier in New York, the New York Child-Parent Security Act requires a surrogate/gestational carrier: (1) be at least 21 years of age; (2) have completed a medical evaluation and mental health evaluation; (3) have independent legal representation paid for by the intended parents; (4) not contribute eggs or genetic material; and (5) have insurance that covers the pregnancy (which may be paid for by the intended parents). In addition to the requirements to be a surrogate/gestational carrier in Maine or New York, some agencies have additional requirements including, but not limited to, your BMI, financial situation, and criminal history.




I am considering becoming a surrogate/gestational carrier.  Will I be responsible for paying my attorney's fees?


As a surrogate you are entitled to independent legal representation. Your attorney's fees will be paid for by the inteded parents.




What is "assisted reproductive technology"?


According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (asrm): "Assisted Reproductive Technologies are all treatments which include the handling of eggs and sperm and/or embryos. Some examples of ART are in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), pronuclear stage tubal transfer (PROST), tubal embryo transfer (TET), and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)." To learn more about assisted reproductive technology you can read the blog post: "What is Assisted Reproductive Technology?"




What are my options for my stored embryos?


Many couples find themselves in the situation of deciding what to do with remaining frozen embryos once their families are complete. You may choose to donate these embryos to another individual or couple struggling with infertility. It is an incredible gift to donate your embryos and give another family an opportunity to grow. If you are open to embryo donation, please know you can donate anonymously or openly. You may also choose to donate these embryos to scientific research.




What is "third party reproduction"?


Third party reproduction is a term used to describe the situation in which a couple uses a gestational carrier, an egg donor, and/or a sperm donor to help them become parents.




Why do people choose assisted reproductive technology instead of adoption?


Assisted reproductive technology provides couples and individuals struggling with fertility the option of having a child who is genetically related to them. It also provides the opportunity for establishing legal parentage of the child(ren) prior to birth.





Adoptive Parents

What is the difference between an "open" or a "closed" adoption?


An open adoption is one in which the birth mother and the adoptive family know the identity of each other and there is a mutual agreement to foster a relationship between the child and the birth mother. Although the birth mother will have a relationship with the child, the adoptive parents retain all legal parental rights regarding the child. A closed adoption is one in which the birth mother has no direct contact with the adoptive parents and the adoptive parents know little about the birth mother.




What is the ICPC?


Complying with the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) is what legally allows for the transport of a child from one state to another after being placed for adoption. It is an important step in any multi-state adoption process. Your attorney can explain all the details to you in greater detail.




How much does adoption cost?


This is a question that cannot be answered without knowing a number of variables including, but not limited to, whether you are working with an agency or independently. Adoption agencies charge fees to assist you in the adoption process, but the fees ans services included vary from agency to agency. Adoptions through the foster care system are essentially free with the exception of any necessary court fees and the required home study. All prospective adoptive parents must pay for and participate in a home study.




What does the home study entail?


The home study is a written report provided to the court to help determine whether your home is a stable environment in which to raise a child. The home study process includes a social worker meeting with you on a number of occasions, an analysis of your home environment including the people you live with, and a background check.




I am worried I won't be able to afford an adoption.


While adoption can be expensive, there are a number of grants and loans available to help adoptive parents. There are also tax credits available to adoptive parents. For more information please see this recent article summarizing the funds available to adoptive families in honor of National Adoption Month.