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Unplanned pregnancy? Talking to a counsellor can help

ABOUT ADOPTION

If you are considering adoption, a crisis pregnancy counsellor can help you explore this. A woman may consider and even decide on adoption at any stage during the pregnancy but a decision will not be finalised until after the birth of the baby. Normally only children whose parents are not married to each other may be placed for adoption. Children born within a marriage may be adopted in certain circumstances but an application has to be made to the High Court for this to take place.

What is adoption?
Adoption is a process where a woman gives legal consent for her child to become part of and be cared for by another family on a permanent basis.

How is a child placed for adoption?
A woman considering adoption will be put in contact with her local Health Service Executive (HSE) area or Registered Adoption Agency by her counsellor or GP. The adoption agency will support the woman during her pregnancy and after the baby is born. After the birth the mother will be encouraged to care for her baby in the hospital. She will then take the baby home for a while or place the baby in temporary care, to give her time to decide what she wants to do. If she decides to go ahead with the adoption the baby will then be placed with the adoptive family. The final Adoption Order is normally granted after the baby has been with the adoptive family for a minimum of six months. Social workers from the Adoption Board, as well as from the adoption agency, will visit the baby in the adoptive home before the adoption order is made to make sure that s/he is being well cared for and has bonded with the adoptive family.

Can the birth mother change her mind after she has made contact with an adoption agency?
A woman can change her mind at any time until the final Adoption Order is signed. The Adoption Order is the legal document that makes the child legally part of his/her adoptive family. This is not normally signed until the baby has been with the adoptive family for around six months.

My partner wants me to keep the baby. Will he be able to stop me having the baby adopted?
Only a child’s legal guardian has the right to prevent an adoption going ahead. If a couple are not married, the mother is normally the legal guardian and she decides whether or not to place her child for adoption. The father has the right to be consulted, but he has no right to stop the adoption unless he applies to become the child’s legal guardian.