If you’re exploring adoption, the entire process can seem incredibly overwhelming. There is so much to take in, so much to learn, and so much to understand before you can move forward with the placing process. One of the many crucial steps to exploring adoption is to be informed about the laws that will affect you, your child, and the placement process. Not only should you be informed about the applicable and relevant laws and regulations, you need to completely understand them. Only then can you go through the placement process with less stress and more confidence.

Adoption Expenses: The adoption process has its expenses—for both the adoptive parents and the birth parents. In order to be fully prepared during the placing process, it is important to know of the possible adoption expenses so that you can prepare ahead of time. Adoption expenses also vary depending on the adoption agency you’re using, additional adoption professionals from whom you receive help, and differing state fees based on your location.

Birth Expenses: Many parents forget about the possible birth expenses they may incur before the adoption is finalized. Just as preparing for the adoption expense is important, so is understanding and preparing for the birth expense. Some birth parents are supported by the pending adoptive family or sometimes the adoption agency. For these parents, there are little to no birth expenses that directly affect them. But for many other birth parents, this is not the case. They must front the birth expense bill by themselves.

Living Expenses: As mentioned above, some birth parents are supported by either the potential adoptive parents or through the adoption agency they are using. This can apply to living expenses as well—housing, food, and clothing to name a few. And just as was mentioned in the previous two sections, preparing for possible living expenses can really save you a burden of stress during this sometimes painful process.

Termination of Parental Rights: The termination of your parental rights is an integral and essential part of the adoption process. Without the termination of parental rights, adoption would never take place nor would it work. As integral as it is, it is also imperative that you understand your parental rights and the process of termination. You need to know how the termination of your parental rights will affect your life, specifically. The termination of your parental rights is not something to be decided on a whim. It requires study, examination, and analysis. It is not a decision to make lightly.

Revocation Period: Revocation is the ability to change your mind after signing a voluntary consent form. A revocation period is a set time frame that you have to stop the adoption from taking place. Some states will allow revocation under specific circumstances. One of those circumstances is when an involved party has not been given notice of the adoption—like a birth father, for instance. The best way to ensure that you have a revocation period is to hire an adoption attorney.

Adoption Finalization: The adoption finalization can feel like an entirely new process from the main adoption process. It takes a lot to finalize an adoption—adoption lawyers, adoption professionals, paperwork, money, court cases, home studies, etc. And it isn’t always an easy process to go through. But it is necessary to achieve the end goal of placing your child with a loving adoptive family.

The Law & Open Adoption Agreements: The definition of an open adoption is different for each situation. Because of this, an open adoption agreement is needed to cement the details and show there’s an agreement to the degree of openness in the future adoption relationship. Sometimes names, addresses, and other information may be exchanged, as well as setting up a schedule for regular updates or visits. The individual open adoption agreement lets all parties fully understand their commitments and expectations of the relationship.

Safe Haven/Baby Moses Laws: These laws vary by state. Basically, the Safe Haven or Baby Moses laws allow parents to give their unharmed infants or children—depending on the specific state–to a hospital, fire station, or police station, while remaining nameless. The infants then become wards of the state and enter into the foster care program.

While there is a lot to consider when you’re exploring adoption, it is important to study and to learn about each option. The best decision is an informed decision. An informed decision allows for you to have peace of mind and confidence as you proceed down the path you’ve chosen for both you and your child. The confidence and peace of mind are completely worth the effort and time required to make that decision.