Frequently Asked Questions
Do the services provided by Bright Futures cost me anything?
No. Counseling and all other services provided to you by Bright Futures are free of charge. top
What if I’m not sure adoption is right for me, can I call and talk with someone at Bright Futures?
Yes. Our counselors are here to help you understand and consider all of your parenting options. We will assist you in making the decision about whether to parent or make an adoption plan for your child. Bright Futures will not pressure you in any way to choose adoption. There is no “right” or “wrong” decision; there is only the decision that is best for you and your child given where you are in your life right now. top
Do I get to pick the parents for my baby?
Yes, you will have the opportunity to select the adoptive family and we are happy to help you with this decision. The process begins with considering what characteristics might be important to you in choosing parents for your child (race, religion, age, career, education level, have other children, marital status, financial stability etc.), reading profiles of waiting families that have those characteristics, and then choosing the family or families you would like to get to know better. Once you have chosen a family to get to know, you will have time to ask questions about the family, speak with the adoptive parents, meet the adoptive parents, and decide if this is a family with whom you would like to make an adoption plan. To begin thinking about adoptive parents, go to: Thinking About Adoptive Parents.
Do I have to tell the father of my baby that I am considering adoption?
The answer to this question depends on your particular situation. Fathers have rights too, and their rights need to be addressed in every adoption. To be sure that the adoption plan you make is secure for you and your child, it is helpful to have as much information and support from the father as possible. If you are not comfortable communicating with the father, we will work with him separately to collect information and discuss his involvement in the adoption. top
Should I tell anyone else that I am considering adoption?
Yes. It is helpful to tell those people in your life who you feel might offer you support during your pregnancy and during the adoption process. Although you may be concerned about how your parents, siblings, extended family or friends might react to the fact that you are pregnant and considering adoption, they know you best and can probably offer you the best support. You may also wish to tell your doctor, counselor or someone else who you rely on for impartial advice. top
Who names the baby?
You may name your baby if you wish or you may decide to have the adoptive parents you have selected name the baby. In either case, the name on the original birth certificate will be the name that you select or the first name that the adoptive parents select and your last name. When the adoption is legally finalized, a new birth certificate will be issued that has the adoptive family’s last name. top
Will I be able to see the baby in the hospital?
Yes, if you wish. You are in charge of what happens in the hospital. We will talk with you about who you would like to have in the delivery room, whether you want to hold the baby, whether you wish to name the baby, whether you wish to have the baby go straight to the nursery, whether you wish to visit with the baby, when and how you want the adoptive parents to first see the baby, whether you wish for other family members and friends to come and see the baby in the hospital etc. After we have discussed what you would like to have happen, we will all work together with the adoptive parents and hospital staff to make a plan that feels comfortable for everyone. top
What if my baby is not healthy?
This is clearly the worst nightmare of any birth or adoptive parent. If such a crisis arises, we are here to provide the special care and support that you may need. The adoptive parents that you have selected may not be ready to bear the added financial and emotional burden of parenting a health-impaired child, but many other couples are ready, willing and able to support such a child. We will work with you to find an appropriate family and to be sure that the child is well cared for in the meantime. There is never any guarantee that a baby will be healthy, but good prenatal care and a healthy diet will help to increase the chance that you will have a healthy baby. top
Can I work with Bright Futures if I don’t live in Massachusetts?
Yes. Our adoptive families are prepared to travel to adopt a baby so you will still be able to choose an adoptive family for your child and meet the adoptive family. If you live too far away for us provide in-person counseling, we will arrange for you to work with an adoption agency in your state to obtain whatever services you may need in connection with making an adoption plan for your baby. top
Why would an adoptive family want to parent my baby?
There is no one reason why a couple or individual chooses to adopt a child. Some adoptive parents have struggled with infertility or the loss of a child. Others have decided that they want to adopt to support their community, because they were adopted or for other reasons. top
What do I have to do legally to place my child?
In order to place your child with the adoptive parents you have selected, you will need to surrender your right to parent your child. This means that you will be asked to sign a “consent” or “surrender” that says that you wish to surrender your child to the care and custody of Bright Futures for the purpose of adoption.
In Massachusetts, the “consent” or “surrender” cannot be signed until at least the fourth day after your baby is born. In Massachusetts the “consent” or “surrender” must say that it is final and cannot be revoked. This means that once you sign the “consent” or “surrender” you may not change your mind and decide to parent your baby. When you sign the “consent” or “surrender” you will sign it in front of witnesses and a notary public who will confirm with you that you are signing voluntarily and that no one has forced you to sign.
If your baby is born in another state, the rules about when a “consent” or “surrender” can be signed, what the “consent” or “surrender” might say and whether you have a right to change your mind after you sign the “consent” or “surrender” will be different. Bright Futures will work with you to be sure that you have an attorney or agency in the state where your baby is born to help you understand the process and result of a voluntary surrender in your state. top
Does my baby have to go to foster care?
The answer to this question depends on the laws of the state where your baby is born. In Massachusetts, you have two choices: (i) your baby can go home from the hospital with the adoptive parents that you have selected, or (ii) your baby can go to interim care until you sign the “consent” or “surrender.” In other states, the state may require that the baby go to interim or foster care for a specified period of time (a few days to a few weeks). Interim or foster care in adoption is different than foster care in situations of abuse and neglect. Our inteirm care homes are specially selected by us and only handle infants waiting for adoption. Someone in the interim care home typically has some connection to adoption and our interim care parents want to be sure that the babies they care for get a loving and nurturing start in life. What is Interim Care?
How will I know my baby is okay after placement? Can I see my baby after the placement? Can I talk to the adoptive parents?
When you have selected the adoptive parents you wish to work with, we will work with you and with the adoptive parents to determine what kind of ongoing contact you would like to have with the adoptive family and with your child. You may wish to stay in contact by telephone, email, letters and pictures, visits or some combination. How much contact you have will depend on where you live, what type of relationship you have and whether you trust one another.
At Bright Futures it is one of our goals to help birth and adoptive parents get to know and respect one another. For some families, it takes longer to gain respect and trust for one another. Some birth parents and adoptive parents really hit it off and enjoy one another’s company. They are likely to have more frequent and more face-to-face contact. Some birth parents and adoptive parents feel they need to take time to get to know one another and establish trust before they have any significant contact. These families may start off with less contact (letters, occasional phone calls, emails) and gradually move to more frequent and trusting contact (regular phone contact, visits). top