We’ve been matched with a baby. What’s next?

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Finding out that you’ve been matched with a baby can be one of the most exciting times during the adoption process. After months or even years of waiting, you get the good news that there’s an expectant mother who is considering placing her child with you for adoption. You might immediately start to wonder what happens after you’ve been matched with a baby for adoption.

There are a number of things that happen after you’ve been matched with a child. There are things to expect in terms of the process to finalize the adoption. There are mistakes to avoid along the way. Here are 10 things to do after you’ve been matched with a baby for adoption:

1. Remember, it’s not final

Getting the good word that an expectant mother has chosen your family can be a wonderful moment of excitement and promise. It’s okay to celebrate. Remember though, the mother can still change her mind. The court may not approve the adoption, or the adoption may fall apart in some other way.

It’s important to keep your emotions in check. Your adoption is final when the judge approves it. Keeping in mind that things can change can help you manage the ups and downs of the adoption process.

2. Answer questions from the baby’s mother

Even though the expectant mother has chosen your family for more consideration, she may still have questions. It’s important to answer the questions honestly and promptly. The expectant mother is still making up her mind about adoption and about your family.

She’s also going through a difficult time. By answering the mother’s questions, you can give her the confidence that she’s making the right decision. You can also clarify expectations with the expectant mother so that you’re all on the same page about what’s going to happen before and after the baby’s adoption.

3. Ask questions

Just like the baby’s expectant mother has questions for you, you have the opportunity to ask questions too. Asking questions tactfully can help you get the answers that you need in order to make an educated decision about whether to go forward with the adoption. You should already have some information about your child’s biological family. Making sure that you ask whatever questions you have can help you avoid surprises on down the line.

4. Include the baby’s mother in naming the baby

When you find out that you have a baby match, it can be a lot of fun to start to pick out names. If your adoption is going to be open, it can be a nice gesture to include the child’s biological mother as you pick out a name. Involving her in name selections can be a way to show her that you value her input and that she is very important to her child. As you think about possible names, remember that your adoption isn’t final until it’s approved by a judge.

5. Expect more scrutiny

To approve an adoption, a judge has to agree that the adoption is in the child’s best interests. Even though you’ve already been chosen by an expectant mother, the court must review your home study and all of the other circumstances surrounding the adoption. Don’t be surprised if the court has more questions. Your adoption attorney can work with you in order to identify any issues that might stand in your way in order to address them before they create delays or derail your adoption.

6. Work on pre-birth legal documents

Even though you can’t formally approve the final adoption until after the baby is born, there’s some legal work that you can do that helps you immediately after the child’s birth. You can prepare papers that allow you to take the baby home with you from the hospital. The legal documents can allow you to direct the child’s medical care immediately after birth until you can finalize the adoption.

7. Be clear about what expenses you plan to cover

As the adoptive parents, there are some expenses that you can cover for the birth mother. You can pay for her living expenses until the baby is born and for several weeks after. You can pay for her attorney and pay for the legal fees for the adoption. The birth mother is likely expecting you to cover these expenses for her.

In fact, handling legal costs and the mother’s attorney fees is customary in many adoptions. Talking about what you plan to cover can help you avoid confusion and hurt feelings. The baby’s biological mother should know exactly what expenses you plan to pay in the adoption process.

8. Gather the required consents

You can ask the father to sign off on a consent before the child’s birth. The mother can sign her consent at any time after the child is born. You can prepare the consent papers and have the father sign his consent before the baby is born. That way, you’re one step ahead and you can proceed to the formal adoption immediately after the child’s birth.

9. Complete legal filings after the child’s birth

Once the baby is born, it’s time to complete the formal legal paperwork. You must file a petition for adoption in the appropriate court. You must include all of the necessary paperwork. Your adoption isn’t complete once you take the baby home from the hospital.

In fact, the legal process is just beginning. There’s a lot of paperwork to gather, and you can expect to spend some time waiting for approval even when everything is in order. After you’ve been matched with a baby, you must still complete the adoption process after the child’s birth.

10. Discuss expectations

You should discuss expectations with the child’s mother for what her role is going to be after the baby’s adoption. Legally, the adoptive parents have the final say when it comes to who may have contact with the baby at any time. You should discuss what contact you plan to allow her to have with the baby after the adoption is final. Talking about it ahead of time can help you prevent hurt feelings and create a plan for the future.

What to do after you’ve been matched with a baby for adoption

When you’ve been matched with a baby for adoption, it’s time to celebrate and think about what’s next. There’s still a lot of work to do. You need to complete the adoption paperwork both before and after the child’s birth. In addition, there are still a lot of things to talk about. Having the right conversations and carefully preparing the paperwork can help things go smoothly as you build your family through adoption.

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