Be encouraged – educated – empowered
Facing an unintended pregnancy?
At Central California Adoption Services – Infant of Prague, our focus is on you. We want you to be confident with the choices you make and to be comfortable with your decisions. That is why we are dedicated to counseling you to help you through this important time in your life.
We offer pregnancy counseling, not adoption counseling – to give you a safe, confidential and no-pressure environment to allow you to make your decision. We want you to have accurate facts and access to all options, so that you can make an informed decision. We believe it is important that you take the time to consider all your options, and we will never rush you into a decision. Once you do make a decision, we can work with you to put your plan into place.
If you are feeling scared and alone, call us. We are available 24/7 to provide information or just listen. If you live in California and would like to talk to one of our counselors, please call us at (800) 994-2367 or (559) 447-3333.
You Might Be Wondering (Frequently Asked Questions) …
If you feel confused and scared, you are not alone. Most women who turn to us are not sure what to do. You have choices and we are here to help you decide what is best for you and your situation, with absolutely no judgment or pressure.
Our counselors are here to answer all of your questions that will help you make your decision. If you are interested in learning about adoption, you might also find it helpful to talk with other birthmothers, and we can arrange for you to meet with somebody who has been in your situation.
But only you can decide if you are ready to raise a child.
Not everyone is ready to be a parent. Asking yourself some important questions can help you determine if you are ready to be parent a child.
Some questions to consider:
- What do I want out of life for myself?
- Could I handle a child and a job and/or school at the same time?
- Have I managed school and/or a job and other activities well in the past?
- Am I ready to give up the freedom to do what I want to do, and when I want to do it?
- What is an example of something I would have to give up by having a child?
- Am I willing to cut back on my social life and stay home while my friends go out?
- Would I miss my free time and privacy?
- Can I afford to support a child?
- Do I want to raise my child in the neighborhood I am living in now?
- How might a child interfere with my growth and personal development?
- How would parenting a child interfere with my educational plans?
- Am I willing to give a great part of my life (at least 18 years) to being a responsible parent?
- Do I like doing things with children?
- Do I want my child to be like me?
- Do I expect a child to make my life happy?
- How do I feel when I am around small children for a while?
- Am I able to give the child the love he/she needs and deserves?
- Am I patient enough to deal with the noise, confusion, and the 24-hour-a-day responsibility of having a child?
- What kind of time and space do I need for myself?
- What do I do now when I am angry or upset?
- What would I do when I am angry or upset?
- What does good discipline mean to me?
- How would I discipline a toddler?
- Do I get along with my family?
- How would I take care of my child’s health and safety?
From Is Parenting for Me Now? Published by Loving and Caring, Inc.
Whatever you choose, we are here with you every step of the way.
In the past, when a child was adopted there typically was no contact at all between the birth parents, the adoptive parents and child after the adoption took place. This is called a “closed adoption” and they were often based on shame and secrecy.
But over the last 20 to 30 years, the trend in the United States and around the world is toward child centered “open adoptions” where the birth parents, adoptive parents and child meet and often remain in each other's lives. Central California Adoption Services - Infant of Prague was the first to introduce this practice to Fresno.
In an open adoption, the birth mother is in control and able to make most of the decisions, including how much contact you want to have with the adoptive family and the child. The amount of contact is mutually agreed upon and can be as little as exchanging letters and pictures to regular get-togethers.
The change from closed, secret adoption, to open adoption, is beneficial for everyone – especially your baby who will grow up to understand that he or she is loved and cherished by you and everyone involved in his or her adoption.
Some of the benefits of a child-centered open adoption are:
Ongoing contact is good for my baby
Research has shown that children in closed adoptions are troubled by two main questions: Who do I look like? and Why did my birthparents choose to place me?
With an open adoption, you (the birthparent) can address these and other questions, and express your love for your child in an atmosphere of honesty and openness. We are always here to help you with that process, should you feel the need for support.
Current and up-to-date family medical history is available
In an open adoption, up-to-date medical information is much more likely to be recovered. Sometimes medical issues develop later in life and with an open adoption this important information can be shared with the adoptive family.
Provides birthparents with peace of mind
Many birthparents simply want to know that their child is OK. With an open adoption, even limited contact can help birthparents confirm that they have made the best decision for themselves and their baby.
The greatest beneficiary is the adopted child who grows up knowing he or she is loved and cherished by everyone involved in the adoption.
The first step is for you to receive pregnancy counseling to decide if making an adoption plan is the right choice for your situation. Our counselors will work with you to make sure that you understand all of your options.
If you decide you want to make a plan of adoption for your child before your baby is born, your social worker will work with you to gather the information so that we can present you with adoptive parents who match what you are looking for in a family.
We have waiting families ready to pursue an open adoption with birth parents. These families have been screened and attended classes, so they are prepared to give the best love and care to your baby.
You can learn more about these families, and determine if they meet your criteria, by reviewing photo albums and personal letters, or view profiles of some of our waiting families here *.
Once you have made your selection, in most cases your social worker will arrange a meeting, so you can meet with the family in our office (if you want) and become acquainted to make sure you have chosen the right parents. Your social worker will be there with you to help you ask the questions that are important to you.
If you wish to continue with the adoption plan, then you and the adoptive family will work with a counselor to agree upon the level of openness, how much contact you will have and the best way to communicate.
While you await the birth, you and your adoptive family will be encouraged to become better acquainted through telephone conversations and meetings. You, your counselor and the adoptive family will work out all the details to create an adoption plan that is right for you.
- Do I want the adoptive parents to be present during labor and delivery?
- Do I want the adoptive parents to spend time with me and the baby or do I want time for myself?
- Will I have someone staying with me?
- Do I want the baby to go to the adoptive home directly from the hospital, or do I want the baby to go to a TLC home so I can rethink my decision?
(Note: You cannot legally make a final decision regarding adoption until after the baby is born and you have been medically discharged from the hospital.)
You are encouraged to stay in contact with your child’s adoptive family throughout the years. This means you’ll know your child is happy and you can answer his or her questions.
You may name the baby. The name you choose will be on the baby’s original birth certificate. The adoptive family will also name the baby, and they will receive another birth certificate, which is created at finalization. Choosing a name that all of you like will be part of the discussion between you and the adoptive family.
Yes, we welcome the cooperation and participation of the birthfather. He can help you choose the family, and he can meet them and develop an ongoing relationship with them, also. He can provide the same information as you: family background, education, job, medical history, ambitions, etc. We also request that he complete and sign papers, if possible, prior to the birth.
Yes, you can spend as much or as little time as you would like with the baby. You will determine who else sees the baby. Your counselor will help you make the arrangements that suit you.
At CCAS-IOP, you are entitled to unlimited, free adoption counseling before, during, and after placement of your baby. You will have an advocate with experience in adoption to act as an intermediary between you and your selected adoptive family. If there is ever any conflict in the future, we will be there to help you. We are also here for you, should you need someone to talk to no matter when you placed your child with an adoptive family.
We are there with you every step of the way to make a plan that is comfortable for all.
Yes, besides child centered, open adoptions and closed adoptions, there are few different ways you can make an adoption plan. Our counselors can explain all of your options to you.
Independent adoptions are arranged through attorneys, facilitators, physicians, counseling centers or other entities. The birthmother gives physical custody to the adopting couple, while retaining legal guardianship until the adoption is finalized in court. With an independent adoption, the birth mother typically has 30 days until her relinquishment is final. Most independent adoptions offer limited openness, counseling and therapy for all members of the adoption triad (adoptee, birth parents, and adopted parents).
Agency Adoptions are handled through licensed agencies, like our, that are regulated by the State of California. We are legally allowed to accept a birthmother’s relinquishment and become the child’s guardian until the adoption is finalized. The child is immediately placed with a family, chosen by the birth mother, who has already completed a home study. In agency adoptions, a birth mother has approximately ten days until her relinquishment is final. Once the relinquishment is acknowledged by the State, it becomes final. In addition, reputable adoption agencies will offer lifelong (affordable or free) counseling or therapy for all members of the adoption triad.
While adoptions can be arranged independently, only a licensed agency such as CCAS-IOP can provide all of the services required before, during, and after an adoption – for birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents.
CCAS-IOP is dedicated to being there for you and your child with education and counseling that far surpasses any legal requirements.
Yes. You are in charge of nearly every part of the adoption, including choosing your baby’s family.
We have many loving families who are ready to become adoptive parents. Our waiting families have attended classes, had their homes inspected, went through interviews, cleared a background check, and much more to qualify to be possible parents to your child. We take the certification process very seriously, as do the waiting families. Once the process is completed we feel 100 percent confident that the families are safe, stable, caring and loving.
You can learn more about some of our waiting families here.
[Many incredible families, eagerly await the placement of a child. Perhaps they struggle with infertility and are choosing adoption as way to build their family or they might have a special place in their hearts for adoption. Each adoptive family has a unique and meaningful reason for wanting to become parents through adoption.
The majority are looking forward to their first child, although some families already have children and desire to grow their family some more. There are waiting families that prefer newborns, while others are open to older children and/or sibling groups. Each situation is different.]
Your discussions with us are completely confidential. We will, however, need you tell us about the birth father so that we may notify him of his rights. Your social worker will help you with this process based on your individual situation.
Raising a child with a supportive family is helpful when caring for a baby, but ultimately you are responsible for raising your child to adulthood, and the decision is completely yours to make. An adoption counselor can help lead a discussion with your family to help them support you in your choice.
No, all adoption services are free to birth mothers, including legal and counseling services, adoptive family matching services, and more. Your financial situation should never prevent you from giving your child the future they deserve.
Absolutely. We provide pregnancy counseling and under no circumstances will you be expected or pressured to make an adoption plan just because you meet with one of our counselors. We want you to consider all your options and make the best decision for your situation.
By law, you may not make a final decision until after the baby is born. Many women contact us from the hospital just before or shortly after giving birth. Even then, you are not committed to making a placement just because you called us. Our counselors will meet with you at least two times and if you believe making a plan is right for you and your baby, we will guide you through the process. If you decide you want to parent, we will put you in touch with any resources that you might need.
Yes, if you are in labor and feel for any reason that you cannot raise a child at this time, contact us or ask aa n or social worker to call us on your behalf and we wiil send a counselor to the hospital right away to help you understand your options. If you decide to make an adoption plan, we can help you choose from one of our waiting families and can even arrange to have them come to the hospital to pick up the baby.
No, it is not too late. If you are still in the hospital or even at home with your baby, you have options. Contact us and a counselor can help you make the best decision for you and your baby.
This can be a confusing time, and our counselors are here to make sure that you are comfortable with your decision. You might consider placing your child in a TLC (Tender Loving Care) home while you sort things out. During this time, you are free to visit your baby and will not lose custody of your child. This allows you time to decide if you are ready.
Or, you can try parenting to see if it is a good fit. Sometimes birthparents feel that they must, or just want to try to parent their unplanned child. Being responsible for the well-being of a human life is one of the most difficult and important jobs in the world.
If you made the choice to try parenting and it is not working out I the way that you had hoped, you can still consider making a plan of open adoption for your child (at any age). Your child does not have to lose his or her identity or relationship with you in the open adoption process. Our counselors are available to work with you to reach the choice that you think is best for you and your child.
Yes. Sometimes mothers of toddlers or older children find that they are unable to be a parent. Perhaps they are struggling financially or cannot provide the attention or emotional support every child deserves. There are many waiting parents who would be thrilled to welcome an older child into their family. In cases like these, making an adoption plan can be a positive and loving choice for your child.
In the state of California, parents or guardians can legally and safely surrender their baby to an employee at any hospital or fire station, no questions asked. The Safely Surrendered Baby Law allows you to surrender babies three days old, or younger, without fear of arrest or prosecution for child abandonment.
The person surrendering the baby will be given identification bracelet that match one placed on the infant. They will be asked to fill out a voluntary medical history form, which is useful in caring for the child. The form can be returned later by mail and no names are required. The baby is placed in a safe and loving foster home.
Parents who change their minds can begin the process of reclaiming their baby within 14 days. After 14 days, the baby enters the foster care system and the parents terminate their rights to custody.
Look for this symbol to find a safe place if you are considering Safe Surrender.
Or call the toll-free hotline at (800) 877-BABYSAF or (800) 222-9723.
For more information visit their website at www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/Safely-Surrendered-Baby
Voluntary open adoption allows a birth parent and child more support and information both at the time of the adoption and later in life. By choosing voluntary adoption, you can make a plan for your child, including choosing the family who will adopt them and what information you would like to share with them. If you do not want to share personal information with your child or the adoptive family, we will respect your wishes. If you want to leave that possibility open so that either of you may someday connect, you should consider adoption. While you may initially want your adoption information to be “closed” and not available to your child, if you change your mind in the future, you have the option to update your information with us.
Through Safe Surrender, a child who is not reclaimed by the birthparents will be placed in a foster home and eventually be adopted permanently. The child will not have any information about his or her birthparents or their history, except for any non-identifying medical information you may have voluntarily provided. You will have no way of knowing who adopted your child and your child will have no way to learn about you or his or her history. Once surrendered and the 14 days have past, there is no way to reverse this decision.
Yes, we encourage you to do so. We believe you know what’s best for you and your child. Our counselors will spend as much time as you need to review your options, so you can make the choice that’s right for you and your child. If you decide not to plan an adoption, we will refer you to resources and organizations that can assist your decision.
Always know that if you need help and feel you cannot take care of your child, do not panic. You have options. We are here for you.
A social worker is available 24/7 by calling (559) 447-3333 or toll free at (800) 994-2367.