Frequently Asked Questions

At Hands Across the Water, we realize that this may be a stressful and confusing time. Below are some frequently asked questions about our agency and your pregnancy options. Please contact our pregnancy options counselor to answer any other questions you may have!


I’m not sure I want to choose adoption; I just want to know what it is all about.  I’ve seen so much on tv and online about adoption – how do I know what is true?

Adoption can seem very confusing. Reality television shows, movies, and books all have stories about adoption, some of which are not true. Making things even more confusing, adoption laws vary from state to state and have changed over time. Contacting our pregnancy options counselor is a great way to learn about all of your rights and your options. At Hands Across the Water, we want you to fully understand all of your options.

What services will be offered to me?

  • Referrals for housing, medical, employment, and other services
  • Development of an adoption plan
  • Counseling for you and your extended family before and after birth
  • Coordination of services with hospital staff and other agencies
  • Temporary care for the child, if desired
  • Assistance with legal process and termination of parental rights
  • Post-adoption counseling

What if I need financial help?

There is no cost to you for any of our services. Assistance with medical and living expenses is available.

I’m thinking of having an abortion, but no one will talk to me. What do I do?

Our pregnancy options counselors know that this can be a difficult choice to talk about with others. At Hands Across the Water, we can discuss this option with you openly and honestly. We can give you information about procedures and help you explore your emotions and feelings involving this choice. At Hands Across the Water, our pregnancy counselors will not judge you and will not try to pressure you in any way. The more information you have, the better decision you can make.

I know I have choices in adoption, but how much control do I really have?

You have as much control as you want. If you plan an adoption, you choose the family to raise your child. You determine the level of openness that’s right for you and your child. You determine who will attend the birth, when your child will be placed, and how often you will visit the adoptive family and receive letters and pictures. HATW supports fully open adoptions and will help you determine what this means to you, your child, and the adoptive family.

What is open adoption?

Open adoption can range from fully open – with full identities shared – to almost closed, where you choose not to receive any information about the adoptive family. However, this latter situation is less common these days as it is not in the best interest of your child. Most birthparents and adopting parents want contact, whether that be through pictures and letters, blogs, text messages, emails, or face-to-face visits. The level of openness can increase or decrease over time, as relationships between birthparents and adoptive parents change.  At Hands Across the Water, we educate our adoptive families and birthparents about the many benefits of open adoption and we continue to support families in maintaining openness after the adoption.

Can I choose a family?

Yes, you can choose a family from our Waiting Families Album or you can choose to place your child with someone you know. The families in our program all have approved home studies.  You can find profiles of some of our waiting families here.

How much contact will I have with my child after birth and after adoption?

It is your choice how much contact you have with your child after birth. You and the adoptive parents can choose the level of openness you desire after your child is adopted. Many birthparents and adoptive families choose to share pictures, emails, text messages, phone calls, and visits.

How soon after I give birth can my child go to the parents I choose?

The baby can leave the hospital with the adoptive parents if you choose or the baby can be cared for in a temporary home while you consider adoption.

What will my child know about me?

That will depend on the level of openness you choose and how much information you want to share. You can choose to exchange pictures, emails, text messages, and have face-to-face visits with your child and the adoptive family.

What rights does the birthfather have?

The birthfather has to be notified of your intent to place your child for adoption and release his parental rights in order for the adoption to take place. We can contact him for you if you choose. If he does not agree to the adoption, it is possible that his rights will still be terminated.

Will I need an attorney?

You are entitled to have an attorney if you choose or Hands Across the Water can handle the necessary legal work.

Will I be offered any help after my child is placed with the adoptive parents?

Yes. You will be provided with counseling for up to six months after the baby is born. After that point, your counselor will help you find other services.

What if I choose to parent my child instead of making an adoption plan?

You will not be pressured to make a decision one way or another. This is a very important decision and our goal is to help you decide what is best for you and your child. If you choose to parent, we will support you in your decision and help you locate resources for housing, medical care, employment, parenting assistance, child care, and any other resource that will help you parent your child.

Can I change my mind?

You can change your mind until you go to court to release your parental rights. This release of rights generally happens about 3-6 weeks after the child is born.

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