Adoption FAQ

Expectant Moms & Birth Moms

What is equitable adoption?

For too long, adoptions have been unintentionally lop-sided. That’s one of the reasons we’re encouraging more equitable and ethical practices in adoption across the board. Birth moms give the most, and get the least. Providing ongoing support for birth moms should be a standard, not an option that expires. That’s why PairTree is pledging 5% of net profit to help provide support for birth moms…forever.

Do expectant moms or birth moms get paid?

All birth moms are legally allowed a certain amount of living expenses – the amount will vary from state to state. Be sure to check your state adoption laws to learn more about what qualifies as birth mom expenses. PairTree does not provide birth moms any compensation, nor do we facilitate or take any portion of any fees exchanged between an adoptive parent and birth mom.

I cannot pay for my expenses…Is there help?

When talking with adopting families on PairTree, be sure they know you need help. It’s a normal part of the process, and is mandated by State law. They can put you in touch with their attorney or agency to start the process.

If you do not already have health insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid. An adoption service professional (like an attorney, social worker or agency) should be able to help you secure coverage, whether you ultimately decide to place or not. (Don’t have an adoption service professional? Click here to find one.)

What is an “open” adoption?

Today, the vast majority of infant adoptions in the U.S. have some degree of openness, which means that birth parent identities are not kept from the child or adoptive family, and there is often some agreed upon ongoing contact between birth and adoptive families.

Contact in an open adoption may include the exchange of letters and photographs, phone calls, emails, visits – whatever you and the adoptive family are comfortable with.

If I choose adoption, how much contact can/will I have with my child and his/hers adoptive family?

The level of contact you have with your child and his/her adoptive family will depend on what all of you are comfortable with.

That’s one of the advantages to PairTree. You can discuss and reach a mutual agreement over the future of your relationship directly with adopting families who want the relationship to work well for everyone. Asking to receive emails, texts, calls and/or visits are all completely normal requests.

FWIW – as adoptive parents ourselves, we believe open relationships thrive in honest, flexible and respectful environments – by birth parents and adopting parents. And that the greatest beneficiary of an open and honest relationship between birth parent and adopting parents, is the child.

How will I feel after I place my baby for adoption?

Experiences and emotions vary from parent to parent, but placing a child for adoption is never an easy decision for anyone. Even birth parents that feel very secure in their decision experience a real sense of grief and loss. This loss can only be worked through and reconciled if it is recognized, and if a birth parent receives the ongoing help and support she needs.

All birth parents are entitled to understanding, counseling, and support. This is necessary to help heal, reconcile feelings, grieve during and after the adoption, and feel a sense of peace about the decision. Adoption may be a one-time legal event, but it has a lifelong impact for those involved, and it is different for each individual experiencing it, which is why PairTree developed the 5% Fund. Learn More

If you’re looking for feedback directly from birth moms, we recommend a couple on Instagram:

Ashley Mitchell / Big Tough Girl
Adrian Collins
Adoption Education Keys

I have more questions about adoption. Who can I talk to?

A counselor or social worker in your area can help answer your questions. Find one in your area here. Learn More

What if the child’s father does not know and/or agree to the adoption?

Tell the adopting parents right away. Their adoption agency or attorney must try their best to locate the expectant father and inform him of his rights. Expectant fathers’ rights vary from state to state. In some states the father may be required to be involved within a certain time frame to have parental rights and parent his child. If the expectant father supports the adoption and wants to be involved, he has a right to receive the same counseling and support as the expectant mother.

Will my child know who I am?

That’s up to you. You can choose how much contact, if any, you would like to have with your child and his or her adoptive parents. The more honest and direct your relationship is with the adopting parents, the more flexibility you’ll have in this decision. Maybe you want to be very involved from the start, maybe you don’t know how much involvement you want, but want the option to decide later… the more honest you are about your feelings with the adopting parents, the better.

Adoption Methods & More

What are the advantages to self-matching?

There are two primary advantages to self-matching:

Expectant moms and adopting parent(s) are able to build a direct relationship with one another, without a middle man.

On average, self-matching shortens the time and cost to adopt by 87% – which makes adoption a reality for so many more people

What’s the difference between an adoption agency, consultant, attorney and PairTree?

PairTree: A self-matching and support platform, where adopting parents and birth moms self-match to build a direct relationship with one another. Once a match has been made, the adoptive parents and birth moms would work with an attorney or agency to finalize the adoption. See our list of adoption professionals in your state Learn More

Consultant: An individual who helps would-be adoptive parents decide on an adoption path, and assists in choosing an appropriate agency or adoption attorney.

Adoption Agency: An organization that is licensed by a particular state to educate and prepare families to adopt children and to do all the necessary legal, administrative and social work to ensure that adoptions are in the best interests of the children.

Attorney: A lawyer who files, processes, and finalizes adoptions in court. In some states attorneys may also arrange adoptive placements.

What are “Adoption Friendly” states?

“Adoption Friendly” is somewhat of a misnomer. A better name would be “Favorable to Adoptive Parents” states.

An “adoption friendly” state typically refers to states that require the least amount of scrutiny (training, clearances, etc.), and have the shortest revocation periods – which means the shortest amount of time a birth family has to change their mind once the baby has been born.

That’s not to say the other states are “not favorable” to adoptive parents. They just have slightly different rules, and may require more of adoptive parents, and might also have longer revocation periods. Which we believe, in the long run, may not be a bad thing.

What is the adoption process?

Adoption Method: Decide if you want to hire an agency, or an attorney to facilitate the process. If you hire an attorney, you’ll want to pay for a self-matching platform, like Pairtree, to help you connect with birth moms. If you hire an agency, your agency may already use Pairtree. If not, you’ll need to decide if you want to amplify your visibility to birth moms by paying for a self-matching platform, like Pairtree.

Home Study: this is basically an interview with your family to ensure you are mentally, emotionally and financially stable enough to adopt. (Quite a few adoptive parents get a little nervous about this which is totally normal, but 99.9% of adoptive parents have nothing to be worried about).

Match: Connect with a birth mom. If self-matching, six months is the average amount of time. If using an agency, 12-18 months is the average amount of time. Either way, this step takes time and patience and is imperative so that the most highly-compatible match be made for both the child and the adoptive parents.

Placement: When the child is born, and parental rights have been terminated (this is often referred to as TPR), the legal process starts and the adoption paperwork is filed with the court.

Custody-Transfer: When the court has reviewed the request for adoption, it will issue a signed custody order. This order confirms that the Judge is in agreement with all of the submitted paperwork and is ready to approve the adoption.

Post Placement Report(s): Once custody has been transferred to the adoptive parents, social services will proceed with post-placement visits to ensure the adoptive family and child are doing well. The amount of post-placement reports is determined by each state. If the child is placed across state lines through the Interstate Child Placement Compact (ICPC) then the receiving state will need to supervise the placement and submit reports to the sending state until the adoption is finalized in court.

Finalization: Once the post placement report(s) have been completed and the family and the new child are thriving, a court date will be set to finalize the adoption. This day is somewhat of a formality, and really is a day to celebrate!

Adoptive Parent(s)

How long will it take to self-match?

On average – most adoptive parent(s) self-match within 6 months. That said, so many factors impact how fast you match:

How you create your profile. Luckily, PairTree will provide you with data & analytics so you can optimize all the key elements in your adoption profile – from pictures to video to text.

How specific or flexible you are in regards to your adoption preferences

How often you respond to expectant mothers who reach out to you via your online profile

Your financial resources to cover birth mother expenses

Keep the faith… it will happen for you!

Do the PairTree fees qualify for the Federal Tax Credit?

You bet they do!

You can print a summary receipt of any fees paid to PairTree from your Account Settings page.

What is an adoption home study?

A home study is a basic overview of your family’s life, history and home, which allows courts to determine if a stable emotional, physical and financial environment exists for an adopted child. Home studies highlight items such as your relationships, interactions with children, childhoods and your home and neighborhood.

Since the home study can be the lengthiest step while getting ready to adopt, we recommend that you begin the process as soon as possible. Collecting documents for a home study can be time consuming. Items such as birth certificates and marriage licenses can be difficult to obtain but are required to confirm your identity; background checks are required to review any criminal records, as well.

The home study process can be intimidating, but 99.9% of people have nothing to worry about.

How much does an adoption home study cost?

Typically around $1,500 – give or take $500 – depending on who is doing it.

Who should complete our home study?

A licensed social worker.

It is important to note that many states, adoption agencies and courts will only accept home studies from licensed social worker. If you use someone other than a licensed social worker or adoption agency to complete your home study, you may be required to complete another home study.

If you need assistance locating a licensed social worker in your state to complete your home study please click here to find a list of licensed adoption attorneys in your state – that can point you in the right direction Learn More

When should we start a home study?

You should begin your home study process as soon as you are ready to begin the adoption process. Click here to find a list of licensed adoption attorneys in your state – that can point you in the right direction Learn More

What are reasons we would have to update our home study prior to its expiration?

A home study update is required in the event of major life changes, such as a change in your employment, a move to a new home, a change in household members, etc. If you are unsure if your home study should be updated, contact your home study provider.

A home study may need to be amended if your adoption plan changes during your wait. For instance, if you decide to open yourself to additional race combinations, your home study will need to be amended to reflect that.

Does a home study expire?

Yes, a home study can expire. Typically, they are valid for 12 months, though every state determines how long its home study is good for. Regardless of your state’s policy on home study updates, your placement agency or attorney may have additional requirements.

In addition to an annual update to your written home study, there are a few supporting documents that require yearly renewal prior to their date of expiration. Your background clearances (child abuse, FBI and criminal clearances), physician health reports and tax return must be updated annually.

PairTree Profiles

Can we use PairTree if we are already using an adoption agency, adoption attorney or adoption consultant?

Absolutely. Over half of our adopting families are clients of an adoption agency, adoption consultant or adoption attorney. Most of the adopting families use PairTree to boost or amplify their exposure to expectant moms.

How are you different than an adoption agency?

You’re in the driver’s seat.

PairTree markets your profile to expectant Moms nationwide vs just the expectant moms working with any one agency.

When you match with an expectant Mom prior to signing a contract with an adoption agency, the adoption becomes an “Identified Adoption” or “Designated Adoption” meaning the adopting parents and the birth mother find each other first, and then ask an adoption agency or adoption attorney to take over the rest of the adoption process. The process is somewhat of a hybrid private/agency adoption and is usually thousands of dollars less and much faster than the conventional adoption agency route.

How are you different than other self-matching websites?

No conflict of interest: PairTree has no affiliation with one specific agency or attorney.

No matching fees/no placement fees: Many self-matching websites are “loss leaders” – meaning they provide the matching service because the adoptive parents will be asked to pay $40K+ if/when they match.

We believe in the ethical treatment of birth moms, forever. That’s why we started the 5% Fund. Learn More.

We use personality-based connection (as compared to generic filters) to increase compatibility, and give expectant moms meaningful information when deciding which adoptive parents to get to know.

Why do PairTree profiles use the card prompt questions?

We’ve conducted hundreds of interviews with adoptive parents and expectant moms. One of the key findings from expectant moms is that most hopeful adoptive profiles sound the same:

“We have a lot of love to give.”
“We love to travel.”
“We laugh a lot.”

To help hopeful adoptive families stand out, and help expectant and birth moms sort through all of the hopeful adoptive families, we use card prompts – pre-loaded questions that expectant moms greatly prefer when trying to decide who to get to know further.

Is PairTree an adoption agency?

No. We are not an adoption agency or adoption law firm. We are not an adoption facilitator and never act in that capacity. PairTree is a technology platform, which means we do not provide recommendations, counseling, training, legal advice, matchmaking, placement or post-placement services, or any other related services. We aren’t trained or legally permitted to perform these activities.

Our primary mission is leveraging our technology platform to power connections between adoptive parents and expectant moms.

What do you do with my information?

All of the information you provide – including your conversations – will not be given, sold, or otherwise transferred to third parties. We take your privacy very seriously. So seriously, we put together a rock-solid Privacy Policy.

How do I cancel my PairTree profile?

Ideally all of our members end their subscriptions… once they’ve made a successful connection and their adoption in finalized:

Login to your Account.
Click “Account Settings”.
Click “Cancel Subscription”.

Your account will be cancelled immediately (and we’ll be sorry to see you go)… We do not offer pro-rata refunds on the month.

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