Know Your Legal Rights
In order to make an informed decision about your child and your child’s future, it is helpful for you to be aware of your legal rights.
You have the following rights:
- You have the right not to be coerced by any person into relinquishing a child for adoption.
- You have the right to written information from the agency about the alternatives to adoption.
- You have the right to receive professional and competent assistance and to be treated with dignity.
- You have the right to receive services from the agency without discrimination on the basis of age, sex, religion, ethnic background, cultural heritage, national origin, marital status, sexual preference, or special needs.
- You have the right to participate in the development of a service plan designed to meet your needs and the needs of your child. You have the right to receive a copy of this plan.
- You have the right to receive a written policy from the agency outlining financial responsibilities.
- You have the right to receive copies of all agency documents that you may be requested to sign.
- You have the right to consult with an independent attorney of your choice. It is important that you understand that the agency’s attorney represents the agency and does not represent the birth parents. The agency will help you find and pay for a lawyer if you need or request one.
- You have the right to be informed of the legal consequences of a voluntary surrender or an involuntary termination of parental rights.
- You have the right to receive information about the different types of adoption.
- You have the right to information regarding the agency’s criteria for selecting adoptive parents.
- You have the right to receive a description of the adoptive parent(s) and to assess their ability to meet your child’s needs.
- You have the right to request that your child be placed with a family that observes a particular religion.
- You have the right to be advised of the nature and extent of the expenses that the agency is legally permitted to pay on your behalf. You also have the right to be advised of alternative sources available for payment of such expenses.
- You have the right to be advised of the agency’s policy regarding contacting birth parents in the event of a disrupted adoption.
- You have the right to be informed of the legal process that children may use to locate their birth parents and that birth parents may use to locate their children. This includes a description of the information available to children, adoptive parents, and birth parents under Massachusetts law.
- You have the right to certain services after placing your child for adoption. The agency will either directly offer these follow-up services or refer you to other providers.
- You have the right to general information regarding current adoption issues, practices, and laws.
- You have the right to a legally binding agreement regarding your post placement plan with the adoptive parents.
- You have the right and responsibility to update the information in your agency case record at any time by sending a written update statement to the agency.
- You have the right to have your agency case record maintained in accordance with the confidentiality requirements of applicable Massachusetts and federal law.
- You have the right not to be the subject of agency activities without your written consent including research, fundraising, or publicity by the agency.
- If you have a grievance, you have the right to participate in a grievance procedure in accordance with the agency’s written policy. You also have the right to pursue legal action on your own.
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I could have never have made it through this adoption process without you. I have met a lot of social workers in my life but never felt as comfortable as I did with you. You gave me so much confidence and supported me and made me feel like I was going to have your blessing however I chose. My daughter is happy and loved and safe and I couldn’t dream of this adoption going any smoother.