Have you ever heard the term “red flag”? Within adoption agency circles, the term “red flag” is used to describe concerns regarding a birth mother and her adoption choice. During the adoption process, our local Arizona adoption agency assesses situations where the agency or adoptive family becomes concerned about a birth mother following through with her adoption decision. When a situation like this occurs, we, as an agency, get together as a team and discuss. It is important to remember red flags can look different with every birth mother and her situation. Our concern includes the welfare of the baby and the birth mother, so we review the situation as a whole, not just the potential concern.
Birth Mothers and Their Situations are Always Factored in When There are Red Flags
The adoption community has identified some behaviors that are considered standard “red flags”. These standard red flags include some of the following:
1. Never attending doctor appointments
Can this be a red flag? Yes and no. Many birth mothers do not want to attend OBGYN appointments because of the following:
- Too emotionally painful, it makes the situation too real
- Fear of judgment by the OBGYN office
- Not invested in her pregnancy because she is placing her baby for adoption
- She may test positive for drug use and has other children in the
2. Always asking about the financial assistance, making this the focus of every conversation
Can this be a red flag? Again, yes and no. Birth mothers have come into our local Arizona adoption agency because their finances are a huge concern. They may be worried about housing, food, and maintaining the ability to stay off the street. This could be a red flag if finances are not a concern for the birth mother, and she is trying to capitalize on the opportunity to make money. In these instances, birthmothers often call various adoption agencies to identify who has the best financial assistance.
3. Postponing choosing an adoptive family
This may or may not be a red flag, depending on other factors;
When a birth mother comes into an adoption program and makes an adoption plan, choosing an adoptive family is part of the adoption journey. When a birth mother states she is not ready to choose an adoptive family, she may not be ready to create an adoption plan. This doesn’t mean she won’t follow through with her adoption plan, but it does mean she should attend a counseling session or take some time and think about whether adoption is the right choice for her.
4. Avoiding contact with the adoptive family, even after stating that she wanted an open adoption.
After matching with an adoptive family, many adoptive families would like to start building a relationship with the birth mother. When a birth mother has chosen an open adoption and then decides she isn’t ready for contact, counseling may help her determine what her hesitation or concerns are. Sometimes a birth mother may fear judgment or is afraid the adoptive family won’t like her.
5. She is in a committed relationship, is pregnant with the father of her other children, and live in the home together.
When a birth mother comes into an adoption program and she has all of her other children in the home and is parenting them with the birth father, who is also the birth father of her other children, it may be a red flag. What would be her reason for placing her baby for adoption? Is there a financial situation that she needs temporary assistance with? Or are there other reasons, such as struggling to parent the other children in her home. It could include an open case with the Department of Child Safety, and she is barely hanging on to her other children. It could also be that she and the birth father are not staying together, and they have decided that this is in the best interest of the baby.
Our Local Adoption Agency in Arizona Supports Our Birth Mothers Through Their Adoption Journey
When a birth mother comes into an adoption agency with the intent of placing her baby for adoption, we make a great effort to understand her reasons for choosing adoption. Counseling will assist her in processing her thoughts and feelings. Red flags always need to be evaluated, and all factors need to be considered before decisions are made. Additionally, red flags do not necessarily mean that the adoption won’t take place; it means further investigation is needed. It is our responsibility as a local Arizona adoption agency to always prioritize the best interests of the unborn baby and the birth mother, and our professional staff is highly trained in doing so.
If you are pregnant and are considering adoption, Building Arizona Families is a licensed, full-service, non-profit, local adoption agency in Arizona. Our Arizona Pregnancy Help program is here to support you on your adoption journey.
We are also committed to adoption aftercare services. We have a program on-site that provides continued support for birth mothers after adoption through the Donna K. Evans Foundation. You can contact our local Arizona adoption agency 24/7 at (623) 695-4112. You are not alone, and we want to help, introduce yourself to us HERE. Thank you for considering adoption, you are making an amazing choice!