One of the most important services your adoption professional should provide is watching for “red flags.” These are warning signs that indicate a birth mother is at risk of reclaiming or having a change of heart in her adoption plan.
Your adoption professional should begin with the initial screening of potential birth mothers. Most adoption professionals with years of experience will know the important questions to ask. By asking vital questions, they can find out precisely what she’s looking for in her life, if adoption is a good choice for her and her child, and what she desires in adoptive parents.
They should be able to spot from the outset the warning signs of a woman not ready or willing to see the adoption through. It is difficult for adoptive parents to do this on their own.
The national reclaim rate varies greatly between professionals and can be as low as 4 percent, but some organizations have much higher rates of adoption disruption. I have seen one attorney claiming 25 percent reclaim as normal. This is not an acceptable reclaim rate.
The reclaim rate often depends on when the birth mother changes their mind: before the birth, at the hospital, or when the child has been in the adoptive parent’s care. As hard as any change of heart is, it’s much easier to have the birthparents make this decision before you’ve received the child in your arms.
A qualified adoption professional that properly screens, monitors and provides options for counseling or peer counseling for birth mothers should have a reclaim rate of around 4 percent to 6 percent. At Lifetime our reclaim rate is very low, because we offer a great deal of services and attention to each client.
Extensive information on reclaims can be found in chapter four of my book, Adoption: Your Step-by-Step Guide. (ISBN number 0-9705734-2-1.)
“I am amazed at how much good and practical information Adoption: Your Step-by-Step Guide contains, especially the sections on how to avoid bad adoption situations. It is good advice for anyone looking to adopt, and for anyone thinking about adopting, it’s a MUST-read!”—Eric A. Stovall, Adoption Attorney