Birth Parent Information

Planning Adoption for Your Child


Mom with Baby

Should you consider adoption for your child? An unplanned pregnancy may require you to make decisions and plans which may be very difficult. Social workers and other professionals are available to help you through this process. An adoption is a legal procedure, which cannot be reversed once you sign relinquishment papers or consents for a specific family to adopt your child. Be certain you take adequate time to carefully make this decision. Counseling services are available through Washoe County Department of Social Services (WCDSS) office or other licensed child placing agencies.

What if you decide to pursue adoption? There are two ways to plan an adoptive placement. One is for you to work with WCDSS or another licensed adoption agency to place your child for adoption with one of its approved and waiting families. The other is to find an adoptive family of your own and contact WCDSS or another licensed adoption agency to provide services for both you and your chosen family.

Mom with Kids

What if you decide to request adoption placement through WCDSS? If you decide to use the placement services of WCDSS, a case worker will be assigned to help you. You may choose to participate in selecting the adoptive family by reading home studies or meeting families. Also, you may allow WCDSS to decide who the adoptive family will be. If you require medical or financial assistance, the WCDSS worker can assist in identifying sources of help for you. Ongoing counseling is given in preparation of the child’s birth and what can be expected after the baby is born.

After the baby is born and prior to your discharge from the hospital, the social worker and you should have discussed the plans for the placement of the baby while you recuperate.

Pending your decision to place your baby for adoption (and for at least 72 hours after birth) you may decide to:

  1. Take the baby home and care for it yourself.
  2. In some circumstances, the hospital will agree to continue to care for the child.
  3. Permit WCDSS to place the baby in a temporary foster care placement. You may ask for the child’s return to you at any time before you sign the relinquishment or Consents to Adopt.

Law prohibits you (birth mother) from signing a relinquishment of Consent to Adopt prior to 72 hours after the birth of your child. You must be free from the effects of any medications, which might affect your decision, and under no pressure at the time you sign these important documents. You will receive a copy of all paperwork you sign for your records.

What if I find a family whom I want to adopt my baby? If you find a family whom you want to adopt your baby, you may make plans directly with that family. In that case, the family applies to have a home study completed and a case worker from WCDSS will meet with you to confirm your adoption placement plans with that specific family Some birth parents prefer this option because all identifying information is exchanged and it is possible to make plans for some type of ongoing contact after the baby is placed (letters, pictures, visits). Also in these types of adoptions, the adoptive family can sometimes assist you with payment of medical bills and minimal living expenses.

You always have the choice to change your mind, however, and plans made with a specific family are not legally binding until Consents to Adoption are signed.

If you decide on a plan of adoption with a specific family, you (birth mother and husband) must wait the 72 hours before signing consents or relinquishments and the family must have an approved home study completed before the baby can be placed. If the birth father is not married to the birth mother, he can sign the consent prior to the birth of the child.

In Field

Nevada Adoption Registry If you would like to consider the possibility of future contact with a child you have released for adoption, the Nevada Adoption Registry offers this opportunity. An explanation of the services available through the registry will be provided by the social worker prior to or at the time you sign relinquishments or adoption consents. More detailed information about the registry is outlined later in this booklet.