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Frequently Asked Questions, Birth Parent Services

Do I have to tell the birth father?
Yes, he must be notified if you know who he is.

Do I have to tell my parents?
No. In South Dakota, you are legally able to make a plan at any age. You need only to tell the people you choose to tell. It is however recommended that your parents or persons you consider support to be told about the pregnancy and your decision so they can be of support to you during this decision-making time.

Do I choose the adoptive parents?
You may choose to view family profiles and receive information about families. You also can choose to meet the family in what is called a match meeting. You can have the agency choose a family for you or you can have no contact at all.

Can I see my baby?
Yes, you decide if you want to see your child and how much time you want to spend with your child. Everyone is unique on how much contact they want to have.

What happens after the baby is born?
At the hospital, you may have whomever you would like with you. It is important to have those who are supportive of you and your decision with you at the hospital. The adoptive parents will be there if you want them to be. The child can go home with the adoptive parents from the hospital if you choose to place for adoption. The court date would be set after the baby is born at which time the judge would speak with you and the father if he chooses to go to court. Then the judge would terminate your and the father's parental rights and transfer them for the adoption.

Does the putative father have to go to court to relinquish rights?
No, the putative father does not have to go to court to relinquish rights, but he may choose to do so. If he does not want to attend court, he would need to sign relinquishment papers prior to court or be served notice regarding court if he is unable to be located or if he refuses to sign papers.

Can I have contact with the adoptive family and the child after termination of rights?
In open adoption the birth parents and adoptive parents know one another and build a relationship, to better communicate with one another throughout the child's lifetime. In an open adoption, the adoptive family and birth parents agree on what type of contact they would like to have, which could include pictures and letters, e-mails, or visits by the birth parents. The stronger the relationship between the adoptive and birth parent, the more likely that ongoing visitation will occur. After parental rights are terminated the adoptive family does not legally have to continue contact, however, open adoption is built on trust, therefore, contact continues on this basis, not on a legal basis.

If I choose adoption, when is my decision final?
Under South Dakota law, a birth mother cannot terminate her parental rights until five days after the child is born. Until court, a birth mother has the opportunity to change her adoption plan.

I heard that I had 30 days to change my mind after I go to court?
The judge will ask you questions at the hearing regarding your decision. Once the order is signed, it cannot be over turned unless one of two things occur; there has been fraud or you have been coerced to place this baby. LSS is committed to assist you in making a decision that is of your own free will and at no time will you be forced to place your child. Once 30 days has past after court, there is no appealing the judges decision.

What will my child be told about me and the adoption?
You can provide the adoptive family with information either directly or in writing as to why you chose to make an adoption plan. In an open adoption, you will be able to talk to your child about your reasons for placing with the support of the adoptive parents. Adoptive families realize the importance of providing accurate information to the child as he/she grows. There are no secrets because adoption is something of great value, not shame.