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If you are considering adoption, a crisis pregnancy counsellor can help you to begin to explore this. You may consider and even decide on adoption at any stage during the pregnancy but a decision will not be finalised until after the birth of the baby.

What is adoption?

Adoption is a process where you give legal consent for your child to become part of and be cared for by another family on a permanent basis.

You may wish to continue to have contact with your child as they grow up. This is known as an open adoption. Some parents keep in touch through regular letters and others meet the child and adoptive parents on a regular basis. You will discuss this choice with your adoption counsellor.

How is a child placed for adoption?

If you are considering adoption you will be put in contact with the local Tusla Adoption Service or an adoption agency accredited by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (currently the only agency is Here2Help based in Dublin) by your counsellor or GP.

The adoption social worker will explore with you your reasons for choosing adoption, the consequences of your decision both for yourself and your child, and your wishes for the baby’s future family. They will support you through the process of matching your baby and an adoptive family and continue to support you until the adoption order is made by the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

You should discuss with your social worker what supports are available for you after the order is made.

After the birth, you will be encouraged to care for your baby in the hospital. You will then take the baby home for a while or place the baby in temporary foster care with the support of Tusla/ the adoption agency.

This will to give you time to keep in contact with your baby and to decide what you want to do. If you decide to go ahead with the adoption, the social worker will work with you to complete all the necessary legal forms and to select a family.

The baby will then be placed with the adoptive family. When the baby has been placed for a minimum of three months, the family will apply to formally adopt your baby and you will be invited to sign the final consent.

The Adoption Order is normally granted after the baby has been with the adoptive family for a minimum of six months. Social workers from the agency/ Tusla will continue to visit the baby in the adoptive home to ensure that the baby is being well cared for and that the parents and the baby are bonding.

Can I change my mind after I have made contact with an adoption agency?

You can change her mind at any time until the final Adoption Order is made. The Adoption Order is the legal document that makes the child legally part of his/ her adoptive family.

My partner wants me to keep the baby. Will he be able to stop me having the baby adopted?

Where a couple are not married, and the father is not the legal guardian of the child, the father must be informed of the decision to place the child for adoption. If he is not happy with this decision, he must apply to become the legal guardian through the courts. Where a couple are married, both parents must give consent. In all cases, only the High Court can dispense with the parent's consent.

Where can I get support and information on adoption?

All crisis pregnancy agencies offer counselling and support to anyone involved in a crisis pregnancy situation, including partners, family members and others. Tusla and Here2Help provide a range of information and support around adoption before, as well as after, the birth of the child.