Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I meet with Journeys?

You pick the location with privacy that feels best to you – your home, a restaurant, a park, or our office.  All you need to do is call and tell us when and where you’d like to meet.

What if I don’t want counseling?

You decide if you want counseling.  The service is available but we would never force it on anyone.

Will anything provided by Journeys cost me money?

There is no charge to you for any service.

What types of adoptions does Journeys facilitate?

Our staff will help you explore the type of adoption arrangement that best suits you.  We complete open, semi-open and closed adoptions.

Open Adoption:

The relationship is between the child, birth parent and adopting parents.  There can be visits, phone calls, e-mails and or letters and pictures.  A common adoption agreement has one to three visits per year with letters and pictures being sent several times.  This allows for the child to know that he or she is loved and cared about by the birth family and a chance to know the birth parent.  It also gives the child access to family history, stories, medical information.  Some adopting families and birth parents agree to more contact.

Semi-Open Adoption:

Letters and pictures are exchanged between the adopting parent(s) and the birth parent(s).  This keeps the birth parent current with what is happening in the child’s life.

Closed Adoption:

No contact of any kind between the adopting parent(s) and the birth parent(s).

What about my expenses?

Journeys of the Heart can pay for any expenses that are related to the pregnancy.  These include food, shelter, maternity clothes and medical coverage.  You work directly with the staff to come up with a plan regarding your financial needs.  Even after you have chosen a family you continue to interact with the staff regarding your money needs.  Journeys does not believe it is a good idea for families and birth parents to directly work out expenses because problems can come up that might jeopardize the relationship.

What if i dont have a place to live and need Emergency housing?

Journeys staff will help you find emergency housing or an apartment, depending upon your needs.

When do I sign legal papers regarding the adoption?

Each state has different laws about signing legal documents.  For instance, in Oregon you would sign legal documents prior to being discharged from the hospital.  In Illinois you can sign 72 hours after the birth.  In Washington you can sign prior to the birth and the documents become legally binding 48 hours after the birth.

What happens if I change my mind?

Changing your mind is your right any time before you sign the legal documents.  However, once the documents are signed and the baby is in the custody of the adopting parents the adoption is a binding agreement except in Washington where the documents are legally binding 48 hours after the birth.

What happens at the hospital?

Adopting parents are called and are at the hospital during the birth.  You decide if you want them in your room or if you want them to be called in afterwards.  Journeys staff will be available to you at the hospital.  You may spend as much or as little time with the baby as you want alone, with you and your family, or with the adopting parents.

What about the birth father?

We are pleased to work with birth fathers during this process, fully incorporating them into the adoption plan.  However, if the birth father is not involved we do not need his participation.  Each state has different laws about notifying the birth father.  We will discuss this with you and how it pertains to your particular situation.

What about naming the baby?

We encourage the adopting parents to honor the name that you would like your baby to have if you would like to be involved in the naming.  We believe the name you choose is an incredible gift for the child.  Sometimes the adopting parents and you come up with the name together.

How do I choose a couple to adopt my baby?

You can look at portfolios which include a letter to you and photos of the adopting parent’s lives.  This will give you visual images of them, their home and their interests.   If you want to know more about them or are having a hard time choosing, we can give you their home study, a document completed by a social worker that approves them for adoption (without any identifying information).  This document will give you an in-depth idea about their childhood and early adult history as well as more information about their marriage, parenting style, values and ideas about adoption.

View portfolios of families waiting to adopt here

After selecting a family, what is the next step?

Once you have chosen a family you will usually meet with them.  If they are an out-of-state couple then you might want to talk with them on the phone or receive a videotape of them.  All out-of-state couples are willing to fly to your state to meet with you.  The meeting takes place at a restaurant or at the Journeys’ office with your coordinator present.  Usually this meeting confirms your feelings of wanting them to parent your child.

How can I be sure that the couple I choose to adopt my baby are good people?

Journeys of the Heart completes a thorough investigation of all couples who come to adopt through this agency.  State child abuse and criminal checks are done on each person as well as an FBI check.  A social worker spends time with the family in their home and they speak about many issues that are important to adoption.  The home is inspected for safety issues, housekeeping standards and general suitability for a child.  Five references send in letters that speak to the family’s ability to raise a child and the strengths and weaknesses of their marriage.  A physical completed by a doctor  showing good health is another requirement. The family’s latest IRS 1040 to prove income is also submitted.  After the social worker has met with the family for a lengthy period of time, inspected their home and reviewed all the supporting documents, he or she makes a recommendation either supporting them as adoptive parents or not.  Journeys of the Heart does not approve all families who apply.

All families will have gone through Journeys of the Heart’s extensive adoption education program which explores talking to young children about adoption, adoption issues at each stage of a child’s development, trans-racial adoption, attachment and bonding theory, adoption vocabulary, adoption and the teenager and more.  Journeys fully discusses the importance of always presenting the birth parents in a loving and caring way to the child.



How can I be sure that the adopting parents will follow through with letters and pictures?

The adopting parents sign a document  that is legally binding in many states agreeing to send the number of letters and pictures and providing the visits.  Journeys of the Heart supports you in getting enforcement of any adoption agreement.  Most adopting parents are so grateful to you that they would never consider not sending what you wanted from them.

What if my baby is born with a serious medical issue?

If your baby was born with a major medical issue Journeys will locate a family who will provide a loving, safe and permanent home.

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