There are important differences between surrendering a child for adoption under California’s Safe Surrender law, and working with an adoption agency like HFS to place a child for adoption.
Safe Surrender: This is a process in which a parent can legally and anonymously surrender their newborn baby at a designated Safe Surrender site, which is typically a hospital, fire station, or police station. The parent gives up all parental rights and responsibilities, and the baby becomes a ward of the state. The baby will then be placed in foster care and eventually adopted by a family through the county social services department.
Agency Adoption: This is a process by which a birth parent voluntarily places their child for adoption through an adoption agency like HFS. At HFS, social workers will supervise the child until finalization and will be able to support and answer questions for the birth parents throughout the process. The birth parent typically works with the agency to select an adoptive family and determine the terms of the adoption, which includes choosing an open or closed adoption. The adoptive family is then legally granted parental rights and responsibilities for the child.
Here are some key differences between Safe Surrender and HFS Agency Adoption:
- Anonymity: Safe Surrender allows for anonymous surrender of a newborn, whereas an agency adoption requires identification of the birth parent(s).
- Parental rights: With Safe Surrender, the parent automatically gives up all parental rights and responsibilities after 14 days. With an agency adoption through HFS, the birth parent(s) voluntarily relinquish their parental rights.
- Choice of adoptive family: With Safe Surrender, the baby is placed in foster care and adopted through the county social services department. In an agency adoption, the birth parent(s) work with the agency to select the adoptive family if they wish to do so.
- Openness: Safe Surrender does not typically allow for open adoption, whereas an agency adoption can include open adoption arrangements in which the birth parent(s) and adoptive family can have ongoing contact.
- Timeframe:, A newborn can be Safely Surrendered only within 72 hours of the baby’s birth, while an agency adoption through HFS can be initiated at any time. Under the Safe Surrender law, a birth parent has up to 14 days from the time of surrender to reclaim their baby.
Ultimately, the choice between using the Safe Surrender process and working with an adoption agency like HFS depends on the individual circumstances and preferences of the birth parent(s). It’s important to carefully consider all options and work with a licensed adoption professional to make an informed decision. We at HFS are committed to making sure all of our clients understand the adoption process, know their rights, and are educated in all of their options.