Adoption Service Provider
In California, the services of an Adoption Service Provider (ASP) are required when a birth mother/placing parent choses Independent Adoption. (Please note, that although the “placing parent” may be the birth father, for the sake of simplicity, we will reference all information as “birth mother.”) The role of the ASP is to protect the birth mother’s rights by making sure she has an accurate understanding of adoption and is moving forward of her own free will. The ASP meets with her on two separate occasions. First, prior to the birth of the baby, the ASP and birth mother meet for an “Advisement meeting.” At that time, the ASP and birth mother discuss pertinent information about Independent Adoption, and complete forms to move the adoption ahead. The second meeting occurs after the birth of the baby, and after ten days have passed since the Advisement meeting. The meeting takes place with the birth mother and the adoptive parents after the birth mother has been discharged from the hospital. During that time, the ASP reviews adoption information with the birth mother and all parties sign the Independent Placement Agreement (aka the consent form). Of course, there are situations when the time frames need to be adjusted, for example, a birth mother delivers and decides on adoption at the hospital. In that case, the two meetings still occur, and in the meanwhile, the birth mother signs forms that allow the adoptive parents to take the baby home from the hsopital with the intention of adoption. The Adoption Service Provider also can provide at least three free counseling services to the birth mother to help her deal with emotions that may arise, or can provide counseling resources. In general, the Adoption Service Provider is a licensed clinicial social worker (LCSW) experienced in issues of adoption. An ASP must have a minimum of five years experience working in an adoption agency, and be approved by the State to do this work.