Birth Parents and Parents Considering an Adoption Plan

Hands reaching for one another in front of a sunset

On this webpage, you can find information for:

  • Birth parents whose children have already been adopted,
  • Fathers and non-birthing parents looking for information on paternity,
  • Parents considering creating an adoption for a child,
  • Individuals looking for information on Safe Haven (infant relinquishment).

Wisconsin Family Connections Center (WiFCC)

Whether you are considering placing a child for adoption, are in the process of doing so, or your birth child has already been adopted, the Wisconsin Family Connections Center (WiFCC) is a great resource. WiFCC services include: 

  • Information, referrals, and support via phone, email, or in person
  • Trainings and conferences
  • Support groups
  • Free family networking events
  • Short-term case management
  • A growing catalogue of other resources and opportunities

For more information, visit the WiFCC website, send an email to, or speak to a staff member at (800) 762-8063.

Information for Birth Parents

Birth parents whose children have already been adopted—whether through a private adoption agency, a tribal agency, the public child welfare system, or independently—are able to receive support from the Wisconsin Family Connections Center at any time.

WiFCC resources for birth parents include a statewide, virtual support group for birth parents and blogs, magazines, and other materials created by and for birth parents.

Adoption Records Search Program

Wisconsin’s Adoption Records Search Program works with adoptees, adults whose birth parents’ rights were terminated, birth parents, and other relatives gain access to vital pieces of adoptees’ birth and pre-adoption stories.

As a birth parent, you may be contacted by the Adoption Records Search Program if your child has requested information from the program.

Current Wisconsin law does not permit birth parents to request information through the Adoption Records Search Program. However, birth parents can:

  1. Request that the Adoption Records Search Program locates their birth child(ren) to provide urgent medical or genetic information. A written statement from a licensed medical provider will be required with this request.
  2. File a notarized affidavit consenting to the release of their information. This can be provided to the Adoption Records Search Program at any time so that it is already on file when and if a birth child requests information.
  3. Revoke an affidavit that was previously filed.

To do any of the above, contact the Adoption Records Search Program by emailing, calling (608) 422-6928, or sending a letter to:

Adoption Records Search Program
PO Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916

Information about Paternity for Fathers and Non-Birthing Parents

The father or other non-birthing parent (the biological parent who did not get pregnant/give birth to the child) has the same rights as the birthing parent. This parent should be notified of the pregnancy and made aware of any adoption plan being created by the birthing parent.

If you believe someone is pregnant with or has recently given birth to your child, you can:

  • File a Declaration of Possible Fatherhood before the birth of the child or within 14 days after birth. This does not establish your parental rights over the child but will ensure you receive notice if the child is involved in a Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) court action.
  • Establish legal paternity after the child is born. Legal paternity must be established to have your parental rights considered if a child is being placed for adoption.

Learn more about legal fatherhood, visit the DCF Fatherhood Home Page, or explore the national Fatherhood Resource Hub for more information and resources for fathers. Many of the resources are also available to non-birthing parents who do not identify as fathers.

Information for Parents Considering an Adoption Plan

When a parent chooses to place their child for adoption, they create an adoption plan that details how the adoption will occur. Adoption plans are often created during pregnancy but may also be made following the birth of a child. The adoption plan allows the birth parent(s) to make decisions about:

  • What agency will facilitate the adoption
  • Who will adopt the child
  • Plans for the pregnancy, birth, and hospital stay
  • What post-adoption contact will look like between the birth and adoptive families, if any

Parents decide to create an adoption plan for many different reasons, and this decision is often a difficult and emotional one. Below are some resources to help you decide the right choice for you and, if you decide to create an adoption plan, some steps to get started.

Remember that you can change your mind at any time up until termination of your parental rights, which typically occurs some months after your child’s birth.

Accessing Supportive Services & Public Assistance Programs

For some pregnant parents, the decision to create an adoption plan may be due to uncertainty about their ability to provide necessities like childcare, housing, and financial stability for a child. Wisconsin offers many supportive services for individuals to address these needs.

If this is a factor in your decision to create an adoption plan, explore the list of supportive services and public assistance programs offered in Wisconsin. This includes:

Speaking with an Adoption Counselor

Most licensed private adoption agencies in Wisconsin offer free counseling for parents who are considering an adoption plan. Adoption counselors will help empower you to make the best decision for you and your child by talking through your current situation and exploring all of your options.

Adoption counselors will not try to talk you into adoption. Reaching out to a counselor does not mean you are committing to creating an adoption plan or to working with that agency. 

Agencies indicated with a star (★) on this list of licensed adoption agencies in Wisconsin offer counseling to prospective birth parents.

Creating an Adoption Plan for your Child

The Wisconsin Family Connections Center (WiFCC) offers resources to begin the process of creating an adoption plan, including:

Call the WiFCC at 800-762-8063 to learn more about resources for making an adoption plan.

Adoption of American Indian & Alaskan Native Children

Children and birth parents with American Indian and Alaska Native heritage may be eligible for the special protections afforded them under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). These protections help Native children grow up connected to their culture and have the rights associated with being a member of their tribal nation. They also help birth parents make informed decisions about placing their child for adoption.

Learn more about the ICWA and Tribal resources that may be available to you from the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA).

Information about Safe Haven (Infant Relinquishment)

Under Wisconsin law, a parent can leave their unharmed newborn child under 72 hours old with a:

  • police officer
  • 911 emergency medical staff person
  • hospital staff member

without fear of legal consequences. If you do not indicate that you will be back for your child, this is called “Safe Haven” or “Infant Relinquishment.” You do not have to give your name or address to the professional accepting the baby, unless:

  • The baby has been harmed
  • You are being forced by someone to give up the baby
  • The baby is more than 3 days old

Learn more about Safe Haven for newborns. Safe Place for Newborns provides information on Safe Haven laws and crisis support at their 24/7 crisis line: 877-440-2229.