Adoption Process

Our use of the terms “putting up” or “giving up” does not reflect how we feel about adoptive placement. These terms remain the most widely used search terms for those who are considering adoption for their baby, and we wish to reach all who seek this important information.

Adoption over the years has shifted towards giving expecting parents more power during the Adoption Process. The idea of a Birth Mother giving up her baby for adoption is an outdated belief of the Adoption Process. The Adoption Process for expecting mothers is different from state to state and across different adoption agencies and professionals but most US adoptions follow a similar process. Here are the steps you can expect! 

adoption process

Step 1: Contact an Adoption Professional

Finding out you are pregnant can be an overwhelming experience, especially when it’s a surprise. So many questions are probably going through your mind right now. How did this happen? When did this happen? What does this mean for my future? Contacting an adoption professional can help you calmly discuss your concerns and options. Adoption Network Law Center professionals offer a safe and non-judgmental environment to talk about pregnancy, parenting, adoption, and abortion. Our adoption professionals will go over what the adoption process would look like for you in your current situation and state, as well as whether an adoption plan is the best option for you. 

Step 2: Discuss Details of Adoption Plan with Your Advisor

If you decide adoption is the best choice for you and your baby, you and your Adoption Advisor should discuss in depth your adoption plan. An Adoption Advisor professional can help you figure out what type of adoption would be the best for you. What degree of openness do you want? Open, semi-open or closed? What qualities do you want your child’s adoptive parent(s) to have? How do you envision your hospital experience? All of these questions will help you make your adoption plan. Adoption Network Law Center will send you a physical or digital packet with educational information and ask you to fill out general questions about yourself and the future you hope for your baby. All of the information you provide to us is completely confidential. We will work one on one with you to discuss the packet and answer any questions that you might have. Keep in mind if you ever want to make any changes to your adoption plan it is okay to do so at any point during your adoption. Your well-being is our first concern. We offer support before, during and after your placement of your baby. 

Step 3: Choose an Adoptive Family 

What type of family do you imagine for your baby? The adoption process creates an opportunity to make that vision a reality by providing you with the opportunity to select the family you want for your baby. Here are some helpful tips to help you choose an adoptive family!

Open, semi-open or closed? The most important thing to consider when planning your child's life is where you do you see yourself in it. Be genuine and honest with yourself about the level of openness you are comfortable with. Open adoption usually includes some sort of regular contact between the birth parents and the adoptive family. The degree of “openness” is dependent upon each situation, but contact can include sharing photos, phone calls, video calls, texts, and in-person visits. Semi-open is contact with photos and letters provided through the adoption agency or adoption professional you were working with. Closed adoption is when you have no plan to continue contact after placing the child. For more information on open, semi-open and closed adoption, click here.

What qualities do you want your child’s adoptive parent(s) to have? With the amount of amazing couples looking to adopt it can be difficult to narrow it down to one. We recommend you write down the qualities that you want the adoptive family to have. Be honest about your desires from the start to give yourself a healthy relationship with your adoption plan. This decision is life-changing for your child, for yourself and also for the adoptive family. Honesty will provide a stable starting point, especially with all the emotions that come with making this decision. Once you begin choosing an adoptive family, you must follow your heart. It’s very hard to explain what this means, but when you choose the right adoptive family for your child, you will just feel that it’s right. Your heart will be filled with a sense of comfort and peace. If you are having a difficult time making a list of qualities that you want the adoptive family to have, here are some suggestions:

  • What is important to you in a family?
  • What values are you wanting the family to have and practice? 
  • Would you want to place your baby with a traditional marriage, same-sex or single?
  • What level of education would you like the adoptive parents to have?
  • What location do you want your child to live? 
  • Are you okay with them having other children or do you wish for this child to be their first?
  • Do you want your child’s adoptive parents to share the same religious beliefs or none at all? 
  • Would you like the family to have a family pet or not?

Talking with the potential adopting parents. The search is over and now you’ve found an adoptive family profile that fits your vision of the type of parent(s) you want for your baby. Our Adoption Advisors will discuss with you the different forms of communication that you can have with the adoptive family and find one that makes you most comfortable. Your Adoption Advisor will reach out to the family and coordinate an introduction. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and bring up concerns that you might have. Take the time to develop a bond. You are making a permanent decision and you need to make sure you’re making the best choice for you and the baby.

Step 4: Birth of Your Baby

Making a hospital plan is a very important step in the adoption process. While nothing can completely prepare you for this emotional experience, having an adoption hospital birth plan in place before you go into labor tells your Adoption Advisor, the adoptive family, and the hospital staff exactly what you want your hospital time to be like so that your only focus is on you and the baby. Similar to your adoption plan, you are in complete control of your birth plan. Adoption Network Law Center advisors will help prepare you for the possible emotions you can expect at the hospital. This will be one of the most emotionally challenging parts of your adoption experience and discussing those feelings when making your hospital plan can help you feel more confident and in control of your delivery experience. Your Adoption Advisor will assist you to develop an outline of exactly what you want your labor and delivery experience to be like. Keep in mind if you ever want to make any changes to your adoption hospital plan it is okay to do so at any point during your adoption and even at the hospital. Here are some of the questions to consider while planning your hospital plan. 

  • Which family members or friends do you want with you at the hospital?
  • Do you want the adoptive family in the delivery room?
  • Who will hold your baby first?
  • Do you want to have time with your baby alone, with the adoptive family, or both? Do you want no alone time with the baby?
  • Do you want any pictures taken of you with the baby? Do you want pictures taken with the adoptive family?

Step 5: Relinquishment/Consent

Relinquishment/Consent is when parents sign documents legalizing the adoption plan. While what the documents say differs from state to state, the purpose of them is to transfer the physical care and legal custody of a baby for whom adoption is planned from that of the biological parents to the adoptive family. Birth mothers usually cannot relinquish until after the child is born, and in some states, must wait several days after giving birth before consent may legally be given.

If you are reading this article, know that you are not alone. This can feel like one of the loneliest times in your life. Most recent CDC.gov studies show that 45% of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. If you would like someone to talk to about all of your options, we are here for you. Our conversations are always supportive, confidential and professional. You are strong, you will get through this and you will make the best decision that is right for you and your baby. We believe in you and are here to help you.