Before making an adoption decision, you want to explore your options. You should have spoken to the father of the baby, your family (and his), do not believe abortion is an option for you, and do not want to consider a temporary placement in a foster home or with a family member. Of all your options, you believe the best choice for you and the baby is to find a family who will adopt and raise and love your child.
As you start the adoption process, you will most likely be asked to rethink your options. This is not to talk you out of adoption, but to make sure you have thoroughly thought it through. This should also include a discussion of any contact you want with the adopting family and with your child over the coming years.
For every adoption, you will need to work with an attorney who will handle the legal aspects of the adoption. Depending on the state where you live attorneys may or may not be able to help you find an adoptive family. You may get services through an adoption agency, including counseling, supervision of pre-natal care and help in locating an adoptive family. Facilitators can help you find a family for your child but in many states, the use of a paid facilitator is not allowed. It is important to make sure your adoption follows the laws of your state and the state in which the adoptive parents reside which includes your options in working with an attorney, adoption agency and/or facilitator.
You can start your adoption process by meeting with an attorney, adoption agency or facilitator or you can search adoption on the Internet by viewing profiles of waiting adoptive families.
If you use the Internet to locate an adoptive family, it will still necessary to work with an attorney or adoption agency.
All adoptions include the process of transferring the legal parental rights from you to the adoptive family. The adoption will be finalized in either your home state or that of the adopting family. As each state has its own adoption laws, it is important that your attorney is familiar with the different state laws and has access to an attorney in the state where the adoptive parents reside. The attorney only provides legal services. They can help you locate additional services, such as counseling and medical care. Because adoption is a specialty within family law, it is highly recommended you work with an attorney who has adoption experience. You can locate an adoption attorney through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys or see our directory of adoption professionals.
Adoption Agencies
An adoption agency offers a variety of services, including exploring your options, counseling, locating prenatal care or financial assistance, helping you choose an adoptive family. You will work with a counselor who will explain the adoption process, help identify an adoptive family and remain available to you throughout the adoption process. Many agencies remain available to you after the adoption process as well for counseling, assistance in sharing information or contact with the adoptive family and your child. It is important to understand what services will be provided by the adoption agency—who they represent (you or the adoptive family, or both) and if there are any fees that you will need to pay. Adoption agencies are licensed or approved by the state in which they operate. You can locate an adoption agency HERE.
A facilitator, sometimes called an intermediary or middleman, is an unlicensed organization or individual whose main function is to match birth parents and those hoping to adopt. Because facilitators charge fees for their services, most states do not allow the use of a facilitator in a private or independent adoption. You can see laws of advertising and facilitators HERE.
Counseling Centers
There are all sorts of centers, including those that offer pre-adoption option counseling and assistance in finding a professional to help with specific adoption services. The counselor may be associated with an adoption agency, abortion clinic or parenting center. Their objective should be to help you sort through the options without guiding you in any direction. Once you have made your decision, they should be able to provide or refer you for additional services.
Safe Haven has counselors who can connect you to a local adoption agency in the state in which you reside. Safe Haven allows you to hand over your infant to a person at a Safe Haven location. Your child must be in good physical condition. You do not need to give your name or sign any papers. Unless you return asking for custody of your infant (within a specified period of time) the local court will terminate your parental rights and begin plans for the baby to be adopted through a local child welfare agency. You can see specific state Safe Haven regulations or contact for referral for local counseling or adoption services.
Private Counselors
You can start with a private counselor or be referred to one during your decision making process, during the adoption process or after your child is living with their new family. Your adoption agency or the adoptive parent(s) may be able to pay for this counseling.
Support Groups
Talking to others who are making or have made a parenting or adoption decision may be helpful. You can learn how they considered their options, who helped them and how they are dealing with their decision. You can get advice on how to choose an adoption professional, how to meet adoptive parents and arrange for continued visitation with your child after they are placed in their new home. There are groups for pregnant girls and women, those in the process of adoption and those who have completed an adoption, as well as groups for those seeking information on or reunion with their child after the adoption is finalized. You can find a support group HERE.
Final Decisions
Deciding to parent, planning an abortion, or making an adoption plan is a momentous decision. Take the time to consider your options and get counseling to be sure you are making the right choice for you. Be patient and mindful of what you need to make this decision as it will have an impact on the rest of your life and your child’s life.