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.
Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy and thinking, “should I be considering adoption for my baby?” It is of the utmost importance that you, as the Birth Parent, fully understand what will happen in the U.S. adoption process so that you can make an informed decision. Below is a list of some things to consider, whether you are still deciding to go with adoption, or are already heading down that path:
While you will be advised about this as you head into the process, it is a good idea to give it some thought before that meeting. In an open or semi-open adoption, you can remain in contact with the adoptive family in the way that best fits your needs. Some Birth Mothers just want view photos uploaded online for them by the adoptive family or to be in touch every so often, while others want to have an a role in their child’s life similar to that of an extended family member. In a closed adoption, there is no contact with the child or adoptive family. This is not to say that you cannot meet up with the child later, but when an adoption is designated as closed there is no arrangement put into place for ongoing or active contact.
Open adoptions are increasing in popularity because, while many Birth Mothers find themselves unable to raise the child for a variety of reasons, they still want to know how their child does throughout life. Some Birth Mothers are unsure about how much contact they will want, and request an open adoption where they have the option for it in the future. Adoptive parents find open adoption appealing because they understand the benefits of it that can result for the child, as well.
Open adoption has been shown to decrease the level of grief and feelings of loss that a Birth Mother may sometimes experience postadoption as she is able to see her child grow up in the family that she selected. This is not to say that feelings of grief disappear in an open adoption: some Birth Mothers still feel a sense of loss because they are not the primary caregiver in the child’s life. Some even decrease the post-adoption contact because of this. Nevertheless, if you are struggling with the adoption decision, it may help you to know that you still have the option to maintain contact with your child.
2) Open adoptions vary from state to state
If you do determine that an open adoption is best for you, it is important to understand that in some states the open adoption scenario is not formalized in the court record, so is solely an arrangement between you and the adoptive family. In other states there could be a specific document signed by you and the adoptive family that details the type of contact, and it becomes part of the court record. The particulars about post-adoption contact vary from state to state, and this is why it is important that you have an adoption professional guiding the process. ANLC’s Adoptive Parent Screening Process ensures that our Adoptive Parents are genuine about their desire to maintain an open adoption, and encourages open communication between Adoptive Families and Birth Parents.
It is also important to note that more families who are adopting today are also choosing an open adoption. Many families are very receptive to this arrangement, and will work with you to address your needs. By having an open and honest conversation with the adoptive family about what you hope for in this situation, you can work together to make sure that you all are on the same page.
3) Would You Like to Choose Your Child’s Adoptive Parents?
At a time when so many things don’t feel within your control, it can be
empowering to know
that with an open adoption you are able to select your baby’s adoptive family.
If you are working through an adoption professional, you will be able to view profiles of prospective parents and be assisted to contact them to arrange a meeting. When viewing the profiles you’ll learn about these hopeful adoptive parents and their lifestyles and you may recognize in them some of the things that you dream of for your child.
When hopeful adoptive parents create their profile they try to help you envision the life that your baby could have with them, and this can provide you with peace of mind as you move forward with your adoption plan. Choosing your baby’s adoptive family is an opportunity for you to not only think about the things that you dream for your child’s future, it is also a way for you to make those dreams possible. The families whose profiles you look over will come from all areas of the country, and from all walks of life.
As you check out the profiles, try to consider what about the possible family will be important to you. Do you want the family to have other children so that your baby will grow up with siblings, or would you prefer that he or she be the first and oldest child in the home? Do you think that you would choose a family that lives in the city or in the country, or one that lives in a suburban neighborhood? Does a family that travels all over the world sound interesting, or maybe one that spends the weekends at the local park? There are so many things to consider, especially for something as important as choosing the family that you will entrust with not only your baby, but the hopes and dreams that you have for this special one’s life.
4) What Kind of Assistance Do You Need?
While it isn’t like Birth Mothers get paid to place their baby for adoption, it is possible under most states’ laws for them to receive some type of assistance. In most adoption situations, the prospective adoptive parents are able to take responsibility for the costs of pregnancy that are not already covered by insurance. Also, in some situations, especially where the Birth Mother is unable to support herself due to the pregnancy, the adoptive parents, working together with an adoption professional, may cover other living expenses like rent and food as well. It is important that a woman have a safe and stable place to stay, especially when pregnant and while she recovers during the post-partum period. The adoptive professional can coordinate resources on behalf of the adoptive parents to provide housing, utilities, groceries and other necessary costs of living, and will need you to assist with details so that your needs are appropriately addressed.
5) Would It Help to Have Someone To Talk To?
One of the most important things to remember at this time is that you are not alone in considering adoption or in the feelings that you have. Going through this process can seem like an alienating experience, so it can be helpful to connect with people who are also considering adoption, or have already placed their child. There are also many places that offer free or affordable counseling for Birth Mothers who are struggling with the adoption after the fact. In addition to ANLC’s Birth Mother Support, other resources include:
- BirthMom Buds provides peer counseling, support, and friendship to birth mothers, as well as forums to which you can contribute.
- Healing Hearts is a private Facebook group that was created to Honor and Support Birth Mothers during all stages of the placement journey. The link to join may be found on our Birth Mother Support Page highlighted above.
- On Your Feet Foundation honors and values the choice birth parents have made to place their children for adoption, helps birth parents become self-sufficient, and provides support and community after placement.
- SitKneeToKnee - Birth Mother communities that will last a lifetime.
- Tied At The Heart - We believe that no birth parent should feel alone or unsupported in their post-placement journey.
It is understandable that you may feel powerless when facing an unplanned pregnancy, especially if you do not feel that your present circumstances would be beneficial for a child. Adoption can be a greatly rewarding experience and could be a satisfactory solution provided that you feel that you are the one making the choices and decisions for yourself and your baby.