You can make an adoption plan at any time during or after your pregnancy. However, the earlier in your pregnancy you begin to consider your options (parenting, temporary care or adoption), if you choose adoption—the more time you will have to locate a family and reflect on your choice.
While the conversation may be a hard one, you should tell the father of the baby about the pregnancy and see if he agrees with an adoption plan. You should also talk to your family to find out if they would be supportive and help raise the child, should you decide to parent and how they would feel about your making an adoption plan.
Once you have these answers—if you still have decided to make an adoption plan—you should talk through your options with a counselor, adoption agency, SAFE HAVEN representative or an attorney.
A counselor will want to review all of your options—PARENTING, what supports would be available to you; TEMPORARY CARE, such as foster care or kinship care where a family member cares for your child; ADOPTION and ABORTION. They will help you sort through your feelings on each option. You may have one meeting or a series of meetings.
Many adoption agencies provide this counseling to you at no cost. Some community social services offer free or low cost counseling. Adoption attorneys may meet with you initially for no cost, with your legal fees being paid for by the adopting family, should you move forward with an adoption plan.
SAFE HAVEN is a nationwide program that allows a woman to bring her newborn under 30 days, to a “safe location” (hospital, fire house or police department) without giving her name or signing any papers. The baby must be in good physical condition. The baby will be placed in local foster care. If the woman does not come back for the child in a designated period of time, social services will find an adoptive family for the baby. Safe Haven also makes referral for local counseling or adoption information.
While you may make an adoption plan during your pregnancy, you will not sign any papers until after the birth of the baby. Your attorney or adoption agency counselor will explain your state adoption laws, as well as those of the state in which the prospective adoption parents reside. They will also explain how the adoption process works, the baby’s father’s rights and your options to find a family for your baby.
Should you choose to parent and later decide you want to make an adoption plan, you can do so at anytime. SAFE HAVEN will not be an option if your baby is over 30 days of age. But a counselor, attorney or adoption agency can still assist you.
Making an adoption plan should not be done without looking at all your options and taking the time to consider what life would be like if you parent, arrange temporary care, have a family member care for your baby or make an adoption plan. If an adoption plan, will you want choose the adopting parents and what type of relationship will you want with them? Will you want or see your child after they are placed into the adoptive home? Do you need help and what assistance is available to you?
Take the time you need to make this decision and get the support you need from family, friends and the professionals there to help you.