While many people believe that the Adoptive Family has the most control over the adoption process, in many ways, the Birth Mother is actually the one who has the most choices and control in the adoption. While this is a great thing in many ways, it also means that you must be prepared to make some important choices during the process.
In most cases, it is best to try to make these decisions as early as possible so you know what you want and what to expect going into the process. While of course you can change your mind, making some decision early on can really help ease your mind during the oftenstressful adoption process.
With that in mind, here is a list of some of the key things that you get to choose within the adoption:
1) You May Choose Whether You Want an Open or a Closed Adoption.
Many people are not aware that adoptions can take different forms, and that the forms they take are often negotiated between the Birth Mother and the Adoptive Family. These different forms are as follows:
- Closed: You will not have contact with the Adoptive Family or the child once the adoption has been officially closed after the child’s birth.
- Open: You and the Adoptive Family set terms about the contact you have with your child. This may include written updates and letter about the child, visual photographs, and possible meetings with the family.
Open adoptions are becoming increasingly common. In fact, most Birth Mothers nowadays choose open instead of closed ones. As you might have guess, if you opt for a more open adoption, then you must also decide what kind of contact you are looking for. Depending on the situation, you may be able to choose the closeness you wish to receive with your child. Details of the relationship and contact will be discussed with the adoptive professional and Adoptive Family with you in mind.
2) You May Choose the Adoptive Family.
While it is wonderful to be able to choose the family, making that decision can be easier said than done. If you are working with an agency or professional, for example, you can be assured that the families have been screened to ensure their readiness for parenthood. However, you should still communicate with the adoptive family to see how you feel about your child being in their care.
For example, if you are very eager to have an open adoption where you are involved in your child’s life, communication with the family can be a good way of gauging their willingness to have an open adoption, depending on the situation. While they would have a say, communicating your values and wishes will certainly be beneficial as they will keep you in mind when the adoptive professional discusses the best adoption plan for the child.
3) You May Choose the Adoption Professional You Work With.
You have many options when choosing how to create an adoption plan for your child. Some of these options include:
- Agency: most women voluntarily creating an adoption plan for their child will go to a private agency, where a relationship between you and the adoptive family will be established by the agency.
- Lawyer: lawyers act as qualified legal adoption facilitators who will take care of the legalities involved in an adoption.
- Facilitator sometimes unlicensed, these act as thirdparty mediators to settle adoptions between you and an Adoptive Family, whom you have likely already found.
- Independent: you work directly with the Adoptive Family, whom you have also already met on your own, or through advertisements you made or responded to.
Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, but all are open possibilities to you. You are also not “trapped” with any of these adoptions, as long as the adoption has not been closed (which will generally not happen until the child has been born). If you are dissatisfied with your current entity, for example, you are free to pursue another option at any point.
4) You May Choose Who to Inform about Your Adoption Decision.
Some women prefer to keep their adoption process a secret from others, for a variety of reasons. It is absolutely within your right to keep adoption between you, the facilitator, and the Adoptive Family.
Depending on the laws in your state, the birth father and your parents (if you are under 18) may have to be informed in the event of an adoption. However, this differs from state to state, and these can be waived in some circumstances. Make sure you are familiar with the putative father's rights and adoption consent laws in your state.
These are the major adoption decisions that you are able to make. Looking at these choices, it is definitely clear that the Birth Mothers has a great deal of agency within the adoption decision, and that the adoption process can be tailored to suit her individual needs and desires.
Not everyone follows the same path when it comes to adoption, and while there are many preconceived notions about what adoption is “supposed” to look like, the Birth Mother’s needs definitely should come first in the adoption process.