Making an adoption plan should be done only after you have considered your options and decided to have another family raise your child. It is therefore critical to know what the options are and to take time to consider all of them.
Parenting – Would you choose to parent If you had the resources to do so? There is no reason to be embarrassed about needing help. If the baby’s father and your family can’t assist, you may be eligible for housing, medical care and monthly payments to help parent your child, as well as employment training. You can talk to someone at your local social service office or at Planned Parenthood.
Abortion – If early in the pregnancy, do your religious and ethical beliefs allow you to consider having an abortion? Having an abortion is more than a medical procedure. Many women feel the emotional impact for a long time afterwards. It is important to know how you may feel emotionally, as well as physically, and prepare to deal with your reaction and recovery. You should talk to a counselor and inform the father of the baby if this is your plan.
Temporary Care – Do you need more time to think things through? This is a major decision and if you need more time to decide there are several options open to you. Your baby can be placed in foster care or with a family member through foster care, which may provide a monthly payment to the family for the baby’s expenses. You can also make a private arrangement with a family member, friend or responsible adult. Any of these arrangements give you time after the birth to decide if you want and are able to parent.
Adoption – You believe you cannot raise your baby, but want to give them life and a new family. You have many things to consider —how involved you want to be in choosing the adoptive family, what contact you want with the adopting parent(s) during the pregnancy, and what contact you want with the adopting family after the baby is living with them. You also need to understand your local adoption laws and rights, as well as the rights of the baby’s father. An adoption attorney or adoption agency can explain and explore all of these issues with you. Or, you can speak to a counselor at a local community counseling center. If you feel pressured in any way, by any counselor, attorney or agency personnel, find another professional to help you.
By taking the time to consider all of your options, and understanding what is involved in making an adoption plan, you are acting responsibly and know what to expect. You can then proceed with finding a family for your baby.
You will be experiencing physical changes and emotional ups and downs during your pregnancy. This is normal. Feeling your baby move and dealing with relationships with the baby’s father or your family may even lead to your questioning if adoption is right or if you will be able to separate from your baby. Ask for counseling and sort through your feelings.
While you will be filling out and signing papers, including those with information on your family background and prenatal care, you do not sign papers relinquishing your parental rights or agreeing to the placement of the baby with the adoptive family until after the birth. Each state has regulations as to how soon after the birth you can consent to the adoption and where you can sign those papers.
At any time during your pregnancy or after birth, prior to signing the relinquishment, you can stop the adoption process. Once you sign, state regulations determine under what circumstances you can rescind your relinquishment. Therefore, it is critical you understand your rights prior to entering into any adoption relationship and certainly before signing any papers.
Adoption is a gift you can give to a waiting family, but it needs to be the right decision for you. It can be an emotional roller coaster for you and the adoptive parent(s). The more you know of the process, and your responsibility and rights, the better prepared you will be at each stage of the process.