Are you considering adoption for your baby? Did you know that there could be services available to you while you make your decision? You don’t have to do this on your own, despite what it may feel like right now. While it varies from agency to agency, there are a number of adoption services available that you may be unaware of.
Once you have decided you would like to pursue adoption for your child you will likely need to look at different agencies. You need to figure out where they are and find one that fits your needs. Not every agency will align with your values and convictions. Decide what is important to you and what you can let slide for the sake of other positive traits. If you find yourself too uncomfortable with the mission statement of an agency that you are looking at, it may be in everyone’s best interest that you look elsewhere.
Adoption services are usually offered in varying degrees through every agency. What is available at one agency may not be at another. You may want to ask more in-depth questions about each before you enter into an adoption agreement. Adoption.org, Adoption.com, and Adopting.org are all good places you can start to find help and other people who are facing the same decisions you are.
You may not think this is the most important adoption service. I respectfully disagree. Counseling, in my opinion, is one of the most important things a person can do for themselves and others. What you are doing is a selfless act for your baby. You are potentially the answer to someone’s long-awaited dreams. It is usually a very difficult and emotional process. I just want you to know that even if you’re only thinking about placing your child with a loving family for adoption, I think you’re a superhero. Truly. You will go through nine long months growing a tiny human and potentially suffer backaches, sore feet, food cravings, nausea, and all sorts of less-than-pleasant things. After enduring all of that, you will place that baby that into the arms of another. Rock star status. That’s what you have, ok?
Even if the baby going to another home feels like the very best-case-scenario to you, or even if you don’t think you want a kid and you’re doing what feels right in a difficult situation, you will likely need counseling. We can be emotional. Sometimes those emotions feel irrational. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes you just need to tell someone about all of those emotions and have them validate that it is okay. It is okay to feel both deeply relieved and deeply sad. Don’t skimp on this one. You may need counseling, the adoptive family may need counseling, the baby may someday, even if everything seems perfect, need counseling. We all need counseling because sometimes our brains try to trick us and sometimes we just need to hear that we are going to be okay from an outside source. Trust me on this. Remember though, this is just what I think and my opinion about it. If you don’t trust me off the bat, I would recommend researching what others have said and experienced.
- Prenatal and postnatal care
Science has shown that babies and mamas do much better with prenatal care. An ultrasound can tell if there are abnormalities that will make birth difficult. Some blood work can tell if mom is getting enough nutrients. They can tell so much from what seems like just a little bit of data. Furthermore, they may be able to get you help if you need it. For example, are you in an abusive situation? They may be able to provide ways to get out of it.
This research and documentation may be the difference between you being safe and you being unsafe both during pregnancy and birth. You may owe it to yourself and the baby to see a doctor. After the baby is born, your body will most likely go through more changes and having a doctor identify for you that it is totally normal may be able to help tremendously. Not only does prenatal care assure that you are in good shape, but it can also help determine if the baby will need any kind of special care after birth. If you don’t have any care before the baby is born there could be complications during delivery. You don’t know and may not know unless you have a doctor watching out for you.
Furthermore, you may well need care for several months after the baby has been born. There is typically a lot of trauma happening during the birthing process that you will need to heal from. A doctor usually helps to make sure you are healing correctly and that you aren’t developing any life-threatening infections. Your life is important. A quality agency may work to get you the help you need after the adoption is complete and not just during the adoption process.
You might not need housing. Some people are not so lucky. Many agencies can either offer housing assistance by way of paying your rent or by having a physical residence for you to stay at. They may also provide you transportation to and from work, doctor’s appointments, and wherever else you might need. If you do need housing assistance, look and find out what exactly is offered. This could mean a room in a big house, a dorm, an apartment, or some type of community living. Whatever your specific circumstance may be, women who are hoping to place their child for adoption may not be in the best situations. Again, I don’t know your life. Just be on the lookout to see if there is housing assistance for you. You may not have thought to ask. Now you know.
- Legal help
Ok, this should really go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Adoption can be really complicated. There can be a lot of paperwork. So. Much. Paperwork. You won’t even believe how tired your hand can get from all the signatures you need to write (I know that from being on the other side of the table as an adoptive mom. My hand actually cramped. I know, boo hoo, haha). If you don’t know what you are signing, you could be in for legal trouble later down the line. I know it may sound absurd, but if you aren’t sure you have signed all the correct paperwork you could be charged with abandonment. A good agency should make sure that absolutely does not happen. Skeevy agencies do exist and if the paperwork isn’t signed correctly, the adoption can unravel.
A good lawyer can go a long way, reputable agencies will help you. They can know the answers to your questions about rights you may or may not have. They can help you decide if an open or closed adoption is right for you. They can help you understand what exactly that means. Do you really not want the baby to know who you are? They can make that happen to an extent (be aware that the age of the internet has made it so finding people is easier than it ever has been). Regardless of what type of adoption you are pursuing, you may need a lawyer. A good agency may have one on hand or one available to call to guide you through the process.
- Financial help
This is money to help make your life livable. It may just mean getting you set up with state Medicaid and food stamps so you have enough of what you need. Oftentimes, birth moms are in a difficult situation. They have decided they cannot parent because of the cost, job loss, homelessness, an abusive situation, or some other reason. Money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy a modicum of security if you need it. Make sure that you have clarity on what that looks like for your situation. Ask where funding comes from, what it is spent on, and who decides how it is allocated. That may help you to feel more comfortable with receiving financial help.
This is an abbreviated list. You are doing research; that is the first step. There are other adoption services and post-adoption services you may be entitled to or you may want to research more closely. As I said before, you are a rock star. You deserve rock-star treatment. You deserve someone to hold your hand through this whole process because what you are doing is often really brave. Even if you never choose adoption and you decide you would like to parent, that’s a brave choice. That’s an awesome choice. But if you are seriously considering adoption, make a list of things important to you and do some research on agencies and the adoption services they offer near you. I hope you find what you are looking for. I hope that everything works out to your good and the good of the child you may be carrying. You deserve good things.Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.