Unexpectedly expecting a baby can give you fears of uncertainty and leave you wondering what to do with your pregnancy. Adoption is a great option if you choose to not parent your baby. If you’re in a circumstance where you realize you can’t parent your baby, placing your baby for adoption is the most loving option. Giving your baby the gift of a loving family who will care for them and provide them with a great life is one of the most courageous and thoughtful decisions you can possibly make. How does adoption help expectant parents? What’s it like to go through an adoption plan, work with an agency, and choose an adoptive family? What will your life be like post-adoption? This article will answer those questions and more while explaining the adoption placing process.
Is Adoption the Right Option for You?
What option is right for you? Would you like to try and parent your baby, go through with an abortion, or place your baby with an adoptive family?
Expectant parents choose adoption for a variety of reasons:
- They realize they can’t raise their child, and they’re not ready to be a parent.
- They know that they can’t financially support a child.
- They don’t want to be a single parent.
- If they already have children, they realize they can’t care for another child.
- They have other things they’d like to do with their life than raise a child.
- They’re in an unstable/toxic relationship.
- They’d like to finish school, stay focused on their career, or have other goals and plans for their life that don’t involve raising a child.
- They’re in an abusive relationship.
- They’re a victim of sexual assault.
- They’re struggling with an addiction.
- They’ve come to the realization that adoption is a way to give their child a life they know they can’t provide for them.
- They want their baby to have a better future.
- They’d like their child to be raised in a stable two-parent household.
- They’re teenage parents who know they’re not ready to parent.
- They don’t wish to go through with an abortion.
- They lack the maturity to parent a baby.
- They don’t have the resources to care for a baby.
- They’re homeless.
- They want to see their baby grow up happy and healthy.
- They have no support system.
If you find yourself in any of these situations, then adoption is right for you. Here are the steps to placing your child for adoption.
- Talking with an Adoption Counselor.
Talking with an adoption counselor will help you ease your mind as you go through the rollercoaster of emotions that’ll come with placing your baby for adoption. With their experience, they can guide you through your options, help you process your feelings about placing your baby for adoption, and support you no matter what decisions you make. How else can they help expectant parents?
- Most counselors are available 24/7 to talk on the phone with you.
- Adoption counselors explain the pros and cons of your decision.
- Adoption counselors will help you learn all about adoption.
- You won’t feel alone with your feelings, and you’ll have complete confidentiality.
- Adoption counselors can help you find the resources you need like financial support, education, housing assistance, transportation, pregnancy-related resources, support groups, etc.
- Adoption counselors can answer any questions or concerns you have about adoption.
If you’d like to learn more about adoption counselors, here’s an article all about pre-adoption counseling, and about the importance of adoption counseling.
- Finding and Choosing an Agency
There are many public and private adoption agencies to choose from, and many of those agencies help expectant parents first and foremost. Depending on where you live, you can find an agency near you, and you can find agencies out-of-state if you’d like. There are also Christian-based agencies available, if you want some sort of faith to play a part in your child’s life with his or her adoptive family. Check out this article on the best adoption agencies. The agency will ask you questions about what you’re looking for in an adoptive family, keep up on your medical health, and will help the lines of communication between you and the adoptive family.
Do some research on different agencies while keeping in mind there are always pros and cons to each agency. Ask questions before making a final decision on an agency; if you find an agency you speak with isn’t the right fit, you can always find another agency. After talking with an agency, you should feel confident that the agency has the best interests for both you and the baby. Here are several questions to ask a potential adoption agency:
- In what ways will you support me if I choose adoption?
- Will I get to choose the adoptive family for my child?
- What kinds of services do you provide for expectant parents?
- How does an adoption plan work?
- What kind of contact will I have with my baby after birth?
- How will I get matched with an adoptive family?
- Will you help me with insurance and other paperwork?
- Will you be supportive if I choose to parent or have an abortion?
- Can I call if I have any other questions?
- Can I talk to other birth parents who placed their babies for adoption through your agency?
- How will you be there for me after the adoption?
- Will you explain my rights as a birth parent if I decide to not go through with the adoption?
- Do you provide education on the adoption placement process?
You don’t have to ask all of these questions, but choosing to ask a few of these questions will give you an idea of what agency you wish to work with. Here’s an article with some more questions to ask an adoption agency.
- Meeting the Potential Adoptive Family
Once you’ve chosen an agency and picked the adoptive family for your baby, you’ll have a chance to meet them face-to-face. The adoption social worker will set up a meeting wherever you’re most comfortable. The meeting place could be your home, the adoptive family’s home, a restaurant, or any other public area. Meeting the adoptive family should feel like a happy experience, but it’s completely normal to feel nervous. The adoptive family will likely be ecstatic that you’ve chosen them to care for your baby and will probably be more than pleased to answer any questions you may have. Don’t be nervous to ask if they’d allow you in your baby’s life after adoption; although you won’t be parenting your baby, you could still have the option to visit them and watch them grow up. The adoptive family should make sure that you’re well taken care of throughout your pregnancy and, of course, make sure the baby is cared for too.
- Hospital Plans, Delivery Day, and Relinquishing Your Parental Rights
The hospital plan is a document that you’ll have complete control over; it will give you an idea of what you’d like to happen once the baby’s ready to be born. You can choose who will be there to support you during labor and delivery, you can choose to remain anonymous when you stay at the hospital, you can decide who you want and don’t want to visit you, and you can choose whether or not to hold your baby once they are born. You can also feel free to change your hospital plan even if you’ve already arrived at the hospital.
When the day that everyone is waiting for has arrived, you may be feeling both anxious and relieved that your baby will be coming into the world and placed into the arms of their new adoptive family. You can have people there to support you, and if you don’t want anyone there, that’s okay too. The adoptive family will understand if you don’t want them there with you right as you go into labor. If you’re feeling scared and overwhelmed, just think about how your baby will have an amazing future once they’re adopted and safely home with their adoptive family. Labor and delivery won’t be the only hard part of welcoming your baby into the world, and if you’d like some support for the difficult parts, an adoption counselor or someone closest to you will be there when you need them most.
Once your baby is born, you can choose to hold, feed, change, take pictures with, and even name the baby. Letting yourself care for your baby while in the hospital is okay, and will help you process the adoption once the baby is with the adoptive family. If you’re afraid of getting attached to the baby and your feelings becoming too much, you can choose to have the baby taken out of the room by a medical professional. The adoptive parents will need your say to hold the baby because, although you’ve chosen to place your baby for adoption, the baby is still yours until you relinquish your parental rights.
Terminating your parental rights is no easy decision, and depending on the state you live in, you’ll have a certain amount of time to consent to your baby’s adoption. If you’re ready to terminate your parental rights, you can do so before even leaving the hospital. A social worker either in the hospital or the agency social worker will give you the papers to sign over your rights. They’ll be there to witness the signing of your parental termination, and will be there to support and talk you through it. Turning over your parental rights to the adoptive parents is final in the states of Massachusetts and Utah. If you do want to revoke your consent to adoption, it’s usually a difficult process. Research the parental termination laws in your state.
- Life Post-Adoption
Life after placing your baby for adoption may feel more free in many ways. Still, you might not be sure what you’d like to do with your life now that your baby’s with their new adoptive family. Here are some ways you can improve your life after adoption placing:
- You can read this amazing article for guidance on coping post-adoption placement.
- You can talk to a licensed therapist.
- You can set a new career goal, try to move up in your career, or further your education.
- You can learn ways to increase financial stability.
- You can help mentor other expectant parents who are considering adoption.
- You can write letters, send photos, and ask to talk with the adoptive family if you choose open or semi-open adoption.
- You can find a new hobby or learn a new skill.
- You can travel to new places.
- You can learn how to be in a healthy relationship.
- You can live and plan your life how you want to without worrying about a baby.
Placing a baby for adoption is a huge part of your life and those heavy feelings shouldn’t be taken lightly. Although you’ll have those feelings of sadness, grief, depression, resentment, regret, and maybe even loneliness, you can always go to a birth parent support group, talk to your doctor, and talk with the adoption counselors from the agency about how you feel. Once those feelings eventually get easier to process, you’ll start to have an even greater outlook on life and have peace of mind knowing that you gave your baby a chance at a bright future through adoption.
Some Final Words About Adoption
Remember, you’re not “giving up your baby.” You’re placing them with a family that will always care for and love your baby like their own. Adoption doesn’t have to mean goodbye, and someday you’ll probably have that time to see your child again. By creating an adoption plan for your baby, you’ll work with an agency, choose the perfect adoptive family, have endless support, and take the chance to give both you and your baby a great life. Placing your baby for adoption won’t be easy, but it’ll be a worthwhile decision that you’ll never forget.