Whether you are a frightened teenager who has found herself unexpectedly pregnant, a college student who knows she cannot raise a baby on her own, or someone struggling with addiction, you have options. In this article, we will discuss the different adoption services available to you should you choose to take that route.
What exactly is adoption? Even though you may have heard the word and although you may know a little about it, are you aware of what it entails or how you place your baby for adoption? As stated on Dictionary.com, it means, “to take and rear (the child of other parents) as one’s own child, specifically by a formal legal act.” There are several ways to define this word but there is so much more involved, such as how the word makes you feel now that you are looking to it as an option for your baby. It will eventually involve how your baby feels and reacts once they find out they are adopted and whether they want to be a part of your life at that point or not.
What are adoption services and what does that mean for you and your baby? The Gladney Center for Adoption has a motto, which is, “Gladney exists to give children loving, caring families here at home and around the world. That’s the heart of our mission.” The Gladney Center for Adoption is an adoption agency that helps expectant mothers worldwide in all the steps of adoption; the agency can also answer questions even after your baby is with his or her forever family.
According to Adopting.org, there are services provided to you as you make the most selfless, loving decision you can for both you and your baby.
Finding an Adoption Agency
This can be a difficult and daunting task even after you are certain of the choice to place your baby for adoption. This is one service that is easy in some ways but hard in others because you want to make sure that the adoption agency you choose is a good fit for you as they are the ones who will answer all your questions, as well as walk with you on your journey through placing your baby for adoption. I mentioned The Gladney Center for Adoption earlier. They are based in Texas, but if they are a good team for you then they can assist you no matter where you reside. If you find you cannot work with The Gladney Center for Adoption, they will gladly help you find the agency that fits your adoption service needs.
Adoption Attorneys are one adoption service available to expectant mothers; they can answer questions about the legal aspects of placing a baby for adoption. In my opinion, working with both an adoption agency and an adoption attorney congruently throughout your pregnancy and the placement of your baby lessens the risk of something going awry. Both an agency and an attorney can guarantee that everything is for the placement of your baby.
Finding a Good Counselor or Therapist
One of the services an agency provides is therapy as you ride the emotional roller coaster of adoption. In this aspect, too, you are going to want to find a therapist who specializes in adoption because he or she is better equipped to handle the emotions that you will undoubtedly face. When looking for a therapist with adoption services, you may find yourself feeling the stages of grief. A counselor that specializes in adoption more than likely will help you understand the five stages of grief and why you may not feel them in order and at different times throughout your life. Grieving is a lifelong process as it is difficult to accept some decisions you must make.
When you first find out what you are expecting, you may act as if it is not real and not tell anyone until you cannot hide it anymore. Expectant mothers may miss the window of opportunity for an abortion. Adoption then becomes your only choice because you waited too long.
Anger is an emotion that generally masks hurt. You may feel anger toward yourself for thinking it is your fault and yours alone that an unexpected pregnancy happened; you may be angry that you did not listen to your parents, that they did not keep tabs on you, or that they did not help you understand what having sex when you are too young could do to your plans and goals. You could be angry at the birth father—maybe the two of you decided against protection or were unaware that it only takes one time to become pregnant—for not taking the initiative to use protection. You may even find yourself angry at the baby, although you know it is not the baby’s fault; you may harbor some resentment anyway.
This stage is when you make unrealistic promises to God such as if he undoes the predicament you are in, you will never have unprotected sex again. These are not realistic requests but, when people are desperate, they often forget the reality of what they are asking.
What does depression mean? As stated on dictionary.com, depression means “to make sad or gloomy; lower in spirits; deject; dispirit.” But when you are experiencing depression due to the large decision you find yourself having to make, you could feel the need to isolate yourself from everything and everyone. You may not want to discuss what is going on with anyone. You may want to cut yourself off from the world. In this case, depression goes much deeper than just sadness and low spirits. You may find you lack interest in hobbies you once had; your friendships could suffer as you try not to bring them into this frightening new phase of life.
Acceptance is a tough stage to reach, to say the least, but with the assistance of your therapist and adoption agency, you can reach the acceptance stage. It may take longer than the duration of your pregnancy or the time it may take to finalize the placement of your baby, but it is possible.
As I stated before, there is no order or timeline for the process of grief. You may get to where you feel you have come to accept your circumstances just to be thrown into another depressive stage out of the blue. The important thing is that you utilize your therapist to talk through your feelings. It is better to start counseling as soon as possible, even if you may still be pregnant.
Prenatal and Postnatal Care
Many young women do not see a doctor until they are several months along. Prenatal care is the care you get from a gynecologist before the baby is born and as your pregnancy continues. The gynecologist makes sure you have the correct prenatal vitamins as well as keeps in touch with the adoption agency on how you and the baby are faring. This is important because not only does the doctor make sure you are healthy and taking care of yourself, but he or she also makes certain the baby is growing and is well. If you do not receive prenatal care, you could face risks to your health and therefore the baby’s health. One such risk is preeclampsia, which is when your blood pressure is too high; you could also not get enough to eat, which would mean the baby would not have enough either and could cause low birth weight or premature birth. These are just a few things that can and often do happen. Postnatal care is the care you receive after the baby is born. The doctor may want to make certain you are healing properly and that you do not experience any after-birth issues that could potentially be harmful. Postnatal care can last many years after having your baby. Many times it is the first postnatal visit when you and your doctor can discuss birth control options that are available to you.
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Many women, especially young, teenaged expectant mothers, do not have access to living conditions that are good for them or the baby. Some have family or friends who can help them out, but there are others the adoption agency helps to find a clean, healthy, suitable environment for the expectant mother and the baby until the mother has given birth. The adoption agency not only assists you while you are pregnant but, if you are unable to stay in the same place, they can help you find a more permanent living situation. Sometimes after the baby has been given to the prospective adoptive parents, the parents or guardians of the birth mother may allow her to move home again.
When you are young and pregnant, you may already be scared but to add financial responsibility to that of the pregnancy could be too much to deal with, especially if you are left with no support system. The agency you choose helps with finances as part of the adoption services they provide. They help you find employment or, if you cannot work because of how far along you are, they may assist you in making your life livable so that your finances are one less thing to worry about. After all, your first goal is your health and the health of your baby when you choose to place your baby for adoption.
This is not by any means an exhaustive list of all the adoption services available to you, but it gives you an idea of what to look for once you have made your decision. Different states have different rules, although I found through my research that most agencies provide at least the services I have listed. You will want to look more into what your state provides; some have more to offer than others.
While you are doing your research on different agencies and what each one provides, do not forget that you want an adoption agency that you can work with and that has your best interests as well as the baby’s well-being at heart. You will also want to research therapists that specialize in adoption and the grief process. If you begin therapy as soon as possible, you will handle the entire process better because you will have already chosen a counselor to assist you. By the time you start to experience the stages of grief, you will have already learned to trust him or her and will know that he or she will be available whenever you need. You will have also learned some coping skills when the stages of grief come up.
Choosing this selfless act of love for someone you have never met is difficult to do but you, the expectant mother, instinctively know whether you have everything you need to raise a baby. You must look outside your wants and take into account what your baby needs. Do you truly have the ability to raise a baby? When you are a teenager, you want to do things teenagers do, but if you choose to raise your baby, you may not have that chance because your way of life may change should you choose to parent. Many couples cannot have children and, while weighing your options, keep in mind the wonderful gift you would be giving a family or individual. Using the adoption services in this article and research in your state may help you to make the right choice. Trust your gut.
Although this is a guide to assist expectant mothers in their choice and journey through adoption, it in no way takes the place of finding an adoption agency or an adoption attorney to walk them through the process.Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Do you want more choices with your adoption plan? Do you want to regain more control in your life? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98. We can help you put together an adoption plan that best meets your needs.