Placing your child for adoption is a very brave and difficult decision. When choosing adoption for your baby, you’ll want to consider the type of family you’d like for your child—the type of adoption you’d like to have. As with any process, there are many options for the placement of a baby/child for adoption.

Once you have decided to place your child you have many choices. Chances are, you know someone who knows someone who is looking to adopt. If you want to go the private route, you could use social media or word-of-mouth to let others know that you are looking to place your child. Along with family and friends, you might want to let your doctor or your pastor/clergyman know as well. If this doesn’t work out, you can type in a simple search “looking to adopt,” and there should come up with a plethora of choices of families searching to adopt. This process (in most states) will require hiring an attorney to finalize and legalize the adoption. These fees will generally be paid by the adopting family, but that’s something you can discuss with them when you meet them. You’ll also want to discuss living expenses and other fees during the meeting process. While the discussions are difficult, it will be paramount for a successful adoption placement. An attorney can help you navigate your state’s laws regarding expenses and compensation.

If you are using an adoption agency, you will receive many services and representation. All these services will be provided to you free of charge and are generally covered in the fees that the adoptive families pay to use an agency for placement. When searching for an agency, you’ll want to do your research. Perhaps talk to family and friends for experience on either end. These days you will find an agency that will support just about any type of adoption. Open adoption is generally encouraged in this day, and you’ll want to research the degree of openness you desire moving forward. As an adoptive parent, I would say that, for our family, this is fluid and can and will change as a child grows/matures. Agencies can also offer you counseling services to help you through each and every step of the placement process.

Our adoption agency was priceless in advocating for our child’s birth mom and for our family in the hospital process. We were able to be close to our son’s birth mom and our son during the entire stay. We followed our son’s birth mom’s wishes throughout the process. Our placement worker helped facilitate a room for us, visiting requests for our son’s birth mom and her family, and was invaluable in the relinquishment process. We could not stay with our son’s birth mom and take our son home at the same time, so knowing that she wasn’t alone made it more comfortable for all of us.

Some agencies offer education grants/scholarships following placement, allowing birth moms to achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves post-placement. You will likely also be offered post-placement therapy, which again will be provided to you free of cost. Many agencies help navigate discussions and concerns with bills and other monthly expenses, clothing, and food. These needs are often met through the adoptive parents or through donations from the community.

Even if you know some adoptive parents who are licensed and waiting through an agency, you can choose them, and their adoption agency will help facilitate the placement and the needs of both you and the adoptive family. In some states an outside attorney is necessary to finalize the legal aspects of the adoption, but in most cases, the agency has an attorney on retainer that handles all these transactions for the adoption. Your agency representative can help you through all the steps and necessities.

This can be a stressful and confusing time. Often, we want to leave hard decisions until we must make them. If you want to have a say and choose between as many paths as possible, you’ll want to make an adoption plan and not leave the child to be placed through a state agency. While they are competent in helping with this decision, they are not well-versed and cannot offer you the same services as a private adoption or an agency adoption. It will certainly limit you’re ongoing contact with your child. And it can be harder to implement an open adoption plan.

Giving all these options a lot of thought will help you make the best adoption plan for you and your child. It is a difficult time, and your adoptive family and/or adoption agency can help you navigate all the emotions and difficulties you’ll face in the process.