What does the adoption process look like during my unplanned pregnancy? That sounds like a difficult question. But let me help you break it down.
Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be such a confusing time. Excitement, fear, and panic, are just a few of the emotions that you may experience. Knowing that you want to carry a child through pregnancy but not being able to decide if you are ready to parent is a very hard decision. There are many things to consider when you are choosing between parenting and placing a child for adoption. In combination with high emotions, feeling overwhelmed with the opinions of those we love, it can be nearly impossible to process all of the information available to make the decision. Continue reading this for 4 tips to help you process some of the top questions surrounding placing your child for adoption.
1. When can I make an adoption plan for my child?
It may come as a relief to know that you don’t need to feel pressured to decide on adoption before your child is born. Though many families are waiting to adopt an infant, I can guarantee that none of them would want a birth family to feel pressured to make a placement decision when your head and heart aren’t ready.
For some birth parents, the decision to place a child is quick and decisive. If that’s the case you will have the opportunity to choose an adoptive family before the child is born. Your agency or an adoption coordinator will be able to match you with several families with similar criteria and characteristics of what you are looking for in an adoptive family.
Other birth families find it harder and take longer to decide to place their child for adoption. That’s okay. Even if you are sitting in the hospital holding your new child and then you make the decision, you will find the exact family that is meant to parent your child. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and panicked with the decision, but your heart will tell you when you have found the right family.
You’ll want to think about what beliefs, characteristics, and values you would like to see for your child’s family. Maybe you want a family that closely resembles yours, and maybe you are seeking something completely different. You may choose to find physical characteristics similar to your characteristics. If you suspect that you will have a child with stature challenges it may be important to you that your child’s father can identify and support your child in that way.
If you are mad about sports you may want to find a family that is equally as excited about sports and can/will support and nurture your child in that way. Matching interests and beliefs is important to your peace of mind and especially to who your child may be. It can also make the family unit that much closer and bonded.
You know your child and their history the best. Do whatever you can to help you and your child have a successful adoption plan. Trust your instincts and you’ll find the right family for your child.
Once you have chosen a family on paper you will have the opportunity to get to know the family you have chosen to adopt your child. This can happen in many ways, eventually culminating in a person-to-person meeting at the birth of your child, if that be your choice. If you choose to place your child after birth your agency will likely arrange a meeting at the adoption center for all of you to meet each other.
Just remember that the prospective adoptive family will be just as nervous and excited as you are. Allow the emotions to come and flow through the process. Just like any new relationship, you may experience moments of nervousness and discomfort, but ultimately you all want the same thing, to love and be loved by your child. Ask questions, share stories, share pregnancy cravings, and if you’re comfortable, moments for them to share with your child as they grow. Naturally, you’ll want to keep some things to yourself and know that they will undoubtedly understand if you don’t want to share parts of your story at this time.
A lot of parents find open adoption as the next best thing for their child. Being able to know how your child is doing makes adoption that much easier for both you and your child.
Open adoption is a very general term. It can mean many different things depending on your needs and desires, and the needs and desires of your child and the adoptive family. It’s important to think about what you want, need, and feel you can give to open adoption. It’s also important to know that can and will change as your life and situation change as well as that of your child. It can make a world of difference in the adoption experience for all parties involved. Open adoption has been a huge blessing to many children in knowing where they came from and that they were deeply loved through the entire adoption process.
Open adoption can be as simple as a yearly letter and photo sent to you independently or through an adoption agency updating you on your child, their achievement, and
growth. It can go as far as sharing life experiences, baptisms, first days of school, holidays, and special events. This will depend largely on geographical location and the desires of the birth parents and adoptive parents.
Often adoptive parents are very open to involving birth families into their lives and families Birth parents become an integral part of the family, just like the child. Each child, each birth family will likely have their own open adoption relationship in a family. Open adoption has proven to be a wonderful change to the adoption process.
Open adoption can embody anything that you want and need. The adoptive family will have an idea of what they feel is best for your child and their family as well. Keep in mind that they may have other adoptive families in their lives as well, and will do their best to accommodate your needs and what is best for their family as well. Try not to take it personally if they aren’t able to promise that they can fulfill every aspect of your open adoption dreams, and also keep in mind that this can change and adjust as their family grows and your family grows.
Open adoption allows you to share first-hand with your child, when appropriate, how, when, and why you chose adoption for them. It gives you the chance to show your love, your struggle, and your commitment to making this loving choice for your child. It allows you to answer their questions about their beginning and it allows you to share family history, medical history, and their story.
With any relationship, there will be highs and lows. Nothing is perfect, but with work, commitment, and the love that you have already shown by considering adoption, it can be a wonderful relationship for all involved. It’s important that while placing your child for adoption is a permanent decision, that you can choose a more conservative approach at open adoption, and as the relationship grows you can make the adjustments that you find necessary and most comfortable for you. It’s malleable and ever-changing.
Adoption should always be at no cost to the birth parents. If someone is charging you money to place your child for adoption, find a new agency. The adoptive family, financial support from your agency, or other forms of financial aid will cover the expenses of home study, services, and in some cases living expenses and medical expenses.
You’ll want to check your state adoption laws to know what is legal for the adoptive family to cover. The agency that you are working with should also know these laws and guidelines. It varies from state to state. Like anything in adoption, it will vary depending on your location, situation, and needs.
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An unexpected pregnancy can be a hard situation for birth parents, and adoptive families are interested in your health and welfare as well as the health of your child. It’s important to adoptive families that you feel relaxed, at ease, and with the least amount of stress possible. You should not feel obligated to continue with an adoption plan if you have changed your mind simply because an adoptive family has helped with expenses. Adoptive families expect, and are prepared to help, regardless of the completion of the adoption process.
Some of the expenses that are available to birth parents are medical expenses, housing and relocation services, and financial assistance. Life has a way of throwing us curve balls and even if you don’t feel like you’ll need the extra support, it’s always smart to know what services and supports are available to you should you need them. Again, this will vary by your location and the laws of your state. Please be sure to connect with your adoption coordinator to make sure that you’re working within the guidelines of your state and getting the best support possible.
4. On-Going Support
Grief is a part of the adoption process and affects everyone involved in the process. It is vitally important that all members of the triad are supported throughout the adoption process and beyond. Grief looks different for everyone and it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
Many adoption agencies offer post-adoption services in the adoption process. Knowing that you’ll be receiving support long after the adoption is complete should be a relief. At Gladney Adoption Center they offer post-adoption support for all avenues of adoption.
As with other adoption-related services post-adoption support will be completed at no cost to the birth parents. It’s important to have ongoing support as you grieve this loss and all that goes along with it. Knowing that you’ll have the support you need to get through this beautiful transition will be a huge relief for everyone involved.
How to place your baby for adoption is a commonly asked question and a good place to start if you’re considering adoption for your child. Adoption is much more than placing your baby, it’s choosing a life for your child that you cannot provide at this time. While sometimes that may feel overwhelming, it’s truly a remarkable gift for your child, and a family that is waiting for him or her. While it may not be an easy decision, it could end up being a life-changing decision that leads to a lifelong and fulfilling relationship with the family that raises your child. The adoptive family will want to know you, share your highs and lows, and answer any questions that you have about their family and what their hopes and dreams are for your child.
Thankfully many of the stigmas and bad practices surrounding adoption have all but dissipated. Do your research. Ask questions. This is likely one of the most important choices that you will make at this point in your life. You will know, as with anything, if you trust yourself, trust your instinct. Finding an agency that supports you and helps you find the best solution for you at this point in your life is the right fit.
Trained professionals will help guide you through this emotional decision. Get you the services and support you need to help you feel healthy, supported, and heard. Then you will be able to make the best choice possible for you and your child. You will then be able to make an adoption plan for your child that helps you feel seen, loved, and supported through the entire process. You don’t have to do this alone. There is someone who has been there and can guide you softly and gently through this process.
Adoption is not for everyone. But only you will know if it’s the right choice for you and your child. It will be difficult, but it will also be beautiful.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.