Finding out you are pregnant can be overwhelming even if you are prepared to have a baby. However, it can be even worse for someone who is not preparing to have a baby such as a young, teenager, a single woman who is unexpectedly pregnant, an addict who does not know what to do, or even an already-parenting couple who doesn’t wish to raise another baby. All of these women need to realize that there is an option they might want to consider. If you live in Louisiana, there are several steps to LA adoption. You might not be aware yet that adoption is available for you, but this article will help you understand what choices you have and the steps to take when you are living in Louisiana and considering adoption.

1. What is Adoption? Making a Choice

Not everyone who hears the word “adoption” knows what that means and it sometimes scares young, expectant mothers away because of things they might have heard or read, but it does not have to be a bad thing. According to Adoption.org, “adoption means a non- biological parent becomes the permanent parent of a baby or child who someone else has given birth to.” This means, in regard to LA adoption, that you want to first and foremost decide whether you want to give your baby a better life than you can provide for him or her. When it comes to expectant mothers considering adoption, she is making a selfless and difficult choice.

2. Know the Laws 

After deciding on adoption for your baby, the next step is to know the laws. Each state has their own set of adoption laws. When looking into Louisiana adoption, you want to make certain that you know all the laws surrounding adoption and what steps you need to take to ensure the best placement for your unborn child. Knowing the laws of adoption is important in the adoption process. Instead of going into adoption blindly without any knowledge of the laws, learning the laws helps an expectant parent advocate for himself or herself. When making such a huge life decision for not only yourself but your baby as well, it is important to have a support system around you. It will make the decision process easier because you will have people to assist you when the going gets rough. They can also assist you in figuring out the laws for the state of Louisiana and support whatever decision you make.

3. Find a Doctor

The third step in an LA adoption is finding an OB/GYN you can trust. They will do an ultrasound and/or a blood test to make certain that you are, in fact, pregnant. This is especially vital for teenage mothers because having a baby at such a young age can have dire and unwanted complications that you may not be aware of such as anemia, the baby being born prematurely, low birth weight, and pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia, according to the Merriman-Webster dictionary is, “a serious condition developing in late pregnancy that is characterized by a sudden rise in blood pressure, excessive weight gain, generalized edema, proteinuria, severe headache, and visual disturbances.” These complications can happen at any age so you want to be sure that the OB/GYN you choose is someone you can trust in. Your doctor will be the one helping you navigate this new territory and the changes to your body.

4. Find an Adoption Agency or Attorney

The next step is finding an adoption agency or an adoption attorney who will walk you through the steps of adoption. What is an adoption agency? An agency is a foundation that helps connect expectant parents and prospective adoptive parents. They help the expectant mother deal with the feelings that might arise during this trying time and beyond. How do you know which adoption agency to choose? You will want to choose an agency that fits your needs as you will be working together a lot. One agency that is based in Texas helps expectant mothers worldwide: The Gladney Center for Adoption.

An adoption attorney is an attorney that specializes in family law and adoptions. They help expectant parents understand the different laws for adoption in their state, including LA adoption. An attorney might be a good thing to have along with an adoption agency as they know the ins and outs of adoption and can answer questions the agency may not know the answers to.

5. Create an Adoption Plan

Creating an Adoption Plan is the next step when looking into LA adoption. There are three types of domestic adoptions from which you can choose:

Open Adoption

This one is still quite new and is becoming increasingly popular. In this type of adoption, you (the expectant parent) and the prospective adoptive parents decide whether and how much you get to see your child post-placement. The continued communication will be maintained through letters, videos, pictures, social media, and/or visitation. The types of communication and frequency are decided long before the baby is born.

Closed Adoption

Closed adoptions used to be the only type of adoption there was. This type of adoption means that the expectant mother places their child through an agency or with the prospective adoptive parents and ceases contact post-placement. The then birth mother doesn’t get the privilege of watching milestones for her child as they occur. The problem with this type of adoption is that if the child wants to one day find his or her parents, it is difficult because the file is sealed until the child turns 18. Even after 18, the sealed files can be extremely difficult to get unsealed to find out the names of birth parents.

Semi-Open Adoption

Semi-Open adoptions are being used more and more. The reason this type of adoption might be chosen is to allow the birth mother to have some kind of contact with the adoptive parents while maintaining a certain level of privacy within the adoption triad.

6. Hospital Plan

Next is the hospital plan. The hospital plan is where you, the expectant mother, get to decide who is in the delivery room with you when you give birth. Some expectant mothers only want their personal support system at the hospital with them, which is generally their own mother. Other mothers want to spend a small amount of time she has left with her baby privately. She may try to memorize or take in every aspect of her baby before he or she is handed over to the adoption agency representative or adoptive parents. Sometimes expectant fathers, if they are still in the picture, want to spend this time together as well. Occasionally, when the expectant mother is given the option, she will allow the prospective adoptive parents who will raise the child to be in the delivery room and experience as much of the birth of the child as they can. This may include both prospective adoptive parents or just the adoptive mother.

7. Find Adoptive Parents

The next step in LA adoption is to find the prospective adoptive parents you want to raise your baby. In the past, a expectant mother looked through stacks and stacks of paperwork to find the family she wanted to adopt her baby. Nowadays, they have photo listings on sites like Adoption.com that allow you to go through files much faster. How do you know who is the right family or individual to place your baby with? The truth is you may not know exactly what you are looking for until you find it. You must go with your gut on these decisions and hope for the best.

Once you have made the decision on who the adoptive parents will be, next comes meeting them. The best way to strike up a conversation is to start with some icebreaker questions. Some of these could be:

- How did you meet?

- How old were you when you got married?

- What kind of classes were your favorite in high school/college?

- What do you like to do for fun?

- Do you have family traditions that you will involve my baby in?

- Have you thought about a name for the baby?

- Will you tell my baby about me? (This one is more for closed adoptions)

- When or will you tell my baby he or she is adopted?

- Will you allow him or her to find me in a closed adoption?

8. After the Adoption 

The last step is to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life. Will you finish school? Go onto college? Get married? Build your career? There is no doubt that the world is at your feet but you might also be grieving the loss of the baby you carried and placed. Most birth mothers do grieve the loss of their baby even though the baby is alive; they grieve what could have been if they chose to raise the baby. There are five steps to the grieving process and you might find yourself going through each one more than once and not necessarily in order. It would be a good thing to have a therapist or counselor who deals with these kinds of things to talk through your feelings as they come up.

- Denial: You find yourself pregnant unexpectedly but you are not ready for it. You are not sure how people will react and you might want to pretend that it never happened. You can’t believe you had a baby and placed it through adoption.

- Anger: You find yourself angry at the situation, the birth father, your parents, or even yourself for allowing this to happen (this stage is one that comes and goes through the grieving process).

- Bargaining: You might find yourself bargaining with God or a higher power that if they would take this away, you promise to do something outlandish like never have sex again.

- Depression: This stage might be one you find yourself bouncing back and forth between throughout the entire pregnancy and adoption journey. You may also find this one hits you more and more after the adoption has taken place.

- Acceptance: This is a difficult step to get to and some birth mothers never do. Accepting the fact that you got pregnant and accepting that you made a selfless decision to give your baby a better life can be challenging when you are also missing your child.

For Birth Mothers Involved in a Foster Adoption 

You may be a mother who has addiction issues. Whether the addiction is to drugs, alcohol, or a myriad of other things, you may find that your children are removed from your home and placed into foster care because of those addictions. Another situation that involves foster adoption is when a woman is pregnant and cannot take care of her baby and she decides to allow the state to place their child in a new adoptive home. Since babies are usually adopted quickly, it is better to place a baby with an adoption agency or with the state than wait until the child is older. It is a selfless act for a mother to place her child through adoption because she knows her limitations and realizes her addiction issues prevent her (even if she is getting help) from being the best person to raise her child. Although it is a hard and difficult decision, keeping the best interest of the baby at heart helps the mother make the best decision.

This article was written for expectant mothers or parents who are unexpectedly pregnant and do not have any idea what their options are. If they consider adoption, these steps may assist them in making the best, most informed decision. Some expectant parents look at abortion as an option first, but there are a lot of expectant mothers who look into abortion, go to a clinic to have it done, and never go through with it. Knowing what is entailed in a LA adoption as far as the laws and the steps you must take can make this daunting task much easier to handle.