If you’re reading this, you may be going through an unexpected pregnancy or you just discovered your partner is pregnant. Unless you’ve done some research on your own, you’re probably wondering what your options are. One of your options is adoption—the technical definition according to Oxford Languages is “the action or fact of legally taking another’s child and bringing it up as one’s own, or the fact of being adopted.” Another way you can look at it is finding a forever family for your baby. That being said, you may be in a tough spot and not in a good place to raise a child. Regardless of your reasoning, be it an addiction, school, work, age, or a lack of a support system, it’s perfectly okay to admit that you’re wanting to look for parents to adopt your baby. It’s important to remember that you are choosing life for your baby and that’s a beautiful thing. Even though you will be legally terminating your parental rights, you are giving your baby a chance to live a fulfilling life with a family who will love and adore him or her.
Even though adoption is a wonderful choice for you and your baby, it may seem extremely overwhelming trying to get things rolling. You may be wondering where in the world to start and how to move forward with the adoption process. If you’re feeling lonely, please know that you’re truly not alone with deciding on adoption. Not only are there so many birth families out there who know exactly what you’re going through, but there are also people who are trained to help you every step of the way. They also are kind, compassionate, and full of love. Their main purpose is to ensure that you’re being seen and heard throughout the adoption.
Whether you just gave a sigh of relief or if this just raised more questions for you, keep on reading to see exactly what the adoption process entails. Maybe you’re wondering the following questions: How should I feel about adoption? Why should I choose adoption? Where do I even start? How do I start looking for someone to adopt my baby? Do I get to choose the adoptive family I want? What kind of relationship do I want with my baby? Will I have access to support after the adoption is over? Hopefully, this article will answer these questions and whichever ones pop up in your head along the way.
How Should I Feel About Adoption for My Baby and Why Should I Choose It?
Understandably, you may be feeling guilty or shameful that you would decide to look for parents to adopt your baby. It’s normal to feel these emotions, but don’t let that stop you from doing what’s best for you and your baby. I mentioned before that you may not be in a place to keep your baby. Trying to find someone to adopt your baby is quite selfless. Again, you’re choosing to give life to your baby. You’re understanding that you can’t fully commit to raising a child and you want them to have the best life possible. That’s perfectly fine and don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed or selfish for making that decision. You can rest easy and know that your baby will be loved and cared for. Adoption is a beautiful way to make all members of the adoption family triad grow, including adoptees, adoptive families, and birth families).
Choosing adoption doesn’t mean that it has to be stressful or full of regret. You may have heard certain reservations from people you know or just from the world around you, possibly including the following: Why would you go through nine months of growing a child just to place it for adoption? How dare you be so selfish as to abandon your baby? Why are you doing adoption when you have other choices? If there is anyone in your life who is feeding you this kind of negativity, you need to close that relationship or at least set boundaries. You are making an incredible choice for your child to live. I know I sound like a broken record when I say that, but you need to realize that you don’t need to waver from this decision if this is something that you truly want to do. You are being courageous, selfless, and so brave.
Where Do I Start Looking for Someone to Adopt My Baby?
Once you’ve decided that you want to go through with looking for someone to adopt your baby, you first need to find an adoption agency. Why am I not mentioning your state’s foster care system? Every state is different, but the odds of you being able to have more control during the adoption are very slim. You probably won’t be able to pick the family or have a relationship with your baby after the adoption is over. Since every state has different laws about public adoptions, you may want to research and see what going through the state foster care system entails.
On the other hand, adoption agencies are here for you. They are chock-full of people who are trained to make sure that your needs are being met and that you get some say in what you want throughout the adoption process. Here are some things to consider when finding the right adoption agency for you:
- Do you care if the agency has only married heterosexual couples or a variety of couples and singles?
- Is it important to you if the agency is a Christian one or a secular one?
- What kind of parents are a part of the agency?
- Does the agency require home studies and rigorous background checks?
- Can the agency help you look for someone to adopt your baby?
- Are you wanting support after the adoption is over?
- Does the agency support every kind of adoption (open, semi-open, and closed)?
- Is distance an issue for you?
- If the agency is further away and you decide on that one, can they assist you financially?
- Are there any programs or resources that can help you during your pregnancy, the birth, and after the adoption is over?
- Do you also help birth fathers and other members of the birth family?
You can even call or meet up with someone from an adoption agency to ask questions. Some of the questions asked above may be good to ask the agencies themselves if you can’t find out information from their websites. Other questions could be:
- If I can’t cover the adoption fees, will I be able to qualify for assistance?
- Will I be able to choose which family I want?
- What happens in the event of a failed match?
- Can I still have contact with the agency even after the adoption is over?
- Will the agency be able to help me open my closed adoption (or vice versa) if I change my mind?
- Is it possible to have a relationship with the adoptive family or am I supposed to keep my distance?
What Are My Next Steps?
After you’ve done extensive research and picked the right adoption agency for you, you will be assigned a caseworker. From there, you’ll be able to make your adoption plan together. What are some things to think about when you’re looking for someone to adopt your baby? One important aspect is looking for a family that is willing to respect your decision with how involved you want to be with your baby. I mentioned before that there are three different types of adoptions. Why do these definitions matter? You need to consider what kind of relationship you want with your baby based on what you think is best.
Open adoption is the more popular option because it has accessible communication and records for the adoption triad. There is no privacy when going through open adoption, which is also something to consider. You will be able to access the records of the adoptive family you choose and they will be able to access yours. Now, this may not necessarily be a bad thing. Most adoptive families will know what your medical needs are, such as allergies, so they can pass the information on to their pediatrician or use it in case of an emergency. You will also have the ability to contact your baby and the adoptive family via a plethora of ways, such as social media, texting, visits, phone calls, et cetera. Your child will also be confident in his or her identity because he or she will rest knowing that there are two sets of families who love him or her and want what’s best for him or her.
A semi-open adoption happens when the birth family wants to be somewhat involved but at a distance. Most if not all communication goes through a third party. There isn’t much direct communication from either side. For example, a birth family may just want pictures and updates every few months and a phone call a couple of times a year. The adoptive family will send updates and pictures to the third party, usually, the adoption agency, which will then go to the birth family.
Finally, a closed adoption has no contact between the birth family and the adoptee. In most cases, a closed adoption occurs when there have been signs of abuse, and it is used to protect the adoptee. However, some birth families would rather choose a closed adoption as they believe it gives them a better chance to heal and move on. The adoptee won’t be able to access their birth family’s records until they turn 18 and the birth family may not have any idea as to where the adoptee is. The adoptee may also feel abandoned because he or she can’t attain the kind of closure for which they are so desperately yearning.
Pros and Cons
There are positives and negatives to all three of these adoptions. No adoption is alike and it depends on the birth family. You may end up becoming close with the adoptive family you choose and want to keep in contact with them and your baby frequently or you may only want to contact the adoptive family and your baby now and then, and that’s perfectly fine. Even though adoption is a beautiful process, it can also leave feelings of grief for the birth family. Would having more or less contact with your baby help you heal? It’s up to you to decide.
Looking for an Adoptive Family
The next step is looking for someone to adopt your baby. Your caseworker will help you narrow down your options based on your preferences; these could include ethnicity, religion, whether or not there are other kids, where they live, et cetera. Some agencies will have parent profiles on their website or will have physical profiles to look at in their office. These parent profiles have a great deal of information on the family, a letter to the birth family, and maybe even a video. It may be hard to pick and choose a family just by looking at their pictures and reading about them. Usually, you can meet up with a few adoptive families and ask them questions such as the following to get to know them better:
- Why did you decide to adopt?
- What is your parenting style like?
- Are you wanting more children?
- Would you be willing to educate the baby about their culture (if different from adoptive family)?
- Are you open to letting me have a relationship with my baby?
When you’ve chosen the perfect family to adopt your baby, you’ll already get that relationship started. Most adoptive families are willing to go through an open adoption but will respect your decision if you choose differently. After all the little details are figured out, you’ll have to make your birth plan. This can cover anything from who you want in the delivery room with you, how much time you want to spend with your baby before the surrendering period, when the adoptive family can see the baby, and how you will choose the baby’s name. Just make sure that you’re being seen and heard because your feelings matter, too.
The Adoption is Over—Now What?
Regardless of which adoption road you choose, it’s not going to be easy. There will be waves of grief and sadness throughout your life and it’s important to make sure you don’t drown in them. Check and see if the adoption agency you’re wanting offers post-adoption counseling and other resources. It’s important to go to a therapist so you can come to terms with your emotions and lay them to rest. You can even go to birth family support groups and talk to birth mothers. Even though it’s great to talk to a licensed professional, it’s also good to converse with someone who has gone through the same thing. Just remember that you’re not alone when you choose to look for someone to adopt your baby. Your adoption agency, adoptive family, and other birth families out there are rooting for your success.