The nerve-wracking emotions that can come along with an unexpected pregnancy will probably cause anyone to wonder what their options are. It’s safe to say that you’re probably feeling scared, confused, or alone. And, you know what? That’s perfectly fine. However, you need to hear this loud and clear: you are not alone. Not only are there so many women who are going through the exact same thing, but there are also people out there who would want nothing more than to help you and see you succeed. If you immediately thought of adoption or if you’re just weighing your options, it’s possible you’re wondering what exactly the process looks like and how to “put a baby up for adoption”.
That being said, it’s essential that I mention that “putting a baby up for adoption” is actually a really negative phrase. If you think about it, saying you “put a baby up for adoption” makes it sound like you “gave up” or “abandoned” your baby. This is the furthest thing from the truth. When you choose adoption, you choose life for your baby. Also, the decision you make is extremely brave and selfless. If you know you’re not at a place right now to raise your baby, then knowing that there are many parents out there who will adopt your baby in a heartbeat. Instead of saying the phrase “putting a baby up for adoption”, try remembering to say something more positive like “placing a baby for adoption”. “Placing a baby for adoption” has a more positive connotation to it because that is exactly what you’re doing; you’re placing your baby in another home where he or she can have a good life with a forever family.
What is the adoption process and what will happen? Should I go through an adoption agency? Can I get support? Will I be able to have a relationship with my baby when the adoption is over?” Please be rest assured that there is no need to stress about the details. It’s actually a lot simpler than you may think.
Start an Investigation
Adoption isn’t something to take lightly and the decisions made shouldn’t be hasty. It’s important (and even recommended) that you do your research. If you choose to go through the state’s system, your baby would be in foster care for a while before a family gets to adopt him or her. It really depends on the state you’re in and what the rules are, but the foster care system is imperfect and can be frustrating for biological and adoptive families. On the other hand, if you choose to go through an adoption agency, your baby would go straight to the adoptive family that you choose. You have a lot more control in this scenario.
First things first, start looking into agencies that are closer in distance to you. Distance may be a dealbreaker for some biological families as they don’t have access to transportation. That being said, some agencies will come to you or provide transportation when needed. Some agencies might even be able to help financially if you find one farther away. Again, you just need to do your research. If distance isn’t an issue, then you can broaden your search to agencies that are in different cities, counties, or even states. Also, there are many agencies that have different branches or can assist you right from your home. For example, The Gladney Center for Adoption has many plants throughout Texas but they will help you wherever you live and can even help you with finances.
Get in Touch and Make a Plan
After you’ve picked the right adoption agency for you, it’s time to get in touch with them. Most adoption agencies have options counselors who are there to give you clarity about the adoption process. These counselors are here for you and will help you get started. You can even ask them questions such as what their beliefs are, what kind of parents are a part of the agency, what kind of support they offer, and how they can help you during and after your pregnancy.
Once you’ve made the final decision, you’ll be able to meet your caseworker. Not only will your caseworker be there every step of the way, but he or she will also help you with your adoption plan. What exactly should the adoption plan look like, you may ask? Well, it’s really up to you. It really boils down to what kind of adoption you want as well as which family you want. Yes, there are a few different kinds of adoptions to think through that have both pros and cons.
An open adoption is an arrangement where the family triad (adoptive family, adoptee, and birth family) have an open relationship with each other. This looks different for every family. Some families are close with each other and some are not. It’s usually based on what’s more convenient for the birth family. Communication can be through in-person visits, social media, phone calls, emails, or text messages. Information about any part of the family triad is easily accessible, which can be both a pro and a con at the same time. Even though it’s great for adoptive families to have easy access to the birth family’s health history, there is no privacy. Now, your baby won’t have a sense of missing who they are as a person when they get older because they can contact you directly. They won’t necessarily be left wondering why they were placed in an adoptive family. This is a normal way of life for most families who decide to have an open adoption, but some adoptive parents feel like they have to share time with the baby. Honestly, it’s a pride issue. It’s imperative to get along with each other and know that you’re both your baby’s family.
A semi-open adoption has most of the communication go through an adoption agency or attorney. There may be some contact between the triad, but not usually. Adoptive parents might send updates and pictures to the third party who then sends it to the birth family. Again, it just depends on what’s comfortable for the birth family. Some birth families may want more communication than others, and that’s perfectly fine.
A closed adoption does not permit any communication whatsoever between the family triad. All records are sealed and information is not easily accessible. Closed adoptions are actually becoming less popular as more adoptive and birth families are understanding the positive aspects of open adoptions. The only times that closed adoption is in place is if the child was abused in any way and needs safety or if the biological parents make that decision. Some birth families look at a closed adoption as a clean break and a better way to heal. However, some adoptees may struggle with having a closed adoption because they want to know who they are and where they came from. An adoptee won’t be able to access that information or reach out to the birth family until they turn 18. It also may be hard on the biological family to reconnect later on if they desire to meet the child.
Choose a Forever Family
Picking an adoption plan could also affect how you choose the perfect family. Most adoptive families are more than willing to have a relationship with you and they also want you to have a relationship with your baby. Open adoptions are becoming more popular and are becoming more normal in most circumstances. Your caseworker can help you make a decision if you’re still struggling.
Next is picking your adoptive family. Adoption agencies have a lot of family profiles to comb through. You can even narrow down your options based on ethnicity, religion, how many other kids they have, etc. Do you want a married couple or a single person? Do you want to know about their lifestyles? These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself when you’re ready to start looking. Once you choose a few families, you can talk or meet with them to get to know them better. Most birth families use this opportunity to see how the family acts and answer any questions they may have, such as:
- Why did you decide to adopt?
- How do you plan on raising the baby?
- Do both parents work or is there a stay at home parent?
- How often are you comfortable with visitations?
- Would you be willing to teach them about their culture?
When you picked the family that you’ve fallen in love with, it may seem like things are starting to fall into place. However, there’s one thing to plan for and that’s the birth. Granted, babies come whenever they decide to, so you may not be able to stick to it religiously. You do have some control regarding who you want with you in the hospital, how long you want to spend with the baby, and when the adoptive family can spend time with him or her.
It may be important to you to have at least one person in the room with you when you give birth whether it’s your partner, your family, or even the adoptive mother. I have read some beautiful stories of birth mothers letting the adoptive mothers in the hospital room. The adoptive mothers will usually make sure the birth mothers are seen and heard while supporting them as they go through labor. Some of the adoptive mothers even have the honor to catch the baby as he or she was born. However, you may not be comfortable with that and that’s okay. The adoptive parents want to make sure you’re comfortable.
Depending on the state, there are different amounts of time taken before the birth rights are officially relinquished. Some birth mothers would rather spend all that time bonding with the baby before the adoptive parents and some take turns with the adoptive parents before the time’s up. When the time comes to placing your child with the adoptive family, that doesn’t mean the door is closed for your relationship. You can absolutely still bond with your baby and the forever family.
During and even after the adoption, there are resources and support for you. You can participate in counseling and support groups for birth mothers. It’s a completely different playing field when you’re able to talk and interact with other mothers who have walked a mile in your shoes. Some of these mothers are going through pregnancy, postpartum, or they stick around so they can help other birth mothers. Gladney also offers a program called Next Steps which is designed to help birth mothers reach their goals. Are you wanting to go to school or find a job after the adoption? This is the perfect resource for you. Check out and see what other resources Gladney has to offer.
Choosing adoption for your baby is really great. You will have a lot of people in your corner who are rooting for you and what to see you succeed. Every member of an adoption agency is there exactly for you and other birth mothers. The adoptive families also want to get to know you and love you. Adoption is a special bond that creates families between adoptive and biological parents as well. You have a lot of options to choose from and amazing families to sift through, but your options counselor and caseworker can help you make the final decisions. You won’t walk this journey alone.Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.