The love you have for your child is immense – so much in fact that you have started thinking about doing what’s best for your child. You have begun thinking about placing your older child for adoption.
There are many reasons why a mother might come to this decision, but often times it is strictly financial. This doesn’t mean she loves her child any less. It means she loves her child so much that she wants to ensure that her child’s life is full of the necessities and luxuries that he or she deserves, and at this point in the mother’s life, she simply cannot provide them all.
Many times, the father isn’t in the picture, leaving her with all of the bills and only half of the income, requiring her to hold two jobs, and sometimes more. Then, without any assistance from her family, the daycare bill becomes increasingly high the more she works. It truly can become a vicious cycle.
However, there is hope.
Clearly, no one in this position wants to place their child for adoption. However, the situation might not be as dire as you may think, and here is why:
In today’s private domestic adoptions, the mother of the child is always in control of her adoption plan. While it is common for her to worry that her child won’t remember her or will wonder why she chose adoption, she is able to nullify these worries by tailoring her adoption plan to what best fits herself and her child.
For example, if she wants to choose a local adoptive family and to see her child once a week, that is entirely her decision, and her adoption professional will find an adoptive family who is agreeable to her wishes.
This is why a typical mother in this situation chooses either an open adoption or a semi-open adoption, because she wants to either remain in her child’s life (open adoption) or at least let the child know that she loves him or her and why she chose adoption (semi-open adoption), by sending and receiving pictures and letters.
Conversely, if the birth mother decides that seeing her child with another family would just be too difficult, she can choose a more closed adoption.
No adoption relationship is right or wrong; it completely depends on what the mother believes is best for herself and her child.
Now, all adoption professionals define open, closed and semi-open adoptions differently, so the mother should be sure to do her research prior to choosing an adoption professional, ensuring they can provide her the adoption relationship tailored precisely to her adoption plan.
So which adoption professional is best – An adoption agency, an adoption attorney, or another adoption professional? It really depends on the mother’s adoption plan.
If the mother has already identified an adoptive family, perhaps a relative or a friend, an adoption attorney might make the most sense because she only needs the legal paperwork completed to make the adoption official. What is often missing from adoption attorneys, however, is adoption counseling. They may refer the mother to an outsourced counselor specializing in grief and loss, but she would have to pay for these services herself.
An adoption agency, on the other hand, will often provide mothers free adoption counseling. If she doesn’t have an identified adoptive family, an adoption agency may make the most sense for her because they often provide the most adoption-related services, including the largest lists of waiting families. This benefits the mother because she has more options to choose the family that best fits her adoption plan.
A mother considering adoption for her older child should keep in mind that she can contact an adoption professional without any obligation to proceed with an adoption plan. It is completely acceptable for a mother to contact an adoption attorney or agency, discuss her options, receive some information, and to then decide to continue to parent, if that is her decision.
However, for those who do choose adoption, regardless of which adoption professional the mother chooses, there will almost always be a pre-placement transition period including her, the child, the adoptive family, and possibly a social worker. As with the rest of her adoption plan, these meetings are entirely at the discretion of the mother, whom a social worker will often work with to determine the amount of time necessary for her to feel comfortable with the adoptive family she chose.
This transition period often begins with a brief introductory meeting, whether it’s at one of their homes, in a park or at a restaurant, to name a few. The next meeting is typically a little longer, and by the third or fourth meeting, it’s common for the mother to leave her child alone with the adoptive family to see how the child takes to the adoptive family, and vice versa.
The adoption process will take the next step toward becoming official only when the birth mother and child are comfortable with the chosen adoptive family.
Indeed, this is a difficult time in your life, but always remember that you, and you alone, are in control of the situation. If you believe placing your older child for adoption is best for him or her, as well as yourself, keep in mind that there is always an adoptive family out there who will fit your adoption plan. Never agree to anything less than exactly the adoption plan that you see for yourself and your child.
And never forget that your child will always love you for the selfless sacrifice you made to better his or her life.