Adoption is a decision that only a mother can make. That is why, as the mother of your unborn baby, you are the sole person in charge of your adoption decision. Whatever you want to provide for your child, your adoption plan is your tool to make it happen.
Creating your adoption plan is a crucial step to making sure you are in control of the adoption process from beginning to end. Read on to find what you need to know about adoption plans and how to start yours.
What is an Adoption Plan?
Your adoption plan is a guideline for how you want your adoption to proceed. By creating one, you will be able to communicate your needs and desires to your adoption specialist, the adoptive family, and anyone else involved in your adoption.
When you start to create your adoption plan, you will need to consider:
- What kind of family you want to raise your baby
- How much contact you want with the family before the adoption
- Where you will have your baby and who you want to be with you
- How much you would like to see the baby after the adoption
Read about each of these steps in more detail below.
Selecting a Family
Your first step in your adoption plan will be deciding who you would like to raise your child. Some women have already identified an adoptive family before contacting an agency, but many do not know of any families looking to adopt. Fortunately, adoption agencies are constantly working with families who are screened and ready to welcome a baby into their home.
Here are just a few of the things you might consider as you search for a family:
- Other biological or adopted children
- Home and neighborhood
- Lifestyle and hobbies
- Parenting style
- Religion or personal values
Read about this in more detail on our page about finding adoptive parents.
After you select a family, you can begin getting to know them. Usually, the first communication with the family will take place in the form of a phone call between you, the family, and your adoption specialist. Over the course of your pregnancy, you will communicate with the family over the phone and through email, and the family will travel to visit you at least once before the baby arrives. This correspondence is known as pre-placement contact.
As you get to know the family, you can let them know what you want for your baby and voice any questions or concerns you may have. This is also the time to determine the kind of relationship you would like to have with the family after the baby is born. Your adoption can be open, semi-open, or closed.
The amount of time you have for pre-placement contact will depend on how far in your pregnancy you are when you selected the family. The more time you have with the family, the more certain you can feel about your decision.
Sometime before your due date, you will work with your adoption specialist and healthcare provider to outline your hospital plan. This will ensure that the big day goes smoothly and that everything proceeds according to your wishes. When creating your hospital plan, consider:
- The environment where you’d like to give birth
- When you would like to go to the hospital
- Who you want in the delivery room with you
- How much time you would like with your baby
- When and if you want to see the adoptive family
Once you have had the baby, you will be asked to terminate your parental rights and consent to the adoption. Depending on the state you live in, you will be asked for consent sometime within 72 hours of giving birth. After you sign the relinquishment papers, your adoption decision is legally binding, and the adoptive family will take the baby home.
Once you have had the baby and consented to the adoption, you can begin moving into the new relationship you will have with your baby and the adoptive parents. Your adoption specialist will also be involved to make sure the family upholds whatever level of contact you agreed upon.
If at some point you decide you need less contact than you originally wanted, then you have the right to limit or cease communication with the family. If you feel that you want more contact, contact your adoption specialist and talk about your options for coming to an agreement with the adoptive family.
Always remember that your adoption plan is not binding and does not obligate you to proceed with your adoption if you are not comfortable. Until your parental rights are terminated, you have the right to change your mind about any aspect of your adoption plan.
How to Start an Adoption Plan
If you think you may be ready to start creating your adoption plan, then there are a few steps you should take:
- Make sure you are certain about your adoption decision – While you can always change your mind about adoption, it is always best to be absolutely sure that it is what you want before you begin. Make sure you are prepared for the adoption process and the emotions that may come with it.
- Determine what you want for your baby – What kind of home do you want your baby to have? Should the parents go to church or participate in certain activities? Do you want your baby to have siblings? Having a general idea of what you want will help you make decisions later.
- Contact an adoption professional – When you are ready, you can reach out to an adoption professional, who will help you find a family and work out the details of your adoption plan.
When you are preparing to pursue adoption, remember that your adoption plan is yours. It is not up to your family, your friends, or anyone else to determine what is best for you and your baby. If you ever feel unsure about any part of your adoption, always know that you have the right and the power to change it.