Considering adoption for your baby is a position that you probably never thought you’d be in. Through the overwhelming feelings that can come with an unplanned pregnancy, it’s important to remember two things: you’re not alone, and you have options. No matter where you live, the three options for an unplanned pregnancy are:
You may already have a strong feeling about which option you’re going to choose. You may still be unsure. Either way, this is a decision that requires you to educate yourself about your choices so that you can make a fully-informed decision that you feel is best for you.
This article is specifically about the third option. The following are five questions you should ask yourself if you’re thinking about placing a baby for adoption in your state, so you can get a better understanding of whether or not this is the right path for you:
Is Adoption Right For You?
The first question that most people ask themselves when thinking about adoption is, “Should I put my baby up for adoption?”
Let’s first talk about the language that people tend to use when talking about adoption. Phrases like “putting a baby up for adoption” or “giving a baby up for adoption” make it sound as if women who choose adoption are “giving a baby away” instead of carefully and painstakingly choosing adoption as the best option for their baby’s future.
So, remember that “giving your baby up” for adoption isn’t something that you do lightly. You are not “giving up” on your baby. Adoption is a selfless decision that’s always made because women want to give their baby the best life possible when they don’t feel like they’re currently able to give them the life they’d like to.
Only you can know if adoption is the right unplanned pregnancy choice for you and your baby. If you’re unsure, the best thing you can do is to learn more about adoption. You can always contact us and ask questions, get some general information about placing a baby for adoption, or get help finding whatever resources you need to make a decision that you feel comfortable with.
What Do You Want Your Adoption to Look Like?
You are completely in charge of your adoption plan when placing your infant up for adoption. This means that you decide:
- What kind of adoptive family you picture your for your child
- How much contact you want to have with your baby’s family before and after the adoption
- How you want your delivery at the hospital to go, and whether or not you’d like the adoptive family to be involved
- And more
You decide what you’re comfortable with in your adoption. This includes choosing your baby’s parents, whether or not you’d like to have an open adoption with your child and their family and more.
You’ll create an adoption plan with an adoption professional of your choice, and then their job is to help you execute that plan.
What Kind of Family Do You Want for Your Baby?
Choosing the adoptive family is one of the most reassuring parts of the adoption process for most women. You might be amazed to find that when you see the profile of the right family for your baby, you’ll simply “know.”
You’ll also have the opportunity to get to know the family you choose throughout the adoption process and communicate with them to whatever extent you’re all comfortable with. You can continue that relationship long after the adoption is complete if you choose to have an open adoption, and stay in touch as your baby grows up. Many birth and adoptive parents share an extended family-type of relationship.
Some questions you might consider as you create an image of the kind of parents you’d like for your baby:
- Where do you imagine your child living? In the same state as you? In an exciting city? Near the ocean? In the country?
- Do you picture your child growing up with big brothers or sisters?
- Would they grow up with a family pet?
- What might their parents be like? What are their interests, values or traditions?
Whatever type of family you envision for your baby, an adoption professional can help you find them. Someone is out there waiting to meet you and your child.
How Do You Want the Delivery to Go?
Establishing a birth plan with your adoption professional when you’re considering adoption can help you to feel more at ease and prepared. Having a plan set in place can help you feel calmer when your due date arrives. Your birth plan will outline what you want to happen at the hospital, like:
- Who you want to have with you in the hospital and/or delivery room to support you
- How much time you’d like to spend with your baby, including who holds your baby first and when
- How much you’d like the adoptive parents to be involved in welcoming the baby
- If you’d like to give your baby a letter, group photo or keepsake to mark the special day
After the baby is born, you’ll usually need to wait a minimum amount of time before you can sign any adoption consent forms. That time period is determined by your state’s adoption consent laws. This minimum required waiting period allows any medications from the labor to wear off so you have a clear head, and you’ll also have some time to be very sure about your adoption decision before you give your consent.
When you sign adoption consent papers, you’re voluntarily terminating your legal parental rights and officially placing your child with their adoptive parents. There will be an adoption specialist, legal representative or some other official to advocate for you (depending on your state laws) who will be present to walk you through those consent forms so you know exactly what you’re signing and what happens when you execute your consent. This is the final legal step of adoption, so it’s important that you’re sure that this is what’s right for you and your baby.
How Do You Envision Your Post-Adoption Life?
Adoption doesn’t end when you place your baby for adoption. It’ll take some time to grieve and heal from conflicting emotions. Adoption isn’t easy, even when you feel it’s the right decision.
Your relationship with your baby doesn’t have to end, either. Nine out of ten birth parents choose to have an open adoption. Through this type of adoption, you can have as much or as little contact with your child and their family as you prefer, which can include staying in touch through:
- Video chats
- Or however you all feel comfortable
Not comfortable having direct contact with your child’s family, but still want to receive updates? You can request to receive communications through your adoption agency. Some birth and adoptive families prefer a less formal, very open relationship. Others prefer to only communicate occasionally, or have a more closed adoption. That’s entirely up to you!