If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy in St. Louis, you most likely have many questions, thoughts and concerns. Some of these may be based around not wanting or being ready to become a parent, the financial impacts of pregnancy and the overall fear of what to do.
You are not alone. It’s very common for a pregnant woman to have questions and doubts about adoption, as an unplanned pregnancy can be a very overwhelming experience. We are here to help you explore the options you have and guide you in finding the right resources to be by your side throughout your pregnancy.
This article will inform you on the St. Louis, Missouri, adoption process, as well as provide resources you may need as you make this important decision. At any point in your pregnancy or decision-making process, you can contact an adoption professional, and they will answer any questions you have, cost-free, with no obligation to pursue adoption.
In the meantime, continue reading this guide to adoption in St. Louis, MO.
How to ‘Give Up’ a Baby for Adoption in St. Louis, MO
One common misconception that needs to be addressed? The negative overtone some people have when discussing an expectant mother who decides to “give her baby up” for adoption. Oftentimes, it’s implied that she is carelessly “giving up” on the child and herself altogether. This assumption is completely inaccurate — but unfortunately is still common from those who are uneducated about the adoption process.
In all actuality, a mother who chooses adoption for her baby is making a selfless, life-changing decision out of the love she has. She is not giving up by choosing adoption; she is providing her baby new opportunities and a fresh start.
You will see the term “giving up” used in this article and in other resources for adoption, but please take to heart that adoption is not giving up at all.
The St. Louis, MO, Adoption Process
The process of putting your baby up for adoption in St. Louis can seem fairly complex, but it is much easier when broken down into five steps. Every adoption is different, so each step may be more or less complex than the others depending upon your specific situation — but your adoption professional will help keep you on track throughout the process.
Step 1: Make Your Adoption Decision and Contact a St. Louis Adoption Professional
The first step is deciding that adoption is the path you would like to take. This is a big choice, but there are plenty of resources available such as a 24/7 hotline at 1-800-ADOPTION, pregnancy counselors, and adoption professionals to ensure you are well-educated on the topic and that you don’t have to make this decision alone.
During this step, it’s very important that you find the right adoption professional. Working with an agency and having an adoption specialist by your side helps add a level of comfort, knowing all of the steps and requirements are being completed correctly.
The agency you choose will impact the overall experience of your adoption in St. Louis, MO. Make sure you weigh your options and choose a professional who not only puts your needs first, but also makes you feel comfortable during the process. The best agencies will be able to provide all of the services you need, from start to finish, making the process run as smoothly as possible.
Step 2: Create Your St. Louis Adoption Plan
After you have decided on adoption and the professional that will provide your services in St. Louis, you will begin creating an adoption plan. This plan keeps you in control of how the adoption will proceed, planning out details such as the hospital you would prefer to deliver at, financial assistance opportunities, and even the type of relationship you hope to have with your child and the adoptive family after placement.
Planning these details helps guide you in the right direction and avoids confusion or concern later in the process.
Step 3: Choose the Perfect Adoptive Family for Your Baby
Your adoption plan sets up the most important and fulfilling step of the adoption process: finding the best family to place your child with.
The adoptive family you choose for your child will be selected based on your predetermined characteristics. You will be provided adoptive family profiles that fit those requirements or match them as closely as possible. These profiles often include pictures, videos, demographic information and more — all of which will give you a feel for the family’s personalities.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, you can share emails, video or conference calls, and even in-person meetings with the families to build a relationship with them. This will all to help you make your final decision.
Step 4: Complete the Adoption Placement
Once you have chosen a family for your child, you will need to begin preparing for placement. Your adoption professional will help you prepare a hospital plan, which will include your preferences for the hospital stay and actual placement.
During an adoption in St. Louis, a child must be at least 48 hours old before a prospective birth mother can consent to adoption, according to Missouri state law. Consent means the birth mother voluntarily signs her legal parental rights away.
You should be 100 percent sure of your decision before any legal adoption paperwork has been signed. An attorney will explain your rights and help you understand the process during signing.. Placement will occur only have after consent forms have been signed.
Step 5: Adjust to Life After Adoption
Adjusting to life after adoption is typically the most emotional part of the process. Everyone grieves differently, but no matter how long after placement, there are counseling services available for birth mothers who may need them. Although this is an emotional experience, many birth mothers are also able to find peace of mind knowing they have provided their child with the best opportunities they could.
Find a St. Louis Adoption Agency Today
An adoption agency can provide all of the services you need to complete an adoption in St. Louis. If you are considering putting your baby up for adoption in St. Louis, Missouri, please complete a contact form.
Here are a few adoption agencies near St. Louis, Missouri, that you may also consider contacting:
- American Adoptions
14801 E. 42nd St.
Independence MO, 64055
- Louis Christian Family Services
7955 Big Bend Blvd.
Webster Groves, MO 6311
- Bringing Families Together
7151 N. Lindbergh Blvd.
Hazelwood, MO 63042
Financial Assistance During Pregnancy
When placing a baby for adoption in St. Louis, many adoption-related expenses can be paid for by the prospective adoptive parents on your behalf. This assistance will help cover medical bills related to pregnancy and birth, as well as certain living expenses. In addition to the financial assistance offered, services provided by the agency, such as 24/7 counseling, matching opportunities, facilitation of legal services, open adoption mediation and more, are included at no costs when you use an adoption agency.
By no means does this mean a prospective birth mother is paid for “giving her child up” for adoption, nor does it mean an adoptive family is “buying” a baby.
A St. Louis adoption professional will guide you through this process, including these financial aspects.
Prospective Birth Fathers Rights During a St. Louis Adoption
One of the more complicated aspects of an unplanned pregnancy can be the rights of the child’s father. Prospective birth father rights in St. Louis are regulated by Missouri state laws. Every prospective birth father situation is different; different laws will apply to different scenarios, which can add to the confusion you’re feeling.
An adoption attorney in St. Louis will educate you on this topic, as well as all other legal requirements. Having trusted legal representation ensures your adoption is being completed legally and ethically. In most cases, the agency you choose will help you obtain the necessary legal representation.
If you have any legal questions prior to choosing an adoption agency in St. Louis, consider contacting any of the following St. Louis adoption lawyers:
- Mary Beck Law
- Keefe and Brodie
- Laurie A. Knight
- Stewart, Mittleman & O’Rourke
Finding an Adoptive Family in St. Louis, Missouri
When it comes to finding adoptive parents in Missouri, determining preferred characteristics and traits will help your adoption professional provide you with the best options.
When a hopeful family is pursuing adoption in St. Louis, MO, they create profiles to showcase their personalities, backgrounds, intentions and more. These profiles help you get a feel for potential matches. You may review as many adoptive profiles as needed to make a decision you fully trust.
Once you have narrowed down your list of potential adoptive families, pre-placement phone calls, emails and visits will often occur. These interactions allow all parties to get a better feel for each other’s true personalities.
Finding a family for your child should be a well-researched priority. The choice is in your control, but your adoption professional will be there for anything you may need to help guide you toward a decision.
If you would like to get a jump start on researching potential families for your child, you can also view adoption profiles anytime on your own.
Open Adoption with Your Child
Years ago, most adoptions were closed — with birth mothers never seeing or hearing from their birth children again. Luckily, times have changed drastically, and open adoptions are becoming increasingly common.
During an open adoption, both parties agree on the amount of involvement and communication the birth mother will have with the child and adoptive family. This can include anything from photo and email update, to monthly or yearly visits.
Not all adoptions are considered “open adoptions,” nor do all adoptions have to be any level of open. Depending upon your situation, a semi-open adoption or closed adoption could be best for you.
One thing to note: Post-placement contact may change over the course of time. Visits, updates and communication may decrease or increase as the child grows older. Open communication about your desires will reduce the likelihood of this happening.
Your preferences for your adoption in St. Louis, MO, are top priority. As you look for a potential adoptive family for your child, your professional will help educate you on the options available and narrow down which type of adoption best aligns with your goals.
Exploring Your Unplanned Pregnancy Options in St. Louis, MO
An unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy in St. Louis, MO, can be an emotional and confusing time. Having the best support system and resources by your side is crucial.
When it comes down to it, a pregnant woman in Missouri ultimately has three options: parenting, adoption or an abortion.
Although you are dealing with a short timeframe, you will want to weigh the pros and cons of each before making any decisions. This is not something you want to rush into.
Pregnancy specialists can help, providing 24/7 support to answer any questions you may have while you consider your options for your unplanned pregnancy.
Contact any of the following resources in the St. Louis, Mo., area for guidance.
- The Pregnancy Help Center of St. Louis
4150 Crescent Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63129
- Planned Parenthood
4251 Forest Park Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63108
Deciding what to do during an unplanned pregnancy is a lot to handle. We want to make sure you don’t have to make this decision alone. For an obligation-free consultation with an adoption professional, contact us today.