If you decide to place your child for adoption, here are a few possible steps that make up the placement process. Remember, you are a courageous and loving mother who only wants the best for her child. Find comfort in that.
It’s important to note, that at nearly every one of these steps, you can change your mind and decide to parent. Be sure to gather all the information you need to feel comfortable with your decision. Once you have legally placed a child, you cannot go back. Click here if you have more questions.
Deciding to place your baby for adoption is the potentially the greatest, most difficult thing you will do for you and your baby. Whatever your circumstances, if adoption is the best choice for both of your futures, be positive with your decision and know this is your (and partner’s/spouse’s) choice. No one else.
No matter what choice you make for you and your baby, you need to take measure to care for yourself. Check out clinics in your area or schedule appointments with your OB-GYN. Your physical, mental, and emotional help are of the utmost importance. You can read more about the necessities of pregnancy health and wellness here. If you do choose adoption, many adoptive parents can help with prenatal care. Check with your state’s laws to know what’s allowed.
When considering adoption, you may decide that you would like to consult with a credible agency or adoption attorney. A good professional will walk you through each step of the adoption process and keep you informed about your rights. Be sure that your adoption professional will be able to answer any questions you have. These professionals should not pressure you into an adoption decision, but help you find the best choice for your baby. A professional needs to be able to help you find financial, physical, and mental support whether you decide to place for adoption or parent your child.
You will need to decide what level of openness you are willing to have with your child and his or her adoptive family. An open adoption can mean sharing photos, updates, and even in-person visitations. A closed adoption means that you will have no relationship with the child after you relinquish your parental rights. A semi-open adoption is somewhere in between. Although you cannot make the adoptive family have the same level of openness, you can let them know your wishes for the kind of relationship you hope to have. It is important to continue the discussion about the relationship after placement so both parties know exactly what to expect. These may be an awkward or difficult conversation to have, but the goal is to make things as clear as possible. Please remember that contact agreements are not legally binding in most states.
It is completely your choice to decide which family you want to place your child with. You will find that families come in many different shapes and sizes, so you need to decide what kinds of qualities you want to look for in a family. What kind of values do you want them to have? Do you want a single-parent home or a two-parent home? Make a list of the qualities you want in your child’s life and follow your instincts. If you are ready to look at families that are hoping to adopt, you can look at online profiles like these, or ask your adoption professional for guidance. Remember, this is your choice and no one else’s. You decide who you will sign all your parental rights over to.
After you have chosen a family (or families) that you are interested in contacting, you can contact them directly or have your adoption professional reach out to them for you. You may feel nervous about meeting a family, but come prepared with what questions you have for them. What kinds of things do you want to know about them? Look for that connection that makes you feel like this is the right choice. Listen to your gut. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to take a break. Do not feel like you owe any family anything. This is your choice.
Most mothers have some level of “baby blues” or postpartum depression after delivering their baby. If you are feeling this way, you should consider visiting a professional counselor. You can search for one on your own or if your adoption professional offers those services, you can reach out to them. It is good to keep this option in mind throughout your pregnancy and after a placement. Some families may be able to assist in financing post-placement therapy and medical expenses. There is nothing shameful in seeking help for what may be the hardest time in your life.
You get to decide who can be in the hospital for the birth of your baby and how long you would like to be with your baby before placing him or her with the adoptive parents. You can be with your baby for a day or two, one-on-one, after he or she is born, but only if you want that. Whether it be a few minutes or a few days, it is your choice how much time you would like to spend with your baby after giving birth. You have complete parental rights over your baby until you legally sign away those rights.
Now is also a good time to decide what kind of postpartum care you will want and need. You can read more about postpartum care here.
When the time comes to place your baby, you can chose whether you want to see them. There will be some documents to sign and a finalization of the adoption in court, but please keep in mind one important thing: It is okay to change your mind. If after giving birth you decide to parent, you can make that decision before you sign over your parental rights. You do not “owe” any family anything. Placing a child with a family will be a difficult decision as you go through it, but you must feel confident that you are making the correct decision. Additionally, some states have a revocation period after a birth parent’s rights have been signed away. Look into your state’s requirements or ask your adoption professional.
During the adoption process, you and the adoptive parents have agreed on how much communication you both will have with each other. After the adoption is finalized, you and the adoptive family will have to make an effort to abide by the agreement. There may be times where communication from you or the adoptive parent will go through changes. It’s important to do your best to communicate your feelings. It is okay for you to change the level of openness if you have agreed on an open adoption. But the adoptive parents can also change the amount of communication you have with them and their child. Adoptive families are not legally bound to keep communication agreements in most states.