Archive for the ‘Birth Parents’ Category

The Importance of Finding Supportive Unplanned Pregnancy Help

At this moment, you may be feeling unsure or overwhelmed about what is best for you and your baby. Any decision you make regarding your unplanned pregnancy will likely be one of the biggest decisions you have ever made. You want to make sure you get as much information as you can about your options and discuss your thoughts, feelings, or questions with someone you trust.

While it is important to talk to a loved one about your situation, remember that this is ultimately your decision. Your friends and family may want the best for you, but that does not mean they truly know what is best for you and your baby at this time. Your family also may be emotionally involved with your decision.

After telling your loved ones of your pregnancy, you may consider seeking out an unbiased third party to help inform and guide you towards the best decision. Many expectant mothers today find that an outside support network such as a counselor, health educator, or an adoption agency allows them to approach this significant decision with a clear and open mind. After telling your loved ones, you too may consider turning to a counselor or social worker for advice about your pregnancy.

If you are going back and forth between your unplanned pregnancy options, seek out a professional counselor who is willing to fully listen, respect, and understand your decision process. Talk with someone who can walk you through your options, who can help you make a decision, and who will respect any decision you make. Talk with someone who is available and willing to sit down and guide you through this journey.

Usually the best unplanned pregnancy advice comes from those who can look at your situation from an honest, unbiased perspective. No matter where you choose to go for outside support, make sure you do not feel pressured into any decision and you are fully involved in the decision-making process. Ensure that all of the information you receive is accurate and reliable. Choose an agency, clinic, or counselor that welcomes your partner, friend, or family member to be involved and accompany you if you wish.

As a not for profit, private adoption agency, Adoptions With Love welcomes you to call us at any time of day for professional unplanned pregnancy help. Our team of compassionate counselors is here at all hours of the day helping women like you through this incredible decision. We will help you look at all of your choices without judgment or pressure and always with respect.

Adoptions With Love is a team of trained professionals who can honestly and attentively walk you through each and every one your options. No matter what direction you take, we want to make sure you are fully ready, committed, and confident in your choice. Any choice you make becomes a life-long journey, so we encourage you to carefully consider every single aspect of your choice.

Our Reality Check-List can help you decide between parenting and adoption. If you would like to discuss your answers in detail with Amy, Nancy, Claudia, or Amelia, do not hesitate to contact or visit us.

Call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731, or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072.


How to Know if You Are Ready to Parent Your Baby: 15 Questions to Ask

You have just discovered you are pregnant and are unsure if you are ready to parent your child.  It is okay if you are not.  While parenting requires a lot of planning ahead, over 50 percent of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.  Fortunately, you have many choices as an expectant mother.  You have time to make a conscious decision regarding your pregnancy.  You have the ability to decide whether you are emotionally, financially, and physically ready to raise a child.

If you are considering parenting, understand that it is a lifelong commitment.  It is true that parenthood comes with many joys, but it also demands a lot of hard work.  Only you can decide if you are ready to begin this journey.

Being pregnant does not mean that parenthood has to be a part of your plan at this time. If you have other ambitions to pursue right now, adoption may be the most positive choice for you.

As you consider your unplanned pregnancy options, it is important to take time to reflect on yourself, your relationships, and your situation.  Do some soul-searching.  Talk with others about your feelings on parenthood.  Consider the costs and the reality of becoming a parent.  Ask yourself the following questions to find out if you are truly ready to parent at this time.

  1. Do you enjoy spending time with children? Do you enjoy teaching and guiding others?
  2. What are your views on parenting? What do you believe makes a great parent?
  3. Is having children a part of your plan? If so, why do you want to become a parent?
  4. Do you feel pressure to parent this baby? Do you feel your decision is being influenced by anyone else?
  5. Are you ready to put your child’s needs before your own?
  6. Do you currently have a stable job? If so, are you able to take time off of work to be with your baby?
  7. Are you financially prepared to raise a child (current estimates show it costs nearly $250,000 to raise a child to adulthood)?
  8. Do you have the finances to pay for prenatal costs, doctor appointments, and hospital bills?
  9. Do you live in a safe environment to raise a child? Can you raise your child in your current home, or will you have to move? Will you have to move in with family or friends?
  10. Will you have to rely on friends and family for help? Are you comfortable with this?
  11. How is your relationship with the baby’s father?
  12. How does the baby’s father feel about your pregnancy? Will you involve him in your decision?
  13. What type of support is the baby’s father willing to provide: financial, childcare, emotional?
  14. Can you attain your long term goals, and still make a good life for you and your child? If so, how?
  15. How will having a child impact your life? What will change? Are you ready to make those changes?

Reflect on your answers as you move through each question.  Consider your reflections.  Are there questions that challenge you?  Do you feel your answers are positive and confident?  Adoptions With Love created this article to help guide you towards the right decision for you and your baby.  You may also download our Reality Check-List to see just how prepared for parenthood you are at this time.

Try to picture yourself with a baby at this time.  Write down your thoughts and feelings, then discuss them with a trusted friend, counselor, or adoption professional.  Adoptions With Love is only one phone call away.  If you would like a non-biased, confidential conversation regarding your options, contact us at 1-800-722-7731.  Our compassionate team at Adoptions With Love can help you develop the best plan for you and your baby.

 

Sources:
Parenttrust.org


Pregnant? Here Are Your Unplanned Pregnancy Options

Discovering an unplanned pregnancy can be a very emotional, and often confusing, experience.  It is a moment that marks an incredible turn in your life.  If you have just learned you are pregnant, know that you have several options—you can continue your pregnancy and parent your child, continue your pregnancy and place your baby for adoption, or terminate the pregnancy.

In this blog, we discuss your various unplanned pregnancy options, in hopes that your decision will be both informed and well-thought-out.  This is an unexpected journey, but you can make it a positive one.  Our goal is to guide you through it.  As we walk you through each consideration, know that our team of adoption professionals and counselors is only one phone call away.  You do not have to do this alone.  We understand this is not an easy decision to make, but by giving you the right information and support, we can help you design a loving, thoughtful plan for your child.

Parenthood:

For most women facing an unplanned pregnancy, parenting is the first consideration to cross their mind.  This may be the case for you.  At this time, you may truly feel that you are the best-fit parent for your child.  It is important to know, however, that parenting will require you to make big changes to your life plans and lifestyle.

Parenthood is both challenging and rewarding.  As a parent, you will experience incredible amounts of love and pride.  Parenting also calls for a lot of hard work, patience, and flexibility.  As you consider your options, try not to underestimate the amount of time, energy, and finances that parenthood involves.  It is a 24-hour/7-days-a-week commitment for the next 21 years of your life.  Are you ready?  Are you prepared to handle everything that parenthood brings?

Your situation may not be perfect right now, but parenthood may be possible.  Find out if you are ready to become a parent by completing our free Reality Check-List.

Adoption:

Like parenthood, choosing to make an adoption plan for your child also requires a lot of your love.  Adoption is a strong, courageous, and selfless act that will give your child a life beyond what you can provide at this time.  As you carefully consider your options, picture your child five or ten years from now.  If you see your child in a place that you cannot get him or her, then adoption may be your answer.

By choosing adoption, you will be able to give your baby the most significant gifts of all: opportunity, unconditional love, and stability.  You can choose a family for your baby.  You can also receive letters, pictures, or even have in-person visits as your child grows.  Adoption does not put an end to your relationship with your child.  Rather, it begins a new type of relationship for each of you.  You can remain a part of your child’s life while still pursuing your own goals.

Many birth mothers gain peace of mind after adoption, even while experiencing loss, knowing their child is loved and safe.  Most birth mothers report that they know they made the right choice, even though it was a difficult one. At Adoptions With Love, we offer various adoption counselling services to help expectant mothers through the adoption process and with challenges they face before and after the baby is born.

If you choose to place your child with a loving adoptive family, know that you still have various adoption options.  Call us if you would like to discuss the many different closed and open adoption plans.

Consider all of your options:

There is no rush as you consider your options.  Take time to re-examine yourself, your life, and your future.  The best t choice will be the one that feels right in your heart; that gives you peace of mind and makes the most sense for you at this time.

If you choose to continue your pregnancy, however, it is important that you begin prenatal care as soon as possible.  If you choose to make an adoption plan for your baby, we can help you with the prenatal costs associated with your pregnancy.

 

In the end, only you can decide what option is best for you and your baby.  But you do not have to make this decision alone.  Call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 800-722-7731 to learn more about your unplanned pregnancy options, or download our free checklist here to learn what option is right for you.


The Reality of Parenting [Infographic]

adoption vs parenting

When facing an unplanned pregnancy, there are many choices you can make for you and your baby. However, as an expectant mother, it can be hard to know which choice is the right one. You want what is best for your baby, but also what makes the most sense for you at this time.

Are you considering whether to raise your child or to make an adoption plan? Before you make this significant choice, it is important to take some time to think about whether or not raising a child is truly realistic for you at this time. What will having a baby mean for you, both now and down the road?

Adoptions With Love has created this infographic to help guide you through this important decision. We ask you to take the time to reflect on your current situation and on your future. Try to also think about your baby’s future. Now consider the following:

Your Financial Situation: The costs of raising a child today are higher than ever before. Parents can expect to spend nearly $250,000 on one child throughout the first 18 years of his or her life. From food to housing, daycare to education, diapers to medical insurance, the expenses are endless. Before choosing to parent your child, review your budget and make a plan. Be honest with yourself. Are you able to support all of your child’s needs at this time? Will you be able to support your child in the future?
Your Family Situation: Take a look at the people around you. You may have a loving family who is willing to help you every step of the way. You may have supportive friends who are willing to help you through this pregnancy and after the baby is born. The father of your child may be right by your side and will help raise the child. Still, 80 percent of single-parent families in the United States are headed by women and many are raising two or more children. As you consider your options, ask yourself who will really be there, who will really help you, and if need be, are you able to parent this baby alone?
Your Future: As a new mother, you may be left putting your education or career on hold. Over 54 percent of single mothers today have to delay their enrollment into college, and 1 in 4 are unemployed. Are you able to balance your professional life with a baby?

Parenthood means planning ahead. It means understanding what may come your way, and how you can make it work for you and your child. If you believe you can love, care for, and fulfill all of the needs of your child at this time, then you may be ready to parent your baby. If you decide you are not prepared to raise a child at this time, remember that you still have other options.

Complete our Reality Check-list to help guide you in making this courageous decision between parenting and adoption, or read our Guide to Unplanned Pregnancy for additional advice and support. If you would like to talk more about your options, or for further guidance, please call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072. We are here to help you.


Is Open Adoption Right for You and Your Baby?

At the heart of every adoption plan, whether it be open or closed, lies a child. This is what makes adoption such an admirable act. This is what makes expectant/birth mothers who choose adoption so brave. They desire to give their baby a life beyond what they can realistically provide.

If you are currently considering adoption, you likely also want to give your baby this same gift. Once you decide that it is your most positive choice, your next step will be deciding what kind of plan will be best—an open adoption plan, a semi-open adoption, or a closed one. Remember, there is no wrong way to make this adoption plan. No two people are alike, and each adoption plan is unique.  Only you truly know what will work best for you. Our team of experienced and compassionate adoption professionals will respect your choice, and if you would like, will help you to design a plan that fits all of your individual hopes and needs.

You may have read our recent Guide to Open Adoption, and are considering this kind of adoption as a positive next step—But how will you know if open adoption is right for you?

Open adoptions have become increasingly the norm, and many expectant/birth mothers believe that an open adoption will offer the most positive adoption experience. Research has proven that an open adoption plan truly benefits everyone involved, with 84 percent of adopted persons, 94 percent of adoptive mothers, and 85 percent of adoptive fathers being satisfied with their level of ongoing contact.

Choosing an open adoption is giving your child an irreplaceable gift: identity. Open adoption provides answers to questions your child may have in the future, such as, “What were my biological parents like?” and “Why was I adopted?” Having the opportunity to communicate with you, can allow your child to put all of his or her puzzle pieces together. Children growing up in an open adoption can better understand who they are and where they came from.

While it may be a lot to think about at this time, choosing open adoption also is very beneficial for expectant/birth parents. It allows an expectant/birth mother to take control of her situation and realize her goals. It enables her to remain a part of her child’s life with ongoing communication and updates with your child’s adoptive family. It is this sort of ongoing, open relationship that can allow you to heal and find peace, having that first-hand knowledge that your child is being loved and nurtured.

As you contemplate if open adoption is right for you, try to stay focused on what is in the best interest of your child. Decide what expectations you have for your child, for your adoption plan, and for the future. Stay true to yourself, and what is true in your heart. You may decide that open adoption is too much of a commitment for you at this time, or that choosing an adoptive family for your baby is just too overwhelming. We want you to know that it is okay to make a semi-open or closed adoption plan. Your child will still experience a life of love and devotion beyond placement, no matter what type of plan you choose.

While we find open adoption to be very positive, we understand that it is still not right for everyone. That is why Adoption With Love offers semi-open and closed adoption plans to any expectant/birth parents considering adoption. We will help you design the type of adoption plan that fits your needs, and we will always be available if you want to revisit that plan along the way.

Before you make an adoption plan, we encourage you to educate yourself regarding all options. Download our Guide to Open Adoption or call us for honest advice about the open adoption process. With respect, compassion, and trustworthiness, the birth parent counseling team at Adoptions With Love can help you decide if an open adoption is the best choice for you.

 

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A View of Openness: Erica’s Adoption Story

open adoption storyThe beauty of adoption is that it can come in many different forms, and blossom in many different ways. Every adoption story is unique.

This is one birth mother’s inspirational story. Erica came to Adoptions With Love six months into her pregnancy, unsure of her choice, but seeking more information about the adoption process. She soon discovered that an open adoption plan was the answer to her prayers.

Read Erica’s heartfelt story as she takes us on an emotional journey through her open adoption experience. Learn how she came to the courageous decision to place her baby for adoption, and how the most challenging event in her life turned into the greatest blessing of all: becoming Mère.

 

Becoming Mere.

Here I am fresh out of college, trying to balance a full-time job in corporate America with a social life.  Spending time after work with new and old friends; all the while, trying to find myself as a young, independent, single, twenty-something-year-old living in Boston.  It took only one moment for the rest of my life to be flipped upside down when I found myself in the hospital with a doctor telling me the intense pain in my lower back was not the kidney stones I had self-diagnosed.  After testing my urine and hormone levels, the doctor determined that I was 22 weeks pregnant—just about six months.

The doctor tells me that in the state of Massachusetts, I legally have one more week to decide if I want to terminate the pregnancy.  Right then and there I know nothing about my future and where my life will go.  The only thing I know and could not feel more strongly about is that I am about to give birth and be the vessel to the biggest miracle I will ever see, or know.  That gives me only three months to decide the fate of two lives and two futures; the future of my unborn child and myself.

I went back to my parents’ house that night from the hospital.  I went straight into my childhood room, crawled into bed and cried.  My Mom came in to check on me and shared my tears.  I looked her in the eyes and said, “How did I not know? How did I not feel the baby growing?”  It seemed as soon as the doctor told me I was pregnant I got a belly.  With our eyes full and my Mom and my hands on my belly, I asked her when I would feel the baby.  She said you should feel the baby now.  As soon as she finished her sentence we both felt a kick.  After that first kick and sign of existence, I felt my baby constantly.  It was almost as if he was jumping for joy that someone finally knew he was in there, and that he was going to receive the love a baby needs from their mother while he develops and grows.  I could not help but beat myself up for not knowing there was a baby growing in my belly for six months.  If I had known, I would have talked to my baby and ensured he felt the love I had for him from the beginning.

Every night, I held my hands on my belly and told my baby that I was going to do whatever I can to make sure he has the best life possible and will always be loved.  I had no idea about adoption or being a single mother.  All I knew was that as lost and confused as I was, I was having a baby that I had already fallen in love with and was determined to protect.

I don’t think I have ever cried so hard in my life as I did the first week that I found out I was pregnant. How would I make the best decision for my unborn child when I could not even decide what to make myself for dinner after work?  There was one night I sobbed endlessly for a solid three hours.  I was shaking like a leaf; somehow my eyes continued to form tears, and my shoulders continued to shake.  The whole three hours my Mom and Dad held me trying to calm me down.  They said, “Erica, we are going to get through this, you are not alone. We are all going to get through this.”  I rocked, and I cried and I could not imagine being strong enough to raise a baby at this stage in my life, but it did not make sense.  I was alone in this experience as the biological father made it clear he was going to stay out of any decision I would make.  Ever since I could remember, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a mom.  Now, here I am pregnant—my dream realized, but it just did not feel right.  My parents continued, “Erica you need to stop crying. You need to give this baby joy. He needs to feel your love and happiness for the next three months of his development.”  Hearing these words from my parents sunk in and I promised myself that I would have the healthiest of pregnancies; giving my baby as much love as I could these next three months while he finished developing, and while I figured out both of our futures.

I prayed just as much as I panicked, hoping that God would give me the strength to do the best thing for my son and me.  I had to keep the faith that no matter what direction I chose, that God had His hand on my baby’s and my life and was already ten steps ahead of me.

When I did manage to fall asleep at night, I would dream and have signs that would leave me waking up contemplating adoption.  I met with an agency to educate myself on the process because adoption from a “birthmother’s” side was something I had never heard of before.  I wanted my baby to grow up in a household with a mother and a father who loved each other; to have a father in his life that he would look up to and respect, and that was something I knew I could not provide for my child at this point in my life and it broke my heart.  I knew no matter which decision I would make I needed to put my heart second so that my child’s heart would always be protected.

I worked with an agency that only dealt with open adoptions.  I told the agency the only way adoption would work was if I was present throughout my son’s life.  I told them that not only did I need to be present in his life, but my parents and two brothers needed to be as well.  I needed to find a family where I would not miss out, and instead be included, in my son’s milestones.  I needed to contribute to his identity and give him a name; whether it was his first or middle name, he would have a name from me.  The agency told me that it was not common for birthmother’s to be so present in their child’s life after they placed them with their adoptive parents.  The agency could only promise annual letters and pictures after the first year of my son’s life up until he was 18.  The amount of “openness” would have to be decided by the adoptive parents.

The agency showed me three families they thought would be a good fit for my son and me.  I did not even finish reading their stories before I knew that these were not his parents.  I became very specific in my wants and needs, and the agency came back with three more families.  Within the three families they came back with, I read about Mia and Nate.* Reading their story took my breath away.  Not only were their values, interests, morals and beliefs identical to mine, but they were also the only family that wished to have a relationship with their future child’s birthmother. They wanted their child to grow up knowing any future children that their birthmother had as siblings. That was it for me; God had finally given me the sign I had prayed for.

I read their story over and over to the point where I had it memorized.  I wrote a letter to Mia and Nate to share my story and to ask them to meet.  The agency told me they had one more family they wanted me to look at before I could meet Mia and Nate.  I told them that was unnecessary and to please give Mia and Nate my letter and to set aside a time where I could meet them if they were willing to meet me.

A few days later I met Mia and Nate with the agency.  I left our initial meeting feeling the first bit of comfort knowing that there were such loving people in the world who wanted to be a part of my son’s life so badly.  I wanted to meet them again without the agency and this time with my parents.  We met for dinner in the North End by my college apartment at an Italian restaurant. Dinner with my parents and Mia and Nate went so well.  It felt like we were catching up with family we had not seen in a while.  I left dinner feeling like I could not explain what was happening in my son’s and my life, but I could feel it, and it felt right.  I trusted that God was leading our lives in the right direction; this feeling was all I needed for me to keep moving forward.

We continued to meet each time with my parents and brothers.  Every time I left, I felt more connected with Mia and Nate and continued to build trust in them.  I eventually told them this was the decision I was making and felt like they would be amazing parents to my son; I wanted them to raise my baby.

They assured me that I would be a present person in my baby’s life as they had fallen in love with me and my family over these few months.  They could not imagine not sharing the gift of my family with my son as he grows up.  Mia and Nate also felt it was important for me to have a part in naming my son and loved the connection I chose for his middle name.  The next few weeks, before the birth of my son, Mia and Nate did everything in their power to make me feel as comfortable as possible.  Sending flowers, homemade treats, letters, and emails, Mia and Nate made sure that I felt just as loved by the two of them as did my baby that they were about to raise and call their own.

On July 2nd, 2015, my angel, Aiden Joel,* entered this world.  I had a C-section and had to stay in the hospital for five days.  My Mom spent every day and night in the hospital with me, and AJ, while my Dad and brothers came each day from morning to night.  I wanted Mia and Nate to feel just as proud and important as I did and had them come to the hospital every day for a few hours as well.

For the first five days of AJ’s life he did not leave anyone’s arms, nor did five minutes go by that he wasn’t not kissed a minimum of three times in a row.  If I was not holding or kissing him, my two brothers and parents were.  From the second AJ was born my brothers were already referring to themselves as Uncle Shane and Uncle Colin.  My Dad could not wait to be Pépère, and my Mom claimed the name, Grammy Pammy.

Mia and Nate are now Mom and Dad, but who am I?  Everyone has a title to Aiden, but I am just Erica?  I could not wrap my head around it.  Being called Erica did not fit my relationship with my son; it did not fit our story.

One night in the hospital after everyone left I started to cry looking at Aiden cuddled up on my chest.  “Who am I?  Am I just Aiden’s “birthmother?” I asked.  Am I only Erica to him?”  With tears in her eyes, my Mom told me I would never “just be” Aiden’s birth mother.  I would always be someone special to him, because of the relationship I have built with Mia and Nate and the connection I already have with Aiden.  I held Aiden while my Mom held me, and eventually through my tears, Aiden and I fell asleep in my mother’s arms.

The next day when Mia and Nate came to the hospital for their final visit before they would take AJ home, my Mom bumped into them in the hallway.  “How’s Erica doing?” they asked.  My Mom told them that the night before was very difficult, and I was struggling with who I would be to Aiden.  Their shoulders dropped and their eyes filled with tears as they listened to my mom.  They told her that this was something they never even thought through.

A few hours after Mia and Nate had left the hospital, my Mom’s cell phone buzzed with a text from Mia.  The message read, “We were talking about names for Erica, so she has a title to Aiden too.  We thought of “Mom” in a foreign language, like French, since it is part of their heritage. We thought he could say “Mère” or something similar.  It’s just an idea, and we are open to anything, but we wanted to make sure that there is a title special just for Erica”.

Mère. That was it.  As soon as I heard the title, I knew that was who I was.  With my eyes filled with tears and my heart full of love, I looked down at my son in my arms and gave him a kiss.  “I’m your Mère, Aiden. I will love you more than life itself, and I promise I will always be there for you no matter how we part after tomorrow.”

Fast forward to five months and here I am back to life.  I have seen my son at least once a month and have also met both sets of his grandparents.  We share a Shutterfly account where Mia and Nate upload new pictures of Aiden for my whole family to see almost every day.  We have met for Sunday dinners at both Mia and Nate’s house, my parents’ house, and my apartment in Boston.  We talk through FaceTime, email, text, and over the phone on a regular basis.  Mia and I have met for lunch on our work breaks in the city and have continued to build our relationship as friends.  I find myself just as excited to see AJ’s Mom and Dad, as I am to see him.

We are starting new traditions as a family.  Our first with three new seats added to my parents’ dining room table for Mia, Nate, and Aiden; for what has become the most meaningful holiday of my life, Thanksgiving.

To think that the scariest and most challenging event of my life has turned into my biggest blessing is a miracle; I could not imagine my life, or family, any other way.  There are many nights I lay in bed so thankful asking God what I did for him to bless me with such a special and unique start to my family with these three angels: Mia, Nate, and sweet Aiden Joel.

I cannot tell you what the role of Mère is completely like yet because I am still learning myself. What I can tell you is, what it feels like to be Mère, how it is more love and pride than I ever thought possible to possess all for my son and his parents.

I am back in the North End trying to balance my former full-time job in corporate America with a social life.  I am spending time after work with new and old friends, all the while trying to find myself as a young, independent, single, twenty-something-year-old living in Boston.  The only difference is now the biggest part of me is found; I am Mère.

 

“Becoming Mère” is a True Birthmother Account Written by Erica.


Your Rights as an Expectant/Birth Mother Considering Adoption

Choosing adoption for your child does not mean you are immediately relinquishing all of your rights as his or her birth mother. In fact, you still maintain many rights throughout the adoption process.

If you are currently considering adoption for your baby, it is important for you to understand all of these rights. Adoptions With Love has compiled the following list to help guide you in making a fully informed decision regarding adoption. Please take the time to review and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

As an expectant/birth mother considering adoption, you have:

The Right to Make Your Own Decision, Free From Pressure or Coercion. 

One of the most important things to remember in considering your options is that you, as an expectant/birth mother, have the right to make a choice free from outside influence. No one, not family, friends, nor the father of your baby, can force you into making a decision you do not want to make. This is your choice.

The Right to Your Body and Any Decisions Regarding Your or Your Baby’s Health.

As an expectant mother considering adoption, you have complete say in your pregnancy and all rights to control your body during your pregnancy. Right now, you are the person who truly knows what is best for you and your child. How you and your baby are cared for is therefore determined by you. Once the baby is born, you, as the biological mother, still maintain the right to make all decisions regarding your care and that of your baby, right up until the adoption process is completed.

The Right to Change Your Mind.

It is also important to know that no decision you make before the birth of your baby will be binding or limit you in any way. While laws do vary state to state, you have the right to change your mind about adoption or parenting up until the birth of your baby.

Depending on where you live, you will have a certain allotted time after your baby’s birth to make a decision about adoption. Some states also allow you to revoke your consent to adoption days after the papers have been signed. This is not always the case, so if you have questions about the specific laws in your area, please contact us.

The Right to Design an Open Adoption Plan.

Using a licensed adoption agency gives you the right to be a part of every phase of the adoption process. This means that as a birth mother, you have a right to participate in designing the adoption plan that works best at this time. You may choose to create an open adoption plan, which will give you the right to stay updated and/or in contact with your child and the adoptive family.

You may choose to participate in Adoption With Love’s letter and picture program, which gives birth mothers the opportunity to receive personal updates from the adoptive family.

The Right to Choose and Meet an Adoptive Family.                            

As an expectant/birth mother, you have the right to choose adoptive parents to raise your child. If you are still considering adoption, you also have the right to view several waiting adoptive families’ profiles. . Once you have chosen a possible adoptive family, you have the opportunity to meet them in person. These in-person meetings will give you the opportunity to ask questions of the adoptive family and may help you form a relationship. This connection may give you confidence that you are choosing a loving, caring family for your child (for more information on choosing an adoptive family for your baby, download our free guide, here).

The Right to Confidentiality.

If you choose to place your baby for adoption, know that you have the right to complete confidentiality. Open adoption is not right for everyone. You may feel more comfortable keeping your information private. Rest assured that no one—not even an adoption agency—has the right to share your personal information without consent.

The Right to Financial Assistance.

Choosing to place your baby for adoption means that you will have the right to request financial assistance for pregnancy-related expenses. At Adoptions With Love, we want to ensure that you have the proper, quality medical care. We can assist with hospital bills as well as pre-natal costs.

You also have the right to other financial assistance through our agency, such as transportation, maternity clothing, and housing assistance. We can assist you with these expenses in the third trimester of your pregnancy.

The Right to Counseling.

The adoption process can be overwhelming, but you always have the right to on-going support. As a part of our free services for birth mothers, Adoptions With Love offers professional, compassionate counseling during and following your pregnancy should you choose adoption. Our team of professionals can help guide you through the adoption process. Our goal is always to be there for you, before, during, and after the birth of your child.

The Right to Respect.

Adoption is a courageous act that gives your child a life beyond what you can provide at this time. If you choose adoption, know that you ALWAYS have the right to respect and dignity. You have the right to be proud of your decision and the right to be confident that your decision was the best option for you and your baby. This is not an easy decision to make. It takes bravery to choose adoption, and you deserve every ounce of admiration.

To learn more about your rights as a birth parent, please call Amy, Nancy, Amelia, and Claudia toll-free at 1-800-722-7731.


5 Questions to Ask Before Making an Open Adoption Plan

If you have decided that adoption is right for you and your baby, it is important to know about the possibilities of open adoption. An experienced open adoption agency can help you design a flexible plan that is completely tailored to your needs, hopes and wishes.

You may have many questions when beginning your open adoption plan, as this plan will need to meet the needs of both you and your child as the years pass. As you begin, take a step back and carefully consider your present situation. How might open adoption impact your current lifestyle? Then try to think about the future. How will an open adoption plan affect your own life goals? How might it affect your child, as he or she grows and begins to understand the adoption process?

  • What is your ideal adoption plan? This is probably one of the most important questions an expectant/birth mother can ask herself when beginning the open adoption process. Close your eyes and picture your life over the next few years. After your baby is placed in a new and loving home, do you see yourself staying updated on how he or she is growing? Do you see yourself keeping in contact with the adoptive parents? Try to picture your life five, ten, twenty years from now. Would you be comfortable with your child calling you to talk more openly about the adoption?
  • What sort of family do I want for my baby? In an open adoption plan, you are able to choose the parents who will raise your baby, and we welcome you to be involved in this positive choice. Consider your ideal family. Where do they live? Do they have extended family? What are their interests and hobbies? Are there certain values you want your child to possess that can be found in the right adoptive family? Once you have a picture in your mind of a family for your baby, it will be time to start your research. An open adoption agency can help you research adoptive families in depth by providing you with extensive profile books of each waiting family that may be a good fit based on your wishes. If you would like, you also have the opportunity to meet and develop a relationship with this family before your baby is born and as the years continue. This is completely up to you. In an open adoption, your possibilities for this relationship are flexible—but know that every waiting family at Adoptions With Love is willing to build this connection if you want it. It is also important to note that each waiting family at Adoptions With Love is carefully screened.
  • Do I want my child to know about me? How much do I want him or her to know? A huge part of deciding whether open adoption is right for you lies in how much you want your baby to know. In a closed adoption, no identifying information is revealed to your child, or to your child’s adoptive family. In a semi-open adoption, only what you want them to know will be disclosed. In a fully open adoption, your child will be able to contact you according to your contract, and will know both your first and last name at your own discretion.
  • What is my own comfort level regarding openness? Your next step will be to decide how much contact you will have with your child, and how much you can see yourself having after the placement takes place. What forms of communication will you be most comfortable enacting? Once you determine this, you will be able to consider how this contact will occur. Will you keep in touch with your child’s family via phone calls or email? Will you schedule yearly visits with your child and his or her adoptive family?
  • Do I want to meet my child in person? If so, how often? If you decide that you do desire to see your child face-to-face, there are various ways you can go about it. One question to ask yourself is how exactly do you envision these meetings going? Do you want to schedule periodic visits to your child’s new home? Who do you want to be present at the meetings? You can schedule these meetings with your child’s adoptive parents initially. Some birth and adoptive parents decide it is best to have a third-party mediator present at these meetings, and one of the compassionate counselors at Adoptions With Love can guide the conversation.

As an expectant/birth mother, you can work directly with an agency and potential adoptive parents to decide what is best for your baby. The frequency of communication and visits (if you choose to have them) will be decided based on your desires, as well as the feelings of everyone else involved. Only you know what kind of adoption plan will work best for you and your child. We encourage you to ask yourself these five important questions as you begin your plan. Most importantly, we encourage you to be completely honest with your answers. Only then will you decide if open adoption is the right choice for you.

For more questions about open adoption, as well as how to begin your open adoption plan, please download our free guide, a Guide to Open Adoption. Our team of adoption professionals also welcomes you to contact us at any time of day for any further answers on open or closed adoption. Call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731, or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072. We look forward to hearing from you!

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November is National Adoption Month

Happy National Adoption Month!

This November marks the 20th anniversary of National Adoption Awareness Month.

November is a time for giving thanks. It is a time for family, love, and celebration. This National Adoption Month, we thank you for allowing us to be a part of your adoption journey and we invite you to celebrate all of the lifelong connections that have been made through adoption.

We devote this month to the courageous birth mothers who have made the selfless choice to give their child a future they are not able to provide at the time of birth. We also dedicate this month to the loving adoptive parents who provided a loving, stable and secure life for their children. We celebrate the adoptive parents that relate to their child’s story with empathy, and who understand the brave, selfless and courageous decision the birth parents made for their child’s future. Most of all, we celebrate the adopted children around the world who continue to fill our hearts with their stories, day-in and day-out.

National Adoption Awareness Month is about the celebration of adoption, but it is also about educating others regarding the positive aspects of adoption. This month, Adoptions With Love hopes to raise awareness about adoption, adoptive families, and the children in need of loving, permanent homes. We invite you to join us. If you would like to share your adoption story with us or with others, please email our team at info@awlonline.org.

How did National Adoption Awareness Month begin?

In 1976, the governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, announced a statewide Adoption Awareness Week.  It was not until November 1984, however, that President Ronald Reagan declared the first National Adoption Week, giving special acknowledgment to those who are rebuilding families all over the country through adoption. He proclaimed:

“National Adoption Week gives us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to give every child waiting to be adopted the chance to become part of a family. During this Thanksgiving season, let us work to encourage community acceptance and support for adoption… Most importantly, let us pay tribute to those special couples who have opened their homes and hearts to adopted children, forming the bonds of love that we call the family.”

Families have long stood as the pillars of our communities and children have long been our highest hope for the future. President Clinton knew this when in 1995; he expanded Adoption Awareness Week to the entire month of November, which has continued now for twenty years. Clinton affirmed:

“For many people across the United States, adoption provides a means for building and strengthening families. It places children into loving, permanent homes where they can flourish and grow up to become happy, healthy, productive members of our national community. Adoption also enables adults to experience the unique joys of parenthood.”

What is the meaning of National Adoption Month 2015?

This year, National Adoption Awareness Month is focused on our nation’s population of older youth in foster care who are still in need of a loving, supportive family. Children usually enter the foster care system when their parents are unable to care for them. They are often neglected in this system, and left only hoping for the love and stability they deserve. Each year, 23,000 youth are released from foster homes without having a permanent family living arrangement to fall back on. This month, campaigns will be made in efforts to move children from the foster care system to a secure and lasting home.

How can we help?

Making a private adoption plan is one way to prevent children from ever entering the foster care system. That is why Adoptions With Love is committed to working with expectant/birth parents as they make a choice for their child. By helping them to design an adoption plan, we can ensure that their child will be loved unconditionally.

This choice is not an easy decision to make. That is why National Adoption Month honors those birth parents that have made this inspirational choice to design an adoption plan for their baby. By working with adoption professionals to create this plan, expectant/birth mothers are able to choose an adoptive family for their baby, secure their child’s future, and give their child the life that he or she deserves.

Open adoption is one way that many birth mothers ease their feelings about adoption. Open adoption allows them to maintain contact with the adoptive parents of their child and stay aware of the child’s growth. We would love to hear about your open adoption plan, and how it has developed over the years.

How can you help?

Adoption gives children in need love and opportunity. Those that have not been touched by adoption may not fully understand the adoption process, how it works, and what can come of it. We welcome you to share your thoughts, feelings, and stories about the adoption journey, to help others see the benefits of the adoption.

Let us celebrate these 30 days of November together. If you would like more information on National Adoption Awareness Month, or how you can get involved, contact us directly at 1-800-722-7731.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Designing an Open Adoption Plan: You Have Options

The term “Open Adoption,” means different things to different families. The most important thing to remember as you design your adoption plan is that you, as an expectant/birth mother, have many options.

We determined in our previous blog post that the definition of open adoption can vary person to person. One form of open adoption may include two families exchanging mediated letter and photo updates, such as the ones through Adoptions With Love’s letter and picture program. At the other end of the spectrum, a birth mother may desire to visit her child and his or her adoptive family several times a year. Most open adoptions, however, lay somewhere in between. This may include phone calls, texts, emails, contact via social media, and/or face-to-face meetings. Their are numerous possibilities when designing an open adoption plan.

When choosing open adoption at Adoptions With Love, expectant and birth mothers decide their own level of openness. No matter what type of open adoption you choose, know that our experienced staff will help to negotiate an agreement  to ensure that your plan carries on just as you wish.  As time passes, we will work with the birth parents, adoptive parents and the child to renegotiate the agreement always taking into account the best needs of the child. Every waiting family at Adoptions With Love supports some level of openness and is more than willing to walk at your pace. As you begin your open adoption plan, ask yourself what type of relationship will be best for you and your baby. Consider the following:

A fully open adoption entails direct communication between a birth mother and the adoptive family she chooses for her child.. Some of your many options for this direct adoption contact include:

  • Scheduled face-to-face visits: Whether you decide you want to visit your child on his or her birthday, or spend the holidays together, or spend a day with the adoptive family a few times a year. We will detail these type of arrangements in a contract so that you can rest assured these visits will be followed.
  • Direct exchange of letters and pictures: The direct exchange of letters and pictures is a great way for families to stay connected post-placement. You may also choose to exchange these through our agency, where your address will not be revealed (see below).
  • Text messaging, phone calls, or emails: This type of ongoing contact is common in open adoption, and can give birth mothers, adoptive families, and adopted children great peace of mind.
  • Ongoing contact with adoptive parents only: Some birth mothers believe that maintaining contact with their child may be too overwhelming, but still desire to stay connected. As a result, some will choose to continue a relationship with the adoptive parents of their choice.

A semi-open adoption means that an adoption agency will help you stay connected to your child. Your options for a semi-open adoption plan include:

  • Letter and picture updates through an experienced open adoption agency: At Adoptions With Love, all adoptive families submit letters and pictures of their adopted child on a regular basis. If you decide you do not want contact with your child initially, that is okay. We keep these letters and pictures safe in the case that you may want to check in on them someday. At our agency, we believe that adoption stories change and evolve beyond placement. You or your child may have questions over time, and this program will allow you to receive answers as they arise.
  • Mediated emails or phone calls: Our agency is happy to serve as an intermediary and schedule non-identifying phone calls between you and your child and/or your child’s adoptive family. In this case, your phone number will not be revealed. Adoptions With Love can also mediate emails between you and the adoptive family, where we will dedicate one email address to your continued relationship with your child’s adoptive family. Again, no identifying information (like your location or your last name) will be revealed in this contact arrangement.
  • Arranged meetings supervised by a compassionate, non-biased adoption professional: Arranging meetings with an adoptive family, and having a mediator there, can allow birth mothers to communicate freely with their child with the assistance of a trained adoption counselor. If you choose to continue these mediated meetings, you may eventually decide that you desire more of a relationship with your child’s family. These meetings are a good opportunity to discover if developing direct contact is of interest to you and the adoptive family down the road.

 

Remember, the choice is yours. There is no single adoption plan that will be right for everyone. For more, detailed information on your options in open adoption, please download Adoptions With Love’s Guide to Open Adoption. This guide has been written by our dedicated adoption team to show how beautiful, lifelong relationships can stem from open adoption. We hope it helps expectant and birth mothers decide what type of adoption plan is best for you.

 

If you have any questions on your adoption options do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072. Amy, Nancy, Claudia, and Amelia are available to you at any time, 24/7.

guide to open adoption