If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption, you may be feeling scared and overwhelmed. You have a lot of unanswered questions about the process, but with all the information available, may not know where to start. It is important to know that you are not alone. With a little guidance and support, you will carve the best possible path for your baby. Adoptions With Love can help. We have created this mini-guide to help expectant and birth mothers like you navigate the adoption process.
1. Contact an adoption agency.
Before you start the adoption process, it is important that you first understand the choice of adoption and what it means to place a child for adoption. It is also important to explore your other options, your feelings, and your needs before making this decision. This is where an adoption agency can help. By working with an adoption agency and a professional counselor, you will gain a support system. You will be assigned a trained, compassionate social worker who will educate you on your options and help you make the best possible choice. If you would like to move forward with adoption, your social worker will help you make a plan that meets your needs and wishes for your baby.
The right adoption agency will be there for you from the very beginning of the adoption process – as you prepare for the adoption, after placement, and even throughout your life. As an expectant/birth mother, you deserve this unending support. Above all, the right agency will never pressure you into a decision. Rather, its staff will educate you on your options and respect any choice you make. This is a promise that Adoptions With Love makes to you. Here, we believe an informed decision is the best decision when it comes to you and your child.
2. Start an adoption plan.
Once you have made the choice of adoption, your next step will be to sit down with your adoption counselor and start to make a plan. Together, we will plan for the remainder of your pregnancy, which might include finding a quality, compassionate doctor and ensuring you receive prenatal care. If you are in your final weeks of pregnancy and unable to work, we can help you obtain housing, maternity clothes, and assist with other expenses as needed.
We will also help you create an adoption hospital plan that helps you feel comfortable. A hospital plan is a document that details exactly how you want your hospital stay and labor to go, including who you want to be in the delivery room and how much time you would like to spend with your baby. Adoptions With Love will also help you get in touch with the birth father (if known and safe), discuss the adoption laws in your state, and schedule ongoing counseling sessions with you.
3. Choose the type of adoption you wish to have.
When making your adoption plan, you can decide how much openness you would like with your child’s adoptive family. There are typically three levels (or three types of relationships) you can choose from: open, semi-open, or closed adoption.
An open adoption is a type of relationship in which a birth mother has direct contact with her child’s adoptive family. This level of contact is based on your comfort level. With open adoption, you can choose to talk with the adoptive parents over email or phone, or simply receive letters and pictures. You may also desire occasional, in-person visits with your baby. This can all be outlined in an open adoption agreement. As an expectant/birth mother, you can also choose to have a semi-open adoption plan, which involves some communication but is mediated through an adoption agency. For example, if you feel you are not ready to speak with the adoptive family, you can have them send letters and pictures to Adoptions With Love. We will keep these on hand for you, for whenever you are ready. If you feel that meeting the family is too overwhelming, or if you prefer more privacy, you can choose a closed adoption and leave the rest of your plan up to us. These choices are yours to make.
4. Select an adoptive family for your baby.
Adoptions With Love is an agency that will help you design and adoption plan that works for you and your child. Here, you will have the option to choose a family for your baby. We invite you to tell us all that you are looking for in an adoptive family. For example, if you want your child to have siblings or a two-parent household, you can share these wishes with us. If you would then like to choose a family, Adoptions With Love will send you several profiles of families that are a good match.
Each of the waiting families at Adoptions With Love has created a special “Adoptive Parent Profile” for you. This is basically an album that allows you to get to know who these families are, what they look like, and why they would like to adopt. Once you choose a family for your baby, you will have the opportunity to speak to them through email, phone, or meet them in-person if you wish. Though this is not required, meeting the family tends to give expectant/birth mothers great peace of mind.
No matter what family you choose, you can rest assured your baby will be placed in a loving, safe and secure home. All waiting adoptive families at Adoptions With Love are carefully screened through a series of personal interviews and background checks. They have also undergone an extensive home study process to ensure the safety and stability of their home.
5. Prepare for child birth.
Before your baby is born, you will have gone over your hospital stay and delivery plan with your adoption counselor. Once you go into labor, it is important that you notify her immediately. She will contact the adoptive family and meet you at the hospital to ensure everything goes as planned.
After delivery, you can spend as much (or as little) time as you would like with your baby. You can choose to feed, hold, and name your baby if you wish. Typically, birth mothers choosing adoption will sign any legal paperwork before leaving the hospital. However, you can take your time with this decision. In all states, no legal adoption documents can be signed until after the child is born. Adoptions With Love will guide you through the necessary legal steps and will be there to support you throughout the finalization process.
6. Have a post-adoption plan.
Adoption does not end with the placement of your baby. It also does not have to mean goodbye. With Adoptions With Love, you will always have the option to keep in touch with your child’s adoptive family. If you choose to make an open or semi-open adoption plan with us, we will write out a detailed agreement for post-adoption contact (how and how often you will communicate with one another).
After the adoption is finalized, we also encourage you to attend ongoing counseling sessions. Adoption is a lifelong and emotional journey. You do not have to go through it alone. Adoptions With Love offers continuous, confidential counseling services at no cost to you. We can help you navigate any emotions, communication, and adoption relationships that arise after your baby is placed. We will always be here for you.
Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth to your baby, it is not too late to make an adoption plan. Contact Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 for more information about the adoption process for birth mothers. If you just discovered an unplanned pregnancy, we also encourage you to download our free, month-by-month guide to adoption below.