Completing an unplanned pregnancy to give birth to your beloved child is a heroic and heartwarming decision to say the least. It is undoubtedly your resolve to provide your baby a life of security and happiness that is encouraging you to place your baby with another family. An extremely important decision like this one, should be made with a complete understanding of what is to come next. As you move forward with adoption, here are a couple of things you should know:
Choosing an adoption agency will be your first step in the adoption process. It may be confusing and difficult to pick the right one but taking a systematic approach to agency selection will ensure that you are receiving the best help available. Do some research online, look for licensed agencies that meet a basic criteria, including:
- Giving birthmothers complete control over the adoption process.
- Educating them on all option available.
- Allowing them to choose the adoptive parents.
- Providing assistance with living and medical expenses.
- Professional counselling that is free of cost and confidential.
Then narrow the list down to the ones you think are right for you. Ask other people for their experience with certain agencies and read online testimonials. This will give you a sense of how the agency actually functions, apart from all the advertising and publicity.
Remember there is no single best agency, but a number of them may be right for you. Try to select an agency that is close to your residence. However, if you do not have an appropriate support structure with regards to your family and friends, or do not feel safe to pursue adoption in your home state; you should consider an agency that is in a different state.
Once you choose an agency, you are entitled to free counselling that enables you to make the best decisions for yourself and your child. Counselling is an integral part of the adoption process. It is extremely important to receive constant guidance before, during and after the placement has been made.
Learn about each process beforehand to avoid any surprises. You must decide on the amount of contact you want to have with the adoptive parents and your child in an adoption. There are three types available to you.
- Open adoption: that allows you to have direct contact or relationship with your child and the adoptive parents.
- Closed Adoption: where there is no disclosure of identifying information or contact.
- Semi-Open adoption: a combination of both open and closed adoptions. An intermediary is used to pass on information without any direct contact between the two parties.
You will have to review many adoptive parent profiles to choose the right one. Having an idea of whether you want open, semi-open or closed adoption will help you shortlist the profiles, as both parties have to agree to on the same type of adoption.
When looking at profiles, keep the best interest of your child in mind. Make a list of things that you seek in parents, these may include age, beliefs, values, other children, interests, financial stability and social background.
Go through the pictures in a profile and see if you feel a connection with the family. Ensure that the adoptive parents have completed a home study. A home study is an investigation into the couple’s ability to adopt including criminal background checks, references, home visits, medical history and financial position.
This will reassure you that the adoptive family is able to provide a secure and loving environment to the child. Once you choose the adoptive parents, your agency will arrange meetings and help you build a long lasting relationship with them (in case of open adoptions).
During your pregnancy, having good prenatal care is vital in ensuring a healthy delivery. It allows your doctor to identify any concerns and act promptly. Being regularly examined will safeguard both your health as well as the baby’s.
This way, the adoptive parents will also be reassured that the baby is safe and healthy. Your adoption agency can help you find a doctor. If you do not have insurance or Medicaid, your medical expenses related to the pregnancy will be covered by the adoptive family.
For the adoption to take place, you will have to sign consent and relinquish your parental rights after the baby is born. You can decide not to pursue adoption at any point during the pregnancy. However, once the consent paper is signed, the placement is permanent and cannot be reversed.
Adoption is a major decision that is only yours to make. Don’t let anyone pressurize you in anyway. Some birthmothers feel grief and loss after the placement. Your adoption agency can provide you with support and counselling to manage such emotions. It can also be helpful to reach out to other birthmothers and learn how they cope with this issue.