As someone who has worked in the field of adoption for almost 30 years, I realize that there are a few universal truths that expectant mothers — considering placing their baby for adoption — should know. Here are the top 10.
- It isn’t going to be easy. Choosing adoption may the most difficult decision you will ever face. While adoption is always a difficult choice, it can also be a positive, empowering experience.
- You are in control: With voluntary adoption you will have many decisions to make:
- choice of adoption agencies
- choice of adoptive parents
- defining your hospital plan (who will be with you, how much time you want to spend with your baby and the role of the adoptive couple in the hospital)
- deciding on open adoption (the type of contact you desire)
- Maturity is essential: Choosing to place a baby for adoption is a thoughtful, loving, selfless decision. It requires one to be able to put their baby’s needs first, ahead of one’s own feelings.
- Not everyone is going to understand and support your decision. It’s helpful to have support when making major life choices, but it is important to know that not everyone is going to support or understand your decision. Your counselor is your advocate and she will offer you the support you deserve.
- Grieving is a normal part of the process: Some grieving may begin before your baby is born; other women first experience their grief once the baby arrives; other mothers hold their feelings back until the adoption has occurred and may get slammed with emotion after the placement. Counseling can help you as you experience the feelings of loss and grief associated with placing your child for adoption.
- Pregnancy and hormones affect your state of mind: Women who have already had a child will know the emotions associated with pregnancy and childbirth, but may not know the emotional impact of placing their baby for adoption. If this is your first child, it is important to know how hormones may affect your emotional state and thinking. For some women, medication is needed to cope with post partum depression.
- Open adoption is an option: It requires negotiation, work and understanding. Every adoption is unique. You will have the option of knowing the adoptive family and staying connected with them following the placement. Your counselor can help you think through your options and assist you as you make these important decisions.
- Birth fathers do have rights: If the birth father is involved, he is welcome to take part in the adoption planning process. If he is not involved, your counselor will explain how his rights are addressed in accordance with the laws in your state. Your counselor and an adoption attorney will take the proper steps to terminate his rights, if the birth father is absent or unwilling to participate in the process.
- Recognizing what is best for the child: Although a difficult choice, open adoption may be best for both you and your child: As a birth mother, knowing that your child is safe, loved, and thriving in their new family can be comforting and reaffirming. For the child, having information and access to one’s medical and social history may be important and reassuring.
- You are free to change your mind: In Illinois and Indiana, you may not sign final adoption papers until after the baby is born. In most cases, you will not need to sign in court if an adoption agency is involved in the placement.
The important take away from this blog is that you have many choices. The first major decision is whether adoption is the right choice for you. If it is the right decision, you will be in control of many of the other aspects of the process. Of course, state laws govern adoption so you must comply with the regulations imposed by your state. Beyond the laws and best practices imposed by agencies, you will be empowered to create an adoption plan that works best for you.
This blog is provided by Adoption Center for Family Building, a licensed, non-profit, open adoption agency in Illinois and Indiana. For more information about our services, please visit our website at www.centerforfamily.com or call 800-869-1005 or text us at 847-366-6351. A counselor is available to answer your questions 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.