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"Unplanned pregnancy? What are my options?"  

Whether you are a teenager, a young adult, or a women with children, an unplanned pregnancy can be scary and confusing. Our services are available to help you understand your options. If you choose adoption, we are able to help you make an adoption plan.

Our services are provided to you at no cost, and there is never an obligation to move ahead with an adoption plan. You may reach us by calling: 800-869-1005 or send Maggie a text at 847-366-6343.  We'll answer your questions and send you a free information packet. 

  • Let's look at each of the three options available to you.
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  • Single parenting

Although many women raise children alone, being a single parent can be a difficult undertaking. Single parenting can be a hardship both financially and emotionally. It will be important to have the help of family or friends. 

One must also think about whether they are ready to be a parent. If you are a teenager or young adult, you will likely miss out on some social activities that your peers are enjoying. You may need to reduce your school schedule or work hours in order to care for your baby. You'll want to  consider whether you will be happy making these sacrifices. Talking with a professional counselor, a pastor or family member will be helpful as you explore this option.

Abortion

Although abortion is legal in this country, not every woman is comfortable with this option. It is a very personal choice that can best be investigated by speaking with a health care professional, a counselor, a clergy person or family and friends. Adoption counselors, crisis pregnancy centers and Planned Parenthood organizations offer options counseling to women with an unplanned pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood and some health departments and hospital clinics offer pregnancy testing, make referrals for pre-natal care and refer women to abortion centers. They may also talk with you about adoption and make referrals to licensed adoption agencies. It is important to note that some crisis pregnancy centers and faith-based organizatons have a stated mission to steer women away from abortion.

Adoption

If the other two options are not viable, you may want to consider placing your baby for adoption.  Adoption is undoubtably the least understood option of all. Having a counselor to answer your questions and explain the adoption process is both helpful and empowering. You will have much to consider if you decide to go down this path.

  • Open vs. closed adoption
  • Choosing an adoptive family
  • Finding ways to discuss adoption with family and friends
  • Knowing your rights

Where to get information

Many of us turn to the internet for information. There are many thousands of adoption sites available online. Unfortunately, not all of the information is accurate or helpful. Adoption laws vary by state so it is important to find information and resources in your own state. You should know that some online advertisers will want you to think they are located in your state when in fact they are not. Review agency websites to determine if they are licensed in your state or contact the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (or Indiana Child and Family Services) to obtain a list of licensed agencies. Choosing a licensed adoption agency will insure the legitimacy of the service provider. 

Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption

In your research on adoption, you will quickly learn that open adoption is a very popular option. What is an open and a closed adoption?

  • Open Adoption - An adoption in which the birth parents have direct contact with the adoptive parents before and after the adoption. Contact information, including names, addresses, and phone numbers may be exchanged, and both parties determine the type and frequency of future contact.
  • Closed Adoption - An adoption in which there is little or no direct contact between the birth and adoptive parents. An adoption agency or attorney may arrange the adoption, choose the adoptive parents and facilitate the placement of the child.

There are many interesting articles on open adoption that may answer some of your questions. However, contacting an open adoption agency is the best way to understand this option.

Private or Agency adoption

In Indiana and Illinois, you have the option of working with a private agency or a private attorney to place your baby for adoption. In a private (attorney driven) adoption, it is often unclear which party the lawyer is representing, you or the adoptive parents. Attorney fees are often paid by the adoptive family, and the attorney's client is typically the person who pays the fees.

The agency's job is to support the birth mother, making sure that her needs and wishes are being met. Adoption agencies employ counselors who will advocate for the birth mother (and birth father if he is involved). Many agencies assign different counselors to work with the expectant parents and the adoptive parents. When working with an agency, the birth parents are not required to have their own attorney unless they request one. The adoptive parents' attorney will file the adoption in court after the baby is born and the birth mother (and birth father) have completed the necessary paperwork.  

How do I choose an agency

You may request informational materials from a few adoption providers. It is important to note that some agencies are statewide and others have a smaller service area. Therefore, you will want to find an agency that serves your area.

Some agencies specialize in open adoptions, others promote closed adoptions and some offer both options. You will want to choose an agency whose philosophy matches your own. When you call to speak with an agency representative, pay attention to how you are treated, how well your questions are answered and whether you feel comfortable. You are making some very important decisions and you will want to have supportive, caring professionals helping you.

Choosing adoptive parents

You may want to think about the characteristics of the family you will would like to raise your child. Everyone has different preferences. For example, you may want your baby to be raised by a religious couple, or a professional couple or a family living in a suburban or rural community. You may want to choose a heterosexual married couple or perhaps you would consider a same-gender couple or a single parent. Whatever your preferences, you will want to make sure that the agency is able to accommodate your wishes.

There is no right or wrong answer when choosing a family to adopt your baby. If the family is working with a licensed adoption agency, they will have completed a thorough investigation -- also known as a home study. It should be reassuring to know that the adoptive parents have been approved to adopt a child.

Whatever choices you make will be yours forever. Therefore, it is important to do your research, consider your options, get counseling and support and make the best decisions you can. For more information about our services, please contact us.

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Adoption Center for Family Building is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We provide valuable resources, financial assistance, and professional counseling to women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Please support our mission.