We recently received a text from an expectant mother on our 24/7 text line that read, “I’m texting because I was curious about the process of an open adoption. What are the steps?”
When women call, text, or email to learn about open adoption, it is usually because they are pregnant and considering adoption for their babies. The steps to the open adoption process can be broken down into 4 parts:
1. Learn about adoption.
We can mail (or email!) a packet of information that includes a short book, So I Was Thinking About Adoption, that explains what an expectant mother’s journey is typically like through adoption. We will also send you information about waiting families who are open to adopting your baby. This gives you an opportunity to see what type of life they are ready to provide to your child.
As you learn about adoption, you can also think about the type of contact you’d like in the future. Letters and photos, email, phone contact, social media connections, and even visits are all possible with open adoption!
2. Complete the initial paperwork.
In your Lifetime packet, there will be some initial paperwork to complete. This is not the final adoption paperwork and does not commit you to an adoption plan. It is informational and helps us learn more about you, your baby, and the type of adoption you are considering. Once we receive that, we are ready to help get you talking to one (or more!) adoptive families that you have chosen.
Throughout the entire process, you have other options such as counseling, receiving help with expenses, and other items such as maternity clothes. Let your coordinator know how she can best help you, or ask her what your options are.
3. Match with a family.
We will set up a phone conversation with you and the family you have selected. We can be on the call with you if that helps. You can speak to more than one family if you wish. You can even email them if you prefer. As you get to know them, you will be able to decide if adoption is the right choice for your baby. Getting to know a family is an important step in this decision, and really helps women gain the clarity they need.
During this time, you can discuss options like future contact, naming the baby, and more! This is where you really set the stage for what your open adoption will look like. Your Lifetime adoption coordinator is walking through this with you, each step of the way – so you are never alone.
4. Complete the final adoption paperwork.
When it is time to deliver your baby, the adoptive parents you have chosen travel to your town. You decide how things go at the hospital. You can see and hold your baby, and spend time with him or her if you choose. You can also have the adoptive parents as involved at the hospital as you want them to be. These are all your choices! The baby is typically discharged with the adoptive parents, and you meet with an attorney or social worker in the next few days to sign the final adoption papers.
Remember, open adoption is not goodbye, it is “I’ll see you later, and we will always stay in touch!” Lifetime is here to help you learn about your choices in adoption and how an open adoption may be the right choice for you and your baby!
If you are considering adoption, we are here to help.
We will never pressure you into making a decision before you are ready.
To learn more about your choices, contact Lifetime anytime by calling or texting us at
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.