If you’re thinking about adoption for your baby, you might be feeling all sorts of conflicting emotions ranging from anxiety to hope. Even if you know deep down that you’re making the right decision for you and your baby, you might still struggle with doubts over whether you’re doing the right thing.
The good news is that there’s tons of information on the Internet about adoption, so you don’t have to make your decision alone. It’s important to begin your research now so that you can get as much info as possible. That way, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about adoption. But you’ll also need to have a conversation with yourself. Here are 5 important questions about adoption to ask yourself:
1. When can I start making an adoption plan?
You can begin with adoption at any point during of your pregnancy. However, you can’t officially place your baby until after he or she is born. You might decide that adoption is right for you when you’re early on in your pregnancy. But once you get closer to your due date and the adoption becomes more real to you, you might have second thoughts. So, although it’s never too early to think about adoption, we encourage you to wait until you’re completely ready to make a decision.
2. Does my baby’s father have to know about my decision? Does he have to agree with it?
If you and your baby’s father agree about adoption, that’s great. But if not, things could get complicated. It’s important to let him know about your adoption plan and to get him involved as early as possible. Each state may have different birth father laws and rights. An attorney can help you understand what your options are as you move forward with adoption.
3. What kind of adoptive parents do I want for my child?
You have tons of choices when it comes to choosing adoptive parents for your child. So, start by figuring out what’s important to you. What values or features do you want your child’s parents to have? Do you want a couple that’s religious or spiritual? With or without children? Suburban or rural?
Every hopeful adoptive parent with Lifetime has to undergo an in-depth screening process that involves medical, financial, and police background checks. So between the background checks and their adoption profile, you’ll know a lot about them before you make your decision.
4. Do I want an open adoption? How open?
Open adoption means that you can choose the parents for your baby, learn about them, and determine what kind of relationship you want to have after the adoption is finalized. There’s a wide range of openness, and it can be customized to your wants and needs.
Many birth parents choose open adoption since it empowers them to have an ongoing relationship with their child. But if you don’t want as much contact, you can choose that too. It’s all based on your comfort level, the adoptive couple’s comfort level, and what you feel is best for your child.
5. How much contact do I want to have in the future?
Open adoption allows you to have a presence in your baby’s life. The type and frequency of contact are up to you and the adoptive parents to decide. You can keep in touch through emails, phone calls, letters, Skype, texts, or visits. That way, you’ll always be able to know that your child is safe and loved. Plus, your child will grow up knowing you and the reasons behind his or her adoption.
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.