Deciding to place a child for adoption is a difficult and brave choice. As you go through this season in your life, it is important to remember that there is a lot more to how adoption works today – it is not simply “giving a baby up.”
Instead, with the help of agencies like Lifetime Adoption, you can customize the process to your wishes and for your baby’s best interest.
Why Adoption Is So Important
One of the things we want to emphasize in this adoption guide is that adoption impacts not only your life but also the adoptive parents and, most importantly, the baby.
So, why adoption? Placing a baby for adoption is not always an easy decision for many women, but a pregnancy choice also helps them:
- Continue to pursue their lifelong dreams without having to stop their studies or put their careers on hold.
- Reduce the financial and emotional stress of supporting a child before they are ready for it.
- Have peace of mind knowing their child can grow up in a stable and safe home.
Biological mothers are often worried about whether their child will resent their adoption when they grow up or whether they will grow up to be healthy, happy and successful. While these are all normal concerns, know that adopted children:
- Join families that have already planned and prepared for a child for a long time.
- Often grow up with opportunities like attending college, which may not have been possible otherwise.
- Grow up being loved by both their adoptive families and birth parents.
- Have the opportunity to know you (and other members of their birth family) as they grow up, so they will know firsthand that this was a choice made of great love and care for them.
How Adoption Works: Placing a Baby for Adoption
Whether you have already decided to place your child for adoption or are still weighing up your choices, it is important that you understand the steps you will need to take. This adoption guide takes you through steps that go into the adoption process so you can make the best, most informed decision for you and your child.
- Reading About Your Options
One of the most common myths about placing a baby for adoption is that it works just like foster care.
The reality is that modern adoptions now allow you, as the biological parent, to decide how you want to receive help, how much help you wish to receive, and what you would like that help to look like. You also have a say regarding the type of contact you want after the adoption and how you would like things to go at the hospital.
- Finding an Adoption Agency
Finding a reliable adoption agency should be the next item on your list if you wish to take the next step in the process. These will be the adoption professionals who will guide you through the entire process, so you want an agency that is not only experienced and knowledgeable but also compassionate and supportive.
- Getting to Know Waiting Adoptive Parents
Once you have an idea of what you are looking for in adoptive parents, your coordinator will provide you with their adoptive family profiles.
At Lifetime Adoption, we work with couples from all over the U.S. and with families of different backgrounds, races, religions, professions, hobbies and interests. Taking the time to learn more about them can help make it easier for you to decide what the ideal adoptive family would be for your child.
When you are ready, you can also speak to the adoptive family on the phone or reach them through text or email to ask them questions. These families are also ready and eager to know you and your hopes for your child, so feel free to talk to them.
This is also the best time to decide on the type of adoption you want for your child. In adoptions of the past, there were three different types:
- In an open adoption, you can have as much contact with the adoptive family and your child as possible.
- In a closed adoption, you will have no direct contact with your child’s adoptive parents. Similarly, they will know little to nothing about you.
- In a semi-closed adoption, you and the adoptive family will have indirect contact with one another. Your adoption agency will mediate all communication between both parties so everyone’s privacy will be respected.
Now, with modern adoption, the contact and relationship can be more fluid, more like extended family. You may be in closer contact sometimes and less frequent during others. Spend some time thinking about the type of contact that you would like, and talk to the adoptive parents about that to ensure that everyone has the same expectations.
- Creating an Adoption Plan
An adoption plan is created when you have chosen a family and completed the informational questionnaire. Your adoption coordinator will also help you create an adoption plan for the hospital that includes the following:
- Who do you want to be with you when you deliver the baby?
- Do you wish to see and hold your baby?
- Do you want the adoptive parents at the hospital? Do you want to see and meet them?
- What is the degree of communication and openness you want during this time?
- Delivering the Baby and Signing the Papers
After your baby is born, you meet with an attorney to sign the legal documents for adoption. They will ensure you understand your rights and are confident in your decision and the adoption plan before finalizing everything.
The baby also typically leaves the hospital with the adoptive family, which means you may not have to care for them once you are discharged and have signed the papers.
- Moving Forward After the Adoption
A new chapter in your life begins after all the documents are signed, and the adoption is completed. Staying in contact with the adoptive parents and to receive updates on how your baby is doing can be an important part of healing.
Moving forward with your dreams and future plans is also important. No matter how you wish to go on, know that your agency’s counselors and peer support staff are available when you need them. It is normal to struggle once the adoption process is complete, but we are here to help you.
We Welcome Any Questions
Adoption is a process that can change the lives of everyone involved. If you are a birth mother wanting to understand and determine if this is the best option for you, please do not hesitate to contact us or text us on our 24-hour hotline at 1.800.923.6784. We have compassionate and well-trained staff available throughout the day (and night!) to answer your questions about this adoption guide or Lifetime Adoption’s services for birth parents.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.