Finding out you are pregnant can be exciting…unless it isn’t. Maybe you feel like you’re too young to be a mom, are in the middle of college, or already have kids and just can’t handle another mouth to feed. Whatever is stressing you out about the pregnancy and raising a child, there are several valid reasons to consider making an adoption plan.
Modern adoption offers a woman many choices. We believe that any woman deciding what to do about an unplanned pregnancy needs to know that adoption offers them many options.
Creating an adoption plan is not a passive action. When you take control of a bad situation and make the best decisions for you and your unborn baby, you are stepping into the role of a responsible adult. No matter what happened to get you here, choosing your next path is what matters. For many women, that means creating an adoption plan.
Adoption is a loving choice that can bring you on a journey full of opportunity, and when you work with a great adoption agency, creating an adoption plan can be easy. Lifetime Adoption has been working with expectant mothers considering adoption since 1986 and are here to help you navigate the process, develop an adoption plan, and review families for consideration. Read on to learn more about how to make an adoption plan and how Lifetime will support you every step of the way.
What is an Adoption Plan?
Not familiar with the term “adoption plan”? Making an adoption plan is how most people refer to the process of putting a baby up for adoption. It isn’t a simple “giving away” of a child, but rather a well-thought-out plan of action to ensure you and baby both have the best chance at a happy life.
An adoption plan is a series of decisions you make regarding your child, such as choosing an adoptive family, deciding on ongoing contact as your child grows up, and other things that may be important to you.
At Lifetime Adoption, we see this work every day for women. And as soon as a birth mother realizes she has choices and options and that there are many amazing families hoping to adopt a baby, the fear subsides. She can put a plan into place for transitioning her baby to their new family. To help you learn more, we’re sharing this short video on how to decide if adoption is right for you:
Why Would I Make an Adoption Plan?
If any of these six issues are making it hard for you to imagine taking on the added responsibility of a child, you may want to consider an adoption plan.
1. Still in School
Education is incredibly important, especially when competition for jobs is fiercer than ever. An unplanned pregnancy in the middle of your college years could throw off your career and compromise your ability to finish school and get a great job.
Open adoption can be a great solution for women in college or graduate school who want to ensure their baby has a great childhood while still fulfilling their dreams of an advanced degree.
If you don’t have a safe, stable place to live, raising a baby is definitely going to be a problem. Safe, reliable shelter is one of our most basic needs. If you can’t provide that for your child, it may be worth it to think about adoption.
Hopeful adoptive parents live in safe neighborhoods with great schools. If you aren’t able to provide the kind of environment for your baby that another family could, adoption is a responsible choice to consider.
3. Lack of Support
Family support might not seem like a big deal when you are pregnant, but as soon as that baby enters the world, keeps you up all night, costs a lot of money, and demands all your waking hours, a little help from mom and dad will seem like a blessing.
Just talk with a few parents with no family around to help, and you’ll soon discover that a grandma or grandpa willing to take the baby for a few hours can sometimes mean the difference between keeping a grip on sanity and losing your mind.
The old saying goes that “it takes a village to raise a child,” and this couldn’t be more true. The more loving relationships a baby has in their younger years, the more likely they will see the world as a good place with unlimited potential for love and friendship.
4. Abusive Relationship
Physical, verbal, and emotional abuse should not be a part of any healthy upbringing. If you find yourself in a situation that might present any of these dangers to your child, and you don’t feel like you can even escape yourself, adoption is a responsible choice you can make.
Childhood abuse has lasting consequences that can cause problems for the rest of a child’s life. Avoid raising children in an unsafe environment at all costs.
Everyone deserves a relationship free from domestic violence. When you’re ready to get help, the National Domestic Violence Hotline offers confidential support 24/7/365. Call 800.799.SAFE (7233), text the word “START” to 88788, or chat with a specialist on their website.
5. Legal Issues
Getting into trouble with the law can sometimes leave us facing some pretty severe consequences. If prison time is something you are worried about, it might make sense to take a look at adoption for your baby. That way, you’re able to have control over your child’s future before your parental rights are taken away from you. Setting up a safe place for your baby is a wonderful way to show you care.
6. Sexual Assault
The awful truth is that sometimes a tragic event, such as sexual assault or rape, can result in an unwanted pregnancy. If you feel that a child would be a constant reminder of your assault, you have options.
Finding an adoptive family to love and nurture that child can be a great solution to an ugly problem. You have the satisfaction of knowing you gave a family the beautiful child they always wanted, and you get the chance to heal and move on with your life.
If you have been sexually assaulted, help is available. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat online. Whether you’re looking for support, information, advice, or a referral, trained support specialists at the National Sexual Assault Hotline are ready to help.
Starting an Adoption Plan
The first step in an adoption plan is to contact Lifetime Adoption by calling or texting 1-800-923-6784. Caring adoption coordinators are available 24/7 to answer your questions and address your concerns. They’ll share your choices and rights with open adoption so you can best decide if adoption is the right choice for you and your baby.
Your Adoption Coordinator will work one-on-one with you as you share information about yourself. It’s important to share info such as your health history and about your baby’s father. This info will be helpful not only to the adoptive couple you choose but also to your child as they grow up.
After you get in touch with Lifetime, you can begin searching to find just the right adoptive parents for your child. By visiting Lifetime’s Search Families page, you can choose search items that are important to you. Then, you can learn more about an adoptive couple by reading their adoption website, checking out their photos, and watching their adoption video. After you find a family that is a good fit, you work together to decide how much contact you want, such as letters, photos, visits, or texts after the baby is born.
Once you find and match with the perfect adoptive family, you can focus on continuing to grow a healthy baby. Medical care and pregnancy education are available to you, housing help can be found through Lifetime Adoption, and often the adoptive family can even lend a hand with expenses during your pregnancy.
Lifetime encourages you to take advantage of our offer of free counseling from a licensed, third-party therapist. The counselor you speak with isn’t trying to persuade you to go through with adoption. She’s there to help you sort through the intense emotions you might be feeling right now.
Lifetime also offers peer counseling. You’re able to speak with a woman who’s already made an adoption plan for her child. We urge you to get counseling, both before and after your baby’s been born. It’ll help you handle the many emotions and questions you’re facing.
Making an adoption plan moves the process forward and allows you to get to know the family you’ve chosen, but it doesn’t obligate you. At this point, adoption is flexible and can be adjusted to meet your needs and changing preferences.
Your Next Steps
Just as you had control over making your adoption plan, how things are handled in the hospital and when you deliver is also up to you. Your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime will present you with your various choices for your hospital plan, including who is allowed to see and hold your baby and who’s allowed to be in the delivery room. She will let you know what to expect during your hospital stay.
In an open adoption, you can stay in contact after placement with the adoptive parents you chose. This contact could come in many forms, including email, texting, phone calls, social media posts, and visits. Many women like to get email and photo updates on their children and also stay in touch through texts. Some also choose to travel to visit the adoptive family and their child in person once or twice a year.
“Making an Adoption Plan is the Best Decision I Made!”
Lifetime has helped many women as they decide if an adoption plan is right for their babies. With all this experience, we understand the fears and emotions you might have right now and your adoption questions. Lifetime is here to give you honest info about adoption and the resources you need to make this decision.
Here are just a few of the many notes, comments, and emails from birth mothers. They share their story of making an adoption plan as well as their hopes for the future. All names have been changed for confidentiality.
“Making an adoption plan for my son is easily the best decision I have ever made. I sacrificed so much for this little guy, like my senior year, my body, my relationship, my family, the list could go on. Never in my life, though, will I regret choosing to endure the nine months to give my baby boy to a loving couple who cannot have children of their own. Through the adoption process, I have been so incredibly blessed and I feel overjoyed knowing I gave life to a family who could not make it themselves. We all have something to be thankful for…for me, it’s a new family!”
– Maddy, 19
“I wanted to thank you again for helping me find such an amazing family for my little girl. In 12 days, she will be one year old. I can’t thank you enough for making the process of finding her adoptive parents so easy! I know she is well taken care of. :)”
– Kendra, 24
“I miss my son so much, but I wasn’t ready to be a mom. I get to see him grow up and enjoy life from a distance, through the updates his adoptive parents send. He’s surrounded by so much love and affection by his adoptive parents and for that, I’m incredibly blessed to have that peace that he’ll be taken care of.”
– Olivia, 21
“The reason I chose adoption for my son was because I wanted more for him. Love was the most important of the reasons. I knew that I would have given him all the love he needed, but that was probably all I could have given him. The parents he is with have much more, and that has allowed me peace in my decision.”
– Emma, 26
Is Adoption Right for Me?
Thinking through whether or not to make an adoption plan might feel overwhelming if you are in the beginning stages, but we have qualified and compassionate adoption counselors available to help guide you through every step.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 11, 2017, and has since been updated.
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.