If you’re pregnant and considering what options are available for you and your child, you are probably feeling a lot of stress and uncertainty about what to do. While no one can make this choice for you, there are many ways others can assist you in reaching the best decision possible, reducing your stress and fear along the way. A counselor, pastor, trusted friend, and/or family member may be able to offer emotional support and talk to you about your questions, concerns, and desires. As a practical matter, it is also helpful to educate yourself as much as possible about all avenues available to you and your child, such as the various adoption options for birth mothers.
You may be surprised to learn that there are several different ways to pursue adoption of your child. The best way for you will depend on your particular life situation and needs.
Your adoption options include:
Independent adoption (AKA private adoption) – This option will work for you if you have already found someone who would like to adopt your child. An attorney or adoption center can help you get the proper paperwork in order to make sure everything is done the right way.
Best for: Birth parents who have already found an adoptive home for their child, and who are comfortable working directly with that family.
Public agency adoption – Public agencies handle adoptions through the foster care system. In most instances, birth parents are given an attorney and a social worker to guide them through this process. Although many people think of foster care and adoption as going hand in hand, foster care adoption is not something most parents enter into of their own choosing.
Best for: Those already within the foster care system or birth parents who want to give up custody of an older child.
Adoption Facilitators – Facilitators help connect adoptive families and birth parents, then refer a matched birth parents and adoptive couple to an adoption attorney who can help the families complete the adoption process. Most adoption plans created with an adoption facilitator are considered private adoptions. Involving a facilitator in the process provides much more support for the birth parents and allows an intermediary who can be an advocate for the birth parents if needed. Facilitators may also help pregnant mothers receive various forms of assistance throughout the pregnancy, such as medical care, maternity clothing, and counseling, among other things.
Best for: Birth parents who want to design a custom adoption plan including choosing the family, the type of future contact to be had, and how things go at the hospital. This allows the greatest flexibility in adoption, and gives a birth parent a solid professional to walk them through each step of the process.
Private Agency Adoption – If you use a licensed adoption agency, there are laws and regulations in place to help protect your rights as the birth parent. The agency will help you find a suitable adoptive home that meets your list of wants for adoptive parents. You may be given a chance to meet with the adoptive parents, and even given the choice of whether you’d like to stay in contact with them and the baby over the years (this is known as open adoption). These agencies often help pregnant mothers receive various forms of assistance throughout the pregnancy, such as medical care, maternity clothing, and counseling, among other things.
Best for: Any birth parent.
As you can see, there are several adoption options available, and knowing and understanding these options will help you reach the best decision for you and your baby. This is true no matter what stage of pregnancy you’re in, and it’s even true if your baby has already been born. Don’t be afraid it’s “too late” to seek help; instead, reach out to get answers to your adoption questions at 1-800-923-6784.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) 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.