If you used drugs or alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, or during your pregnancy, you may wonder what your options are.
Before You Knew You Were Pregnant
If you used any kind of drugs, tobacco, or alcohol before you knew that you were pregnant, it is important to let your doctor know. It may feel tempting to hide this information from your doctor. Your doctor has to follow patient confidentiality rules and cannot tell anyone that you have used drugs or alcohol unless you give written permission. By giving your doctor important information like this, he or she will be able to give you the best treatment to care for your health and the health of your baby.
If you are considering adoption, it is also important to let your adoption professional and potential adoptive family know that there was drug or alcohol use before you knew you were pregnant. This will not keep your baby from being adopted by a loving family, but will ultimately help you to find a better family match.
While You Are Pregnant
If you are continuing to use drugs, tobacco, or alcohol while you are pregnant, help is available for you and your baby. If you need counseling or non-judgemental support, you can get it at no cost to you.
If you are considering adoption as a pregnancy option, or if you have already started an adoption plan, drug/alcohol use will not prevent your baby from being adopted. You can choose an adoptive family for your baby from one of the many waiting and willing to give a loving, caring home to a baby who has been exposed to drugs or alcohol.
Your adoptive family and your adoptive professional can be additional sources of non-judgemental support for you during pregnancy, and it is very helpful to tell them if you are using drugs or alcohol.
Remember, it is very important to be upfront and honest with your doctor about drug or alcohol use while pregnant. By hiding this information from your doctor, you may be keeping your baby from getting the medical care he needs. Your doctor needs your full honesty to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy.
Before Giving Birth
If you are actively using drugs near the time of your delivery date, your baby may test positive for drugs. In a situation where your baby tests positive for drug exposure, the hospital is required to notify Child Protective Services. When CPS is contacted, there is a strong possibility of the baby being removed from the hospital and put into foster care.
If you have had previous dealings with CPS, cannot stop drug or alcohol use while pregnant, or know that your baby will post test positive for drug exposure, an adoption plan could be the best of the pregnancy options for you.
If your child is removed due to drug exposure, you have no say in where your child goes and may never know. With an open adoption, you can choose the family and home for your baby, as well how much contact you want after the adoption. You can watch your baby grow in the home you chose, with stable parents who are emotionally and financially ready to raise a child. Even if you have already had your baby, it is not too late to put together an adoption plan.
Just because you have used drugs or alcohol, it doesn’t limit your pregnancy options. If you are considering adoption, there are supportive and non-judgemental families who are willing to give your baby love and care. You can get help to stay healthy and clean during your pregnancy, as well as support, counseling, and even education after the baby is born. Don’t let drug and alcohol use stop you from giving the best life possible to your baby and yourself.
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.