There are plenty of misunderstandings out there about adoption. The most common one might be this: that when a woman chooses adoption, she is “giving up.” It’s such a commonly used phrase that you may not have noticed it. Even though it’s used often, “giving up a baby” for adoption misses the point. When a woman chooses adoption, she is not “giving away” her baby.
Adoption comes from a place of love. If you’re thinking about adoption, you know this. You have an enormous amount of love for your baby. You have hopes and dreams for your baby, and adoption seems like the best way to give him or her the chance to grow and thrive.
But with all the love you have, you probably don’t want to lose the link to your baby, even when you know adoption is the best choice. You might be wondering, “If I give my baby up for adoption, do I still get to see her or him?”
If I Give My Baby Up for Adoption, Can I See Her?
Yes absolutely, if you make an adoption plan for your baby, you can see him or her again. After you give birth, your baby isn’t just whisked away from you right away. You can hold your baby and spend time together before signing adoption paperwork and placing him or her with the adoptive couple.
After placing, you can continue to see your baby through something called “open adoption.” This means an ongoing relationship between the birth mother, her child, and the adoptive parent. There are different levels of open adoption, and every open adoption relationship is unique. In adoption today, the vast majority of adoptions are open, meaning that if you place your baby for adoption, you DO get to see him or her again.
How Does Open Adoption Work?
If you make an open adoption plan, you have the opportunity to hand-pick your baby adoptive parents from a diverse, nationwide selection of couples. As you get ready for labor and delivery, we encourage you to create an adoption hospital plan. This plan lets the adoptive family, the hospital staff, and Lifetime know how you’d like things to happen at the hospital. You can decide how much time you’d like to spend with your baby after giving birth, who’s allowed in your room, and whether you want to leave the hospital before or after your baby’s adoptive family.
After you sign the adoption paperwork and your baby goes home with her adoptive parents, you’ll begin a relationship. The amount and type of contact you’ll have in your relationship is something you’ll work out with your baby’s adoptive parents.
Many birth mothers receive updates on their child through emails, photos, and social media. Others also meet up in person with the adoptive family once a year.
When you begin the adoption process, you can create an adoption plan that includes the level of openness you would like.
Benefits of Open Adoption
Open adoption doesn’t mean “goodbye” forever. You can still see your baby and keep in touch with them in a meaningful way. You’re able to witness them growing up and achieving milestones like their first steps, their first word, and their first day of school. Whether it is through photo updates, phone calls, or visits, you’ll know that your baby is being loved and cared for.
Open adoption also benefits your baby, because as they grow up, they’ll have questions about their origins. We encourage adoptive parents to be open and honest about the adoption early on, as something that the child can be proud of. With open adoption, your child can also hear from you, their birth mother. You can share with your child how your decision came from a place of love. As your child grows up and forms his or her identity, they’ll know they’re loved by their adoptive parents AND their birth mother.
Thanks to open adoption, yes, you can see your baby after the adoption happens. Plus, the effects of this ongoing relationship can be beautiful.
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.