We saw a great article from The Huffington Post featuring experiences from real-life birth mothers, offering tips to women who are considering adoption for a child. We love to see validating and positive insights like these about adoption today. After all, every woman who is facing an adoption decision for a newborn or young child will move through a LOT of questions, many thoughts, emotions, more questions, and even a grieving cycle that begins before her adoption plan takes place. We agree with all of these tips, and at Lifetime it’s a priority to us to offer services and resources that can point each woman who is considering adoption in a direction that will allow her to make a decision SHE feels is right for her and her child in the long run.
Here’s how Lifetime can help women with each tip recommended at the Huffpost Parents interview:
- Make an informed decision: At Lifetime we handle each call or email as a request for more info. Researching adoption should never mean a woman is pressured into or expected to choose adoption. Most people today do not fully understand what open adoption can look like. It’s important to us that each woman has free, accurate, modern resources to help her learn about adoption; she can receive a free adoption packet by mail or email, and may speak with an adoption coordinator or attorney about her questions, even while she decides what she wants to do.
- Find support: Lifetime provides third-party counseling to women before, during, and after the adoption process. She can speak with a licensed family counselor to help her sort through her thoughts about her situation. We will also help her connect with other women who have chosen adoption, as peer support. Whether she has the support of her loved ones or if she’s going through the adoption alone, it helps to talk with people who understand. In addition, Lifetime is available 24 hours every day of the year; we’re here to listen, provide answers, or help with the next step, at her pace. (The 24-hour Adoption Answer Line is
- Write throughout the process: Women who journal through the process of making an adoption decision are more likely to feel confident about the plan made for the child, whether she parents her baby or chooses adoption. In fact, Lifetime provides journals and care packs to women making an adoption plan. We also know that helping a woman to reduce some of the stress of her situation will better allow her to make a plan that’s best for the long term future of her and her baby. Through the Lifetime Adoption Foundation women considering adoption can receive help with clothing, food, and other basic necessities.
- Create a list of your goals: As early as the first phone call or in the early phases of getting to know a woman we’re assisting through the adoption process we will encourage her to consider her future after the adoption. What are her goals, dreams, or needs for the immediate and long-term future? We understand that a birth mother is choosing adoption to give a future to her child, and also to create a future for herself. Educational scholarships are available through the Lifetime Adoption Foundation to encourage women to pursue their goals after adoption.
- Know the myths and conceptions: It helps to learn about adoption from other birth mothers and to address your own personal fears, understandings, or stereotypes about adoption and the people who choose it. Education is key to dispelling myths and better understanding the realities of adoption today. Lifetime offers videos of recent adoption stories, as told by birth mothers living with open adoption.
- Feel your emotions: Every adoption is unique, just as the individuals involved. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions or to share how you’re feeling. Only you can decide if adoption is the best plan for you and your baby. Remember, it’s never too late to choose adoption, which means you can take your time to start an adoption plan any time before or after a child is born. Lifetime encourages each woman to consider the emotions experienced before AND after an adoption takes place.
Lifetime’s free book, “So I Was Thinking About Adoption,” is available by mail or as a free download and helps women understand the entire picture of what adoption looks like, from thinking about it to moving through the steps, and what to expect after the adoption happens. Even if you decide adoption is not for you, you’ll have learned the truth about open adoption and could be an understanding help to someone choosing adoption in the future. Plus, if you find that your circumstances change, you can always revisit adoption.
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.