“I just learned that I’m pregnant again…I’m already struggling to parent the two kids I have. Their fathers aren’t in the picture at all. They were both deadbeats and didn’t help me. I’ve started to think about giving my baby up for adoption, something I never thought I’d do.
Since I’m already a mom, I know that it will be too emotionally difficult for me if I see my baby, and I don’t want to look at adoption profiles either. Do I have to pick adoptive parents for my baby? I don’t want to form a connection with them or this baby.”
No, you don’t have to look at profiles or choose your baby’s adoptive parents if you don’t want to. Every expectant mother who chooses adoption can determine what’s right for her and her situation.
With modern adoption, you’re in charge of the process, and that includes whether or not you’d like to choose your baby’s parents. You have a say in every step of your adoption plan, including if you want a closed adoption with no contact.
What is a Closed Adoption?
As you begin looking into adoption, you may hear new terms like “closed adoption,” “open adoption,” and “modern adoption.”
What is a closed adoption? How is it different from the other types of adoption? In a closed adoption, your adoption professional will choose a family for you. They will keep any identifying information about you private. Also, you will not receive any information about the adoptive family. In a closed adoption, you will not have any further contacts or updates.
A closed adoption plan offers privacy and a sense of closure as you move on to the next stage of your life. This option could be in your child’s best interest if you know that your circumstances are unstable or unsafe.
In an open or “modern” adoption, you choose your baby’s parents and decide the type and amount of contact you would like after the adoption is final. Open adoption is the norm today, and most women want some contact with their child after placement. But what happens if you want to have a closed adoption? Is that possible with modern adoption?
Open adoption has become more common, moving away from the shame and secrecy of adoptions in the past. But just because the open adoption movement is positive doesn’t mean it’s right for you and your situation. That’s why so many women wonder if it is okay to want a closed adoption.
The answer is simple: yes, it definitely is! This is your adoption plan, and the choices are yours. If you’d like, you can tell your Adoption Coordinator a few of the things you’re hoping for in your baby’s parents, such as their race or where in the US they live. Even if you want Lifetime to choose adoptive parents for you, you can still let us know some general characteristics you prefer them to have.
But Will My Baby Be Safe?
Lifetime has helped many women who have been in your shoes, and we’ve selected loving, safe, and stable adoptive parents for their babies. We know that you truly love your baby and want the best life possible for them. With Lifetime Adoption’s nationwide network of hopeful adoptive parents, we’ll be sure to select wonderful parents for your baby. Many women thinking about adoption wonder, “How do I know my baby will be safe with the adoptive parents?”
All of the hopeful adoptive parents Lifetime Adoption works with must go through in-depth background checks, health certifications, and financial verifications before they are approved to adopt. Part of this process is called a “home study,” which is a report that a state-certified social worker creates about a couple hoping to adopt. The social worker will visit the couple’s home to make sure it’s safe and has plenty of room for a child. They’ll interview everyone who lives there because they want to ensure that everyone in the household is excited to see their family grow.
The social worker will also conduct background checks on the hopeful adoptive parents, which include federal (FBI), state, and local checks. These checks will show if there have been any criminal behavior or child abuse reports ever reported. The hopeful adoptive parents have to prove their income through payroll stubs or tax records, pass criminal background checks, and get a physical to show they’re healthy enough to parent.
Once the home study is complete, our team of adoption professionals will review it to ensure your baby will go to a safe and loving home.
As a result, you can rest assured that no matter which adoptive couple our professionals choose, your baby will grow up in a good home with a loving, stable mom and dad. Each one of Lifetime’s hopeful parents is ready and excited to welcome a baby into their family through adoption.
Do I Have to See My Baby?
Part of choosing adoption for your baby is deciding how things will go at the hospital once it comes time for you to deliver. You can make a Hospital Adoption Plan, which allows the adoptive family, the hospital staff, and Lifetime to know exactly how you want the hospital visit to be handled.
It’s up to you whether or not you’d like to see and hold your baby once they are born. You don’t have to see your baby if you think it will be too difficult for you. However, if you change your mind about this once you’re in the moment, that’s fine too.
Some women who choose to have a closed adoption wish for the adopting parents to stay in the labor and delivery department’s waiting room instead in their room. They may also decide if they want to be admitted to the hospital confidentially and leave the hospital at a different time than the adoptive parents and baby.
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. We encourage you to talk with your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime to create a hospital plan that works for you and that you’re truly comfortable with. She will help you work out the details beforehand so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Lifetime can handle everything for you, from choosing your baby’s parents to letting them know how you’d like things to go at the hospital when it comes time for you to deliver. We just need you to fill out our online questionnaire and paperwork, as requested, so we can learn more about your situation. Learning more allows us to choose just the right adoptive parents for your baby.
Shares one birth mother, Kylee, “When I called Lifetime and talked to Diane, it was such a relief to have the option of adoption! I ended up talking to her a lot during my pregnancy. I came to really trust her, so I told her I’d like Lifetime to choose an adoptive couple for my baby.
Once I was firm in my decision to adopt out my baby daughter, I knew it’d be more difficult for me if I saw her. So, I made sure to include in my birth plan that I didn’t want to see my baby or hold her after delivery…and I made plenty of copies of my plan so everyone at the hospital would know. Today, I don’t have any contact with the adoptive couple who adopted her, but I trust that she’s doing well now because I have confidence that Diane picked a great couple.”
Benefits of a Closed Adoption
Everyone’s situation is unique. What’s right for another woman may not be right for you. That means it is up to you to determine which type of adoption is going to work out best.
As you consider “what is a closed adoption?” here are some potential benefits to this type of adoption:
- Emotional closure: For some women, an open adoption might be too painful. They feel that as they process their feelings of grief and move forward in their lives, a closed adoption will provide a better sense of closure.
- Safety: If an expectant mother is considering a closed adoption due to a toxic or abusive environment, having less contact might be in everyone’s best interest.
- Privacy: A birth mother may choose to keep their pregnancy and adoption plan secret from certain people in their life for a variety of reasons. A closed adoption may make it easier for them to keep this secret long-term.
Myths About Open Adoption
Many fears about open adoption come from common misunderstandings. If you want a closed adoption, it may be because you have heard some of these myths about open adoption:
Myth: Open adoption is too confusing for a child.
Truth: Nowadays, a child is told from the beginning that they were adopted. Adoptive parents explain the love that led their birth parents to adoption. They tell the child their own unique story in an age-appropriate way that honors the adoption decision.
Research shows that as children know the truth from a very young age, they understand their beginnings and feel more confident. Adoption is common and just another way that families are created.
Myth: My child will hate me.
Truth: Open adoption helps your child develop a positive self-identity about their adoption story. As a child comes to understand the difficult decision their birth parents made to give them the best life possible, it builds love and affection, not hate.
The fear that your child will hate you is based on your own grief and loss when thinking about the situation. Saying goodbye can be difficult and painful. But you will always be your child’s birth mother, his first mother, and adoption will never change that.
Myth: Open adoption means I’ll have some parenting responsibility.
Truth: Open adoption is not co-parenting. Keeping in contact with the adoptive family and your child allows a continued connection. Open adoption can take many forms, but it never means you still have parental responsibility.
Be True to Yourself
There are times in life when “fake it ’til you make it” totally applies. But the process of choosing adoption for your baby is not one of those moments. Therefore, it’s important to be completely open and honest with your Adoption Coordinator about what you want during this process.
Right now, you might feel like you’re supposed to want an open adoption. Maybe you feel unsure if open adoption is the best way for you to move forward and find closure.
Take the time to explore all your options, but do what you honestly feel is in your best interest. As a birth mother, you’re in charge of the adoption process. Everyone’s situation is unique. So whichever choice is best for you is the right choice to make.
You can choose to make a closed adoption plan for your baby or child. After learning more about modern adoption, some women end up wanting to choose their child’s adoptive parents and speak with them before the adoption happens. Lifetime’s Adoption Coordinators are here to have a conversation with you about how you want your child’s adoption to go.
Call or text Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784 to get adoption support at any time. Or you can request free information about adoption.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on September 27, 2019, 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.