What is the Adoption Process if I’m Pregnant?
It is important to understand that you can make the choices in adoption for both you and your baby – modern adoption is not “giving a baby up,” as many people still say today. Adoption is a personal experience and can be completely customized for you.
We understand that when you call or text Lifetime, you aren’t ready to commit to adoption. No one will ask you to commit today – it isn’t that type of decision. Let’s walk through what the adoption process looks like to answer the most common question, “How does adoption work?”
1. Learn about your choices in adoption.
The first step is simply to learn about modern adoption so you can decide if it is the right decision for you and your baby. Many people think it is like foster care, but it is not. It is also not like adoption from the 1950’s. Adoption today is very open and the pregnant mom makes the choices. You can choose:
- The parents for your baby
- The type of contact you want after the adoption
- How things go at the hospital
- If you need help with expenses
- Who is involved in your adoption plan and much more!
You may not be ready to make all these decisions right now, and that’s ok! At Lifetime, we will help you make each decision when it is time, and present you with all of your options!
We start by gathering some information about and your baby, and providing you with information tailored to you, like specific families to look at who are open to adopting your baby. We have a free adoption book, answers to the questions women ask about adoption , and more we can send by email or mail.
Adoption through Lifetime is not foster care. Modern, open adoptions are a loving choice. Your child will know about you and that you chose adoption out of the greatest love and care for them. You will be included in the future. It is not goodbye forever.
Learning about adoption today is truly the first step in deciding if it is right for you. Speaking by phone or text with a coordinator will help you understand your choices.
2. Get to know waiting adoptive parents
Part of making the decision about adoption, is knowing what waiting adoptive parents are like. It is easier to imagine adoption for your baby, once you actually look at waiting couples.
Lifetime Adoption works with couples from all across the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, and every waiting family is different. We have families of different races, religions, interests, hobbies and professions. By taking some time to learn more about them, you are beginning the process of making an adoption plan.
Many women wonder “How do I choose a family for my baby?”, and the answer starts with simply looking. If you have something in mind already, your coordinator can help guide you to families who have those characteristics. As you read about them, look at their photos and watch the videos they’ve created, you will begin to discover more about what is important to you and what you want.
When you are ready, you will be able to talk with them on the phone or text/email if you prefer, so you can ask questions and learn more about them. If you like more than one family, you can talk to more than one as you make your decision about if adoption is right for you.
One of the questions we hear a lot is “How do I know that the family is safe?” All Lifetime adopting families have been through a process known as a ‘home study’. This involves background checks, financial and medical histories, a home investigation, interviews, and much more. Lifetime families are also excited to have an open adoption with you. They are ready and eager to get to know you, as well as the hopes and dreams you have for your child.
3. Create your adoption plan
Once you decide on an adoptive family, you are considered ‘matched’ with them! Your Lifetime coordinator begins to work with you on actually creating the adoption plan. This includes making some of those decisions with your coordinator, things like:
- Your hospital plan – This defines how you want things to go at the hospital, who you want in the room, and more. Your coordinator will send this information to the hospital if you wish.
- Your health history – This provides the adopting family with information for your child’s pediatrician for the future.
- Your pregnancy expenses – If you need help with things like medical fees, rent, food, transportation, maternity clothes, and more.
- Your future plans – Help with your goals, including referrals to scholarship programs for birth parents.
Your adoption plan may also include free resources you need right now, things like:
- Counseling with a licensed counselor
- Maternity clothes
- Connecting with a peer counselor, a woman who has been where you are
- Toiletries, food, household items, and more
During this time, you can continue to build your relationship with the adoptive parents you’ve chosen. You may want to schedule a time to get together before your due date. You can also talk about the type of contact and relationship you want after the adoption.
4. Delivery and signing adoption papers
The adoptive parents you have chosen will travel to your town near your due date. You may be able to spend some time together if you wish before you go into labor. This is a nice time to meet face to face. If you have planned for them to be at the hospital when you deliver, they will be there.
After your baby is born, you may spend as much time him or her as you wish. Remember you have created a hospital plan with your adoption coordinator that allows you to make those decisions. If things change, your coordinator is just a call or text away.
Usually in the next day or two, you will meet with the attorney who will help you sign the legal papers for adoption. He will ensure that you understand the process, share your rights, and make sure that you are confident in your decision before completing the paperwork with you.
Typically, the baby leaves the hospital with the family you have chosen, so you do not have to care for the baby between the time you are discharged and when you sign the papers. The family remains in your town and are available if you want to get together and spend more time with your baby.
5. Life after adoption
After the adoption is completed, a new chapter of your life begins. You may continue receiving updates and staying in contact with the adoptive parents as you have requested. Your coordinator is still there for you and can offer help with future planning if you need it. The counselors and peer support staff is also completely available to you.
Many women feel proud of their adoption decision, and want to become a peer counselor themselves. Others may have children already and are grateful to get back to ‘normal’. Still others take this opportunity as a new beginning and look forward to broadening their horizon through the education or new career choices. How you choose to face the future will depend in large part on the goals you set with your coordinator early on.
One important thing remains, the relationship you are creating with your child and the parents you have chosen for your child for a lifetime.
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