How Does Open Adoption Work?
Let Lifetime Lead The Way
Here’s a question we get quite often from women who are pregnant and due soon: “Can you explain how open adoption works?”
Questions like this one from birth parents about placing a baby for adoption are especially important to answer. While it may seem obvious how adoption works, in our experience, most people are surprised that what they thought they knew about how adoption works doesn’t come close to telling the whole story.
So what is open adoption? Simply put, it’s an adoption process in which both the birth mother (or birth parents) and the adoptive family meet before, during, and after the adoption.
About Open Adoptions
Open adoptions are a relatively recent process. So recent in fact, that not a lot of people are aware that it’s even a possibility. In fact, in this modern era, many people are unfamiliar with the concept of adoption at all; some people are surprised to hear that it’s “still a thing”!
For example, a big part of open adoption is that the birth mother chooses the adoptive parents for her baby. There is an exchange of personal information, discussions about adoption plans, and how best to raise the child.
As a domestic adoption agency, Lifetime plays a big role in the open and semi-open adoption process. (Semi-open adoption simply means that there are some limits placed on contact between birth parents and adoptive families.)
Benefits of Open Adoption
Our adoption work includes bringing the birth mother and prospective adoptive parent or parents together. Lifetime is staffed by experienced and caring adoption professionals. They coordinate the entire adoption process between the adopting family, the birth parents, even the attorneys, hospital social workers, counselors, and more.
Lifetime has a wide variety of hopeful adoptive parents living all over the United States. You can pick the parents for your baby or child based on things that are important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a couple who live in a certain state. Or maybe you’re hoping your child will be raised in a similar faith as yours.
The Choice of Continuing Contact
Open adoption also means that you can get updates on your child as they grow up. Lots of birth mothers choose to get updates through phone calls, email, social media, and letters. Others meet with the adoptive family and their adopted children for a visit each year.
You have the right to decide how much future contact you’d like. Lifetime will help you find a couple who’s open to that amount of communication, too.
Benefits of Open Adoption
As you read through this, you might be wondering, “So what’s so great about open adoption?” One of the biggest benefits of open adoption for you is that you can remain a part of your child’s life.
Open adoption doesn’t mean that you’re saying goodbye forever. It can be a respectful agreement between you and the adoptive parents. You have the chance to be involved in your child’s life with whatever amount you’re comfortable with.
It also gives you the opportunity to build a relationship with your child’s adoptive parents — one based on mutual love and caring for your child.
How Adoption Works: Creating An Adoption Plan
Every adoption is at least a little bit different, and every expectant mother is, of course, different from all others. But generally speaking, here are the steps most women take when creating a custom adoption plan:
- Call or email an experienced and caring adoption coordinator at Lifetime Adoption. Ask questions that may be specific to their situation. We are available 24/7 at 1-800-923-6784. Remember, everything is confidential. If you prefer, you can complete the initial adoption form online.
- Receive info by mail or email about adoption and available adoptive parents. This includes a free book about adoption, called “So I Was Thinking About Adoption: Consider Your Choices” by Lifetime Adoption founder and CEO Mardie Caldwell.
- Read and review the adoption materials. Then, choose your favorite three adoptive families.
- Speak, text or email with the families you’re interested in as you decide who is best for your baby. Get to know them and see which one you feel the most comfortable with.
- Make a plan with your coordinator for the hospital. Will you have someone with you? Do you want to name your baby? Do you want to leave before or after the adoptive parents?
- Continue to build a relationship with adoptive parents while waiting for your due date.
How Adoption Works: After Delivery
Prior to adoption placement, you may meet with an attorney or social worker to receive information and advice on your rights. (This sometimes happens after delivery, depending on your state.)
After delivery, the baby usually leaves the hospital with the adoptive parents. You will meet with an attorney or social worker to sign the final papers for adoption. Depending on what you’ve arranged with the adoptive parents, you will receive updates on how your baby is doing.
Moving on into the future is important. Making a plan can help. There are organizations that provide assistance, including a nonprofit foundation that funds scholarships and laptops for birth mothers who meet the criteria. Counseling is always available.
Birth mothers at Lifetime Adoption are in control of their own adoption plan. There may be misconceptions about the adoption process out there, and we want to put any fears you may have to rest. You are in charge of your child’s adoption.
If you are pregnant and considering adoption, especially if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, please remember that you are not alone! Lifetime Adoption is ready to help answer your questions and help you learn more about adoption for your baby.
Some Final Questions And Answers About How Adoption Works
How do I know the adoptive parents won’t forget me?
Lifetime Adoption’s families are open and prepared to keep in touch with you through letters, pictures, visits, social media (such as Facebook), text messages, email, and more! Just let us know what you are looking for and we’ll send you info on adoptive families who are looking for the same thing.
Can I get financial help with my expenses, such as rent, food, maternity clothes, and medical costs?
Yes! We can help arrange assistance for you if allowed by your state’s adoption laws. In addition to rent, food, clothes, and medical, you may qualify for help with your phone, transportation, and more.
I don’t have transportation. How can I receive counseling?
We have licensed counselors who will schedule a time to have counseling sessions with you by phone. Our peer counselors, women who have placed a child for adoption, are similar to a support group, except that it is a one-on-one relationship. As with other aspects of your open domestic adoption, you decide how much interaction you want.
Your peer counselor is available to talk by phone or email with you. Sometimes it helps to speak to someone who has been there and done that when you are pregnant and considering adoption.
Peer counselors know the process of working with Lifetime and finding a family to adopt a child. They can discuss their experience with the Lifetime Adoption agency, checking in on their biological child’s welfare after the adoption, birth parents and adoptive parent relationships, and so much more.
Those are the basics of how open adoption works. Please call or text Lifetime to learn more and find out more about how we can help you.
Learn more about why open adoption is so great at this link: Benefits of Adoption.
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