If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or you are currently taking care of your newborn, and you are considering giving up your baby for adoption, you likely have a lot of questions about what adoption means, how the adoption process works, adoption laws and your parental rights, and any other other information that you should know about before making this important decision. You may be overwhelmed and possibly even more confused after looking at multiple adoption agencies’ websites. We at Open Arms Adoption have lots of adoption experience and have taken what we feel are the most important things for you to know if you are considering putting your baby up for adoption. We have summarized each of these below.
1. There are different types of adoptions
You may have seen movies or television shows depicting adoption in a certain way, but chances are, it wasn’t a very accurate representation of what modern adoption looks like today, as there are a lot of misconceptions about adoption. There are three types of adoption—Open Adoption, Semi-Open Adoption and Confidential also known as “Closed” Adoption.
In an Open Adoption, the Birth Mother can have direct contact with the child and the family that adopts him or her, and get together with them several times a year. In an Open Adoption, you can choose the RIGHT family for your baby, and maintain a relationship with them. You can meet the family prior to moving forward with adoption, and stay in touch so you always know how your baby is going, as he or she grows up. In an Open Adoption, your relationship with the Adoptive Family becomes similar to one of extended family members.
In a Semi-Open Adoption, you have the opportunity to receive updates on how your baby is doing, but with the help of Open Arms Adoption as the go-between. This way, if you aren’t ready for a relationship with the adoptive family, you can still get updates so you know how your child is doing, without having to get together with the family in person. Often, this feels like a good option for women in the beginning, when the adoption feels especially difficult. Then, as time goes on, you always have the opportunity to establish a relationship with the family, as your Open Arms counselor will be there to support you.
In a Closed Adoption or Confidential Adoption, you don’t have contact with the Adoptive Family at all. Some women find that they need this type of space, especially in the beginning when the process might feel especially painful and emotional. In a Confidential Adoption, the Adoptive Family does not typically get information about you, or the child’s Birth Family, unless you prefer that they do. As with the other types of adoption, you always have the opportunity to get to know the family down the road, if and when you decide that you are ready.
2. The type of adoption that you end up with is up to YOU
It is your preference. Sometimes you may see the Adoptive Family making these important decisions on TV or in movies. With Open Arms Adoption though, YOU, the Birth Parent, choose the type of adoption you would like to have, and we will work with you to ensure that your desires are being met and that your baby ultimately ends up with a wonderful family in a safe, loving home. We know that you have the best interests of your child as the most important factor of your decision, and we will help you determine what you feel is the ideal family for your baby.
3. Open Arms Adoption Counselors are there to support YOU
You never have to feel pressured about moving forward with adoption if you decide to work with us. We will never push you into making an adoption plan for your baby. We are here to support you, offer insight, to listen, to help you find resources and whatever you need. Should you decide to parent or terminate we will support your decision 100%.
4. The Birth Father of the baby can be involved in the process.
If the father of the baby is in agreement with you about adoption, this is a plan that he can be a part of. We are so happy when Birth Fathers choose to be involved in the process, especially when they want to help choose the family for the baby and meet them! This is a decision that you and the Birth Father can make together, regarding the type of adoption that you would like.
If the Birth Father of the baby is not in your life anymore, we will explore with you whether the is prepared and interested in parenting the baby. If he is interested in parenting, and has the capability to safely care for the baby all the time, then this is an option that must be available to him. If, however, he is not interested in parenting the baby, or he does not live in a safe environment to care for the baby, then adoption is an adoption that you are still able to pursue.
We understand that every situation is different, and that your relationship with your baby’s Birth Father might be a complicated one, so when you call us at 1-888-OPENARMS, we will meet with you and learn more about your situation so that we can assist you with all of this.
5. Adoption is different than Foster Care
There are a lot of myths “out there” about what adoption is and is not, and many people believe that adoption and Foster Care are the same thing. This is completely not true. Adoption is a permanent, voluntary choice, made by the Birth Parents. This means that YOU choose adoption, YOU choose the family, and the baby stays with THAT family forever. In Foster Care, you do NOT choose the family that your baby goes to, and very often, a baby will end up in 3 or MORE foster homes before finally being in a permanent situation. In Foster Care, you can sometimes get your baby back, if you meet the expectations of the state foster care agency. In adoption, the baby goes to the Adoptive Family, and the parents become the baby’s parents forever. There is no reunification option with adoption. With Foster Care, you don’t get to choose the day/time/place for visits, whereas in Open Adoption, you can be in touch directly with the Adoptive Family to choose times and places to get together—and it isn’t supervised visitation like Foster Care. It’s simply a casual get-together for you to spend time with your adopted child and his or her family.
6. Prospective Adoptive Parents do not get paid to adopt babies
In Foster Care, Foster Parents DO get paid to foster babies and foster children. In Voluntary Adoption, which is what Open Arms Adoption offers, the Adoptive Families pay fees for counselors and support to help them with all of the legal paperwork and home study reports so that they may ultimately adopt their future child. Adoptive Families go through countless hours of applications, background checks, interviews, meetings, workshops and training sessions in order to be able to adopt a child. By the time an Adoptive Family becomes a “waiting family”, they are excited and prepared to adopt a baby.
7. Local Adoption Agency Can Make Open Adoption Contact Easier
Some agencies are national and work with families and Birth Moms all over the United States, and therefore rarely have Birth Moms and Adoptive Families who live in the same area, so visits can be very difficult. There are even agencies out there that have Adoptive Families overseas adopting babies from the US. So, of course, you might be concerned that if you choose adoption for your baby, you may not get to see them after you make your plan. With Open Arms Adoption Network, if you want to have an Open Adoption and have visits with your child as they grow up, this is absolutely something that you will have. Open Arms Adoption has offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware, and therefore our clients live in these states, which makes it much easier to get together. We never want you to worry that you won’t get to watch your child grow up.
Interested in learning more about adoption or viewing some of our waiting families? Call us 24 hours a day at 1-888-OPENARMS, or visit our waiting families page. Our dedicated counselors are true adoption professionals are here to help you and offer support, guidance and understanding, anytime.