If you or someone you know is either pregnant or recently gave birth, and you are wanting to learn more information about giving up a baby for adoption, or making an adoption plan, but you aren’t sure where to start, there are a few steps to the adoption process that we will outline below. Several of these steps might differ depending on how you move forward with adoption, whether you work with an adoption agency or an attorney, but this article will give you a general idea of the steps involved in the adoption journey, so that you know where to go from here. And, if you would like to speak to one of our counselors, they are available 24/7 to help you by calling 1-888-OPENARMS.
1. Exploring Your Options
When experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, or even a planned pregnancy that you are unsure about, you first step is exploring all of your options. In addition to parenting, termination and adoption might be options that you wish to learn more about. While you know that you can do some internet research about each of these, you can also look to professionals to help you get educated as well, as they would be the best ones to offer you helpful resources. The adoption process does not need to be overwhelming,
Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may or may not have friends or family that can help you connect with helpful resources. If there is someone that you trust to help you through the process, it’s not a bad idea to look to them for support.
Should you decide to call an adoption agency to learn more, working with an adoption counselor is a way to learn about your options. For instance, Open Arms Adoption has counselors that will offer nonbiased options counseling so that you can learn more about all of your options and figure out what you would like to do.
2. Discussing Adoption with the Birth Father
Once you decide that adoption is the option that you feel good about, it’s time to discuss this option with the baby’s father. Your Open Arms Adoption Counselor can give you guidance on how best to approach this conversation. If the father of your baby is still in your life, your counselor can even sit down with the two of you to help answer any questions that the Birth Father may have as well.
If the father of your baby is not present in your life, your Adoption Counselor can help you figure out the next steps to continuing your adoption plan, ideally with the Birth Father’s consent.
4. Telling your Family
Along the lines of speaking with the father, it would be a good idea to start discussing the idea of adoption with your family at this point. If you are feeling like adoption is the answer for you because of lack of resources and support, perhaps you have family or a not-so-distant relative that will come forward and help you in parenting this baby. Very often it can be as simple as making a few phone calls until you figure out a parenting plan. Your emotions are likely intense right now, so it’s important that you get support through this process, rather than trying to keep it a secret from your family. What’s most important is that you choose the option that is in the best interest of you and your baby. Your Adoption Social Worker will continue to support you through this process, and help you with these conversations if you wish. It is their goal to ensure that you make the best choice for you and your baby.
5. Choosing the Type of Adoption for You
If you get to the point where you have felt solid in adoption for a period of time and are confident that this is what you want, you may want to start thinking about the kind of adoption you envision having with your newborn baby and their adoptive family.
Should you want complete and total confidentiality, then a closed adoption is an option to consider. In a closed or confidential adoption, you have no ongoing contact with the adoptive family and your child. Sometimes potential birth mothers find this to be the easiest option to move forward with, as having contact might be too emotionally difficult. Should you want to choose a prospective adoptive family, and then not have contact, that is an option as well. If you decide to work with an agency like Open Arms Adoption, you can change your mind down the road and actually establish contact in the future if you so desire.
Another option is a Semi-Open Adoption. In this type of adoption, you can actually have contact with the adoptive family, but through the adoption agency. The family can send photos and updates to the adoption agency, and then the agency or your social worker will pass along these updates to you. Semi-Open adoption is a good option if you know that updates are something that you want, but you don’t want direct contact.
Open Adoption is another type of adoption to consider. In an Open Adoption, you and your child’s family will have open and direct communication with one another. Some pregnant women feel comforted by this option and feel as though direct contact is what will make them feel most comfortable. They will know that their baby is in a permanent loving home, and they can visit with them several times a year.
Whether or not one of these types of adoptions interest you right now, know that you may change your mind about the level of openness you prefer over the coming weeks or months. It’s very typically for Birth Parents to lean toward one type of adoption and then shift in their thinking and choose another. Your adoption counselor will continue to offer you emotional support while you consider these choices and help you make an informed decision about the type of adoption you feel good about.
6. Meeting the Family (if You Wish to)
If you decide that you would in fact like an Open Adoption, you can choose the family by looking at profiles, and then you can opt to meet the family before the baby’s birth. Usually, with Open Arms, we will set up a casual meeting with the Expectant Parent(s) and the Adoptive Parent(s) of their choice. This will make you feel more solid in your decision so that you can feel confident that you are making the right choice before the adoption placement occurs.
7. Giving Birth
When it is time for your child’s birth, your adoption counselor will continue to support you through the process. They will be there for you at the hospital, making sure that your needs are being met, and that you feel comfortable. They will never pressure you to move forward with adoption, and, very often this is when new moms tend to change their mind about adoption and decide that they would like to parent their new baby- which we support fully.
Sometimes women have a family member or a friend come and visit when they are in the hospital, while others tend to want more privacy. Whichever you prefer is completely fine, we can be there for you however and whenever you need us.
8. Signing Paperwork
If you continue to feel solid in your adoption plan after giving birth to your baby, you can likely sign consents (adoption paperwork) after a few days. We will never pressure you into moving forward with adoption and will continue to explore your other options, but, should you feel completely confident in adoption, this is when the legal paperwork would typically be signed. After that, you will not have your parental rights anymore, and this is when we would have the adoptive family sign their paperwork and they would get custody of the baby.
This may be a difficult time for you, as you will likely be feeling some grief and loss around giving your baby up. In addition to offering you counseling, we can connect you with other Birth Parents who have gone through the process as well, which may be comforting to you. We can also connect you with support groups so that you never feel alone. And, just because paperwork is signed, does not mean we are no longer here for you– we will continue to support you for as long as you need us.
9. Staying in Touch (if You Would Like)
If you opted for an Open Adoption, we can help you establish contact with the Adoptive Family so that everyone feels comfortable staying in touch. Should you and the baby’s family get to the point where you no longer need an adoption professional to help you along, you all can navigate your relationship on your own, but we will continue to be there if you need us.
Hopefully, after reading through the above steps, you feel like you know how to pursue adoption if it is what you prefer. It is so important to work with a reputable local agency, and Open Arms Adoption Network can work with you in PA, NJ, NY & DE. Counselors are local and available to you at any time, day or night. Call us anytime at 1-888-OPENARMS or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . If you want to check out some of our current waiting adoptive families, you can view our waiting families profiles. We are here to support you in any way that we can.