One of the huge myths of the adoption process is that birth parents have very little right or say in the life of their child. Until your child is placed for adoption, it is absolutely your right and goal to make decisions as their parent and express your feelings about what is best for them and the life you envision they will have. There are many unknowns, but there are steps you can take to ensure your child will get the best life possible after adoption placement. One of these steps begins with picking the adoption agency through which you will place your child. Good and ethical agencies will make sure your rights are represented and that your wants are honored to the best of their ability.

Many agencies will allow you to choose the family with which your child is placed. This process may include looking through prospective-parent portfolios that contain a wealth of information about a hopeful adoptive family’s lifestyle, history, personality, et cetera. You may also get a chance to meet with some of these families to see if you feel they may be a good fit. It’s wise to make a list of desires you have for your child and express those to the agency and prospective parents. You should also keep those desires in mind when choosing a family for placement.

The definition of “open adoption” is changing every day and may also be a good option to have peace of mind about the life your child will lead. Open adoption can be anything from picture updates to regular visits. Even though you will not have a say on parental decisions after the placement has been made, this will allow you to remain confident that your child is getting the best life possible. If you have chosen a closed adoption, picking a good agency and expressing your desires for the life of your child will be key.

Click here for stories about real birth mothers’ experiences.