Becoming an expectant parent, for some, is a joyous and wondrous occasion. However, there are those who are not ready to become parents. You may be a teenager and have your entire life ahead of you and realize that you do not have the ability, capacity, or support system to raise a baby, either on your own or with the father. You may be a college student who knows that you are unable to keep a baby, work, and attend classes, along with all the homework involved. There are endless other possibilities, but there are options that are not only best for you but also for the baby you carry. One of these may be placing your baby for adoption in Dallas.
What Does Adoption Mean?
Even if you know what adoption means, you may not know what it entails. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, adoption is, “the action or fact of legally taking another’s child and bringing it up as one’s own.” You can adopt from someone you know or through an agency or adoption attorney.
Steps to Placing Your Baby for Adoption
Understanding the steps you must take to place your baby for adoption in Dallas may be an easier process with the step outlined in this article.
- Making the Decision to Place Your Baby and Experiencing the Grieving Process
Deciding to place your baby for adoption is possibly the most loving, selfless, and difficult decision you will ever have to make. Since it is so hard, you may also go through the grieving process at any time after finding out you are pregnant. The grief may be more poignant as your hormones and mind run wild during this time. These are the stages of the grieving process. You may feel them in order, but that is commonly not the case.
- Denial: Grief is a hard thing to fathom and when it comes to accepting your pregnancy and the choices you must make, saying things like, “I’m not pregnant,” “this can’t be happening to me,” or “maybe, I can do this by myself,” make living in denial easier. The only problem with living in this fantasy is that you will still eventually have to make a decision one way or another.
- Anger: Everyone feels this emotion on different levels, and at different times. After deciding to place your baby for adoption, you may experience anger in waves, or it may even manifest as pain. You may find yourself angry at yourself, the birth father, or even the baby. This could continue throughout your pregnancy and even after your baby is placed and you are forced to move on with your life without your baby.
- Bargaining: Bargaining happens when you make a deal, so to speak, with a higher power that if your predicament changes, you will promise something in return. The problem with this one is that you may let yourself down.
- Depression/ Isolation: You may feel as if you are the only person in the world who has ever had to make this difficult choice. This may cause you to withdraw from family and friends, and you may feel the need to spend more and more time alone. This could lead to depression which has the potential to stay with you even after the birth of your baby or after the finalization of the adoption.
- Acceptance: This stage is when you finally come to realize that you have made the best choice for both you, and your baby by making certain that your baby has the best chance in life. This is a hard stage to reach. Even if you feel you have reached it, the other stages may still crop up.
- Finding an Agency and/or an Adoption Attorney
When you place your baby for adoption you will want to use an adoption agency as they will be there to guide you on your journey towards placing your baby with the right family or individual. One particular agency that is based in Texas is called The Gladney Center for Adoption. This agency is a great one to work with and they will help you in every aspect from finding your family to finalization. If they are not able to aid you in the way that you need them to, they will help you find an agency that will work better with your given situation. Obtaining an agency that works for you is in your best interest as they walk you through these next steps. Most agencies, especially Gladney, will assist you in obtaining a therapist or counselor to aid you in dealing with your feelings and emotions. They also provide some financial and housing aid if needed.
An adoption attorney is an attorney that works primarily with adoption. Some may also work in family law as well. These attorneys assist you in the legal aspects of placing your baby for adoption.
- Deciding on the Type of Adoption You Want
There are many types of adoptions such as domestic adoption, foster care adoption, international adoption, and stepparent adoption. For the sake of this article, I will discuss the most prominently used type of adoption in the United States: domestic adoption (also referred to as private adoption). According to adoption.org, “Domestic adoption is the term used when the adoptive parents, birth parents, and the child live within the United States. The entire adoption process, including initial placement, background checks, consent, and finalization, is regulated by state law and policy.” This type of adoption is the most common in the United States. Most first-time parents want to adopt an infant so that they can experience raising a baby.
- Creating a Birth plan and a Hospital Plan
When it comes to creating your birth plan, knowing the different categories of adoption comes in handy. The categories of adoption are closed adoption, open adoption, and semi-open adoption. Closed adoption used to be the only option for adoption in Dallas. This is a more difficult category as it involves no contact between the birth parents and the prospective adoptive parents once the baby has been placed and finalization has occurred. One drawback is that most of the files are sealed, making it complicated for the adoptee to find out about their parents.
Open adoption has gained more and more ground since the 1990s. This allows for some type of communication between the birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child. It may be in the form of letters, photographs, social media, and even visitation. If visitation is an option, a schedule will be set in place by the judge at the finalization hearing.
A semi-open adoption is a newer concept as it is a mix of the previous two, meaning that there will be things that the birth parents will be allowed to know and information that will be kept back. Knowing what you might want even before choosing a family will make sifting through files that much easier as you learn about each family you are considering.
A hospital plan is pretty much the same in Dallas as it is anywhere else. This is where you decide who you want to be in the delivery room with you as you bring your precious bundle into the world. Some birth mothers prefer to have their own mother with them should she be supportive throughout the entire process. Others like to have a few hours to make lasting memories with the birth father and the baby. Others still want to give the prospective adoptive parents the opportunity to be part of as much of the process as they are able.
- Choosing a Family
Not that many years ago, the only way you could choose a family was to go through file after file. Now, thanks to technology, there is a concept known as photo listing where you are able to look through profiles via computer, giving you greater access to more families wanting to adopt.
- Meeting the Family You have Chosen
This can be daunting as you are meeting strangers, and giving them your most precious gift. Communication between you and the prospective adoptive parents is key to getting to know them. You might want to think of some fun ice breakers to ask them to discern whether they are best suited to raise your baby. These could include:
- How did you meet?
- What attracted you to each other?
- What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?
- What was your favorite/least favorite subject in school?
- Where would you go on vacation if money were no object?
- Do you have colors picked for the baby’s room?
- What will you tell the baby when they are old enough to know they are adopted?
If you are having difficulty coming up more questions, you can always google “ice-breaking questions to get to know someone” as a way to search for more.
- Placing You Baby and Moving onto a Normal Life
After everything is all said and done, your life the way you knew it will not be the same. Pregnancy alone changes you but placing your baby for adoption changes you even more, not necessarily in a bad way. This would be a great time to find new hobbies that you might not have thought about before this giant leap. You may want to jump right back into continuing your education if you put it on hold during your pregnancy. One thing you will definitely want to continue is therapy as you may find yourself going through the grieving process. Your therapist can also assist you in finding new ways to help the new you.
Jenn Martin-Wright is a cowboy, jean wearing, country music, and rock loving cowgirl who loves books and jewelry. She was born three months too early with a disability that should’ve taken any semblance of a normal life from her. Her mom made sure Jenn did everything she was capable of. Coming from a big family, it was either keep up or get left in the dust. Jenn graduated high school, then went on to getting married, having kids, and receiving a BS in Social Work. Jenn lives in Idaho with her kids and a Maltese named Oakley who has become her writing helper as she writes novels under an alias for different genres.