There’s no doubt that an unexpected pregnancy can make you feel shocked, scared, and unsure of your options. Remember that it’s absolutely okay to have those emotions. It’s best that you take the time to really contemplate how you want to move forward. Whether you are in the adoption process right now, you just made the decision to find a forever family for your baby, or you’re weighing your options, there are probably a lot of questions going through your mind. Is there anyone who can help me or am I on my own? How can I find people who want to adopt my baby? Are there ways to narrow down my options? Do I get to make some of the decisions during the adoption? What kind of relationship do I want with my baby after the adoption is over? Will I have access to support and resources? Hopefully, this article can help address these questions as well as others that may pop up throughout this time.
Is There Anyone Who Can Help Me or Am I On My Own?
The short answer to this question is that you are definitely not alone. There are plenty of people who want to help you through every step of the adoption process. Before anything else, you have to figure out who you want to help you on this journey. There are a plethora of adoption agencies out there, so it may be hard to figure out which one is the best fit for you. Try looking at agencies that are closer to you in distance, especially if you don’t have access to transportation. Some agencies can even help you with transportation and even living costs. If that isn’t an issue, then you’ll have more options to sift through so that you can see which one is right for you. For example, The Gladney Center of Adoption has many of its offices in Texas but can help you out no matter where you are in the country. They can assist with transportation, living expenses, and so much more.
Once you’ve narrowed down your adoption agencies, it’s time to make the phone call that may very well change your life. Gladney has options counselors on hand all hours of the day, all week long. Other agencies might be flexible or have specific office hours, so it just depends on which agency you choose to go through. Before you make the phone calls, it’s a good idea to have some questions ready to ask to help you make the decision:
- “How can I find people who want to adopt my baby?”
- “Will the agency help me understand adoption and possible outcomes?”
- “Does the agency support open adoption?”
- “Does the agency offer counseling post-adoption?”
- “What does the agency require of adoptive parents?”
- “Do you have birth mothers who were previously placed through you I can talk to as references?”
For more great questions visit Adoption.com. There may be more questions you think of and that’s perfectly fine!
Another important factor to consider is if the agency you want to go through is a Christian or secular one. Is there a difference? Yes, there is. If you choose to go through a Christian agency, everyone working there will be of that faith. In addition to that, they will also be willing to pray for you and offer counseling from a Christian perspective. Unfortunately, many Christian agencies only accept heterosexual couples to adopt. If that bothers you, then you may want to go through a secular agency that is more inclusive.
How Can I Find People Who Want to Adopt My Baby?
After you’ve chosen an adoption agency, you will be assigned a caseworker that will help you with the next step: picking a forever family. Of course, that may not be an easy task. It’s okay to take your time making this decision. Your caseworker will be a huge asset for you to help find the right family for your baby. Most agencies will have parent profiles on their websites that you can look at. Some profiles have pictures, videos, in-depth information, and even an open letter to the birth family. You can even narrow down your options by looking at certain ethnicities, where the family resides in the country, how many children they have, and even what faith they practice.
The next step is to interview these potential adoptive families. Even if you have more than one family on your radar, this is a great way to really see which family will be the right fit for your baby. You can meet them in a restaurant, at a coffee shop, or even their home. These parents know that you are wanting to get to know them better and to be completely transparent with you. Here are some examples of questions:
- “Why are you choosing to adopt?”
- “When and how do you intend to explain adoption to a child?”
- “What religion do you practice?”
- “What are your political views?”
- “What is your neighborhood like?”
- “What would you say is your parenting style?”
- “What kind of discipline do you plan on using?”
- “How often will we connect and contact one another?
- “Are visits possible? How often?”
What Kind of Relationship Do I Want With My Baby After the Adoption is Over?
You may have seen the term “open adoption” thrown around in this article and are not exactly sure as to what that entails. An open adoption is when the birth family, the adoptive family, and the adoptee (also known as the family triad) have open communication and the records are easily accessible to anyone in the triad. Every triad is special and unique, so there’s no formula to navigate how much communication can be made. Some triads are very close and talk all the time, whereas some triads are mostly just based on how comfortable the birth family is with communicating. You can talk to the adoptive family and adoptee in any way possible, such as visitations, phone calls, emails, letters, and so much more. This is a great option if you still want to be a part of your baby’s life even after you terminate your rights.
Now, if you want to be somewhat involved from a distance, then a semi-open adoption might be a better choice for you. A semi-adoption occurs when communication goes through a third party, such as the adoption agency that you have chosen. The adoptive family will send you pictures and updates as often as you want. Some communication can be made through the triad, but most birth families are satisfied with the occasional contact from the third party. This may be more comfortable for you if you think it’ll be beneficial for your baby.
Finally, a closed adoption is where all records are sealed and communication is non-existent. This option typically isn’t used unless the adoptee was abused, but some birth families would prefer a closed adoption. It may seem drastic, but they look at this option as a way to heal from grieving and the shame that can sometimes come up after the adoption is over. However, trying to find your baby will be extremely difficult and they won’t even be able to access the records until they turn 18.
Most adoptive families are wanting to have a relationship with you and want you to have a relationship with your baby. Open adoption is becoming more popular as it has obvious benefits for the triad. Your baby will know that they weren’t necessarily given up for adoption but that you wanted them to have a better life with their adoptive family. If you’re still stuck on figuring out what to do after the adoption is over, talk with your caseworker and the adoptive family to see what they want to do. Ultimately, the choice is made depending on what you’re more comfortable with. It’s also possible that you may change your mind down the road, so it’s good to be vocal with the adoptive family and your caseworker to see what those options would be.
Do I Get to Make Some of the Decisions During the Adoption?
In case I didn’t make it clear in this article, you are the one in the driver’s seat when it comes to adoption. You get to choose the adoption agency you want to go through, the family you want for your baby, your birth plan, and the kind of relationship you want with your baby. As time goes on, you may have to make compromises with the adoptive family when your baby gets older or if you change your mind about the amount of communication you want.
Another important decision that needs to be made between you and your caseworker is your birth plan. You get to decide who you want in the hospital room with you, how long you want to spend with your baby before letting the adoptive family see him or her, and where you want the birth to happen. Babies like to be the ones in control so things might change or you might even want to make some changes and that’s perfectly fine. Just know that your caseworker and the adoptive parents want to make sure your comfort is the number one priority.
How Can I Narrow Down My Options?
If you’ve gotten this far and you’re still struggling with making decisions, take a deep breath, and write down your deal breakers regarding agencies and families. Is there something you absolutely need from an adoption agency, like living expenses? Make sure you bring up financial assistance when you ask questions. Do you want the adoptive family to be of the same ethnicity as your baby? Bring that up with your caseworker so you have those options to go through. Remember that you are in charge.
Will I Have Access to Support and Resources?
Absolutely. Most adoption agencies will have counseling and other resources available to you throughout the adoption journey. You can even access them years from your adoption if you need them. When I say you’re not alone, I truly mean it. In addition, you also have the option of talking to other birth mothers to get their input and advice and to join a support group for birth families. Some agencies can help you get an update or attempt to open a closed adoption if you decide you’re ready for that change. You will have a team of people to guide you through every part of the process.
You will be able to find someone to adopt your child by going through an adoption agency that is full of love and people who want to make sure that your voice is heard. When you find an agency that works for you, you may find another support system in your child’s adoptive family. Most adoptive families would adore a relationship with you and want you to be a part of their family. They want what’s best for you and your baby and will show it by making sure you’re comfortable. You made a big decision by choosing adoption for your baby, but you need to remember that you’re not alone. Even if you don’t have your own support system available to you, you will gain a lot of fighters in your corner.
Emily Perez is a stay-at-home mama to two sweet boys and wife to a handsome electrician living the small-town life in Idaho. She has a BS in Elementary Education from Eastern Oregon University and loved teaching 2nd grade. When she was younger, her parents did foster care and adopted 5 kiddos from all walks of life to be her siblings. She hopes to do foster care and adoption in the future. Along with adoption, her other passions include advocating for mental health and special needs. Emily enjoys being with family and friends, snuggling her babies, playing the piano, singing, reading, and writing. Coffee is her go-to drink for fuel and she loves anything chocolate!