You’ve discovered you’re pregnant. You might have eventually hoped to be pregnant and have a child or two but this isn’t the time you were hoping for. Or maybe you were planning to remain childfree and this is unexpected news. Don’t panic. You have options. First, schedule a doctor’s appointment and find out if you are actually pregnant. It might be obvious that you are, but sometimes there can be false positives and you may panic for no reason. After you have figured out if you are pregnant or not, you can make some decisions. Can you parent on your own or with your partner? Do you have family close by that can help you out? What are you going to do? Who are you going to get to babysit while you’re at work? Okay, this is not going to work. Or maybe you can make it work

Maybe you want to choose adoption. Either sounds like a daunting task but how will you decide. You wonder how you will find couples looking to adopt. You don’t know anyone that was adopted or has adopted, at least to your knowledge. Though, come to think of it, have you ever thought to ask? I know it wasn’t ever something I brought up in conversation until I started to become really interested in the idea of adopting.

Adoption might be looking more and more like the way you’ll go but you need more information. What kind of person would you want to adopt your baby? Obviously, a kind, nurturing person, but maybe you’re more punk rock than country? Are you a city dweller or do you long for the country? If those things are important to you, you might want them to be part of the consideration for who you pick to adopt your child. Did you know those are things you can look for? This will narrow down the search so your pool of possibilities may be smaller but if you have things that are important to you, it is something to think about. 

Anyway, now that you’ve considered the possibility of adoption, you might be unsure where to start. This is normal. Here are some steps to help guide you through the concept of adoption:

  1. One of your first things to look at are Parent Profiles. Here you can look at hundreds of hopeful adoptive parents who would love the chance to adopt your baby. You can click on the pictures and learn more about each family and see if one clicks with you. Even if there isn’t anyone that you love, you can get an idea of what you’re looking for. Maybe you’d like a family that resembles yours. Maybe you want a single mom. It’s up to you to decide and looking at all of the profiles can give you a better idea of what you are looking for
  2. The newspaper is a resource you might not have thought about because it seems pretty out of date but is actually an amazing tool. It sounds strange but there are many hopeful people who place want ads hoping for an expectant mom to choose them as an adoptive family. There are online newspapers all around the United States with such ads. Go to your local grocery store and pick a newspaper from the stand. You’ll be surprised by how many people would love to give your child a home. You can contact them via text or email and discuss what their expectations are versus yours and move on from there if you feel it is a good match. 
  3. Another way to find couples looking to adopt? is to ask people around you. There is a good chance you know someone who knows someone who would welcome your baby with open arms. Do you go to a church or synagogue? Ask a few pointed questions to people you are close to and they may point you in the right direction. Often a pastor or rabbi has an idea of who in his or her congregation is hoping to adopt. With mutual permission, you can be introduced and begin a relationship. While not universally true, oftentimes families in church have a desire to help people who are hurting and in need. While they are not all good people, many of them try, and very often you’ll find families who have been praying about adoption for years making the decision when they are approached by another member or visitor to the church they attend. 
  4. A web search can also be very helpful and it will likely bring up a large list of hopeful adoptive parents. All around the U.S. and the world, there are couples who for one reason or another would love to adopt. Before you do this you will need to sit down and make a list of things you are specifically looking for to narrow down the search. Couples looking to adopt in the state you are living in, couples looking to adopt who have no children, couples looking to adopt that love a certain activity. Using search engines you can find so many people who are hoping to adopt and blogs by people who have adopted or want to adopt. You can also get an idea of how many couples in your region are hoping to adopt and how to get in touch with them directly or through an adoption agency.
  5. can show you what requirements are to adopt and how adoptive parents are screened before they are allowed to adopt. You can also look at photo listings at specific hopeful adoptive parents and contact them through the website if you’re interested in further discussion. You can also get a feel for how the process works and have a chance to ask questions where you are confused or concerned about how it works. 
  6. Ask someone at work. If you have work friends you might ask them if they know of anyone hoping to adopt. It can be a private thing so even people you might be close to at work may be hoping to adopt but you don’t know. I was shocked to learn just how many people in my life were touched by adoption. Either they were adopted children and hoped to adopt in the future, or they were infertile and desperately wanted a child and didn’t care where the baby came from.
  7. If you work in an office with a community bulletin board you can post something on the bulletin board with your contact information. If you go this route I’d suggest an email address you set up specifically for potential adoptive parents so your regular email doesn’t get swamped. 
  8. Post a wanted ad yourself on an internet service or newspaper. List your specifications about what you are looking for in a potential adoptive couple and an email set up specifically for that purpose. You can screen families and save yourself time and energy by being more specific about the types of families you are looking for if you have any specific requirements. You need to find a couple with whom you are comfortable around. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions as you begin to find couples looking to adopt. Even if you want minimum contact post-adoption, it is important that you find a family you feel compatible with.

There are numerous ways to find couples looking to adopt. Contact an agency, look online, ask around. There are hundreds of thousands of hopeful families waiting to adopt. If you’re still not convinced adoption is the way you want to go, consider looking at and finding birth mothers who have already proceeded with adoption and other expectant parents who are further along in the process than you. So much can be learned by talking with people who have been there. Their insight might be the tipping point for what you decide and you may find friendships along the way to help you whichever way you wish to go. 

Speaking as an adoptive mom who adores her kids, I cannot say enough good things about adoption. I love it.  There are fewer things in life I love more than seeing a family who wants a child get to bring one home, and for a child that needs a home to get a family who adores them. It can be complicated, difficult, heartbreaking, and exhausting but it can also be the biggest blessing you have ever imagined in your entire life. It is a difficult journey you are on but you can do this. It might feel impossible right now but it isn’t. You are brave strong, and you’ll make it. 

 I wish you luck as you figure out where to find couples looking to adopt. I pray that you’ll find just the right family. I also pray and that you will find the support you need if you decide you will parent your child. Neither road will be without difficulty but both will bring their own blessings to the people involved, including you. There is something beautiful about families being created even if the creation isn’t happening the way it is imagined or planned for. 

Christina Gochnauer is a foster and adoptive mom of five. She has a bachelor’s degree of Psychology from Letourneau University. She currently resides in Texas with her husband of 16 years, her children, and her three dogs. She is passionate about using her voice to speak out for children from “hard places” in her church and community.