Are you a birth parent wondering how to give your baby up for adoption? You might have looked into other options such as abortion and are totally against it. You might wonder whether you have what it takes to raise your baby yourself, whether you are a young mother or one with children already but not the resources to take care of another child. Whatever your reasoning for looking into adoption, you are making a selfless, unconditionally loving decision even just researching it.
What does Adoption Mean?
As a young birth mother, you might have heard of the word “adoption” but are unsure what it even means. Adoption is when a couple or individual raises a baby or child that is not biologically related to them in any way.
Couples or those who want to adopt do not care whether they are biologically related to the baby or not. Most of the time, these are people who have tried everything under the sun to create a baby of their own, including in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, and keeping track of ovulation with no luck. They know they can love and desperately want a family, whether it be their first baby or an addition to a family they have already started.
One of the best ways to understand placing your baby for adoption is to research the topic. Research the negative connotation of the phrase “giving your baby up” and how some people, because of that phrase, think that you do not love your baby and are just giving them away. A better, more positive way to say it is “placing your baby for adoption.” This removes those negative connotations and allows the true intentions to show through.
There are many different types of adoption. Here are a few:
- Private adoption: This means that you work with an adoption agency that provides you with a caseworker who will help you get anything you need, from housing to medical care to therapy. The caseworker aids you in every step of the adoption process once you know you want to place your baby for adoption. They assist you in finding the right family or individual that fits the wants and needs of you and your baby. There may be people you are aware of who want to have a baby but cannot, whether it be a couple, a family who wants to have more children but can’t medically or physically do so, or an individual who wants a child. You may even find or know of family members who want a baby and are looking into adoption. This type of adoption is a lot of “word of mouth.”
- International adoption: Most likely, as a birth parent, you will not be looking into this type, but it does not hurt to keep your options open or learn as much as you can about all types of adoption. International adoption means just what it says; the baby or even the prospective adoptive parents may come from a different country. Typically, it is the baby that is adopted elsewhere. There is a lot of red tape with this type as certain countries do not allow cross-country adoption with the United States, such as China. There is also considerably more paperwork with this kind of adoption.
- Special needs adoption: If you are a birth mother who has had tests taken and found out that your baby could be born with special needs, some specific prospective adoptive parents thrive on raising children with different special needs such as Down’s syndrome, autism, reactive attachment disorder, to name a few. While searching for your baby’s forever family, in this case, these are the prospective adoptive parents you want to focus on.
- Interracial adoption: Is your baby of two separate cultures? Interracial adoption is the type where your baby is not all one culture; for example, you are caucasian, but the birth father is African-American. Many prospective adoptive parents do not care whether the baby is of two cultures or not. They will love your baby as their own anyway.
Steps to Placing Your Baby for Adoption
You want to be aware of these five specific steps as you think about placing your baby for adoption.
1. Deciding the best course for you and the baby you carry.
After you have researched and possibly spoken to other birth parents who have placed their babies for adoption, you must choose whether placing your baby for adoption is the right decision for your baby because, at this point, it is not about what you want but what they need. If the birth father is in the picture, you want to discuss your decision with him as he is part of it. In the end, though, it is ultimately your choice. You must make the most loving act as a birth mother by giving your child the best chance at life that you can.
There may be many reasons you have reached this choice. Some of these are:
- You are a young woman, possibly still in high school, and know that, even with the birth father’s help and a great support system, you cannot physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially care for a baby.
- You are in college and know that you do not have the time a baby requires with your classes, homework, and a possible job. You know that babies require a lot of love, attention, and finances that you may not have.
- You are newly married and just out of college but want to start your career before thinking about a family.
2. Searching for an adoption agency.
You have decided that placing your baby for adoption is in the best interest of you and your baby. Finding an adoption agency that works well with you is important because the caseworker they assign to you will be there with you every step of the way, even post-placement. Gladney Center for Adoption is a great agency that works with those looking into placing their child for adoption. They not only answer any questions you might have, but they assist you in housing–should you need it–medical bills and therapy. If they are not the best agency for you and your journey, Gladney will help you find an agency that is better suited to you.
An adoption attorney would be a good thing to have because they specialize in adoption and make certain that every aspect of the adoption as far as legality goes is handled with the utmost respect for you.
3. Searching for the right family, couple, or individual to adopt your baby.
This is not an easy task, to say the least. Putting the baby you carry under your heart, the only being that hears your heartbeat from the inside, into the hands of people you don’t know may feel impossible.
You may click with the first prospective adoptive parents you meet, and you may not. Once you have looked through the photo listings and decided on a family or two, next comes meeting them. Communication and talking are essential, especially when you are gauging whether the couple or individual is what you are looking for. Coming up with some fun, non-deep questions to ask the prospective adoptive parents will help you be less nervous and anxious. Luckily, your caseworker and theirs will be available during the face-to-face meeting.
4. Developing your adoption and hospital plan.
Planning how much contact you want with the adoptive parents after your baby is placed is something you have a say in, as do they. The three types of adoptions plans are:
- Closed adoption: This is the oldest type and used to be the only way an adoption took place. The birth mother would give birth, and then when the baby is ready to leave the hospital, the birth parents have no information regarding how their child is doing and must wait until the child is 18 and wants to find them. The files are sealed and can only be opened by a judge when asked by the adoptee. Sometimes this happens, and sometimes it doesn’t.
- Open adoption: This adoption type goes back as far as the 1970s but picked up speed in the 1990s when it was realized that giving a child the ability to know who they are and where they come from, and any other questions they might have is the best thing for the child. They get both worlds; whether contact is through pictures, letters, videos, or visits, the child knows about who they are.
- Semi-open adoption: This typically means that there are some areas of the child’s life the birth family gets to know, but, at the same time, there are areas the adoptive parents don’t have to share. It still involves some kind of contact but not as much as open adoption might.
Your hospital plan is where you have the opportunity to decide who is allowed in the delivery room with you. Are you the type that wants the birth father with you, giving the two of you time with your baby before they go to their forever home? Are you someone who wants your support system there, whether it be your mother, best friend, or the person who has supported you along the way? Or, are you the type who wants to give the adoptive mom the experience of watching the baby being born? This answer, too, must come from your gut as you are the only one who can make it.
5. Coming to terms with your new normal.
Your life after placing your baby for adoption will not be the same as it was before. You are not the same person as you were before your adoption journey began. You may find things you once loved doing seem juvenile now. You might find other hobbies you would never think about doing before that could be fun. You may find hanging out with your friends doesn’t hold the “fun” it once had. You will want to continue with therapy as your therapist will be able to help you wade through some new emotions but also old ones as well. Your therapist will assist you through the grieving process that you are likely to feel throughout your adoption journey.
- Denial: This is the first stage of the grieving process where you want to think that you did not carry a baby, nor did you place a baby for adoption. Wanting to forget the recent goings-on in your life.
- Anger: Anger may be the stage with you when you find out you are pregnant and possibly remain with you even after your baby goes home with their forever family. You may find you go back and forth with this stage as anger masks the feeling of hurt.
- Bargaining: You may bargain with a higher power, like God, that if He makes this process easier, makes the pain go away, you will do anything He wants.
- Depression/Isolation: You may find that you no longer have an interest in things you once loved, nor do you want to be around friends or family. You possibly think that they would never understand how you feel about placing your baby for adoption. This could be where joining a group of young women who are dealing with the same issues could help you.
- Acceptance: The hardest stage to reach, but it is possible. It might take time and therapy to fully come to terms with placing your baby.
Making the decision to place your flesh and blood in the hands of people you barely know is tough. You are doing what you feel is best for your baby because, in your gut, you know they deserve a life that you cannot give them.
DISCLAIMER: Although this is a guide to assist expectant mothers in deciding to place their baby for adoption, please contact an adoption agency or adoption attorney for assistance if you are seriously looking into adoption.Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.
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 have 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 of different genres.