You may have found yourself in a situation you were not expecting. You may have just taken a pregnancy test and discovered you are pregnant without a plan. You may be months into your pregnancy and may want to explore all of your options. There is also a chance that you may have already given birth and want to better understand if adoption is the right plan for you and your baby. Wherever you are in your life or in understanding your options, it is important to understand what the process of adoption is and what it will look like. It is also important to understand why you are contemplating your options as you make the best choice for yourself and your baby.
Positive Adoption Language
First, it is important to understand when asking yourself or others the question: “Do I want to give up my baby for adoption?” is that you are not giving your baby up for adoption. You may think that this is what you are doing because you have heard the term “give up my baby for adoption” so many times throughout your life. However, we know more now about the power of positive adoption language.
Today, positive adoption language includes phrases like, “making an adoption plan”, “placing your baby for adoption” or “choosing adoption for your child”. The idea of giving up your baby for adoption insinuates that you are giving something away casually. If you spoke to any birth mother today she would likely vehemently deny giving anything up. She made a well-thought-through adoption plan for her child. She chose an adoption plan thoughtfully and lovingly for her child. She did not give up. Furthermore, she made a decision, a very conscious decision, to place her child for adoption and plan for her child to have a loving life with the forever family she chose for her baby.
As an expectant parent, it is important for you, loved ones, your child, and their adoptive parents—should you choose to place your child for adoption—to use positive adoption language. It is good for your heart, your mind, and those around you. You can be the change and help people to start using positive adoption language in their lives.
Making the Decision to Give My Baby for Adoption
Once you have an understanding of positive adoption language, why it is important, and the strength it takes to make an adoption plan, it is now time to answer your question. There are a lot of different factors and influences which can play a role in making this important decision for you and your baby. Most of all, it is critical to know that placing a baby for adoption is your decision to make. No one should coerce you. You can also change your mind at any time in the process before signing the adoption consent papers after the birth of your child.
Understanding Why I Want to Give My Baby Up for Adoption
Understanding why you want to make an adoption plan or why you are contemplating an adoption plan is arguably the most important step in the process. There are various reasons for researching all of your options. You may be in a situation you were not expecting, or you may feel that adoption is the best option for you and your baby. If this is an unplanned pregnancy, you may be feeling many emotions. Some women also experience planned pregnancies but circumstances change one way or another, making adoption the best option. Choosing adoption is a beautiful choice, but it is important to dive deep to understand if it is the best choice for you and your baby.
Why Should I Give My Baby Up for Adoption?
There are numerous reasons why a woman would choose adoption for her and her baby. Whatever your reasons, it is important that you remember it is your decision. Adoption agencies are a wonderful resource to help you work through this important decision. Great adoption agencies, like the Gladney Center for Adoption, have options counselors who will help support you as you decide whether you want to place your baby for adoption. These options counselors can listen and answer your questions via phone, email, or in-person. They can help you if adoption is the best choice for you and your baby; however, you may decide that it is the right choice and later can change your mind. Adoption agencies like Gladney will also support you in making a parenting plan for you and your child. You are not obligated to complete the adoption at any point in the process.
You also can choose to change adoption service providers, that is your adoption agency or adoption attorney, at any point as well. If an adoption agency or adoption attorney make you feel any pressure, especially in regards to adoption, you should stop working with them. You should feel supported in whatever choice you make. Working with options counselors, licensed professionals who specialize in offering counseling services to women contemplating adoption, and leaning on your trusted circle of friends and family is also critical. Reaching out for advice, getting questions answered, and seeking support is critical as you decide whether this is the best option for you and your baby.
The decision to make an adoption plan for your baby and place them with an adoptive family is not an easy one. So many emotions come into play when contemplating a choice like this. In some situations, the expecting mother decides after doing her research, speaking with counselors, adoption agencies, and loved ones that creating an adoption plan is in her and her baby’s best interests. Options counselors or your trusted social worker at the adoption agency of your choice will help you make an informed decision by providing the resources you need to make an informed decision. Understanding all of the aspects and your options, even within the adoption plan and adoption process, is critical to your journey and decision-making.
I am Not Alone in Making The Decision to Give My Baby Up for Adoption
As you are seeking to answer whether you want to place your baby for adoption, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Hundreds of thousands of women have made the same decision throughout history. Today, the choice of adoption is more focused on the needs of the birth mother. Birth mothers make the decision to place their baby for the most loving reasons and all of them are right. You are not alone in your situation and decision. Adoption forums, like the ones on Adoption.com, provide a safe space to connect online with other women who have made the decision to create an adoption plan and other women who are contemplating just like you. Your reasons may be different than others, but some women choose adoption for their babies due to financial stability, child care, parental involvement, the home environment, and their future plans for themselves and the child’s future.
If at any time you are contemplating an adoption plan because you are in an unsafe situation, you must let your social worker or authorities know. You and your baby deserve and have a right to safety and protection. You can seek and receive that protection from abuse or an unsafe situation. Adoption is not your only hope.
As with any of these reasons, adoption is the only option. Women have resources at the state and federal level for financial assistance to help during the pregnancy and once the child is born. New federal and statewide measures are in place to help provide affordable and accessible childcare for women. You can still have a baby and have a beautiful, bright successful life as a single mother; however, these may also be the exact reasons why you believe your baby will do best in an adoptive family. No reason is right or wrong—it is your reason or reasons and that is all that matters. This decision is made for love and every mother makes that decision for adoption for different reasons and factors.
I am in Control of the Adoption Process
As the expectant parent, you are in control of the adoption process and the decisions you make for yourself and your baby. When you speak to your adoption agency, or multiple adoption agencies as you decide which one is best for you, they will explain the entire adoption process.
Creating an adoption plan means that you get to choose your baby’s family. Your adoption service provider will provide adoption profiles of hopeful adoptive parents. You can choose who will be your baby’s adoptive parents after meeting them in person or meeting several families. You then get to choose the level of communication you wish to have with your baby and their adoptive parents. You may decide on an open adoption. This means that you will know who the adoptive parents are, where they live and they will have also have information on you. You will decide how often you will communicate and through what means. This can be through visits, emails, video calls, or simply letters. You can also decide on the frequency of the contacts. It may just be presents at birthdays, pictures and updates, or a once-a-year visit or monthly phone calls.
Some women decide that they do not want an open adoption, but they also do not want a closed or confidential adoption where the identifying information is not shared with any member of the adoption triad. Your adoption records are sealed in a closed adoption, but you can still choose your baby’s adoptive parents and even provide a medical history of yourself so your baby knows later in life, without providing any identifying information like your name, address, or how to contact you. In a semi-adoption, you may not regularly communicate, but you will have met the adoptive parents and they will have met you. Here you will provide information on yourself such as your name, medical history, contact information, and maybe the story of your life. The adoptive parents will do the same, but you will not agree on any communication after the adoption is complete.
What you decide in relation to the type of adoption you want is completely up to you. You are in control of this process. Only you can make the best decision for you and your baby. Counseling, speaking adoption professionals, leaning on friends and family, and prayer can be very helpful during this time. It is also important to trust your instincts and your heart. You can’t go wrong!
Jennifer Mellon has worked in the child welfare field for more than a decade, serving in varying capacities as the Executive Director and Chief Development Officer of Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) and the Corporate Communications Program Manager for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Jennifer has served on the Board of the Campagna Center, which provides critical educational services to children and families in the DC Metro Area and on the Development Committee for the National Council for Adoption. She is the mom of three children and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.