What do you know about unexpected or unplanned pregnancies? They happen everywhere, every day across the United States and worldwide. New Mexico is no different. As an expectant parent, choosing to place your baby for adoption, you have many options. Adoption will be, perhaps, the most unselfish and difficult decision you will ever have to make. But, in the long run, you must think of your child before your own wants or needs.
You may consider looking into adoption for many reasons. Being in an unstable relationship is one reason to consider adoption. When it comes to relationships, especially for teenagers or college students, stable relationships may not exist. Even if the expectant mother feels ready, the father may not. This will make raising a child that much harder. There may also be an issue with financial stability. Raising kids costs a lot of money and, oftentimes, even those who feel ready to take on the responsibility of children are not as financially stable as they would like to be. So, it is possible that you may be unable to provide the kind of stability needed to raise children and give them the best chance to thrive. A lack of a strong support system is another reason you may consider adoption. Sometimes, an expectant mother may have to find support outside of the immediate family, or be forced to take the journey alone. Choosing adoption is a choice that comes with an entire community of support and understanding. These are only a few of the reasons a woman might look seriously at placing her baby for adoption. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but, hopefully, it offers some topics to consider when making this hard choice in New Mexico.
Types of Adoption
While adoption is a simple concept, there are actually several types of adoption that exist. Different types of adoption include infant adoption, agency adoption, direct-placement adoption, wards of the state, relative adoption, single-parent adoption, and international adoption.
Infant adoption is exactly what it states. The baby is adopted as an infant. Agency Adoption- This type is where you use an agency to walk you through the adoption process. Direct placement adoption is where the birth parents choose who adopts the baby without the assistance of an adoption agency or an adoption attorney. Wards of the state are children who were surrendered to the state through foster care. If a child is placed as a ward of the state, that means that the state decides whether the child is adoptable. Relative adoption (also known as kinship adoption) is when parents pass away or are unable to care for their children, many times the state will do its best to locate a relative who would be willing to adopt a child or children. For step-parent adoption, this type of Adoption happens when a child is taken in by a non-biological person who marries his or her parent and wants to become that child’s legal parent, which means he or she takes the last name of the step-parent. International adoption happens in many countries that allow for the US to adopt children from their country of origin. This type is difficult as it generally comes with a lot more paperwork and more rules than if a child is adopted from the United States.
7 Steps to Place Your Baby for Adoption in New Mexico
- Choose whether adoption is right for you. You can contact an options counselor to discuss your plans.
- Find an adoption agency. What is an adoption agency? Adoption agencies are the intermediary in most adoption journeys. Agencies are organized to facilitate adoptions and be in service of both birth parents and hopeful adoptive parents. The reason for this is because the adoption agency you choose to work with will be with you through every aspect of the adoption process so you want to make certain you can work well with them. One agency that is great at what they do is The Gladney Center for Adoption. Although they are not located in New Mexico, they can either assist you throughout the process.
You may also want to look into hiring an adoption attorney. What does an adoption attorney do? “An adoption attorney is a lawyer who either solely focuses on adoption-related cases or who takes on adoption clients alongside his or her other non-adoption-related clients.” You may feel more comfortable with an attorney who deals explicitly with adoption but, regardless, they are there to assist you with the legal aspects of placing your baby for adoption.
- Create your adoption plan. By doing this, you can start to identify and make choices in what kind of adoption you want.
Closed adoptions are one type of adoption plan. Not too many years ago, this was the only type of adoption plan between biological and adoptive families. This type of adoption means that once the child is born and placed with the adoption agency or the prospective adoptive parents, the birth parents had no contact with the child or about the child. Usually, the records are sealed and if a child wanted to reunite with a birth parent, he or she would need to go through the courts to do so.
Open adoption is another option. This type of adoption was unheard of prior to the 1970s but took off in the 1990s. Even then, it was less common. An open adoption means that the birth mother and the prospective adoptive parents decide together how much contact, whether it be through letters, photographs, social media, and/or visitation, the birth parents have with the child or baby they have placed for adoption. A judge will make the decision on visitation during the finalization process of the adoption in most cases. Some parents opt for a semi-open adoption. This means that only certain things about the child are shared with the birth parents and generally, involves the agency as a go between. There is not much contact, if at all between the birth parents and the adoptive parents.
- Choosing a family can be difficult. Agencies tend to use photolisting to present expectant parents with options about a potential adoptive family for a child. Not that many years ago, the only way to choose the prospective adoptive parents was through files with paper applications and photographs. Luckily, your agency will help you in going through these and offer their opinion on who they think might be a good fit. You will want to go with your gut instinct when looking for your child’s forever family as it cannot steer you wrong.
- One option you have is meeting with the prospective adoptive parents you have chosen as potential candidates. This can be a scary step especially when you think about communicating your wants and needs to them. One way to open those lines of communication is through ice breaker questions such as
- Where did you meet?
- What did you do on your first date?
- What did you like most about high school/college?
- What did you like least about high school/college?
- What is your favorite sport? If you have one, what is your favorite team?
- How does your family choose to spend time together?
- Do you have a favorite game?
- Are there family traditions the baby would be a part of?
- Creating your hospital plan is the next step. This is where you decide who is allowed in the delivery room when you give birth. If you have a support system, such as your own mother, you may want her to be present. You may want the birth father to be present if he is still involved. This would give the two of you much needed time to spend together with the baby you may never see again or only see sporadically. Some birth mothers want the prospective adoptive parents—sometimes just the mom, in the room. This way, they get to experience as much of the birth as possible.
- The last step, but certainly not least, may be the most important of all. That is deciding what to do with the rest of your life. Will you finish high school or college? Will you jumpstart your career? Whatever you decide to do, remember the reason you placed your baby for adoption was not only to give them a better chance at life, but yourself as well.
From start to finish of the adoption process, you may experience the Five Stages of Grief. Just with any other loss or sorrow, you will more than likely go through these and in no particular order or time frame. You may experience denial. In this stage, you may not want to believe that you are pregnant. Another stage is anger. Anger is a masked emotion for hurt. And, you may feel hurt that you have a hard decision to make. Other stages of grief include bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If you feel challenged by any of these feelings, you may look into seeking out counseling.
Counseling or Therapy
During the many months from the time that you decide on adoption, having a counselor or therapist to talk to you while you were going through a myriad of emotions makes dealing with all of what you’re going through easier. There is someone there to be your sounding board.
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.