“Putting your baby up” for adoption is a confusing, heart-wrenching decision. One of the first things you need to do is start to work through those feelings. Think of it this way: You’re not giving up your baby. You are giving love, giving life, but never giving up. You are placing your child into the loving arms of another family.
Adoption Agency vs Private Adoption
Once you have decided to place your child for adoption, you need to decide how you’d like to do it. One way is to contact an adoption agency. Not all agencies are created equal, so ask lots of questions and, if possible, talk with other women who have placed through that agency, and see how their experience was. Once you find an agency you are comfortable with, they will walk you through the process and handle the legal matters.
Another way to place your child is through a private adoption. This means that you do not use an agency. Both parties should have lawyers to manage the legality.
Choosing a Family
The next thing you need to do is choose a family. If you are placing through an agency, they will present you with profiles of potential adoptive families. If you are placing privately, you find the family on your own. Parent Profiles is a great place to go if you are looking for a family to place with privately.
Once you have had your baby, you will sign relinquishment, or termination, of your parental rights. Either your agency or lawyer will provide these papers. The adoptive couple will then take guardianship until the adoption is finalized, and then they will be the parents. Once you have signed termination of your rights, there is no going back.
After you have placed, seek support. Many agencies offer post-placement care, and there are many online and in-person support groups. Placing a baby isn’t an easy decision, but if it’s best for the baby, it’s the right thing to do.
Annalee Merrill is a birth mother to the cutest little girl on earth. She loves being an advocate for open adoption by writing, mentoring, and speaking at adoption panels. She attends Utah State University in Logan, Utah.