When considering whether to place your baby for adoption in Rhode Island or keep him/her, there are several aspects to take into account. If you find yourself a young, teenage mother, a college student who is bogged down with classwork, homework, and possibly a job, or perhaps you are just not in a position to parent, there are several things to consider. The main thing is to know all your options. Do you keep the baby and raise him/her, do you abort the baby—this decision can be unthinkable to a lot of people—or do you give your baby a better life, potentially committing the most selfless act you may ever have to make?

What is adoption?

As stated in several of my other articles as well as Dictionary.com, adoption means, “to take and rear (the child of other parents) as one’s own child, specifically by a formal legal act.” This means that if this is the path you choose, as the birth mother, you can give a family the most precious gift you could possibly give; perhaps it is a couple who have tried everything in their power to have a child of their own and cannot; or a family who has children but would like to add more; or there may be an individual who wants to be a parent but does not have a partner. In any case, your journey has just begun. There are steps that must be taken in order for adoption to be completed legally and in this article, we will discuss the steps in the state of Rhode Island for both the birth mother and the prospective adoptive parents. 

Five Steps a Birth Mother Takes when Choosing Adoption  

The first step in this process is to decide whether adoption is the correct choice for you, the birth father, and the baby. You may think that even though you have chosen adoption for yourself and your baby it can’t get harder, but this is often only the beginning of your long journey. 

Once you have made the decision to give your baby a better life than the one you can provide him/her, the second step is finding an adoption agency or adoption attorney that will work with you through every step of the adoption process, and sometimes beyond that. The Gladney Center for Adoption is located in Texas but they can and do assist birth mothers and prospective adoptive parents worldwide. If they do not have the resources you need in Rhode Island, they can definitely help you find someone that will be of good service to you. Having an agency that assists families every day will hopefully put your mind at ease during this lengthy process. 

After discovering an adoption agency that works for you and what you need, step number three is creating an adoption plan. During this stage, you will, perhaps with the assistance of your caseworker, decide what type of adoption you want as well as coming up with a hospital plan. 

Types of Rhode Island Adoption

  • Open Adoption: This type of adoption is becoming more and more popular as it allows you to have continued contact with your baby and the prospective adoptive parents through mediums such as photographs, letters, video, and if the adoptive parents agree, visitation of some kind.
  • Closed Adoption: This kind of adoption used to be the only way adoption took place. Closed adoptions mean that the birth mother knows nothing of the prospective adoptive parents and once the baby is handed over to the agency or the prospective adoptive parents, the birth mother has no way of knowing how her baby turns out. For some birth mothers, this can be easier than an open adoption because it would be difficult to watch your baby grow up and not be the one with them. However, if the child wants to find their birth parents one day, this type of adoption can make it harder because everything surrounding the adoption is sealed.
  • Partially Open/Closed: This type is a combination of the previous two. This means that although the birth mother/parents may get photographs and are able to write letters to their child, they will probably not have the opportunity for visitation or anything of the like.

The hospital plan is the point where you decide who is allowed to be in the delivery room during the birth of your baby. A lot of women who have chosen adoption like to involve the prospective adoptive parents as much as possible so they are allowed in the delivery room. Some women want their support system with them, typically their parents and perhaps even the birth father. Some birth parents want to have these last moments as the parents of the baby to spend together—taking pictures, counting fingers and toes, and memorizing as much of the baby’s features as possible before he/she is handed to the agency or the new parents. In the end, this choice remains solely with the birth mother. 

Step four for Rhode Island adoption is finding the forever family you want your baby to belong with. Depending on whether or not you know what you are looking for in finding the right family, this can be either incredibly difficult or fairly easy. You have the right as the birth mother to look at certain characteristics of the family such as religion, parenting styles, what they like to do together, etc. You may use photolisting, which is looking at available families on a computer rather than a paper file. Meeting the couple or individual usually comes after finding someone you want to consider. This can be daunting and may take some icebreaker questions to get the communication and comfort level rolling between you. You could ask questions like:

  • What gender do you hope the baby will be (if you do not already know what the gender is)?
  • Do you have colors picked out for the nursery? 
  • Do you have a preference on a name?
  • Am I allowed to choose the name?
  • Is religion important to you and will you make sure the baby grows up with some kind of religious belief? 
  • What do your children think of a new addition (if there are other children involved)?
  • Do you have family traditions that you enjoy where my baby would be involved (some birth mothers come from broken homes so they want their baby to have specific things they did not)?

After the baby is born and has been placed with his/her family, the last step, number six, is going on with your life. You are likely not the same as you were prior to getting pregnant and may need to see a therapist to talk through your feelings, especially if you find yourself falling into a pit of despair. You may have already begun feeling the grieving process by this point but if not, you might begin at any moment. The grieving process does not happen all at once nor does it happen in a particular order. You may also think you have gone through it just to have parts of it creep up again. The steps are as follows:

  1. Denial and isolation: During this stage you may find yourself denying the fact that you were/are pregnant and that you know you cannot raise the baby alone. You may find yourself pulling away from family and friends, wanting to be left alone.
  2. Anger: This can be the longest stage for you as you fight within yourself regarding the choices you have made. Even though in your head you know that this is the correct choice for your baby, in your heart, it may still hurt. 
  3. Bargaining: During this stage, you may find yourself begging to either keep your baby or wish you had never had sex and using that to try and make what happened go away.
  4. Depression: In this stage you may feel unwanted, unloved or an all around horrible person either for getting pregnant in the first place or placing your baby for adoption.

I would recommend starting therapy. Hopefully, with someone to talk to about your feelings, you can be able to lead a normal life knowing you did the best thing you could have for your baby. 

Five Steps to Adopt

Have you always wanted to have a baby but are infertile, cannot have babies, or you want to add to your family? Adoption may be the best option for you and your family. There are steps you must take for Rhode Island adoption. The first step is making the decision that is right for you. This may take some long, hard, soul searching before you make a permanent decision as adding a child often changes everything in your life. You always want to discuss your options with your significant other. 

Step two is knowing whether you have the financial stability to not only care for the baby/child you are looking to adopt, but also be aware that you could possibly pay the doctor bills, hospital bills, or housing for the birth mother during her pregnancy. This may require the use of fundraisers and loans.

The next step to Rhode Island adoption is finding an agency to work with who will lead you to birth mothers in Rhode Island who are looking to place their babies for adoption. This agency can also assist you on all the aspects of paperwork that must be completed. It is usually a social worker from said agency who will complete the required home study that must be done and passed before you are given the go ahead to continue the process. 

Step four includes medical, mental and criminal background checks that take place once the initial paperwork is completed. Passing these are crucial because this will pretty much decide whether you get to move forward in the adoption process or not. You should be as open and honest with your caseworker as they walk you through every aspect from paperwork to placement. 

Step five is being chosen as an adoptive parent. This is often a long process from start to finish but once you see the face of the child that is meant to be part of your forever family, it can make the entire journey worth it. 

Foster Adoption 

Another way to adopt a child is foster adoption. There are so many children in the world, Rhode Island included, that need homes. Most of these children are older and more times than not, end up aging out of the system with no real family to speak of. The easiest way to foster a child is to become a foster parent first which allows the state to place children who need homes in your care. Being a foster parent has its good and bad points because although you are assisting children in giving them a home, a lot of times it is not permanent. If you are lucky enough to keep a child and their parents have relinquished their rights, you may have the opportunity to adopt. Foster adoption may not be as long or drawn out as domestic adoption because there are so many children needing homes that there may not be as many hoops to jump through. Once a child you are fostering is adoptable, you the foster parent typically has that option first. The heart wrenching part is when a child is placed in your home, but then removed and placed elsewhere. This happens a lot and for many reasons including there are too many children who need cared for, their parents have regained custody, and more. 

Whether you are a birth mother, foster parent, or prospective adoptive parents, there are many similarities no matter what state you are in, but this guide can hopefully assist those of you researching Rhode Island adoption learn what you need to do to begin the process or how to help someone obtain their forever family. 

Jenn Martin-Wright is a cowboy, jean wearing, country music, and rock lovin’ cowgirl who loves books and jewelry. She was born three months too early with a disability that should’ve 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 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.