When you consider adoption it is a loving choice that provides your unborn child with the chance of a life with parents that are ready and prepared for the challenges of caring for a child. Even so, the initial process of deciding whether or not to place a child for adoption can be difficult and painful. The guidance of a counselor experienced in working with birth parents is absolutely necessary. Close friends and relatives can also provide comfort and support, but only an experienced counselor is prepared to ask the necessary questions and give important information to ensure your decision is the right one for your situation. You must make a decision that is best for both you and your unborn child that you will not end up regretting in the future.
Once you have made the decision to proceed with an adoption, the sequence of steps would go as follows:
- Receive birth parent counseling
- Chart out a tentative adoption plan
- Identify and inform all potential birth fathers
- Provide complete information about your medical, family, and social history
- Choose your adoptive family
- Meet the family
- Decide on open or closed adoption
- Come up with a detailed hospital plan to share with the adopting family ( who will be at the birth, first hold the baby, etc.)
As a birth parent considering adoption, your first step is to find an experienced counselor to discuss the decision with you. Your next step would be to work with your counselor to chart out a tentative adoption plan. In the adoption plan, you would decide how to find the adoptive parents. Will you work independently searching online profiles? Will you contact an agency or an attorney to assist you?
After you have decided on how to proceed with the adoption, you must identify and inform each all potential fathers of the unborn child. If you fail to disclose your decision to place the child for adoption to the father, you create a risk that the adoption could fail if the father comes forward and challenges the adoption or the termination of his parental rights.
It is also important to identify each possible father so the adoptive parents can obtain genetic and health information about him and his family. Without this knowledge, the child could have difficulties later in life. Such difficulties can often be preempted or treated at an early stage by understanding his or her family background. Similarly, it is in the best interests of the child, that you fully and openly disclose all medical, family, and social information about yourself. This will assist the child’s adoptive parents and health providers.
After you have selected potential adoptive parents, it is always a good idea to meet them in person. It will help you feel more comfortable about your decision and ensure that there is a good fit. During your first meeting with the adopting parents, it is important to discuss whether you expect to have an open or a closed adoption. If you wish to have an open adoption, what type of contact do you expect? You should be clear about the confines, frequency and duration of such contacts.
You should also talk to the potential adoptive parents about how you envision the birth will take place and what kind of decisions you wish to make after the child’s birth regarding circumcision and nursing, for example. Even if you and the adoptive parents agree on the issues, it is good to create a hospital plan to clarify the decisions and provide it to the nurses and the hospital social worker.
Be sure you have an advocate to help you through the adoption, whether it is an agency, an attorney or a counselor. This person can ensure that your emotional and financial needs are being met during the process. If you proceed with the right people and take all necessary steps, your adoption experience can be positive and loving.