Making the decision to place your baby for adoption will be one of the most difficult decisions of your life. Once you've decided that adoption is right for your baby, what do you need to think about? What is the expectant mother and soon to be birth mother's next steps toward a baby adoption?
Thanks to "M" for all of her help in writing this article, based on her experience and study. She reminded me that the best interest of a child doesn't have to come from a negative place.
Contact the Birth Father - If possible contact the father of your baby. He may want to be a part of the adoption process, or he may choose not to be involved. In any case, try to obtain his contact information so that his parental rights can be terminated at the appropriate time. Also, take time to gather any medical information regarding his side of the family.
Prepare a Medical History - Begin compiling a detailed history of medical conditions that affect you and your family. If you were able to gather the information, add in the medical history that you obtained from birth dad. When we met my sister that was placed at birth, medical history was one of her first questions and concerns. This information is of vital importance to an adopted person.
Seek Financial Support if Needed - Locate through your state, county, or city the programs that are offered that would help with your every day needs. Many areas provide free or reduced health care and vouchers for food and vitamins. These things will help keep you and your baby healthy. If you are having trouble locating these services, seek help from an adoption agency or another organization. You will need regular medical care for your baby's health and for a safe delivery.
- Is Drugs, Alcohol, and Smoking a Struggle? - It is in the best interest of your child that you do everything to assure that your child is healthy. Seek treatment now to address any drug, alcohol, or smoking issues. By having a healthy pregnancy you are increasing your options for prospective parents for your baby as only a small percentage of people are willing to adopt a child with health problems. It is a medical fact that drugs, alcohol, or smoking has a negative affect on a baby's health. Do what you can now to seek help for these issues.
Locate an Adoption Agency or Adoption Attorney - Begin your search for help with the adoption process, whether through an unplanned pregnancy center, an adoption agency, an attorney, church or other organization. Keep in mind that there are lots of adoption agencies out there so if you are not comfortable with one or don't feel that the agency has you or your child's best interest at heart, leave and try another adoption agency. Also keep in mind that adoption agencies work with attorneys to assist them during the process and in some cases the same attorney provides legal council to both the birth parents and the adoptive parents. Don't be afraid to seek out your own attorney. If the agency doesn't provide an attorney, don't be afraid to find an agency that will or get your own attorney if you can afford one.
Line-up Your Support People - Know that even making the right decision, one that is in the best interest of your child, will not be an easy one to make. Start now to seek out those who are supportive of your decision to place your child for adoption.
"Your child, adopted or not, will always be a part of you, and this is a part of you that will be around for the long-haul. Seek help and comfort from family, friends, or professionals as you will have strong thoughts and feelings about your child and adoption that you will want to share. It's OK to be sad, lonely, confused, frustrated, and scared. Just remember that there are people out there to help you through these times." "M"(Birth Mother and Prospective Adoptive Mother)
Look Through Parent Profiles - Before looking through parent profiles, a group of letters or a scrapbook about prospective adoptive parents at your chosen adoption agency, have an idea of what you are looking for in a family for your child. What do you think is in the best interest of your child? Do you have a preference regarding religion for your child? Do you want your child to have siblings? How about pets? Would you like your child to live in an urban or a rural setting? How long would you like the couple to have been married before becoming a parent to your child or would you prefer a single parent? Is it in your child's best interest or not to be adopted by a gay or lesbian family? Have these ideas already in mind when you begin to look through parent profiles. Ask to meet a few of the ones you really like. Ask them questions.
Decide on Level of Contact - When deciding on the level of contact you wish to have with your child after placement with the adoptive family, don't be afraid to request the agreement in writing. Know that most states don't have laws that make your agreement enforceable. To keep your expectations reasonable you should know whether or not your agreement can be upheld. This is one great reason to request your own attorney. It's OK to look out for your best interest as well as that of your child. Learn about the different levels of contact and decide which is best for you and what you think would be in your child's best interest as far as contact with you is concerned. Make sure you sit down with the adoptive family and discuss different scenarios and know what each of you expects from the other.