What Steps Do I Take When I Choose Adoption for My Baby?
When considering adoption, you’ll want to determine whether this is really the right choice for you and your baby. We understand that this may be a very delicate time for you. You’re considering one of the most difficult and loving things an expectant mother can do for her baby.
Every woman’s situation is unique and personal. We will speak to you honestly, guide you through your options, and provide you with resources to help you make the best decision for your situation. Here are the steps you will take as you make an adoption plan for your baby:
- Contact an Adoption Professional
- Visit Your Doctor
- Get Information on Adoption
- Speak With Your Adoption Coordinator
- Create Your Custom Adoption Plan
- Choose an Adoptive Family
- Meet the Adoptive Family
- Decide on Contact
- Meet With Your Attorney
- Design Your Hospital Plan
- Sign Legal Paperwork
- Receive Support After Placement
You can contact Lifetime Adoption 24/7 by calling or texting. An Adoption Coordinators will speak to you confidentially, without judgment, to help you understand the adoption process and answer all of your questions so you can make the best decision about your pregnancy. You aren’t under any obligation or pressure. We want you to be completely sure of your decision. When you decide you are ready to make an adoption plan, an Adoption Coordinator will walk you through the process, step by step.
Your health is important and the first few months of your pregnancy are vitally important to your baby’s health and development. You should consider making your first appointment when you are 10-12 weeks along. Your doctor will be able to confirm your pregnancy and due date and will give you detailed instructions on how to care for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy. If you do not have a doctor or insurance, your Adoption Coordinator can help you figure that out.
Your Adoption Coordinator can mail or email you a packet that includes the popular book, So, I Was Thinking About Adoption, and other adoption information about the adoption process to help guide you through your choices. It will include a questionnaire about yourself, your baby’s father and what type of adoption you think is best for you. This information is to help your adoption coordinator understand you and your situation better so that we can help you to design the perfect adoption plan for you and your child. This paperwork is completely confidential and does not commit you to make an adoption plan. It is necessary in order to help you with the next steps.
Your coordinator is there for you, and will provide you with helpful information you need to make a good choice that you are comfortable with. She will be there for you every step of the adoption. She is someone you can share your feelings with and will be a support for you before and after the adoption. She is not there to pressure you but will help you understand your adoption rights and choices.
Lifetime Adoption is here to guide you and support your decisions. You are in charge of your adoption plan at all times. Your Adoption Coordinator will guide you throughout the process. She will share with you about open and semi-open adoption, ask you questions about what type of adoption you would like and is best for you. She will ask about the type of adoptive family you would want to parent your baby and if you want on-going contact, such as pictures, emails, letters, or visits. You may want a closed adoption, and that is OK too. She will ask you about contact during your pregnancy, options for your hospital plan and hospital stay. Remember, this is your adoption plan. It is your choice and we want to ensure that it goes exactly how you want it to be.
All of the adoptive families at Lifetime have an adoption home study completed and approved by a licensed professional. A home study is a review of their home and life, including extensive background checks, financial and medical information. It must be completed before an adoption can take place. Your Adoption Coordinator is in touch with many adoptive parents who are waiting to become parents and will provide you with information on the families that fit your needs. You will be provided with adoption profiles and links to their online adoption videos to help you make a decision on which adoptive family you like. You might find more than one adoptive family you would like to speak to.
You have the choice to get to know the adoptive family you picked prior to your baby being born. And, you can continue a relationship after your baby is placed with them. We believe an important step for many birth mothers and adoptive parents is to develop a healthy relationship prior to birth. This helps confirm that you have made the right decision. Plus, it will bring you peace knowing that your child will be in the safe and loving home that you chose for them. Some birth mothers share this can be exciting or can make you feel a bit anxious. It is important to know that your Adoption Coordinator is there to help you through the process and with navigating these feelings. You may choose to talk on the phone, email, text or even meet in your town. You can choose the degree of contact you want to have prior to and after the baby’s birth and placement. You may also choose to keep the adoption more closed and that is OK. The choice is yours.
Decide with the adoptive family the type of contact you want during your pregnancy and then after the birth, placement, and beyond. Your open adoption plan will spell out the contact you want. You have many options, such as getting updates on your child through emails, photos, text messages, visits, and even through social media sites like Facebook. The choices are yours to make, and it’s best to agree to the type of contact you want prior to placement.
Once you and your chosen adoptive family have agreed to match, they will hire an attorney to represent you. There will be no cost to you.
Your attorney will contact you and explain in detail your rights. However, you cannot legally sign your adoption consent to finalize the adoption placement until after your baby is born. The attorney may ask for information about your baby’s father and if he is willing to sign. The birth father can sign his consent prior to the baby being born.
Prior to going into labor, your Adoption Coordinator will help you write up a custom birth and hospital plan of how you want things to happen. You have control of what you want the birth plan and hospital stay to be like, and we want you to be comfortable in your decision. Some of the questions you will be asked include how much time you would like to spend with your baby after birth, who will hold your baby first, where you want the adoptive parents to be during your labor, and if you want to leave the hospital first or after the adoptive parents and baby have left. Some birth mothers choose to have the family in the room when the baby is born. Others might choose not to see the baby or the adoptive family. You can decide what is best for you.
Your Adoption Coordinator will be in touch with the hospital staff and take the steps necessary to assure they know about your adoption plan and what your wishes are. Your coordinator will also inform the adoptive couple you have chosen. If you go into labor before your adoption plan is in place, there is no need to worry. Just call our office at 1-800-923-6784 once you go into labor, even if it’s the middle of the night. Your Adoption Coordinator will walk you through the next steps and make it as easy for you as possible.
In most states, you must wait about 48 hours before you can legally consent to the adoption. Some states have shorter or longer wait times. That means that most often, you will meet with a social worker or your attorney before you leave the hospital.
At that time, they will provide you with information about your rights and responsibilities and what it means to legally consent to the adoption. Once they are sure you have a full understanding and that you are comfortable with your decision, your attorney will proceed with the process of you signing your consent for the adoption. Typically, your baby will leave the hospital with your chosen adoptive family.
During this time, you will probably find that you’re full of emotions. You may be feeling sad, relieved, or happy. Many birth mothers also feel excitement in knowing that they made a wonderful, selfless and loving decision for their child. Lifetime Adoption is here for you, to help you sort through your many feelings and assure that the adoption plan is how you want it.
Adoption is a permanent choice, but it does not have to mean goodbye forever. If you chose open adoption, you will begin your post-adoption contact after your baby goes home with the adoptive family. So, it’s not an end, but the beginning of a beautiful relationship between you, your child and the adoptive family you selected.
Writing out your open adoption plan in advance really does help in the healing process because your expectations are set and agreed upon. But, even with all of the preparation, you could be experiencing varying emotions. Please know that your Adoption Coordinator is there for you even after your adoptive placement is complete. We can work with you through your emotions or connect you with other birth mothers that have also gone through adoption. We can also provide a professional counselor that specializes in this type of healing process.
The process of creating an adoption plan does not have to be overwhelming. It is different for every woman depending on her circumstances, needs and wants. Some birth mothers have shared that it helps them to decide and see what they want and share it with their Adoption Coordinators and adoptive parents. Many say, “It makes it more real.”
At Lifetime Adoption, we are dedicated to helping make it easier so that you can focus on your health and the health of your baby. You are in control of the entire adoption plan and we are there to help you through the steps.