The 6 Most Important Steps to Giving Baby Up for Adoption
Choosing adoption for your unborn baby is possibly the most significant decision you will ever make. If you've thoroughly considered your pregnancy options and decided to pursue adoption, please don't just start looking online for adoption information. To protect yourself and your unborn child, follow these six steps instead:
- Contact an AdoptMatch Advocate to fully understand your adoption options.
- Get connected with a trustworthy, licensed adoption professional near you.
- Consider what's most important to you in an adoptive family, view profiles of hopeful families who have those qualities, and meet with the ones you like the most.
- Commit to an adoptive family and make an adoption plan with the guidance and support of your agency, attorney, and counselor.
- Prepare for labor and delivery, give birth, and complete the adoption paperwork.
- After your baby's birth, take time to heal—emotionally and physically—and seek support from your friends, family, counselor, and other birth mothers who have been through the adoption process themselves.
Step #1: Get Educated About the Adoption Process
You should know a few key things about how adoption works before you get started. Understanding the basics of adoption, including how to choose an adoption agency and attorney, how to select an adoptive family, and what kind of support you should expect, will clear up some of the confusion you may be experiencing and help you create a roadmap for your adoption journey. AdoptMatch is here to answer your questions honestly and provide you with the information you need. Knowledge = Power!
Step #2: Find a Trustworthy Adoption Professional
If you are seriously considering adoption for your baby, your next step is to find an adoption professional who can answer your questions about adoption and help you understand what to expect throughout the adoption process.
Finding an adoption professional you can trust can be challenging. Some try to appear as licensed adoption agencies or attorneys when they're not! Many of these unlicensed baby brokers spend thousands of dollars on internet advertisements, trying to attract pregnant women considering adoption who are searching online for things like: "giving baby up for adoption" or "how to put a child up for adoption." The ads that pop up may say something like:
"Rich Family Looking to Adopt My Baby"
"Giving Baby Up for Adoption? All Expenses Paid!"
"Get Paid For Adoption!"
These kinds of ads are huge red flags! Even though you may be able to receive some financial help with your basic living expenses during an adoption, anyone who uses the promise of money or living expenses to get you to click on their ad should be 100% avoided.
These so-called adoption professionals who try to lure you in with promises of big money (which are usually illegal) also charge the families waiting to adopt tens of thousands of dollars to help them find a baby. This practice is illegal in most states but still goes on everywhere. Our best advice is to stay clear of any company or individual who does this.
AdoptMatch partners are among the best, most ethical adoption agencies and attorneys in the country. All of our partners are committed to the highest ethical standards in adoption. They will ensure you receive the support and help you need during and after the adoption process - including financial help, counseling, legal representation, and medical care.
Step #3: Determine the Kind of Family You Want For Your Child & View Waiting Families
During your first meeting with your attorney or social worker, you should discuss the type of family you want for your baby. Take all the time you need to figure this out.
- Do you want to place your baby for adoption with a traditional two-parent family, or a single parent?
- Do you want to choose a family that is the same race as your child?
- Do you prefer a family that doesn’t have children yet, or already has other children?
- If they have other children, do you prefer that those children have also been adopted?
- Is faith an essential consideration for you, or not so much?
- Do you want the family to live near you?
- Do you want to remain in contact after the adoption?
- Do you want to receive photos and updates?
- How about in-person visits?
These are just a few of the things you should consider when you're looking for the ideal adoptive parents for your baby. Don't be afraid to ask hard questions or specify certain characteristics that are important to you. Be honest, even if it's uncomfortable.
You may find several families that you like in the AdoptMatch Gallery. As soon as your Expectant Mother Bio is complete, you can let us know which families you like the most. AdoptMatch will help you connect and figure out the next steps in the adoption process when you're ready.
Step #4: Meet Families Before You Choose
It's always best to meet the prospective adoptive parents in person before making a final decision, whenever possible. An "adoption match" should not be considered official until you've had a chance to meet face to face. Even if you don't live near the family you're considering, they should be willing to travel to you for an in-person meetup.
Take Your Time
At the end of the day, when it comes to choosing adoptive parents for your child, the most crucial consideration is what's best for your child (which is why you're choosing adoption in the first place).
Adoption is a lifelong decision; choosing an adoptive family you feel good about and can trust is essential. Take your time. Ask as many questions as you need to. It’s worth it for your child’s sake.
Ask Hard Questions
Asking about the adoptive parents' hobbies, ethnicity, and favorite sports teams is fine, but those aren't the things that matter the most. Don't shy away from asking some of the more challenging questions, including:
- What are some challenges you've faced in your relationship?
- How did you overcome these challenges?
- How do you handle conflict in your relationship?
- What do you fight about most often?
- Are you close to your extended families?
- Do either of you struggle with addiction or regularly take prescription medication?
- Have either of you ever been convicted of a crime?
- What’s your plan for child care and education?
Talk About the Future
You have the right to ask for ongoing contact with the family and your child after adoption. Don't be afraid of making the adoptive parents uncomfortable by asking to stay in touch, and don't worry that you're asking for too much contact. Your attorney or social worker will help everyone reach an agreement about how the communication will work after adoption, including how often you will receive photos and updates and whether you will have in-person visits. You should feel confident that you and the family you choose to adopt your baby are on the same page regarding open adoption.
If you ever feel "stuck" with a particular family, agency, social worker, or attorney… you're not.
Just as you shouldn't settle on a life partner, you should never settle for an adoptive family. You're not looking for the perfect family—because there's no such thing—but you should only move forward with a family if you feel peaceful about your choice.
After you've had a chance to spend time with the family in-person, if you decide to move forward with the match, your next step is to meet with your own attorney and a social worker near you. They will answer your questions about the adoption process and connect you with the support services you will need.
Step #5: Make a Hospital Plan & Complete the Adoption Paperwork
Preparing for the hospital means more than making sure your packing list is covered. Before you deliver, it's essential to work with your support team to create a detailed hospital plan. Your plan should include everything from how you'll get to the hospital, who will be in the delivery room with you, who will care for the baby after birth, when you'll have alone time together, and what will happen when it's time for discharge.
Your social worker and adoption attorney will answer all of your questions and make sure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities before you sign legal paperwork.
Step #6: Take Time to Heal, Grieve, and Recover
The post-partum period after an adoption brings many physical and emotional changes.
Your body will need at least 6-8 weeks to recover from having a baby. During this time, it's crucial to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep and eating foods that will help your body rebuild its strength. We know that's much easier said than done, but having a plan in place ahead of time will go a long way.
If you have other children at home, who will help you care for them for the first week or so after your discharge from the hospital? What about grocery shopping, meal prep, and other household tasks? Will there be someone available to help so you can get the rest and nutrition you need? Will you receive enough financial support during these weeks following delivery so that you won't have to worry about getting back to work right away? Your social worker or attorney should address your post-partum needs before your baby is born so that you can have the physical recovery your body requires.
When you separate from your child, you will experience a sense of loss.
Even if you have an open adoption, that loss will naturally lead to feelings of grief. While it's normal to experience a period of grief after your adoption, you don't have to grieve in silence. Hopefully, you will have at least a few supportive friends or family members who you can talk to (and cry with). The worst thing you can do is pretend that you're unaffected by the loss. Denying your feelings of grief after adoption often leads to long-term depression and can make it impossible to move forward in a healthy way.
Thankfully, there are several birth mother support groups and counselors who truly understand what you are going through and can provide you with a safe space to process your emotions, both in the period immediately after your baby is born, and for years afterward.
. . .
There are many reasons why adoption might be the right choice for you and your child. If you believe your current circumstances will not allow you to provide your child with the care they need and deserve, adoption may be the best option for you. AdoptMatch is here to answer your adoption questions and connect you with trustworthy adoption professionals and hopeful adoptive parents. You can contact us via text, phone, or email.