If you’re working with an adoption agency to place your child for adoption, your caseworker will help you to create your adoption plan, but there are a lot of things to consider. While you don’t have to have everything figured out right away, it’s always good to get out in front of it and start to plan for the adoption process as early as possible.
While you can start to plan immediately upon finding out that you’re pregnant, we typically find that the best time to really begin the process is after the third month of pregnancy.
So, when you have decided that adoption is the route that you’d like to go for your child, where do you begin? What should be in your adoption plan? There is no standard adoption plan because every single adoption is different, but let’s take a look at a few things to consider.
Before the process begins, it’s important to understand what you can expect. What is involved in the process of adoption? What are your rights? How will the agency you choose work with and help you throughout your pregnancy? How long will the process take?
There are a million questions that we’re sure are running through your head about your pregnancy and adoption, but beginning to do your research and leveraging the experience and knowledge of those in the industry can help to calm your nerves and to give you a clearer picture of what the process will look like for you and for your child. A great place to start is with our common questions for birth parents.
What Do You Want in an Adoptive Family?
When you start to think of your child growing up with a family, what does that family actually look like? Through the adoption process, you’ll be presented with several families that are looking to adopt. How will you know which one to pick?
We recommend writing down a list of things that are important to you. These can be anything from religious beliefs, social beliefs, hobbies, locations, family size, sexual orientation, amongst many other things. Remember that your child will likely inherit many of your own characteristics so, what kind of family would you feel most comfortable with? While this decision is ultimately up to you, your caseworker can help you determine what factors are most important to you and how to ensure that those are communicated well so that you find a family that is perfect for you.
Starting to plan this out early can help a lot down the road when you being to look at potential families for your child.
Throughout your pregnancy and the adoption process you’ll undoubtedly go through a range of emotions and feelings. It’s important to acknowledge those feelings and deal with them. Counseling before, during, and post-placement can have a huge impact on your mental health and overall well-being. Check out our How to Cope with Placing a Baby for Adoption article where we focus on how you can cope and thrive post-adoption. When you work with an agency, you have access to a caseworker and counseling to help you through this range of emotions.
Types of Adoption
There are a couple types of adoption that have to do with the amount of privacy and communication that you’ll have with the adoptive family – semi-open and open adoption. It is very important to weigh your decision here and understand what the implications are, not only today, but into the future. Again, a caseworker will be very helpful in guiding you down the path that is right for your situation, but beginning to think about the amount of contact that you’d like to have with the adoptive family and even with the child is very important.
Semi-open adoptions are flexible and offer some communication, typically through the agency, as the child grows. First names and general locations are typically shared between the birth parents and adoptive parents. As the child grows, the adoptive family will typically send photos and letter updates once per year so you can watch the child grow up.
Open adoptions offer the most communication. In this type of adoption, the birth parents and adoptive parents are in direct communication and post-placement the biological parents can depending on the agreement that you come to with the adoptive family, you may even have phone calls and visits with the child.
While there is no correct answer here, there is a lot to consider. How involved do you want to be with the adoptive family and the child?
As we’ve mentioned, there is no such thing as a perfect adoption plan, a perfect type choice, or even a perfect way to deal with your pregnancy and adoption. Every situation is different and needs to be approached in a different manner. If you’re considering adoption, we encourage you to reach out and talk with one of our amazing caseworkers. There is never a cost to do so, there is no obligation to even work with us and a caseworker will even come to you! We want to make sure that you are prepared for the adoption journey and you make the decisions that are best for not only the child, but for yourself as well.