Hands trembling, Ashley looked down at the pregnancy test. The tiny blue “plus” sign appeared, and her heart sank. She was a junior in college, with big plans for grad school after. Her five-year plan sure didn’t involve having a baby! After much thought and getting counseling, Ashley made the choice to place her baby for adoption. Even though she had a great deal of help through the process, the decisions were many.
Perhaps you are in a similar position, pregnant and thinking about adoption. When you make an adoption plan for your baby, you’re able to choose exactly what your adoption process will look like. This ranges from choosing adoptive parents for your baby to how much to stay in contact afterward.
Adoption can be a hard decision to make, especially when you have so many choices in front of you. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you learn about all of the choices that open adoption gives you. That’s why we’ve broken down your three major options. As you start designing your adoption plan, here are three of the categories you can make choices in.
1. Your Baby’s Adoptive Parents
There are adoptive families across the country of all races, personalities, and backgrounds. The adoption professional you work with can help you determine what kind of parents you want to raise your child.
You can specify many aspects of the adoptive family: whether they already have children, what kind of community they live in, their religion, and more. Your adoption professional will send you various adoptive family profiles to read. In addition, you can also learn about families online.
Your adoption professional is there to help you pick an adoptive family that best matches what you’re looking for. To get started with your search for adoptive parents, try asking yourself these questions:
- Would I like my baby to grow up in a large family with children already or do I want a couple waiting for their first child?
- Do I want to choose the adoptive parents or have my adoption expert select parents for me?
- Is it important to me that I find adoptive parents who share my race or ethnicity?
- What sort of contact do I want with the adoptive couple before my baby is born? How about after the adoption happens?
2. Level of Communication
There’s a wide range of contact you can have with an adoptive family. Many women choose open adoption in order to receive updates on their child through emails, photos, and in-person visits. Others prefer only communicating through email, Instagram, or Facebook.
You can decide what type of contact, if any, you’d like to have with the adoptive parents and with your child. There are three possibilities: open, semi-open, or closed adoption. In an open or semi-open adoption, you choose the family and build an on-going relationship with them. In a closed adoption, no information is exchanged.
You can meet adoptive parents before you select them. This can give you confidence that you are making a good choice. After you’ve officially chosen an adoptive family, you are joined together in what is called a “match” in adoption lingo.
Throughout your pregnancy and match, you can stay in touch through letters, emails, and phone calls. Not only that, but you can determine how much and what kind of contact you’d like with the adoptive family after the adoption.
If you’re not sure how much contact you’d like to have with the adoptive family and your child in the future, try asking yourself these questions:
- Would I like to interview them over the phone? Email? Skype? Or meet in person?
- Will I want to have an ongoing relationship with the adoptive family and my child?
- Do I want to get updates on my child as he or she grows up?
- What kind of post-adoption contact would I like to have with the adoptive family? How often?
3. Your Hospital Plan
You can choose how things will go during your hospital stay for delivery. Some of your options for your hospital plan include deciding who gets to hold your baby first, who is in the delivery room, how much time you spend with your baby, and more.
If you want your hospital stay to be a special one that includes just you and your baby, that can be arranged. Or, you might like to spend time together with your baby and the adoptive family. It’s up to you and what you feel comfortable with.
By thinking about your hospital stay ahead of time, you can simplify your time there. Here are some of the questions to ask yourself as you create your hospital plan:
- Who do I want to be at the hospital with me when I deliver (such as friends or family members)?
- Am I okay with having the adoptive couple in the delivery room? Or maybe just the adoptive mother?
- Once my baby is born, do I want him or her to stay in the room with me, or in the nursery with the adoptive parents?
- Will I want the newborn pictures that the hospital will take?
- Once I leave the hospital, would it be best to go before or after my baby and the adoptive parents?
During your hospital stay, you’ll have a social worker and attorney with you to make sure your rights and interests are respected.
The Choice is Yours
As a pregnant woman thinking about adoption, you have the right to make these kinds of decisions before, during, and after the process. This ability to choose allows you the chance to build the perfect adoption plan for both you and your unborn baby. While there are many options available, you don’t have to make them all yourself. There are experts who have done this many times before ready to help you through each step of the way.
If you are interested in considering adoption further, you can find information and help or call/text: 1-800-923-6784.
If you need more time to think through this and your options, consider visiting a care center in your area.