If you’re pregnant and thinking of giving up your baby for adoption, you probably have countless questions and not a lot of answers.
We’ll try to answer some of the most basic questions here.
But before we do, we want to point out that you’re not “giving up” your baby.
Adoption is a difficult decision but it’s a loving one, too.
Today, with open adoption, women choose placement not because they want to get rid of their child or don’t want anything to do with them.
They do it because they love their child so much that they believe that finding an adoptive family is the best decision, given their circumstances at the time.
But that’s for you to decide.
As you’ve probably already noticed, not everyone will understand or accept your choice.
People—from family members and friends to even other women who have been in your situation—will judge you, and sometimes harshly.
Just keep in mind that this is your baby and you’re the one who will need to choose what’s best, based on a series of questions you’ll need to ask yourself.
Every story—and journey—is different.
Another thing: If your emotions are all over the map and you’re unsure about whether you’re doing the right thing, you’re not alone.
Every woman who has been in your shoes has wrestled with similar issues.
The good news is that there are answers, as well as people who can help you, regardless of what you decide.
Here are 22 common questions you may be asking yourself now but were afraid to ask.
1. How does adoption work?
Adoption is a legal and social process that involves permanently placing your baby with adoptive parents. Because it’s complicated, be sure to consult a professional to go over all of your options and educate yourself on how the process works.
2. Where do I start?
Start by reading up on how the process works, speaking to birthmothers (women who have already placed), and getting counseling, guidance and support through a pregnancy crisis center or adoption agency.
3. How long does it take?
Every situation is different. It depends on the laws of your state and how long it takes you to go through the process and sign the relinquishment papers.
4. Can I place my child at any time?
You can start thinking about adoption at any time. However, you can’t give your legal consent until after your baby is born.
5. How much does it cost?
As a woman who’s considering adoption, there is no cost to you.
6. Can I get paid?
You can’t be compensated for placing your baby, but depending on the laws of the state you may be eligible for certain living and pregnancy-related expenses.
7. Does the baby’s father need to know?
Generally speaking, you should inform the baby’s father about your adoption plan. But there may be situations where this isn’t possible or where the father’s identity is unknown or you may not have a good relationship with him. Adoption laws vary by state so it’s best that you consult your adoption specialist and attorney for more specific information.
8. What happens if the father of my baby disagrees with my decision?
Birthfather rights vary by state and depend on a number of different factors. However, depending on the circumstances and laws of your state, you can still pursue an adoption plan without him. Again, your attorney can explain it in more depth.
9. Can anyone adopt my baby?
To be eligible to adopt, prospective parents have to go through an extensive screening process that includes criminal, financial and medical screening and background checks.
10. How do I find adoptive parents?
You can find adoptive parents through an adoption agency, online or word of mouth via family, friends or other acquaintances.
11. What should I look for in adoptive parents?
As part of the process, you can put together a list of criteria of what you’re looking for and begin searching for families that match it.
12. How do I know if I’ll find the right family?
After you come up with your list of things that are important to you, you will be presented with couples that reflect your preferences and specifications. You will then have the opportunity to read about them and their families, speak to them, and eventually meet them, if you so choose.
13. How do I know if the adoptive parents will love my child as their own?
For adoptive parents, the fact that they have no biological connection to their child makes no difference to them nor does it alter the depth of their love.
14. Can I pick the adoptive parents temporarily?
No. Adoption is a permanent decision. Once you sign the legal papers you will severe your parent rights to your child.
15. What if I decide to change my mind?
You can change your mind about your adoption plan any time leading up to the signing of the relinquishment papers. In many states, there is a window of time after the placement where you can change your mind and have your baby legally returned to you. Speak to your attorney for further information.
16. What if the adoptive parents decide to change their mind?
Like you, they can change their mind any time up to the placement. Afterwards, they will become the legal parents of your child and will be responsible for all decisions relating to their child’s welfare and future.
17. When do I have to give my baby to the adoptive parents?
Placements usually take place at the hospital, shortly after the birth of the child. However, if you need more time, you have the option to take your child home or put him in care as you consider your options.
18. Will I be able to say goodbye to my baby?
Prior to your baby’s birth, you can create an plan with or without the adoptive parents and determine how much time you want to spend with your baby after his birth and how much (or little) involvement you want the adoptive parents to have before, during and after the delivery. Many parents today hold an “entrustment” ceremony, which allow the birthparents and adoptive parents to share letters, poems and gifts regarding their hopes and dreams for their child’s future.
19. Will I be able to see my child after the adoption?
As part of open adoption, you can create a plan to stay connected to your child and his or her family.
20. What if I’m not sure how much openness I want?
Open adoption falls across a wide spectrum. Initially it’s hard to know how much contact or openness to ask for. However, over time you and the adoptive parents will find the level of openness that you’re comfortable with and can build on it.
21. Will I regret my decision?
Every woman reacts differently to placement. Although many say it was the most difficult decision they ever made, they believe it was the right one.
22. Will my child grow up hating me?
Every child, just like every parent, reacts differently to adoption. That said, through your relationship with your child, you’ll have a chance to explain the reason behind your decision, that it was made from love, and why you believed it was best for him.
Adoption today is very different from the past. As a woman who is considering adoption, you have the option to create an individualized plan and can play an active role in the process which includes choosing their child’s adoptive parents and having a place in their lives after placement.
To maximize your chances of success, explore all of your options, educate yourself about the process, get professional non-biased representation, and speak to other woman who have gone down the same road. Good luck!
Want to learn more about placing your baby for adoption?
Looking for adoptive parents for your baby? Check out our adoption profiles.