When you’ve decided on adoption for your unborn baby, you will start making an adoption plan with your adoption specialist. This plan will lay out every step of your adoption process, from finding an adoptive family for your baby to your hospital stay while giving birth.
Something that you’ll need to consider, however, is also building an adoption support team for this process. Adoption can be a journey filled with many ups and downs, and while you will always have your adoption specialist to go to for support, it’s also encouraged that you create a team of people in your life that you can go to whenever you need them.
Because each woman’s circumstances are different, the people that she chooses to involve in her adoption plan will vary. Of course, there will be some necessary professionals and people to involve, but the involvement of others will depend upon your own preferences and comfort levels. Your adoption specialist can always help you determine which people will be positive forces in your adoption process — and whether or not you should include them.
Here are some of the important people that will likely play a role in your adoption plan:
From the moment you start your adoption process, your adoption specialist will be by your side to help you. They will serve as your guide throughout, helping you determine your preferences for your adoption plan and serving as your go-to person if you ever have questions about the adoption process or your adoption decision. The specialists at American Adoptions will always be available to support you 24 hours a day.
After your adoption specialist, the people that you will likely interact with the most will be the adoptive family that you choose for your child. It is up to you to decide what type of relationship you want to have with your baby’s adoptive parents. If you choose, you can develop a close relationship with the adoptive family during your adoption process and as your baby grows up. This family will be supportive of your adoption decision and, to make sure you’re comfortable placing your child for adoption with them, will be willing to help you however they can. This means everything from answering whatever questions you have about them to being there during your hospital stay.
Whether or not your baby’s father is directly involved in your adoption plan, he will play a role in how the legal process plays out. Before an adoption can be finalized, his parental rights must be terminated — voluntarily or involuntarily. Your adoption specialist and your adoption lawyer will work with you to determine what path needs to be taken to do this. On the other hand, if your baby’s birth father wants to be involved in your adoption process, you can involve him in whatever way makes you comfortable; his support throughout your adoption plan will be invaluable. Whatever your relationship with your baby’s father, you should talk to your adoption specialist and attorney early in the process about how his rights should be handled, who should be listed on the baby’s birth certificate, and how he might impact your adoption experience.
Another person who will play a key role in your adoption plan will be your adoption attorney. Your adoption attorney will help you fully understand the legal process of adoption and your rights throughout, and will help you complete the signing of your adoption consent after you give birth. You’ll need to be completely honest with your attorney, as they will work with your adoption specialist on everything from your living expenses to your post-adoption contact agreement with the adoptive family. Like your adoption specialist, your attorney will make every effort to ensure your adoption is as close to your preferences as possible.
It’s important that you receive the proper medical care during your pregnancy and hospital stay, which is why your chosen medical professionals will play a large role in your adoption plan. You will be able to use your own OBGYN for your prenatal care. In addition, your adoption specialist will communicate with your hospital and doctors to let them know what your wishes are for your hospital stay. During your hospital experience, you will likely have several nurses, doctors and hospital social workers coming in and out of your room, and not all of them will be aware of your adoption plan. Your adoption specialist can help you prepare for this and the challenges it may bring so you are as comfortable as possible with your childbirth and placement experience.
If you’re going to place your unborn child for adoption and you already have other children, especially ones that are living with you, it might be hard to keep your adoption secret from them. It’s important to think about how your adoption decision will affect them. It may help the confusing emotions they have if you include them in your adoption plan; let them help pick out an adoptive family for their brother or sister, let them meet the adoptive parents or even let them meet their baby brother or sister after you give birth. While it can be hard to have other children when you’re placing your unborn baby for adoption, they can also provide the strength and reassurance you need to feel better about your choice.
If you are in a relationship with someone other than your baby’s father, you will likely want to involve this person in your adoption process, too. As long as your husband, boyfriend or partner is positive and respects your adoption decision, they can be a good source of support for you throughout the adoption process. Whether it’s offering emotional support, attending doctor’s appointments with you or being present at the hospital, you can involve your significant other in whatever way makes you most comfortable.
While the people listed above will usually be a part of your adoption plan, the rest of the people in the list may not be necessary for your adoption process — but are recommended, as long as they are a supportive and positive influence in your life. Our adoption specialists advise that every prospective birth mother has someone who’s directly outside of her adoption plan to turn to for support. Sometimes, close friends can provide the support you need — whether it’s related to your adoption plan or simply a way to take your mind off of it for a while. Remember, it’s always up to you to decide who you want to involve in your adoption plan. While many people may want to be involved in your adoption process, it’s important to be selective about who you invite to join you on this journey. Choose the close friends that will be positive and supportive of your adoption decision, and consider cutting out any people who don’t respect your wishes.
When you’re placing a child for adoption, remember that your other family members will also be affected. If you choose to include your family in your adoption plan, you may want to reach out to your parents and siblings first, if you have a good relationship with them. While some family members may be unsupportive early in your adoption process, if you take the time to explain your adoption decision and how it’s the best for your baby, they may come around. Remember that your family needs to process your adoption decision on their own, and they may grieve this decision in a different way. Your adoption specialist can help you if you are struggling to involve your parents, siblings or other close family members in your adoption plan.
Whether or not you want to include your extended family in your adoption plan will be entirely up to you. Just like your siblings and parents, your extended family can help you through the adoption process by offering support however they can — emotional or practical. However, it’s important to think about how each of your family members might be involved in your adoption process. For example, think about who you want to invite to the hospital when the baby is born. While many family members may want a chance to meet the baby, it’s important to prioritize what’s best for you during this time; your hospital stay will be relatively short, and you may want to reserve that time to bond with your baby on your own or connect with the adoptive family.
When you’re thinking of the people you want to include in your adoption plan, your entire social media network might not come to mind — but it’s important to think about the role social media will play in your adoption process. Consider who your friends or followers are before sharing sensitive details and information about your adoption plan online, and remember that what you post can be shared by friends and family members and can quickly reach beyond your intended audience. Your adoption specialist can help you develop a social media plan that outlines what you do and do not want to share with your social media followers.
Religious figures, teachers or other mentors may hold a special place in your life as someone you go to for advice and guidance. If there is an influential person in your life with whom you share a special connection, they may be able to provide you support. Many teachers, religious figures and other leaders in your life can act like counselors and trusted friends, providing the reassurance you might need and helping you come to terms with your decision, both before and after the adoption is complete.
In addition to supportive people in your personal life, you may want to seek out a counselor. While the specialists at American Adoptions are all trained social workers, we understand if you want someone outside your adoption process to bring a fresh perspective to your situation. We can refer you to experienced counselors that we trust, if needed.
As you consider the people you want to be a part of your support system, it’s sometimes helpful to include other birth parents who understand what you’re going through. You might find it helpful to read other birth mothers’ adoption stories, or even consider joining an adoption support group to connect with a community of peers. Your adoption specialist can help you connect with other birth parents, if you think it would be beneficial for you. You can also always contact Michelle, our resident birth mother expert who not only serves as an adoption specialist, but who has been in your shoes — she’s a birth mom, too.
As your pregnancy progresses, you will likely become more and more aware of the little person at the center of your adoption plan: your baby. In fact, he or she is one of the most important people involved in this process — after all, you are making this selfless decision because you want to give him or her the best future possible. Your baby and the hopes and dreams you have for him or her will be at the center of every decision you make throughout your adoption journey.
While there will be many people that you can involve in your adoption plan, the most important person will always be you. This is your decision to make and your adoption plan to create; no one’s thoughts should be as important as your own when it comes to this life-changing process. Take time to be your own support system; journal your thoughts, practice self-care, and take time to reflect and remind yourself why you are making this decision. You are absolutely the most important person in your adoption plan, and by choosing an agency like American Adoptions, you will always be the one in charge throughout the process.
While adoption is your choice alone to make, the adoption process actually involves many different people, all working together to make sure your adoption plan goes as you’d like. At American Adoptions, we’ll provide all of the support and case management that you’ll need to make the process as smooth as possible, but we also encourage you to reach out to other people in your life to include them in your adoption plan. After all, as emotionally challenging as it is, your adoption decision is something you should be proud of — you’re making the best choice for you and your baby.
To learn more about how to talk about your pregnancy and adoption plan with your friends, family and other people, you can always talk to an adoption specialist for free (and with no obligation to choose adoption) by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.
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