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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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The Adoption Process of Placing a Baby for Adoption

Six Essential Steps of How the Adoption Process Works

Below is a tour through the steps of the adoption process for a woman considering adoption, complete with helpful links and resources. If you are an adoptive family, please click the following to learn more about the domestic adoption process.

If, however, you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, please begin your decision-making process with the following helpful information:

Before we begin, please know that at any time you may speak directly with an adoption specialist 24/7, confidentially, and with no obligation via our contact form or by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.

Because we've worked with thousands of women in your exact situation, we understand your feelings, fears and questions during this delicate time. We will talk to you honestly about your options and will provide you with resources to help you make the best decision for your situation.

If you do indeed decide to take the next step toward adoption, here's how the adoption process will work:

Step 1 – Deciding if Adoption is Right for You and Your Child

This is likely the biggest decision you've ever been forced to make, so it's important that you first consider all of your options. Every woman’s situation is different, and only you know what’s right for your baby – not the father, your parents, your sister or your best friend.

To help you decide if adoption is right for you, our Adoption Specialists have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about adoption:

We are here to help educate you about adoption, and only if and when you are ready will we take the next step of the adoption process.

Step 2 – Creating an Adoption Plan

At American Adoptions, you are in charge of the adoption process. Your Adoption Specialist is your partner, counselor and friend throughout this process, and she will work closely with you to understand, and most importantly, fulfill all of your wishes for this adoption. She will ask you about your ideal adoptive family, the type of contact you wish to share with the family, the type of contact you wish to share with your child, how you envision the hospital stay, and much more.

Your answers to each of these questions will develop your “adoption plan," which will help us find the best adoption situation tailored specifically to your wishes.

Step 3 – Finding an Adoptive Family

American Adoptions has helped countless pregnant mothers through this delicate process of finding the perfect adoptive parents. Because we have hundreds of waiting adoptive families, you are sure to find the family who will provide your baby with the best life possible.

All of the families on

  • have completed a home study and various background checks.

  • are excited to get to know you through phone calls, emails and more.

  • have an Adoptive Family Video Profile.

  • have moved on from their infertility and are fully committed to adoption.

When you are ready to take the next step of the adoption process, your Adoption Specialist will send you family profiles and video profiles that best match what you are looking for in an adoptive family.

Step 4 – Getting to Know the Adoptive Family

Over the past few decades, adoption has become increasingly “open,” in that birth parents have more opportunities than ever to get to know the adoptive family prior to placement. All adoption professionals, especially American Adoptions, believe pre-placement contact is essential to a healthy adoption relationship, as it helps you confirm the people you've chosen will provide the life you've always dreamed of for your child.

Remember, your social worker can serve as a mediator for much of this contact, including conference calls and email exchange.

You may interact with the adoptive family through:

  • conference calls

  • email exchange

  • texts

  • social media interaction

  • a meeting in your hometown

  • interaction at the hospital

Some women are a bit nervous, albeit excited, to get to know the adoptive family. If this describes you, please remember that your social worker will be with you during this important step in the adoption process.

Step 5 – Preparing for the Hospital Stay

Your hospital plan is much like your adoption plan in that you have full control over the hospital stay. Your Adoption Specialist will help guide you in creating your hospital plan and understanding what to expect while at the hospital. For example, you may decide:

  • how much interaction you have with the adoptive parents

  • how much time you want to spend with your baby

  • who is the first to hold your baby

  • whether you want to leave together with the adoptive family

  • and many, many more

Once your baby is born, you usually must wait 48-72 hours before you can legally consent to the adoption. 

Step 6 – Sharing Contact After the Adoption

In today's adoptions, "goodbye" doesn't have to mean forever.

Most women who choose adoption receive picture and letter updates for 18 years. Many also stay in contact with the adoptive family through emails, texts messages and social media updates. Some even plan personal visits once per year, or more.

However you envision this relationship can become a reality, as long as you choose an adoptive family excited to pursue a similar relationship. We can help you find that adoption situation - one in which you are as much of a witness or participant in your child's life as you feel comfortable with.


Hopefully, this article helped you learn more about how the adoption process works. You likely have many more questions about each of these steps in the process, or perhaps even questions that were not addressed. Please contact one of our adoption specialists today to help you decide which path is truly best for you and your child at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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