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How to Start the Adoption Process

Where to Begin with Adoption

Choosing adoption for your child can create a brighter future.

Whether you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or having second thoughts about raising your baby, adoption is always an option for you. Knowing where to begin with adoption and whom to turn to for guidance is often the hardest part in the early stages of adoption.

For more free information on how to start the adoption process, you can reach out to our team of adoption specialists today or call 1-800-ADOPTION now. We are here to help you.

How to Get Started with Adoption [the Process in 5 Steps] 

Giving you a safe and comfortable adoption experience is our priority. So, as you start your journey through the adoption process, we will take into account every need, want and expectation of your adoption plan.

Below are the five steps you will take (with the help of your adoption specialist) to fulfill your adoption goals:

Step 1: Create Your Adoption Plan

Your adoption plan is the foundation of your process. This entails:

  • Addressing your adoption needs

  • Choosing the type of family you want for your child

  • Ensuring your hospital and adoption experiences are safe and smooth

Your adoption plan can ensure this process goes how you want. Contact an adoption professional today to get started.

Step 2: Choose an Adoptive Family for Your Child

Hopeful adoptive parents will fill out an adoption planning questionnaire similar to your adoption plan. Your adoption specialist will help you find a family that best matches your plan and preferences.

To help you choose an adoptive family, ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do I want a small family waiting on their first child or a bigger family with children already?

  • Do I want a family that lives in the suburbs, city or out in the country? 

  • Do I want to choose the adoptive family, or do I want my adoption professional to choose one? 

You can begin viewing available family profiles to find who you believe will make excellent parents for your child. 

Getting immediate access to our hundreds of adoptive family profiles is just one way we support you. All our families: 

  • Are fully committed to adoption and excited to get to know you

  • Have an adoptive family video profile

  • Have completed a home study and various background checks

Step 3: Get to Know the Adoptive Family 

American Adoptions believes that pre-placement contact is a great way to form a healthy adoption relationship. That’s why we require adoptive families to be open to having a relationship with you during and after placement. But if you want a closed adoption, that's OK, too. It is completely up to you and what makes you feel comfortable.

Over the past few decades, adoption has become increasingly open. Because of this, you can feel confident and at peace knowing you've chosen the life you've always dreamed of for your child. 

Knowing where to begin with adoption contact has never been easier. You may interact with the adoptive family through: 

  • Phone and video calls 

  • Texts

  • In-person visits

  • Email exchanges 

  • Hospital interactions

Step 4: Give Birth and Complete the Legal Steps for Adoption 

Choosing adoption for your baby means your medical costs are covered, and you’ll have 24/7 professional support, too.

When you prepare for labor and delivery, your specialist will help you create a hospital plan. Much like your adoption plan, you have full control over the hospital stay.

You’ll get to make decisions like: 

  • How much time you want to spend with your baby 

  • Who gets to hold your baby first 

  • How much interaction you have with the adoptive parents 

Once you give birth, you usually must wait between 48–72 hours before you can complete the adoption paperwork, depending on your state’s laws. 

Your adoption specialist and adoption attorney will help prepare you for the legal process, too. They’ll make sure you understand all your rights in the adoption.

Step 5: Build a Lifelong Bond through Open Adoption

Placing your child with the adoptive family doesn’t mean your adoption journey is over. It is just the beginning.

Just as you get to decide how to start the adoption process, you also choose how you want your open adoption to look after placement. 

“I definitely wanted to be able to see my child grow and progress, and just kind of be a part of different milestones in her life, if possible,” birth mother Colleen said. “It’s a really special opportunity to be able to have a bigger family and be able to share that with many people.”

Most people who choose adoption receive updates on their child for at least 18 years.  Some even plan personal visits once per year, if not more. 

Get More Information on How to Start the Adoption Process

Michelle, a birth parent specialist and a birth parent herself, is ready to answer any questions you have about adoption: where to begin and how to handle any emotions you may have.        

“I am available to answer any questions that arise, particularly from birth moms, as I have been in your shoes and know how you are feeling,” Michelle said. “It was most helpful to me when I had someone to talk to who would just listen to me without making any judgments or conclusions about who I was as a person.”   

You can ask Michelle questions about the adoption process online now. You can also call us at 1-800-ADOPTION today or get more free information when you fill out our contact form for prospective birth mothers considering adoption.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions 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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