Adoption might seem like an unreachable or scary process, when it really doesn’t have to be. Adoption isn’t a cruel act of “giving up” your baby. Instead, it’s giving them a more stable future and family. It’s a form of showing love for your child — giving them chance at life with a family that will love and care for them. Tons of families out there are waiting to take a baby into their home, willing and ready to give that child a quality upbringing full of love.
When do you need to decide to put a baby up for adoption?
Though many women make the decision to put their baby up for adoption while they’re still pregnant, some wait until when they’re in labor or even after they’ve already had the baby. There is no specific age at which a child has to be adopted, but there’s higher demand for babies over older children among adoptive families. If you wait until your baby begins to get older, they could end up in the foster care system, bouncing from home to home until someone, hopefully, eventually adopts them.
How to do it.
1. Learn all about adoption and ask questions.
Become an expert at the adoption process so you can take control of what happens with your child. Call agencies and ask lots of questions. Do some reading on the subject. Reach out to others who have been through the adoption process to gain advice.
2. Contact an adoption agency.
Adoption agencies are everywhere. Start by performing a simple search on the internet for agencies near you. There are many to choose from — some place kids from foster care, others arrange local adoptions and others still manage international adoptions. Research different agencies to find out if they feel like a match for you. Make sure you choose a reputable agency by researching their accreditation and reputation.
3. Find a family for your child.
This is probably one of the toughest parts of the adoption process. Just because you’re choosing adoption doesn’t mean you love your baby any less. You want to make sure they’re in a family that will offer everything they could want or need. The agency will likely give you a few options for families, arrange for you to meet or speak with them and provide assurance that these families have been thoroughly vetted. When a family seems right, it’s likely you’ve found your match. Sometimes, the search can take awhile, but you’re bound to eventually find the right fit for your child.
4. Meet and build a relationship with the adoptive family.
Once you’ve chosen a family that feels like a good fit, you may want to meet with them and get to know one another. If your adoption will be an open adoption, meaning you get to have regular contact with the child, you’ll have a close relationship with this family. Even if it’s more of a closed adoption, getting to know the family will help comfort you and make you feel like your child will be in good hands. You can start building these relationships before the baby is born.
5. When you give birth, you sign the rights to your baby’s new family.
You still have up to the birth to change your mind. You don’t sign over your rights as a parent until the birth. However, the adoptive family will likely be waiting there at the hospital to take the baby home. Both parties will have some paperwork to sign to officialize the adoption.
6. Stay in touch with your baby’s family.
Whether you have arranged an open or a closed adoption, it’s a good idea to stay in touch with the child’s new family after the adoption. They are the way you will hear from your child, and they are the child’s parents. It means they’re in charge. At the same time, you need to respect their wishes of privacy should they choose to exercise them.
How do you decide?: Pros and cons to consider
What a tough decision to make! The reality is that there are both benefits and drawbacks when considering adoption. You should carefully weigh and reflect on both the pros and cons of adoption before you make a decision.
Pros of adoption.
- You can have control of the entire process, down the family and contact plan.
- Keeps your child out of foster care, which is often a broken system.
- Adoptive families often cover all medical expenses for the birth mother.
- Those who wish for children of their own show dedication in the adoption process and will be loving to your child.
Cons of adoption
- You may experience "what ifs."
- You may experience strong emotions which could include regret, jealousy or sadness
- You may miss your baby.
How much does it cost to put a child up for adoption?
Pregnant or new mothers in a financial bind may worry that they can’t afford adoption. However, it doesn’t cost the birth mother anything. She even often has her medical expenses covered by the adoptive family.
Do you need the father’s permission to give the baby up for adoption?
This depends on individual state laws, but in general, the father needs to sign off on the child’s adoption. There are some cases, such as when the father is dead, unknown or unlocatable, where permission is not required.
Do you get paid when you put your baby up for adoption?
You don’t receive money for letting someone adopt your baby. Instead, you’ll gain the value of having medical costs paid for. The agency receives money paid by the adoptive parents, because they perform the service of connecting you.
Can I give my baby up at the hospital?
Yes, you can give up your baby at the hospital without having prior arrangements. If you make this decision, keep in mind that you may automatically lose rights to the child which will be hard to regain. The child could go into foster care. It’s better to get in contact with an adoption agency (before or after the birth) so you can have some control over the process.
Making the decision.
Adoption doesn’t have to be scary, expensive or confusing. It’s a way to make sure your baby lives a full life with a loving family, even if you couldn’t parent the baby yourself. Adopted children are placed with families that meet the highest standards, and they’re often very happy. When it comes to putting your child up for adoption, don’t make any quick decisions. Do your research and do some soul-searching. Adoption can be a very positive experience when it’s carried out the right way.