A Quick Guide to Get You Started
As a birth mom, once you’ve decided that adoption is right for you, it’s time to create a supportive team to help you navigate the process. Everyone’s needs are different so your support structure may look different, too. That’s okay. What is important is that you have the people in place to give you encouragement, love, support, and strength as you need it. Here are some ideas to consider. Trust your instincts and learn to lean on the team you build.
Who to Include on Your Team
This is typically your first point of contact at an adoption agency. Lean on your specialist for available resources, advocacy, shared experience, and advice. They won’t make any decisions for you but can certainly share years of wisdom and experience. The specialists at Act of Love have decades of experience and many have been personally touched by adoption. They are a great resource for you.
Not everyone placing a baby in adoption has the support of their parents and siblings. If you are fortunate to have these people on your support team, lean on them. They know you and often have first-hand experience supporting you through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes it’s easiest to lean on people you have a deep history with.
It’s common for birth moms to lack the support of their immediate family. That’s okay. These are the people in your life who feel the most invested in the choices you make; sometimes they need extra time to sort out their own feelings. Don’t be surprised if they show up when it really counts. If this describes your current situation, look for other close relatives like aunts, cousins, or grandparents.
Often your close friends know you as well as, or better than, family. They can be particularly dialed into your needs and pick right up where the family leaves off. Never underestimate the power of a supportive and loving friend group.
Religious leaders can feel like an extension of your family and friends. The benefit to having someone like this on your support team is that they understand all the nuances of how your religion plays into your patterns and decisions. If you have a leader you trust and love, include them where it’s appropriate. They can be a great sounding board.
Your Baby’s Father
Depending on the nature of your relationship, your baby’s father could be a helpful support. After all, they often have the same worries, doubts and fears you do. It’s natural to second guess your decisions and he can certainly help you in these moments unless his involvement is unhealthy or dangerous for you. Keeping him involved can also help with his post-placement healing.
Your Current Relationship
Yes, life can be complicated. As a birth mom you might be in a healthy new relationship during the adoption process. Involving your current partner will only strengthen your bond and give them the insight they need to show up for you in the ways you really need them.
Depending on how early you choose adoptive parents for your baby, they can be a tremendous source of love and support. Getting to know the adoptive parents can also give you peace with your decision. You get to see how they handle stressful situations and how they support one another (and you). Placing your baby into the arms of people you love and trust can make a big difference in your post placement experience.
Oftentimes your adoption specialist is also a social worker. They can help arrange personal therapy and find support groups for you. They are familiar with the financial resources during an adoption plan as a birth mother. They know how to arrange for regular medical care for you and your growing baby. They can also help you find clean, safe housing if needed.
The idea of working with a lawyer can feel scary and overwhelming. Think of him/her as an advocate for what you want out of the adoption process. They will take the time to understand the type of adoption you desire (open, closed, or somewhere in between) and will make sure things are taken care of from a legal perspective. Their expertise can help take away some of the worry you might feel about what will happen in the future. Lean on them.
Once you’ve created a team you feel comfortable with, there are a few things to keep in mind as you embark on this journey together.
- Ask for the support you need
Be specific. If you need regular transportation to and from your prenatal appointments, talk about days and times that work best for you AND them. If you’d like someone you can call day or night, ask if they are okay being “on-call”. If you need someone to help with important decisions, be direct about how they can best support you. A team works best with open and direct communication.
- Be Honest, Respectful, and Patient
If you need your team to use specific positive adoption language, tell them. If you aren’t sure what kind of support you need, ask for suggestions. If someone needs to cancel plans, remember that they still have their own lives and responsibilities. Strong relationships aren’t one-sided; they require give and take. Help them out when you can, be a good listening ear, forgive mistakes, and remember to show gratitude.
With your support team you can do anything. They can offer you the mental, emotional, social, and physical support you need. And giving them a chance to be involved in the process can help them grow and heal, too.
If you are considering adoption, A Act of Love believes that finding an adoption specialist to lean on and confide in is essential. The right person can answer your questions, advocate for your needs, explain your rights, and share important resources with you.
Call us day or night. 800-835-6360 or text 801-450-0094