Does Every Birth Mom Need One?

Did you know that nearly ½ of all the pregnancies in the United States every year are unplanned? If you find yourself with an unintended pregnancy it’s easy to feel alone but take comfort that many women, married and unmarried, young and not-so-young, find themselves in the same situation you’re in now. 

Whether you’ve decided on adoption or you’re still considering your options it might help to start thinking about your adoption plan. An adoption plan includes all your preferences about your support team , the adoptive family, your interaction with the adoptive family before the birth, the type of adoption you want, your birth plan, and the hospital plan. All of the decisions and details are up to YOU and what’s best for you and your baby.

At a time when you probably don’t feel like you have much control, it’s comforting to know that you are the one that makes all of these important decisions for you and your baby. Your adoption plan will make sure all of your specific adoption choices are respected. 

Before you get started with your adoption plan, it’s important to reach out to an adoption agency/adoption specialist to help you navigate all these decisions and to answer your questions.

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

Information to Include in Your Adoption Plan

Your Adoption Support Team 

Your adoption specialist will likely encourage you to first build your adoption support team . Along with your adoption specialist, your support team can include parents/siblings, extended family, close friends, religious leaders, your baby’s father, your current partner, your social worker/counselor, and your lawyer. 

Information about your support team is included in your adoption plan and this team will be involved however you choose. For instance, maybe you want someone specific to come to all of the meetings between you and your adoption specialist or you’ve identified someone to drive you to and from all your prenatal appointments. Including details about your support team and their involvement is extremely helpful for everyone involved.    

The Type of Adoption You Want

There are three types of adoption available; open, closed, and semi-open, and the one you choose will help determine the kind of interaction you have with your baby and adoptive parents before and after the adoption is complete. 

Open Adoption: Simply put, an open adoption means that the adoptive and birth families share identifying information and have contact with each other during and after the adoption. 

Identifying information can include first/last name, phone numbers, personal email, address, and more. With open adoption, contact between birth and adoptive parents can happen both before and after adoption through phone calls, emails, and visits.

This is the only type of adoption that will allow you to get to know the adoptive family before your baby is born. If you would like to involve the adoptive parents in doctor visits, the birth experience, and have contact after the adoption, you’ll want to choose an open adoption plan. 

The definition of an open adoption has lots of room for personalization. The types and frequency of contact depends on what the birth mother (you) wants and what the adoptive parents agree to. 

Closed Adoption:  Closed adoption means that little-to-no identifying information is shared between birth and adoptive parents and they do not have direct contact with each other before or after the adoption. Historically this was the most common type of adoption but in the last few decades birth and adoptive parents have moved away from this option. 

Semi-Open Adoption: A semi-open adoption is limited to non-identifying interactions like letters and cards (first name only, no addresses included). Emails and visits can be arranged and hosted by an adoption professional such as the adoption agency or lawyer but no identifying information is exchanged. 

This type of adoption requires very specific agreements to be made between the birth and adoptive parents. Semi-open adoption gives another option for birth parents and adoptive families. This type of agreement may be the right type of adoption for both parties if, for instance, the birth parents decide they may not want as much contact or any more contact in the future. Or the  adoptive parents decide they no longer want to have as much contact with the birth mother. Make sure you are explicit with what you want and what you are willing to negotiate.

*It’s always best to include very specific expectations with any adoption plan you create. 

Your Baby’s Adoptive Family

Do you want your baby to grow up in a city? Do you want him/her to have other siblings? Is the age, race and sexuality of the adoptive parents important to you? As the birth mother, you get to make these important decisions for your baby and, as a result, have some say in the kind of life they experience. 

Get familiar with the kind of family you envision for your baby and communicate this to your adoption specialist. They can pre-screen potential families for you and only share options that fit your preferences. 

*The adoptive family you choose will also need to agree to the type of adoption you request (open, closed, semi-open) so keep in mind that you may need to make small compromises to reach an agreement. 

Your Birth Plan

Depending on your adoption specialist your birth plan and your hospital plan might be considered the same thing. But for the purposes of keeping things organized we will talk about them separately. 

Think of your birth plan as the blueprint for your delivery. This can include how you want to give birth (with a doula, natural with no epidural), who you want in the room during your birth, and your specific medical care while you are in the hospital. Every pregnant woman, whether she chooses to parent her baby or place it with adoptive parents, should discuss a birth plan with her doctor. 

Keep in mind that birth plans are a guide for the birth experience you’d like to have but your doctor may need to make emergency changes to this plan should anything about your pregnancy change. Always maintain open communication with your doctor.

Your Hospital Plans

Your hospital plan is a document detailing exactly what you want to happen (and not happen) while you are in the hospital. This document is shared with hospital staff, the adoptive family, and your adoption specialist. 

Do you want the adoptive parents in the room for the birth? Do you want the baby’s father there? How much time do you want alone with your baby? What pictures, if any, do you want taken? Are there mementos you’d like to keep? Will you be holding an entrustment ceremony  with the adoptive parents? Do you want to leave the hospital with your baby and the adoptive parents or separately? 

All these details matter and can make the transition feel more calm and smooth. Ask your adoption specialist for recommendations and advocate for the things that are truly important to you. 

Your Post-Placement Care

Your adoption experience doesn’t end when you place your baby in the arms of their adoptive parents. In some respects, it is just beginning. Once the adoption is finalized your physical and emotional healing begins. Just like your body needs time to recover, you need to spend time making sure you grow and heal emotionally, too. Talk to your support team and ask them to check in with you often. If you choose an open adoption, ask for more frequent emails and photos during the first few months to help with the transition.

Act of Love has licensed social workers and mental health professionals to support your after-placement care. Lean on them for information about support groups and counseling to address your needs. 

Speak Up

You have a lot of decisions to make. Lean on your adoption specialist and your support team if you get overwhelmed. Remember that your adoption plan is not something you have to create alone; you’ll have a host of people you trust working on this plan with you. Take the time you need to get it right and stand firm about the details that are the most important to you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want! This adoption experience is YOURS and you are entitled to make decisions that give you the most comfort. If you have a hard time speaking up for yourself, ask your adoption specialist and your support team for help. Remember that you are just as important as your baby and the adoptive parents in this process. Your voice matters. Your needs matter. Your experience matters. 

It’s important to remember that entrusting your baby to adoption in no way suggests you don’t love or value their life. We believe it shows great maturity, love and respect to choose adoption. As a birth parent, you have our full support. We honor however you have come to this decision and know it was made with love. We believe in YOU. 

A  Act of Love offers information, support, and FREE counseling with no commitment. Give us a call today for more information. Day or night we are here to help.  

800-835-6360 or text 801-450-0094

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