Adoption has been a part of society for thousands of years. Adoption is more common than many people realize. Chances are, you may know someone that has been adopted, adopted a child, or placed a child for adoption. Even though adoption is so common and has been around for so long, there are many misconceptions. If you are considering adoption for your unplanned pregnancy, you should have the facts so that you can make an informed decision.
AM I “GIVING MY BABY AWAY?”
Many women wonder if their child will feel abandoned by her or that, after carrying the child for nine months, her attachment to the child would be too intense. But women who go through the adoption process often say they are glad they did so, because it enabled them to place their child’s needs above their own, and and that it was a loving and selfless choice.
Depending on the amount of openness (how much personal information is shared and/or post adoption contact) you choose to have with the adoptive parent(s), you have choices about how to share with the child that she was not abandoned. For example, in a fully open adoption, you may have an ongoing relationship with the child and she can experience and hear firsthand your love for her. In a closed adoption, you may be able to write a letter to the child and express your love and reasons for choosing adoption in your own words.
WHAT IS ADOPTION?
Adoption is the legal process by which parental rights are permanently assigned to an adoptive parent(s). The adoptive parent(s) will become fully responsible for all decisions regarding the care and financial, social, emotional needs involved in raising the child. But first, you will create an adoption plan that usually involves you in the process for selecting the adoptive parent(s). The adoption agency will be able to explain and guide you through each step of the adoption process.
Depending on how much communication you would like to have after the adoption, you may choose to have an Open Adoption (usually an ongoing relationship), Semi-Open Adoption (usually letters and photos exchanged), or a Closed Adoption (no communication).
HOW DO I PLACE MY CHILD FOR ADOPTION?
You are able to choose either a licensed private adoption agency, government agency (such as Children and Family Services) or an adoption attorney. Most women choose a licensed private adoption agency or an adoption attorney because this enables them the opportunity to select the adoptive parent(s). In the San Francisco Bay Area, there are several private adoption agencies and adoption attorneys to choose from so you can choose the one that most aligns with your values and with whom you feel the most comfortable. At no time should you feel uncomfortable or feel pressured by an adoption provider. The patient advocates at Support Circle can provide you with community referrals to help you during your search.
The adoption facilitator guides you through the legal process and can assist in notifying and obtaining consent for the adoption from the birth father. Attorney fees are paid by the agency or the adoptive couple, not by you.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OPEN, SEMI-OPEN AND CLOSED ADOPTIONS?
The terms Open, Semi-Open and Closed refer to the level of contact or communication you may have with the child or the family after the adoption is finalized. This may also include communication with other birth family members including your family, the birth father and his family.
Open Adoptions can have many forms, including partial or full disclosure of identifying information, meeting the adoptive parent(s) and meeting other family members. The biggest difference is that, with open adoptions, there is usually an ongoing relationship after placement. The extent of the openness depends on what you and the adoptive parent(s) decide you are both comfortable with.
In California, if you want to have contact with your child and the adoptive family after the adoption, a formal post-adoption contract agreement with the adoptive parent(s) can be entered into the court adoption file, making it a legally-enforceable agreement.
In Semi-Open Adoptions some or all identifying information may be shared but usually only letters and photos are exchanged. The birth mother and the adoptive parent(s) may meet in person. This gives you the opportunity to see that your child is doing well but not play a role in your child’s life.
Closed Adoptions used to be the only option. The birth mother would place her child for adoption and there would be no contact at all. Records were sealed for the privacy of both parties. Today, closed adoptions usually occur if the birth parent specifically requests no contact or if a government agency has terminated parental rights.
Image posed by model.
HOW SOON DO I HAVE TO DECIDE?
With adoption, you have the duration of your pregnancy to make a final decision. However, if you are considering adoption, you should begin prenatal care as soon as possible. Also, the sooner you begin to interview adoption agencies and/or adoption attorneys, the more control you may have over the selection of the adoptive parent(s) and the placement of your baby. With a little advanced planning, you will have the opportunity to select the agency or attorney, the adoptive parent(s) and how much contact you would like to have after the adoption has been finalized.
The caring and supportive staff at Support Circle can come alongside you while you consider your options. Our nurses can confirm your pregnancy with a medical pregnancy test and/or an ultrasound, and they can help you to begin your prenatal care. Our professional counselors have access to many community referrals to help you in your search for an adoption provider that you are comfortable with.
Our counselors are available to talk to for up to one year after your decision so you will not have to go through the adoption process alone. Call or visit one of our three Bay Area medical clinics in San Francisco, Redwood City or Oakland today. Our services are offered at no cost to you and will be completely confidential.
The information listed here is for educational purposes only. The adoption process can vary from state to state. Support Circle does not operate as an adoption agency. In cases where a woman chooses to place her baby for adoption, Support Circle would continue to act as her advocate, while the adoption agency would act as an advocate for the baby.