If you are reading this, it is likely that you have or are currently experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. For many women when they find out they are pregnant, they can be so excited and can’t help but celebrate. The experience might be different for you. If you have an unplanned pregnancy and are worried about your future, you might be feeling scared, overwhelmed, and/or confused. This is normal and you are not alone. We want to walk you a little through the adoption process, how to choose a good family for your child, and answer the question, “How to know if my baby is with a good family.”
As the mother of your child, you have the right to decide what happens to your baby. You can either choose to parent your child or place your child for adoption. This is a big decision to make! If you haven’t already decided what to do, we want to talk a little bit about each option and help you work through a few things as you make your decision.
How will I know my baby is with a good family?
Parenting a baby is often difficult for anyone, whether the pregnancy is planned or not. It can be especially hard if you don’t have a support system and/or your basic needs aren’t being regularly met, having a child can be even harder. If you are considering parenting your child, there are a few things you might want to think about and ask yourself.
- Do you have enough support to handle parenting a baby, child, teenager, and eventual young adult? Is the child’s father going to be involved in his/her life? Whether or not you are doing this all on your own can be a huge deal. If the father of your child isn’t going to be actively involved in the life of your child, that can make things difficult. Can you lean on your friends and family for support?
Have you ever heard the phrase, “It takes a village”? This means that it takes a village, or a lot of people, to raise a child. If you don’t have friends and family that support your decision to raise your child, that aren’t willing to help you with the child, and/or can’t step in when you need assistance – you may have a very difficult road ahead of you.
- Are you in a position to care for yourself and the life of another? Do you have a secure job? Secure housing? Do you have the financial means to take care of another person? Caring for one person (yourself) can be a lot of work and may be expensive. Between housing, food, clothes, and other necessary expenses, taking care of yourself can cost a lot of money. Add on another person to be responsible for, you are looking at more overall expenses. Babies require around the clock care, diapers, transportation to doctor visits, a clean and secure home, food, clothes that they grow out of quickly, and other basic necessities. If you are working, you may need to find childcare and pay for it.
- Do you feel capable of putting the needs of someone else before your own? When you have a child, your world often revolves around him/her. It’s important to recognize that the things you used to do might have to change. Your lifestyle may change as it may revolve around the needs of your baby. You might have to cut out activities you used to enjoy and live a more family-focused life.
If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of parenting your child, you might want to consider adoption. You know what is best for you and your child and ultimately, it will be your decision to make. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering placing your child for adoption.
- Will you be able to let someone else parent your child? Will you be able to go through a full pregnancy and delivery only to place your child with someone else? The reality of adoption is that someone else will be raising your child. Someone else will be watching his/her milestones, helping with homework, and preparing him/her for college. Will you be able to handle the emotions that come along with this type of sacrifice?
- Do you have support from my friends and family? Many women experience a significant change in hormones during and after pregnancy. Regardless of whether you place your child for adoption or not, your body will be recovering from birth and your hormones will be adjusting. It can be important to have people around you to support you and help you get through the difficult times that follow delivery and adoption placement. Does your support system support you in placing your child for adoption?
- How will placing your child for adoption affect your life? Will this be something that totally destroys you? Will this choice be something that opens up opportunities for you and gives you a chance to start over? For many, the decision to place their child for adoption is made because their lives are just not conducive to raising a little one. They may know that they aren’t able to achieve their goals with a baby and want their child to be placed with a family that is at a place in their lives where raising a child isn’t a hardship for them.
To know that your baby is with a good family, it’s important to start at the very first step after having decided to place your baby for adoption. The first step is choosing a good adoption agency, perhaps one that respects expectant and birth moms and puts their needs as a priority. You want to avoid agencies that seem to simply be in it for the money; wanting to find babies quickly and to give to families within a short time-frame. Look for an agency that provides honest and ethical services to expectant mothers as well as hopeful adoptive families.
There are many agencies that provide a lot of support for the expectant mother. You can get support with medical resources, housing, food, finding a job, and many other things. A good agency might pair you with a counselor or caseworker that can walk you through the whole process and be a resource for you. They should connect you with other professionals and programs that can help you.
If you are worried about a good family adopting your child, rest assured that there is an intense screening process that families have to go through to be able to adopt. Before a family can even be considered for adoption, they have to have an approved home study. A home study is essentially a write-up of the family with so much information that it can be really overwhelming for a lot of people hoping to adopt. A caseworker looks deeply into each member of the family to learn about their extended family, medical history, conflict/resolution style, criminal background, education, career, religion, and just about anything else that you can think of. The caseworker will also take a look at the hopeful adoptive family’s home to ensure that it is clean, safe, and big enough to fit a child. There are extensive background checks done on each family before they are able to adopt.
Each hopeful adoptive family will create a profile of some sort that expectant parents can look through to get to know the family a little people. Some people create a little book, some create an online adoption profile, and others create an adoption video. A lot of people do all three to ensure that expectant parents have a lot of different ways to get to know them. As the birth parent of your child, you can look through as many profiles as you need to. Before sifting through many families, you can make a list of the things that are most important to you in a potential family for your child. How important is it to you that the child is raised in a two-parent home? Does it matter if the couple is heterosexual or homosexual? Do you want the family to be religious? Do you want the family to have other kids in the home or do you want your child to be their only child?
Profile books can talk about a lot of things. You can learn about the family’s careers, education history, extended family, traditions, values, and the children they might already have. This can be a great way to be introduced to potential adoptive families. After sifting through many different profile books, you can ask to talk directly to a few different families as sort of an “interview” to decide if you want to move forward. Your adoption agency will help you with this process and should offer to be the middle-man in the communication and be on the first call to mediate things. You can ask hopeful adoptive parents anything you want to. It’s your right as the birth mother. You can also meet the adoptive family before the baby is born to get to know them better and this may help you solidify your decision to place your child with them.
It can be unfair to talk to multiple families and give them false hope that they each will be the family to adopt your child. Make sure that you keep things clear with each family you talk to and don’t tell multiple families that you have chosen them to adopt your baby. This isn’t fair to anyone involved.
Open vs. Closed Adoption
Once you have done all of the prep work of choosing a family to adopt your child, all that you can do after that is follow up with them and see how they are raising your child. You can choose to have an open or closed adoption. A closed adoption is where there is no communication between the birth parent(s) and the adopted child and adoptive family. Oftentimes with a closed adoption, the birth family chooses to not allow their information to ever be shared with the child, so there would be no chance of the child finding them. However, some people choose for their children to have access to their information once the child turns eighteen.
Open adoption is very common and may really be the answer to your question, “How will I know my baby is with a good family?” There are varying degrees of open adoptions. You can exchange emails every so often with simple updates and pictures or you can have a very open adoption that involves visits, video calls, and other more personal and regular interactions. This can be an obvious way that you can find out if you placed your child with a good family.
How will I know my baby is with a good family?
Recently, a birth mom shared her experience with open adoption. She placed her child for adoption at birth. It has been fifteen years since the adoption was finalized. She says:
I was really overwhelmed with the decision to place her for adoption. I was so young though, and knew that I couldn’t give her the life that I wanted for her. When I first met her adoptive family, I immediately felt good about them. They made me feel comfortable and were so kind. I got to know them a little bit before my daughter was born. We talked on the phone a few times. The day before she was born, the family flew out and we went to dinner with them and my parents. I was glad that I got to know them during my pregnancy because it made it a lot easier for me to place my daughter in their arms.
Placing her for adoption was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It has been great for me, though, to have an open adoption and to watch her grow. As time has passed, I’ve gotten more and more confident in my decision with the family I chose for her and I know that she was meant to be with them. We have become close friends and I am so grateful for open adoption.