An unexpected pregnancy can be a scary thing, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Even after you’ve made your mind up about adoption, you may have some questions about what the process entails. In this article, we’ll discuss the experience of being a birthmom and placing your baby for adoption.
The Resources at an Adoption Agency
Adoption agencies are great resources that will connect you with professionals and support throughout your entire adoption process. Additionally, they can take care of many aspects on your behalf, including advising on medical and legal issues. It is important to keep in mind that adoption policies may vary in different locations.
1- Pre-adoption Process
There are many different types of adoptions. The most common adoption in the United States is domestic. However, there are some adoption processes that go through the foster care system or even international.
2- During the Adoption Process
You have complete autonomy to select a family for your birth child. From single mothers to couples to those families already with children, there are a variety of families to choose where you’d want your birth child placed. You have complete control over your selection process. Often, an agency will present each family’s file and you may meet with each family and speak at length about your concerns or questions. You may meet as many potential adoptive families as you wish until you find one you feel would be the best match for your birth child.
3- Post-Adoption Process
You also decide how long you would like your birth child to stay with you before placing them with the adoptive family. Once placed with the family, there are multiple options of further contact you may choose from. It is important to discuss further steps after birth and placement to determine any legal rights and support needed.
Legal Rights of a Birthmother
It is important to be aware of your legal rights as a birthmother and be able to protect these rights throughout the process of pregnancy to post-adoption.
1- Right to Change Your Mind
At any point in the process, if you change your mind about placing your baby for adoption, you have the right to do so. It does not matter where in the process you are with placing your birth child. You can also revoke consent of adoption after you have given it, which means a birth mother can regain their parental rights.
2- Right to Counseling and Legal Representation
As a birthmother, you may be dealing with many complicated emotions and difficult decisions. Agencies offer free, professional counseling from pre-pregnancy stages to post-placement. You have the right to be able to learn about all your options and support during the adoption process through counseling. You also have the right to legal representation when signing any legal documents and making legal decisions regarding you and your birth child. This includes but is not limited to adoption consent and post-placement relationships.
3- Right to Creating Your Adoption Plan and Choosing and Adoptive Family
As mentioned previously, a birthmother has complete control over her adoption plan and choosing the right family for her birth child. You should feel comfortable at every stage of the process as well as take as long as you wish to make these decisions.
4- Right to Choose Your Post-Placement Relationship
After placement, the birth mother has the right to determine what future relationship they want from their birth child and the adoptive family. Different relationships include open, semi-open, and closed. If you choose open or semi-open and want to stay in contact as your birth child grows up, the adoption agency can make sure you legally receive communication with the birth family. A closed adoption is one where all your details are kept confidential and you have no contact with the birth child. However, when a child turns 18, they can legally request a birth certificate which will have birth parent information.
Emotional and Psychological Effects
Often, grief and loss are common emotions felt by birth mothers. It is normal to feel sadness or pain when considering placement of a birth child. Denial could be a factor as well. Shock and stress, often due to unexpected pregnancy, is expected. This is why it is important to reach out to professionals to provide support for your wellbeing. Negative emotions are not the only feelings associated with adoption. Relief is also normal to experience, especially when you have found a great adoptive family to match with your birth child. Talking through your feelings to the specialists at your adoption agency is crucial for your own health and wellbeing as well as keep you supported throughout the adoption process.