If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may be worried that you just aren’t ready to be a mom right now.
But you may also be afraid of what could happen if you “give your baby up” for adoption. The truth is that adoption is not “giving up.” It’s is an act of love and courage.
Adoption is a wonderful way to give your baby the gift of a stable, loving family to grow up in. Adoptees can grow up just as healthy and happy as all other children, and many go on to lead successful lives as adults — including country superstar Faith Hill, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and former South African President Nelson Mandela.
To help with your decision, Mosaic Health has put together some answers to 10 common questions that many women have about adoption.
#1: How Could I Ever Give My Baby Up?
It’s important to take an honest look at your circumstances and how all pregnancy options will affect your child’s future as well as your own.
- You may wish for your child to grow up with both a mom and a dad.
- You may prefer to wait until you are married before becoming a mom.
- Maybe money is tight and you’d like to be on a better financial footing before starting a family.
- If you’re a student, you may want to finish your education and start a career before having a child.
#2: How Will I Know What Happens to My Baby?
You can choose how much contact you have with your child after the adoption.
- With an open adoption, you get to know your baby’s adoptive parents, and may have ongoing contact. You may even arrange for scheduled visits with your child and his or her adoptive family.
- If you choose semi-open adoption, you can receive letters and pictures from your child’s adoptive family through the adoption agency.
- You may prefer a confidential adoption if you’d like to remain anonymous to your child and his or her adoptive family.
#3: Can I Afford Adoption?
As a birthmother, there is no cost to you to place your child for adoption.
Some adoption agencies even offer assistance with medical care and other pregnancy-related expenses as permitted by law. You can also get help with housing, finishing your education and finding a job.
#4: How Can I Make Sure My Child Has Good Parents?
Couples face a lengthy screening process, including a criminal background check, before they are allowed to adopt a child.
Here are a few other requirements adoptive parents must meet:
- Extensive paperwork and interviews
- Home visits by social workers to verify that the couple can provide a safe, secure and stable environment for an adopted child
- Psychological screening to determine that both adults can handle the rigors of parenting
You will have the opportunity to review profiles of couples and conduct interviews to decide whether they would be suitable parents for your child.
#5: Will My Child Think I Don’t Love Him or Her?
There are many ways to let your child know how much you love him or her, and that you chose adoption as an expression of that love:
- If you choose open adoption, you will have a chance to talk about your decision directly with your child when he or she is old enough.
- You may create a keepsake box of letters, pictures or other sentimental items to help your child get to know you.
- If you choose a confidential adoption, you can affirm your love through a special letter and/or gift to be given to your child at a certain age.
#6: Does My Baby’s Father Have to Know?
Check with your adoption agency to learn about state laws on notifying your baby’s father. The agency will work with you to provide proper notice, if required.
Some women hope that keeping their baby will cause the birth father to “mend his ways” and become more active in the child’s life. However, many women who get pregnant outside of marriage don’t end up marrying the father.
#7: What if My Parents Want to Help Raise My Baby?
It’s good news if your parents want to support you and your baby, and they may even be excited about the prospect of becoming grandparents.
But even if they are sincere about offering to help with parenting, the reality is that existing family, career and financial responsibilities may limit the amount of time, resources and attention your parents can devote to your child.
In addition, your child may find it confusing that his or her mom and grandparents are both taking on the parenting role.
#8: Will I Ever Recover from This?
Even if you know that adoption is the best choice for your child, there may still be times when you miss him or her and wonder how he or she is doing, especially if you choose a confidential adoption.
It is important to seek the support of family and friends, and obtain counseling if necessary to help you deal with these emotions.
#9: Wouldn’t Abortion Be an Easier Choice?
Some women think that just having an abortion is an easy way to move on from an unplanned pregnancy. However, abortion is a serious medical procedure that carries a number of possible side effects:
- Risk of complications in future pregnancies
- Greater risk of emotional and mental health problems
- Damage to relationships with your family, partner and others
If you’re considering an abortion, it’s essential to visit Mosaic Health to gather as much medically accurate information as possible on the potential consequences.
#10: How Should I Choose an Adoption Agency?
Mosaic Health can refer you to a number of compassionate local adoption agencies who will help you place your child with a loving family.
What should you look for when choosing an adoption agency?
- Look for an agency that provides counseling and emotional support before, during and after you give birth.
- Ask about the agency’s requirements for adoptive parents. Do they require them to be married or do they allow single adults to adopt? Do their requirements conform to your values?
- Does the organization have a religious affiliation? How important is this to you?
- Are there special circumstances the agency should know about? Will your child have special needs? Will your child be biracial?
- Do you need help with housing, education or finding a job? Some agencies provide assistance with these and other life needs.
If you’re considering adoption for your baby, contact us at Mosaic Health. We will answer all of your questions and refer you to an adoption agency who can help.