Monthly Archives: April 2019

In the Hospital and Adoption Placement

One of the rights of the birth mother is to create her birth plan, which will be used to share her wishes and preferences about labor and delivery with the hospital staff. Adoption Choices of Missouri is very supportive in helping a birth mother create her ideal birth plan.

In an open adoption, the adoptive parents might be invited to share their wishes for the birth process as well, such as whether they prefer certain types of pain medication (or no medication) to be used during delivery. Ultimately, however, decisions affecting pregnancy and birth will be made by the birth mother, for it is ultimately her body and birth experience. The birth mother is considered the parent of the child during the birth process and therefore has the right and the responsibility to make all decisions for herself and her child.

The birth mother also has the right to keep all hospital items, such as bracelets worn by herself and the baby, the bassinet announcement card from the nursery, first pictures, etc. She can choose to give these items to the adoptive parents if she desires, but this is not required as part of the adoption process.

The time in the hospital is also one where the birth mother must consider whether she truly wishes to go through with and complete the adoption process or whether she has changed her mind. Again, until she signs the formal papers, regardless of the agreement up to that point with the adoptive parents, she is still the parent and has the right to change her mind. Adoption Choices will support any decision you make and provide the proper counseling and information for all of your choices.

Placement

If the birth mother decides that she wants to proceed with the adoption, the next step is saying goodbye to her child. This can be done in many ways depending on the type of adoption and the wishes of those involved. In a closed or semi-open adoption, it is possible that the birth mother will spend no time with the baby in the hospital. However, in an open adoption, she will likely have spent time caring for and being with the baby and therefore, will need to officially say goodbye.

In some cases, the birth mother may say goodbye while still in the hospital or upon discharge, while in other cases, she may actually take the child home for a few days or weeks leading up to formally signing the petition for adoption papers. The latter course can be undertaken as an added period during which she may continue contemplating her decision to adopt while experiencing the reality of taking care of a newborn.

Some birth mothers in an open adoption situation choose to do a placement ceremony where family and friends are invited to witness the handing over of the child to the new adoptive parents and the uniting of the two families. Some birth mothers may videotape their goodbye in order to have a record (for themselves or the adoptive parents) of the special time with the baby. Finally, some birth mothers prefer a quiet goodbye that is spent with the baby alone before a third party removes the baby and gives him/her to the adoptive family. Choice of the manner in which to say goodbye is definitely a personal decision that each birth mother needs to make based on her comfort and wishes regarding the official release of her parental rights and responsibilities.

In open adoptions, a post-adoption contact agreement will be made before the baby is born. This agreement, that the birth mother makes with the adoptive parents, describes the form the relationship between the new adoptive family and birth mother will take, spelling out the varieties of contact that may happen between the birth mother, adoptive parents and the child. In addition to governing the frequency and type of contact, this agreement will typically also address whether any other family members of the birth mother may have contact with the child, such as the biological grandparents or extended family. The post-adoption contact agreement may be modified in the future if both parties agree, or as circumstances change (for example, if the child is told he/she is adopted and then desires more contact with the birth mother or family).

If you would like more information regarding how the birth or placement process works in adoption, please contact one our of adoption specialists at Adoption Choices of Missouri or call us toll free at: 1-877-903-4488

Telling others about your adoption plan

Choosing to place a child for adoption is generally a very difficult and emotional process for the birth mother. It is often hard for birth mothers to tell friends and family about their decision to place their child for adoption. This is particularly hard when the birth mother’s extended family is against the idea of adoption. Many grandparents, especially, may protest the idea of adoption and actively work to change the birth mother’s mind by making offers to raise the child themselves. Pleas may be made to “not give my grandchild away”. Suggestions about how to accommodate a new child may be made.

While family opinions and ideas should be seriously considered, it is ultimately the mother who must make the final decision about what is best for herself and her child, even if that means going against the wishes of her family.

A birth mother can involve her family in the adoption process in positive ways. If the family is resistant to the idea of adoption, she may need to give them time and opportunity to adjust to her decision. She can then use them as support while she goes through the adoption process. She should also recognize that just as she will need to deal with grief and loss issues surrounding the adoption, her extended family may also need time and space to go through their own grieving process.

As part of the adoption, the birth mother may choose to keep a pregnancy journal to be given to the adoptive parents to someday share with the child. The mother can allow her family to participate in the journaling as well, so that they are able to express their thoughts and emotions about the child.

Doubt & Guilt

Birth mothers who choose to adopt out their children may find themselves dealing with feelings of shame, guilt, doubt, and grief. Even though the mother is choosing adoption because she believes it is best for the child and for herself, she may still feel that she has failed as a mother. Another commonly experienced thought is that because she is “rejecting” the child, the child will some day come to hate her for “abandoning” him/her. She may feel shame at answering questions about her pregnancy or her decision to adopt.

Doubts about the decision to adopt are common at all stages of the process, including while making the decision, during pregnancy, and after the birth of the child. It is important to remember that the experience of doubt can be a natural consequence of having to make any serious life decision. Doubtful feelings should be taken seriously, but their mere presence does not mean that the decision to adopt is ill-founded. It is perfectly possible to have good reasons for wanting to adopt, but to still feel badly. Nevertheless, birth mothers who experience significant doubts should talk with their social workers or counselors about their concerns and review why they have made the decision to pursue adoption.

Loss and Grief

Birth mothers are also likely to experience grief and loss feelings, particularly after the birth when the child has been placed with the adoptive parents. Even though the child is still alive, there is still a very real sense of loss which has to be accommodated.

Grief is the process and emotions that people experience when their important relationships are significantly interrupted or ended, either through death, divorce, relocation, theft, destruction, or some similar process. There are two types of losses that people grieve. The first is the actual loss of the person or thing in someone’s life. The second is the symbolic loss of the events that can no longer occur in the future because of the actual loss. In adoption, the birth mother may grieve the actual loss of her child to another family, and additionally grieve the loss of many events that she might have shared with her child, including birthdays, graduations, and wedding days.

Grief is a normal and natural process that takes work to get through. Dealing with the emotions that occur during the grieving process takes much time and energy, and is usually both physically and emotionally demanding. It is normal for people to grieve in very different ways. Some people grieve openly, while others hide their feelings of distress. Some people grieve quickly, while others take a long time to “finish.” There is no “right way” to grieve. Each individual comes up with a method of grieving that fits them and their particular loss.

Joy and Happiness

Finally, and most treasured, the process of adoption may also trigger positive emotions. Some women feel joyous and hopeful as they contemplate the gift of a better life that they are giving to the child. They can also focus on the dreams and wishes that they have for the child and the reality of another family being able to make those opportunities happen at a time when they are not able to do so. In addition, birthmothers may also feel relief at resolving a difficult situation with multiple options. Other emotions may include gratitude in locating appropriate adoptive parents as well as a sense of satisfaction at helping people who have likely waited months or even years for this experience.

Adoption Choices of Missouri is here to help. You don’t have to do this alone.
CONTACT OUR COMPASSIONATE TEAM! Toll Free: 1-877-903-4488

Open Adoption – WHAT is it and WHY choose it?

What is an Open Adoption?

Whether you’re a birth parent considering placing your child for adoption or a family looking to adopt, you’ve probably come across the term “open adoption” in your research but do you know what an open adoption really is? Or whether or not it will work for you and your family? Have you explored the different types of adoption to determine what would work best for your family? Understanding the basic types of adoption is an incredibly important step towards determining what you want and need from an adoption and starting to understand how your adoption story will unfold immediately as well as long-term. Let’s take a look at the different types of adoptions and then talk a little bit about how to determine whether an open adoption is right for you.

Types of Adoptions

While every birth parent and adoptive parent relationship differs, there are three basic types of openness in adoption: semi-open, open, and closed adoption. Each type of adoption can be facilitated by an attorney and agency, but they differ in the amount of identifying information each individual party is given as well as the ongoing relationship between the birth parent(s) and the adoptive family throughout the child’s life. Before we talk about what open adoptions look like for all involved parties, let’s take a look at each type of adoption: 

Open Adoption

In an open adoption, the birth parent(s) and adoptive family build an ongoing, face-to-face relationship. In this type of adoption, not only are the party’s first and last names (as well as other identifying information) exchanged with each other but the birth parent(s) will also have an ongoing relationship with the family and with the child. The form that the ongoing relationship takes will differ from case to case but often includes exchange of photos, exchange of letters, phone calls on holidays or birthdays and even personal visits between the birth parent(s) and child after placement and adoption finalization. 

Semi-Open Adoption

In a semi-open adoption, adoptive families provide their agency with a profile that will often include the adoptive family’s first names, profession, state in which they live, and various other identifying information. Then, in most cases, the agency provides the birth parent(s) with a selection of adoptive family profiles from which they can select the family they would like the baby to be placed with. In this scenario, the birth parent(s) know the first names of the adoptive family (and vice versa) and they have a hand in selecting the family who will ultimately adopt the child. Although the two parties might never meet or build a face-to-face relationship, each party does have some basic information about the other party and, more often than not, both parties will meet with the agency caseworker present. The relationship between a birth parent(s) and adoptive family in a semi-open adoption extends past the delivery room. Although identifying information is never given to the birth parents, many agencies will require adoptive families to send periodic updates including pictures, letters, etc. that the birth parent(s) can have access to should they choose. In this case, the agency acts as a middle-man for contact between birth parents and adoptive families throughout the years.

Closed Adoption

The opposite of an open adoption is a closed adoption. A closed adoption is an adoption in which there is no communication or contact between the birth mother and her birth child during his or her upbringing. The birth child may decide at age 18 to open adoption records in Texas and contact his or her birth mother. However, the child will not have access to his or her birth mother’s information until then.

Closed adoptions were very popular for a long time in history, as society believed that contact between a birth mother and her child could be harmful to both parties, especially the child. However, recent research is evolving to change the desired post-placement agreement to be at least semi-open. The benefits to continued contact for both the birth mother and the child outweigh the previous fears that society had regarding open adoption.

Is an open adoption the right choice for you?

Ultimately, regardless of whether you’re a birth parent considering placing your child for adoption or an adoptive family, determining whether or not an open adoption will work for you is a matter of first determining what makes most sense for you and your needs and second, and more importantly, determining what is in the best interest of the child. There are lots of items to consider when selecting the type of adoption.

As a birth parent, you’ll want to consider some of the following:

  • Whether you want to have a say in who will raise the child
  • Whether you want to watch the child grow through photos, phone calls, letters, visits, etc.
  • Whether you will be able to mentally and emotionally handle prolonged contact with the child

As an adoptive family, you’ll want to consider:

  • Whether you are willing and able to provide photos, phone calls, letters, etc. either through your adoption agency or directly to your birth parent
  • Whether you will be mentally and emotionally able to provide the birth parent(s) with the types of contact that they request. Think about whether you will be willing to have the child call the birth mother on her birthday or whether you’ll be able to meet with the birth parent(s) once per year. We always say that if you don’t think that you’ll be willing or able to commit to a fully open adoption, you should probably opt for a semi-open adoption instead. You can always give the birth parent(s) more later, but you should never suddenly decide that you’re willing to give less than you originally promised. It’s important to remember that an adoption could always start as a semi-open adoption and grow into an open adoption if it makes sense for all the involved parties.
  • Determining whether you would prefer an open adoption or a semi-open adoption is best made prior to matching. That way you already know what your “yeses” are vs. your “nos” vs. your “maybes” and you are able to be more logical throughout the process.

Although it’s important to consider what you as a birth parent or adoptive parent want and need from an adoption, it’s even more important to consider what is in the best interest of the child. Is an ongoing relationship going to be healthy for the child? How will you talk to the child about their relationship with their birth parent(s)? How do you plan to manage the relationship between the birth parent(s) and the child? Whether you’re a birth parent or an adoptive parent, the child’s best interests should be at the center of this decision and ensuring that their well-being is at the forefront of the openness in your adoption is an important step in building their story and identity.

Please keep in mind, that the terms “open”, “semi-open”, nor “closed” are never in reference to the way you talk to your child about adoption. It’s very important to be transparent with your child about their adoption story and how you came to become a family, the terms “open” and “semi-open” therefore are never in reference to your communication with your child, instead they’re in reference to the relationship between the birth parent(s) and adoptive family.

It’s incredibly important to remember that every adoption differs regardless of which type of adoption both the birth parent(s) and adoptive families select. The level of openness between the birth parent(s) and adoptive family will always differ based on the needs of both parties and, most importantly, on what makes the most sense for the child. Understanding the different types of adoptions and the basics of each type will bring you one step closer to selecting the correct type of adoption for you but you should always discuss the different types with your caseworker to determine what makes the most sense for you and your family and understand that the type of adoption might change with each case depending on your potential match.

Adoption Choices of Missouri is an advocate for open communication between birth parents and adoptive parents. If you are interested in discussing an adoption plan, contact us today at: 1-877-903-4488

What financial support can I receive during my pregnancy?

Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri is committed to providing birth mothers a full range of services to ensure safety, support, and care.

Financial Assistance for Adoption

As a pregnant woman considering adoption you may ask, “Do I get paid for adoption?
While you don’t get paid for placing your child for adoption, you might be entitled to receive financial support to cover your pregnancy-related expenses.

If you believe that adoption is your best plan, Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri offers financial help with some pregnancy-related expenses. Financial assistance will be determined by your needs and the amount allowed by the state of Kansas or Missouri.

Can I receive financial assistance for adoption?

Every state has unique laws, but yes, in Kansas and Missouri, adoptive parents are able to provide financial assistance during your pregnancy. Your Adoption Counselor will work with you to determine expenses. Living expenses may include:

  • Rent and Utilities
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Maternity Clothing
  • Phone service
  • Groceries
  • And more

Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri and our adoptive families understand that you may need help with money during the adoption and that it may be difficult for you to work, live in your current environment, or care for your family while you are pregnant, especially if your family, friends or community are not supportive of your pregnancy or adoption decision.

Your Adoption Counselor will work with you to learn more about your situation and financial needs.

How much support can I get?

Financial assistance for adoption varies by living situation and stage of pregnancy.
For example, if a woman is still in high school and living with her parents, she might not need as much support for living expenses as a woman who is in her 20’s or 30’s, lives on her own, and supports herself and her children.
We understand that your living situation and needs may change throughout your pregnancy as well. For instance, you may have the support of your family or boyfriend, but if you lose that support or seek a new living situation, your living expenses may become greater.

When will it be available?

Once your Adoption Counselor has a better understanding of your situation and financial needs during your pregnancy, she will work as quickly as possible to get you financial assistance.
You will also be eligible to receive financial assistance for six weeks after delivery.

To discuss an adoption plan or financial assistance available for you, contact Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri now by calling or texting 316-209-2071 or via our contact form.

Birth Father Rights

There is a misconception that often a birth father is left out of the adoption process. A birth father has a Constitutional right to be notified that he might be the father of a child who is being put up for adoption.

A birth father is the biological father of a child who has been or will be adopted; understanding your rights and how they apply to the adoption process is just as important for you, as it is for the birth mother of the child.

One of the biggest parental rights is the right to consent or the right to object to the adoption of one’s child. Generally, both parents of a child must consent to an adoption only if both parents meet certain requirements that give them the parental right to block or consent to the adoption. If the father is not known, or the whereabouts of the father is unknown, many states require that some sort of notice be published in the legal advertising section of the newspaper, informing all persons claiming to be the biological father of the pending adoption.

Birth fathers:

  • Are the biological fathers of their child or children.
  • Do not have custody of their children.
  • Do not pay child support.
  • May be married to the mother of the child, married to another, divorced, or unmarried.
  • May or may not have surrendered their parental rights.
  • May or may not live in the same area as their child’s adoptive family.
Many birth fathers find themselves excluded from the decision making process of adoption for many reasons. Often a birth father won’t be involved in choosing or meeting the adoptive parents, working with an adoption professional, or the birth of the baby because the birth father wasn’t able to be found, or because no attempt was made to locate and notify him.
Adoption Choices of Missouri will always make an attempt to locate the father of the child and make them aware of the adoption and their rights as fathers before proceeding with an adoption.

Does the Biological Father Have to Consent to an Adoption?

Whether or not a father’s consent is needed for an adoption to go forward can depend on the state, the relationship between the father and the child, and the relationship between the two parents.

  • In virtually all states, a child cannot be adopted without the consent of the birth father if the parents are married, or were married within a certain time period before the birth of the child.
  • If the parents were not married, but lived together either at the time of the child’s birth, or within a certain time before the child’s birth, some states require consent of the father.
  • If the biological parents were never married and have never lived together, most states do not require the father’s consent before placing a child up for adoption. The birth father is given notice of the intent to put the child up for adoption, and if he does not challenge the adoption, his parental rights are terminated. If he does challenge the adoption, a hearing will be held to determine whether the adoption is in the best interests of the child.

What is a putative father registry?

If you are married to the mother of your child at the time of birth, you are considered the child’s legal father. If you are not married, you are considered a ‘putative father.’ Putative Fathers have to work harder to make the courts recognize them as the biological father of their child or children, and in some states they have to register with the Putative Father Registry to assert any parental rights. Birth fathers may petition to get custody of their biological children if their parental rights were not surrendered before the adoption took place, and feel the child should be in their custody. These cases are called ‘contested adoption.’

Many states have a voluntary Putative Father Registry. A father can register whether he knows or simply believes he is the father of a child born outside of marriage. Fathers who desire to parent are typically permitted and encouraged to register prior to the child’s birth so that others will be aware of the fathers’ intentions to establish paternity to the child.

In the U.S., about half of the states participate in established paternity registries. While filing is voluntary, this is sometimes the only way that fathers can protect their rights as unmarried parents. All states have a procedure for establishing paternity through the courts, even if they do not have a paternity registry. Some information regarding the procedures for establishing paternity in the various states can be found on the website for the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

What Next?

As the birth father, everything starts with your stance on the adoption. If you do not object to the adoption, you can move forward with the next steps. These may include the following:

  • You Can Choose to Not Be Involved in the Case: deciding to not be involved usually requires you to sign a Waiver of Notice or a Denial of Paternity.
  • You Can Still Be Involved in the Plan: if you do not object to the adoption and want to be involved in the case, you and the birth mother can work together throughout your adoption plan. Usually, the plan will be set up with an adoption specialist, attorney, or social worker. You may sign the relinquishment document along with the child’s birth  other once the adoption process and plan are completed.
If you do object to the adoption, there are few scenarios in which you may be able to block the adoption from happening.
Some birth fathers object to adoption because they want to raise the child themselves, want a family member to do it, or have other plans in mind. However, you cannot do this so easily.

The birth mother retains more leverage when it comes to making decisions for the child. In order for you to have a stronger influence over the adoption decision, you must take specific legal steps in a timely fashion in order to both establish and preserve your parental rights. Typically, you may only block the adoption if you meet at least one of the following strict legal requirements, depending on state law and regulations:

  1. If you are married to the birth mother, or were married to her within 300 days of the child’s birth.
  2. You have publicly acknowledged the child as your own and have received him or her into your home.
  3. You and the birth mother have both signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity to have you listed as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate. Typically, this is signed at the time of the child’s birth, however it is not a requirement and should not be done if you are both planning to place the child for adoption.
  4. If you have done everything you can to take care of the child and the birth mother both financially and emotionally within the time of knowing about the pregnancy.
If you, as the birth father, do not meet one of the four circumstances listed, then your consent to the adoption is not required to move forward. However, it may be required for the birth mother to notify you of her decision, depending on the state’s laws. Upon learning of the adoption, you will then have the right to file a legal action to stop the proceedings if you so choose.
As the birth father, you do have as much of a say as the birth mother about the child’s future, which is why you have certain rights when it comes to voicing your opinion and desires for your child. These rights vary by state making it imperative that you look further into your states statutes.
It is important to note, though, that upon taking legal action, you must follow all the requirements in a timely manner. Further, even if you file legal paperwork on time, the majority of such cases and claims are denied by courts because the fathers have not fulfilled all responsibilities, and the adoption may proceed without your consent and over your objection.
If the birth mother is currently working with Adoption Choices of Missouri and you feel you need to speak to an adoption attorney or adoption professional about your rights as a birth father, please contact us.

Birth Mother Rights

Adoption Choices of Missouri is committed to advocating for birth mothers and ensuring her adoption plan captures her needs and desires. As a birth mother, it is important that she know and understand her parental rights. In every adoption she has the right to make many adoption choices. These choices might include what type of child adoption, such as open adoption, semi-open, or closed adoption. With respect to her emotional and financial well-being, she should never feel compelled to relinquish her parental rights without first understanding how that decision might affect her in the long run.

This article discusses the legal rights that birth mothers have.

Birth Mother Rights

As the biological mother of the baby, whether born or unborn, you have the right to control your body and to determine how you and the baby are to be cared for. Your rights are limited only by the laws of the country and state in which you reside. Adoption Choices of Missouri will assist with a legal counselor that can provide assistance if you have questions.

Once the baby has been born you have the right to make all the decisions about both your care and the baby’s as long as your decisions do not jeopardize the health and safety of the baby. If you have been thinking about raising the child or placing the child for adoption, none of the decisions you made or the documents you signed prior to the baby’s birth are binding on you. You have every right to change your mind as often as you want. However, as regards the adoption process, there are limitations in your ability to change your mind.

Regarding an adoption, you are not the only one who has rights and you can not make all the final decisions on your own. The birth father always has parental rights and in many states even the child’s grandparent on both the mother’s and the father’s side have rights.

Termination of Parental Rights

The right most birth mothers are concerned about is the ending of their parental rights and the amount of time you, the birth mother, has to change your mind regarding the ending of these rights.

To address this issue you need to recognize that your parental rights can be ended voluntarily, that is with your signature and permission, or they can be ended involuntarily, without your permission. The involuntary ending of parental rights is usually done only with children who have been placed into foster care within the state child welfare system. If you are working with a private adoption agency or with and adoption attorney, over 98% of the time the your parental rights will be ended voluntarily and only with your approval.

Every state in the U.S. has their own unique legal requirements for the voluntary and involuntary ending of parental rights, so there are at approximately 50 different laws for involuntary ending parental rights and 50 other laws regarding the voluntary ending of these rights.

The ending of the parental rights, called the termination, surrender or relinquishment, is different in every state. However, in every state, any document regarding the ending of the birth mother’s parental rights that was signed before the baby has been born is not legally binding. After the baby has been born some states allow a birth mother to voluntarily end her rights immediately after the birth and other states allow the ending of these rights only after the passage of 1-3 days, or 15-21 days, 30 days, or more. Depending on the age of the birth mother and the circumstances involved, some states even require a birth mother to appear in court before her parental rights can be ended. Again, every state is different. Please discuss this with your counselor.

The laws of the state in which you end your parental rights as a birth mother will also help define your rights regarding such issues as your ability to receive pictures and updates and your ability to have ongoing contact with the child and the adopting family. Again, this is all dependent on the adoption plan that you have created with Adoption Choices of Missouri and the adoptive family.

As a general rule, consent to adoption is irrevocable since consent is meant to be a lasting and binding agreement to help ensure a stable environment for the child. Some states do not allow birth parents to revoke their consent to adoption. Other states allow extremely limited situations for revoking consent to adoption – usually before adoption has been finalized – and may include the following circumstances:

  • Fraud or coercion was involved
  • The state allows a set period of time for revoking consent
  • The state (or other governing body) determines that revocation is in the best interest of the child
  • The birth parents and adoptive parents mutually agree to revocation

Because adoption laws vary, it is important to check the adoption laws in Missouri and discuss any questions or concerns with your Adoption Choices of Missouri counselor.

Adoptive Family: Choosing Adoption

People choose adoption for a variety of reasons. Some people parenting children by birth adopt because of a wish to expand their families and/or provide a home for a child in need. Single people or same sex couples wishing to parent often adopt. Some people adopt because they feel that they are too old to pursue pregnancy and birth. And of course, both singles and couples adopt as a result of primary infertility and secondary infertility. Sometimes the decision to adopt comes easily for a family and sometimes the decision making process in adoption is quite difficult, emotionally challenging, and involves some “soul searching.”

Is Adoption Right for You?

There are many important questions that all prospective adoptive parents can ask themselves to help determine both IF adoption is the right option for them to build their family and WHICH OPTION they may wish to pursue (domestic, international, same race vs. transracial, open adoption, etc.):

  • Can I accept and love a child that I did not give birth to, who may look nothing like me and who may be very different from me?
  • Can I cope with little or no information about my child’s birth family, or with difficult information?
  • How do my extended family members feel about adoption?
  • What type of child can I love? Can I love a child of a different race? Am I prepared to incorporate my child’s race/culture into the family, ensure that my family has significant, meaningful connections with people of my child’s race/culture, and help my child/family learn how to deal with racism?
  • Can I respect the significance of the birth parents to my child and provide an open atmosphere in which adoption is freely discussed, questions welcomed and feelings validated?
  • How do I feel about relationships with birth parents and their families?
  • Adoption is a one-time event with lifelong implications. Am I committed to my education about adoption to meet my child’s needs over time?

It is important to note that attitudes and feelings about adoption can change over time and with experience, confidence, and continued education. When people decide to pursue adoption and learn about the different options, sorting out the plan that is right for them can be complex. In addition to the above questions, prospective adoptive parents must evaluate how the options fit with each person/couple’s unique priorities, personalities, beliefs, and resources.

Adoptive parents gradually find that, although adoption may have been their second or third choice for building a family, it no longer feels like second best. Until placement occurs, however, feelings of ambivalence may remain because of normal anxiety related to the unknown. The belief that adoption is not second best may not come until after placement; consequently, many people experience the decision as a leap of faith. Connecting with other adoptive parents is extremely beneficial during the waiting period between the decision to adopt and actual placement.

Adoption Education

Ambivalence about adopting can also surface in response to many aspects of the adoption process and adoptive family life. The decisions involved in determining which type of adoption to pursue, in addition to the home study process, paperwork, costs, time commitment, uncertainty, invasion of privacy, possible foreign travel, etc. can be daunting or overwhelming for people. Stories about people’s negative experiences with adoption can be frightening. Therefore it is imperative that prospective adopters learn as much as possible about adoption to dispel myths, misinformation, and distorted media presentations. There are many avenues to take to learn about adoption. We recommend:

  • Read books and articles about adoption.
  • Attend workshops, webinars, and adoption agency information meetings.
  • Connect with adoptive family support groups – talk with adoptive parents, adopted adults, and birth parents.
  • Consult with an Adoption Choices of Arizona specialist.

Adoption can be difficult, sure. But it can also be the most loving experience you ever endure! And a lifetime of family memories!

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