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The best agencies and attorneys are those that advocate for you and your needs. You want one that is going to stand by you through the entire adoption process and beyond (even after the papers have been signed).
In our opinion, in-person care is usually best. Being able to sit with a caseworker from an agency or with an adoption attorney that is located in your state will provide you with professionals who know your state’s laws, as well as local support and resources that you may need prior to or after placement.
BraveLove has a list of Partner Agencies and Advocates that have been thoroughly vetted so they are ethical and trusted agencies. This may be a good place to start, or you may know others who have been through the adoption process and have a trusted recommendation.
Let’s understand the types of adoptions first. A "closed" or "confidential" adoption means there’s no contact or identifying information shared between birth parents and adoptive parents.
The difference in terms varies between "open" and "semi-open," but usually there’s more direct contact and communication with open adoptions. With semi-open, there’s typically a liaison from the agency that helps facilitate communications and openness agreements.
Think about what you want for the foreseeable future. Here are some stories about open adoption.
This can be different for everyone. It is recommended to make a plan with your caseworker before giving birth as to what you want contact to look like. Your caseworker can help you communicate your desires of openness with the prospective adoptive family and a mutually agreed upon plan can form. This is with an understanding that it can change and adapt over time, depending on circumstances.
Flexibility and honesty can create space for a healthy open adoption. Talk to your caseworker for help developing these agreements and to better understand what can and cannot be enforced with open agreements in your state.
Your caseworker will present you with various profiles of adoptive parents. Take time beforehand to decide what values and lifestyles are important to you and share these with your caseworker. With some expectant mothers, there is an instant connection with who they choose as adoptive parents. For others, it is making sure they fit certain criteria. You are building a relationship with and entrusting your child to these parents, so ask lots of questions and take time to get to know them.
Ultimately, when choosing adoption and making an adoption plan, you are in complete control. Until your decision is final, you have the right to change that decision. That might mean choosing to parent or choosing a different family. You are in the driver’s seat and our hope is that you find support in your brave choice to explore all options.
People often times get the two confused. There is a difference.
When an expectant mother voluntarily makes an adoption plan for her child, she gets to choose the adoptive family and the kind of ongoing relationship she wants to share with her child and their family. She can be assured that the family she has chosen will be her child’s permanent family.
Whereas when a child goes into foster care, the biological parent(s) usually do not get to decide who their foster parents are and the adoption plan is not voluntary. It’s also possible for a child in foster care to have several foster families.
The hospital stay is a unique and special time. For some, they may choose to have the adoptive parents be a part of this time. For others, they may decide to have this time solely with their child. This is up to you and should be discussed with your caseworker and adoptive parents ahead of time.
The relationship between a birth parent and adoptive parent should be that of a partnership. You should express to your caseworker and prospective adoptive parents your desires of the relationship you hope to have with your child once placement occurs. As with any relationship, there may be challenges along the way. Knowing that you can have open dialogue with your caseworker and/or the adoptive parents will be key to ensure a healthy relationship moving forward.
Watch this series of videos to learn more about how to navigate openness.
Being a birth mother is one of the roles you play, but it isn’t the only thing. Perhaps you're also a student or a wife or a sister. We hope you feel the freedom to focus on all the roles of your life. This will help you to heal and navigate your new role with good mental health and an open heart.
Before worrying about what others will think of you, remember this is not about them. What you decide to do in your unplanned pregnancy is your choice. Who you tell and share this detail with is also entirely your decision.
Know your audience. Trust your gut. Not everyone is entitled to know details about your life. Some people are misinformed and need to be educated that adoption is a selfless act of love from one to another.
There should be no shame in choosing adoption.
Absolutely! BraveLove would love to connect you with other birth moms. You can sign up on our Just for Birth Moms page to stay connected. We can keep you informed about our Birth Mom Dinners that happen around the country that allow birth moms to gather and connect over a meal. Bottom line, you are not alone in this journey.