7 Thoughts Expectant Parents Have During the Adoption Process

When a pregnant woman is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s common to have a mix of emotions. It’s completely normal to feel as if you are alone — and to be unsure of what to do.

If you are pregnant and are considering adoption, you’ll have endless questions on or thoughts about the adoption process. It’s normal to have conflicting feelings during your pregnancy; you may be excited about adoption one day and dread it the next. What’s important is recognizing where your emotions are coming from, understanding that they are 100% normal for your situation, and learning from them.

Below, find some of the most common questions and thoughts an expectant mother like you might have during adoption.

1. “Is adoption really right for me?”

No one can answer this question but you. It’s normal to waver back and forth on your adoption decision, so think about the reasons why you’re considering adoption in the first place. Maybe you’re not emotionally or financially ready for a child. Maybe you don’t want to become a parent right now. Or maybe you’re already raising kids — and won’t be able to provide this child with the life you feel they deserve.

Whatever your reasons, the fact that you are selfless and brave enough to consider adoption in the first place proves you are a great candidate for this path.

Don’t forget that adoption can benefit you, too. Choosing adoption can allow you to further your education or career. You’ll know your children will be raised in a stable and loving home, with a family who has always dreamed of becoming parents.

Changing your mind about adoption several times along the way is completely normal. This is a big step, and you should take the time to do what’s right for you. Remember, an adoption professional can be a great sounding board during this time.

2. “Can I really give up my baby to someone else?”

Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that a woman who decides adoption is best for her and her child is “giving up” on her child. This is absolutely not the case.

If you choose adoption, you can give your child the opportunities you want them to have. You will choose to make a brave decision — the hardest decision you will ever make — to give your child parents who are excited and prepared to give your child the best start at life. Adoption isn’t “giving away” your child and never seeing them; instead, you can remain an active part of their life through open adoption.

3. “Are these adoptive parents really ‘the ones?’”

Finding the right family for your child is very important and takes time and research. It’s normal to be overwhelmed at all of the choices and be unsure if you’re choosing the “best” parents for your baby.

Remember that your adoption professional will only present families who match your preferences. You can view as few or as many profiles as needed to make your decision. You can even meet the adoptive family in person to get to know them better.

Most prospective birth mothers report a gut feeling when they’ve found the right parents for their baby — and maybe you will, too! Even if you don’t, remember what you want for your child’s future, and remind yourself that the parents you select can meet those goals.

4. “These adoptive parents seem too good to be true!”

Your adoption professional will only match you with adoptive families that meet your preferences, so you will only see adoptive families with a high potential of meeting your adoption goals. But, when a family meets all of your preferences, you may still be uncertain — especially if you’re still on the fence about adoption. These situations can all contribute to feeling like the adoptive parents are “too good to be true.”

Remember that all adoptive families are screened thoroughly before they can proceed in the adoption process. This helps confirm the authenticity of the family and adds an extra layer of safety for your child.

You can be assured that there are no tricks; these families are as good as they seem, and it’s an encouraging and great sign that you see them as so!

5. “I’m scared/nervous/excited to hold my baby for the first time.”

Adoption is a very emotional process. There are few moments more emotional than the birth of the child.

When a prospective birth mother makes her adoption plan, her adoption professional will also help her create a hospital plan. This plan will not only address the preferred medical treatments and where the hospital delivery will take place, but also include details such as how much alone time the prospective birth parent(s) would like with their baby, who they would like in the delivery room and more.

If you scared to hold your child, the choice is completely up to you. You never have to do anything you don’t want to.

If you are excited to hold your child, it can be an amazing experience, and you can have as much time needed with your baby before placement.

Whatever you may feel at this time is 100% normal. Your emotions during this difficult time do make you a “bad” parent.

Remember, you are in control of your adoption process. Your adoption professional will make all involved parties, from the staff to the adoptive family, aware of your wishes to avoid any confusion or stress during this emotional time.

6. “Will my baby hate me if I choose adoption?”

One of the most common concerns we hear from prospective birth parents is the fear that their child will hate them for choosing adoption.

Today, adoption is much more socially accepted than before, and open adoptions are growing more common by the day. Open adoption can keep you involved in your child’s life and, in some cases, give you the opportunity to explain to the child in your own words why you chose adoption. Your child will grow up understanding and respecting your adoption decision — and they will love you for the brave choice you made.

The adoptive parents you choose will be happy to explain how you will be a part of your child’s adoption story. They’ll also work with you to create the unique post-placement relationship you want.

7. “I’m so glad I chose adoption.”

While this is not the sentiment for every birth parent, it is the ultimate goal of adoption — to recognize the beauty and bravery in their adoption decision.

When a prospective birth mother makes the difficult decision to place her child for adoption, she may initially have many doubts and concerns about her choice. By the end of the process, she may realize she has provided her child with the best opportunity to thrive in a loving and supportive environment.

A birth mother should feel confident in knowing she made the right decision, however long it took her to get there!

No matter the questions or thoughts you may have along the way, your adoption professional will always be there to help. Not yet working with a professional? Contact us now to be connected with a trained counselor who will explain all of your options and help you decide what is right for you.

Can I Still Meet the Adoptive Parents at the Hospital?

The hospital stay is one of the most important moments when placing a child for adoption. But, with COVID-19 taking away many of options for in-person visits, many prospective birth parents are worried about what to expect. If you can’t meet each other at the hospital or in person, how will you know you’ve found the perfect fit?

The first thing you should know while reading this article is that each hospital will have its own policies about who will be allowed in. But just because there are a few obstacles doesn’t mean that you won’t have other options for face-to-face interactions. You just have to be creative.

To help you understand how you can still spend time together if you’re not able to meet at the hospital, we’ve created this comprehensive guide. Check out more information below.

One more thing to consider: We recommend that you stay updated with recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Because the situation regarding the pandemic is changing so fast, what you read here might not be applicable in the next few weeks. You can check out the CDC’s website for the most recent updates.

Can I Meet the Adoptive Family at the Hospital?

It really depends. Every hospital will have different policies about who can be in the room with an expectant mother during COVID-19. For adoption, that means it might just be the prospective birth mother and her partner/loved one, but every situation is different.

While the adoptive family will do everything they can to be with you at the hospital, that’s not always a possibility. There are some situations in which an adoptive family cannot come to the hospital at or, or they can only have one family member join you. But like we mentioned earlier, every case is different. Your adoption specialist will keep you updated if anything changes and what to expect before the adoptive family arrives.

We know that this can be frustrating and disappointing. Meeting the adoptive family is one of the biggest moments in an adoption, and not having them there to support you will be challenging. But there are other options available. Reach out to them through phone calls, emails and video chats. If you can, try to meet them ahead of time. And remember, if you need someone to talk to who can help you work through your feelings, your adoption specialist is always there to listen.

Check with your medical provider to stay updated on what their policies might mean for your hospital plan. If you end up not being able to meet the adoptive family in person, below is some in-depth information about your alternatives.

Start with Pre-Placement Contact

Before you can get ready for an in-person visit at the hospital, you’ll usually get to know the adoptive family from a distance.

Normally, your first interaction with one another will be over the phone. Your adoption professional will mediate your first phone call, and then it’s up to you to keep the ball rolling with some of your own questions. On top of that, you also have the option of sending emails to one another and keeping in touch via messaging apps before the hospital stay. While the best way to get to know each other will be through in-person visits, phone calls and emails can be a great alternative until you get to experience that first meeting.

Try to Meet In Person Ahead of Time

Meeting face-to-face is the best way to get to know someone. Even if you can’t meet up at the hospital, the adoptive family will still be headed your way as soon as it is safe to do so. Depending on the adoptive family’s location, they might decide to fly or drive, so keep that distance in mind.

Many adoptive parents choose to come out before the due date, so they can get to know you better, too! Once they arrive, there are plenty of ways that you can have a great time together. You might spend the day at the park and plan a picnic six feet away. You can also head to the drive-in theater and enjoy a movie while chatting from the comfort of your cars. And, if you’re hungry, swing by a drive-thru and tailgate in your car.

Remember that, when possible, the adoptive family will do everything they can to meet you. They are just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them, so even if you can’t meet at the hospital, there are still plenty of ways to get to know each other in person. If you’re looking for more ideas and suggestions on how to spend time together before the hospital stay, reach out to your adoption professional for advice.

Turn to Digital Meetings

With most of us staying inside over the last few months, we’ve all had to get creative about how we stay connected. One option is to have video calls over Zoom, Facetime, and other video platforms, if you’re not able to meet the adoptive family at the hospital. If you’d like, you can even video-call the adoptive family from the delivery room. That way, you can feel like they’re right there with you.

We’ve got a few tips that should make your virtual visit a little easier:

  • Prepare a few questions: We all know video calls can be little awkward. There might be some uncomfortable pauses, or you could be unsure of what to say. Before you start your call, it might be helpful to pick out a few icebreakers for your call.
  • Make a plan: You might not know for sure how long you’ll be on the phone for, and it’s usually awkward to be the first one to hang up.It might be a good idea to map out a schedule for how you expect your call to go.
  • Get creative: There are plenty of ways to have fun even when you’re apart. Plan a dinner party, head to a virtual museum, or make your own movie marathon.

Remember, you can still talk to the adoptive parents before, during and after the hospital visit. Even if you’re separated, there are plenty of ways to stay in touch. Even if they won’t be in the room with you, a digital meeting can be a great way to keep everyone involved.

As tough as this can be, it’s important to be flexible. This is an unprecedented situation for everyone, and your adoption professional will do the best they can to make sure you feel supported and heard during your adoption journey.

Remember that you can always reach out to them if you have any questions about your hospital stay, meeting the adoptive parents or other steps in your adoption process.

5 Ways Adoption Changes Friendships

Parenthood always changes friendships, to some degree. But will your adoption also be a factor in those changes?

Here are five unexpected ways adoption may change things for you and your friends:

1. You’ll Learn to Embrace the “It Takes a Village” Mindset

Many adoptive parents never considered that they and their spouse would need anyone’s help to become parents. They thought it would all just fall into place easily, like it does for so many families.

Single parents, same-sex parents and couples who were always planning on adopting have had more time to adjust to the idea that they’ll need help — and not just help with the adoption process.

The truth is: Nobody parents on their own. Everyone needs, and deserves, help.

Think of all the people in your own life who helped your parents raise you. Even the world’s best parents don’t do it on their own! Allow your friends to help you and learn to welcome it.

All of the professionals involved in your adoption, your family, your community and, yes, your friends — everyone wants you to succeed. Long after your adoption, there will be more people in your “village” who will help raise your child to be the best person they can be. Teachers, babysitters, coaches, as well as your friends, family and community — they’ll all be instrumental in raising your child.

Embrace the village. Trust them, lean on them, talk to them, and ask them to step in often.

2. You’ll Find Out Who Your Real Friends Are

Excuse the harsh-sounding cliché, but it’s true. You’ll be surprised at which friends rise to the occasion (and which don’t) and just how hard those friends will work to help you and your family.

There will be true, fantastic friends who will:

  • Help you look into adoption and talk through choices with you.
  • Listen to you vent about the hard stuff and listen to you sing about the good stuff.
  • Celebrate your joys and mourn your losses with you.
  • Learn about adoption and teach others.
  • Help you fundraise.
  • Drop everything to help you when you get “The Call.”
  • Help you care for a new child and do whatever they can to help you and your family after your child comes home.

There will be friends who show their support with a casserole, a text, a babysitting or cleaning session, a hug, or a listening ear. Those are friendships worth cherishing and putting effort into.

You’ll also be disappointed at the lack of support from a few of the friends you thought you could rely on. Letting your friends know how they can best support you will be one of the most helpful things you can do, for your friend and for yourself.

3. You’ll Take on the Role of ‘Adoption Advocate/Educator’

This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, you’re probably excited to talk about all things adoption and to teach your friends about everything you’ve learned. On the other, taking on this role can become a little draining.

If you haven’t encountered ignorant comments yet, you will. There will always be people who are uneducated about adoption, and they’ll continue to inadvertently spread myths and misinformation. Don’t let your friends be those people.

Hopefully, your friends will have done their own homework, so you won’t even need to explain much to them. If, however, they haven’t read up on the subject very much, consider this an opportunity.

Being an adoption educator and advocator among your friends helps spread accurate information and a realistic look into adoption. They’ll then go out into their own circles and talk about your positive experience with adoption, instead of horror stories originating from some vague friend-of-a-friend’s-cousin or whatever. Through this, adoption will become a normalized and understood concept.

4. Getting Together Will Change (But Also, It Won’t)

Even if this is your first child, you’re probably anticipating some of the ways in which parenthood may change time spent with friends:

  • The meaning of “going out” will change from a bar to the park.
  • The dress code will now exclusively be comfy and easy-to-clean.
  • The topic of conversion will now revolve around children’s television, how little you’ve slept and playgroup gossip.
  • You’ll often have a bonus member in your group — your child, who will inevitably be cranky.
  • You’ll see each other less, but cherish the moments together even more than before.

But, at the same time, you’ll be amazed how little things change. You’ll still:

  • Joke around (most of which will go right over your child’s head).
  • Talk about the “old days” but make time for new adventures together.
  • Lean on one another for love and support.
  • Find escape, comfort and joy in one another’s company.
  • Be ridiculously excited to see one another, even if it hasn’t been that long.

The addition of a child will rock your world, and it will change your friendships. But, there are plenty of wonderful things that will stay the same between you and your friends.

5. You’ll Gain New Friendships

You enter the adoption process to gain a child. But you may also gain important new friendships, including:

Your adoption professional. This catches a lot of hopeful adoptive parents by surprise. But your adoption professional is rooting for your family. They’re there to get to know you, support you, give you advice and to tell it like it is when necessary. Isn’t that everything that a friend does? A lot of birth and adoptive families find that their adoption professional becomes a genuine friend, and that friendship often lasts long after the adoption has been completed.

Fellow adoptive families. Adoption can feel a little lonely if you don’t have anyone to talk to who “gets” it. Even your closest friends probably aren’t going to be able to fully understand. Fortunately, there’s an entire community of people who have been in your shoes. Odds are very good that you’ll hit it off with one of them, and you’ll find not only true friendship, but a common thread.

Your child’s birth family. This is the most important, meaningful friendship you can gain in the adoption process, and it’s one that will hopefully last a lifetime. Not only will this continued friendship benefit each of you, it’ll benefit your child. Take good care of this friendship, work to strengthen and encourage it throughout the years, and always cherish it.

Friendships, both new and old, will be one of your most precious resources — before, during and after your adoption. Throughout the changes, be sure to take good care of your friendships. Even in the midst of adoption and parenthood craziness, never forget to devote the time, love and effort that friends deserve.

Share this blog with a friend you’re grateful to have!

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Pursuing Independent Adoption

If you are a hopeful adoptive parent, you know you have options when it comes to types of adoption — but do you also know you have options when it comes to how you pursue adoption?

Most adoptive families use an agency to represent them throughout the adoption process, but there is always the option to adopt independently, or without an agency.

There can initially seem to be many advantages to choosing independent adoption: lower costs, more privacy, a la carte services or professionals, and the potential for a deeper relationship with an expectant mother.

But, with each advantage, there are also disadvantages.

Given the strict regulations and amount of documentation involved with adoption, it is easy to miss a step or complete a portion of an independent adoption incorrectly. This can add to your wait times and overall costs. That’s why, before pursuing independent adoption, you need to have a complete understanding of what exactly it is and its associated pros and cons.

Below, find a few questions you should ask yourself before you make the decision to pursue an independent adoption.

1. Are you ready for the extra work and responsibility that is required for an independent adoption?

When you pursue an independent adoption, you are in control of finding service providers, completing all requirements on deadline, providing all documentation and handling every other step. This is not a process that should be taken lightly; any error could result in a delay or even disqualification to advance to the next step of your adoption.

If you do not have the time, energy and knowledge to completely devote yourself to pursuing your own adoption, you may consider working with an agency. They provide all the services needed to guide you through the infant adoption process.

2. Do you understand how to advertise for adoption opportunities?

One of the many services an agency provides is the exposure to prospective birth mothers through advertising. In infant adoption, expectant mothers choose their desired characteristics for adoptive families and are then given profiles that match those preferences. An agency helps adoptive families create these profiles and presents them to prospective birth mothers throughout their local or national network. This increases the chances of an adoptive family being selected for adoption.

It’s possible for those pursuing independent adoption to advertise to expectant mothers, but the exposure will not be nearly the same as that of agency. A hopeful parent may still require the use of a marketing professional, or independent advertising may even be illegal in their state.

If you are unaware of the process of advertising for adoption opportunities or do not have the tools to do it properly, it may be best to consider working with an agency.

3. Do I know how to screen adoption opportunities and avoid scams?

Unfortunately, there are people in this world who prey on adoption for their own personal gain and scam unsuspecting victims — not only out of money and time but also out of the emotions. When adoptive families pursue an independent adoption, the risk of a scam is higher. They are much more vulnerable because they do not have professionals screening expectant mothers.

Screening doesn’t just indicate whether the adoption situation is legitimate or not. Agencies also screen expectant mothers to find out their medical backgrounds, prenatal medical records and more. This provides adoptive families important information as they decide whether they would like to move forward.

If you do not have the ability to provide similar expectant mother screening, you may reconsider if an independent adoption is the right choice for your adoption goals.

4. Are you pursuing an independent adoption for the right reasons?

The greatest advantage to an independent adoption is the ability to have a closer relationship with an expectant mother. Oftentimes, independent adoptions are completed between family members or friends, which can cut down on wait times.

On the other hand, many parents choose independent adoption for financial reasons. The costs of independent adoption can appear to be lower than an agency-assisted adoption, but this is not always the case. Often, hiring adoption services a la carte can actually increase your total expenses.

If you are considering an independent adoption for this reason, you may want to determine if there is truly a benefit to this path or if you are potentially setting yourself up for financial hardship.

These are just some of the questions an adoptive parent should ask themselves before deciding if independent adoption is right for them. With such an important, life-changing decision as adoption, you want to make sure you are taking every step necessary to set yourself up for success.

If at any point you’d like to speak with a trained professional about private infant adoption, fill out this request form for a referral.

5 Things to Remember When Your Child is Adopting

Adoption can be an incredible, life-changing decision, but it can also be an uncertain, emotional and lengthy process. It’s important for hopeful adoptive parents to have love and support from their family and friends as their adoption journey progresses.

But, if your children are starting the adoption process, what is the best way to provide support? What do you need to know? What should you say or not say during the process?

These are just some of the questions you may be asking if your child has announced they’re adopting. So, for National Grandparents Day on Sunday, we’ve gathered everything you need to know as an adoptive-grandparent-to-be!

Check it out below:

1. Educate yourself on adoption

It’s much easier to provide support and give an educated opinion when you are knowledgeable on the subject matter. With so many different rules, regulations and steps required in adoption, educating yourself about the basic process allows you to relate to the journey your children are going through. Understanding the adoption process can also help prepare you for difficult moments — such as your child’s wait to be chosen by an expectant mother or an adoption disruption — but also for positive times such as placement or finalization.

2. Avoid negativity

Everyone has a different opinion on adoption; it’s only human nature. But, if your child is at the point where they are pursuing adoption, they feel strongly that it is the best opportunity for them and their family. Asking negative questions or giving discouraging opinions will only make them question their decision to adopt and potentially distance themselves from you.

Negative reactions from you will indicate a lack of support, which can be devastating for your child. Remember that each adoptive family has a different reason why they are choosing adoption. But, regardless of their motivations, it is a private decision they have made as a family.

Insulting or discrediting this decision can come across as disrespectful and inconsiderate — and will impact your relationship with your future grandchild.

3. Provide support

This may sound like a broad piece of advice, but ultimately, support is exactly what your child needs through the adoption process and beyond.

This support can come in many different forms. Maybe it’s emotional, by listening to their thoughts, concerns and feelings along the way. Maybe it’s financial, by attending or assisting with fundraising events or directly contributing to their adoption fund. Even offering your support with practical things — childcare, housesitting, etc. — is an incredibly helpful gesture for your children; adoption involves lots of planning, meetings, traveling and other time-consuming activities. If you are able to assist with meal preparation or help with everyday chores, this can take away some of the stress on their shoulders.

Supporting your child not only helps ease some of the stress and concern during their adoption, but also shows them you are by their side and that you care.

4. And keep that support going

Adoption is a lifelong journey, so your support won’t be limited to just during the adoption process but after the placement of your new grandchild, as well.

From the moment your child becomes a parent through adoption, yours and their life will be forever changed. They will share in the same joys of raising a child, just like you had when you raised them. Throw a party, send out announcements — do anything you can do to spread the word and celebrate the new parents.

While your child is in the early stages of adjusting to parenthood, offer to help with errands or to provide childcare. It may seem simple, but these little gestures go a long way toward your children feeling that you fully understand and support their decision to adopt.

5. Make time for your family

The best ability is availability. Being available when your son or daughter needs you provides them with a trust and reliability that compares to nothing else. Being available and making time for your grandchildren on their schedule — rather through random letters, phone calls or visits — can help create a lifelong respect and bond, especially if you want to play an active role in your grandchild’s life.

Adoptive parents may jump into parenthood in a different way than you did, but they have the same hopes of being able to provide for their child — just like you during their childhoods.

No matter how they do it, your children are giving you a grandchild to love and support. Although the situation is unique, the love you and your son or daughter will have for their child is as true as any. Sure, there will be hurdles, but with the right knowledge, outlook and support, you can help be the foundation of the adoption support system your child and grandchild will need for success.

What if COVID-19 Impacted Your Adoption Savings?

COVID-19 has put a serious dent in most everyone’s wallet. With the high rate of unemployment, many adoptive parents have been affected by this uncertain economic situation. If you’ve fallen into this category, or if you’re worried about your job security in the coming months, you’re probably feeling stuck and unsure of how it will affect your plans for adoption. You’re not alone.

For this blog, we’ll break our advice into two sections: what to do if you haven’t started your adoption journey, and what to expect if you’re just getting started. We’ll also offer some tips for saving money for adoption during COVID-19.

If You Haven’t Started Your Adoption Journey

If you’re waiting to start your adoption or if you’re not quite an active waiting family, you still have some time to prepare if you’re worried about your finances.

Before you begin, take a good look at your finances. Start by evaluating your adoption budget and try to work in a time to speak with a financial advisor. From there, you can get an idea of where you can save and what to cut out.

If you’re unsure about your financial situation, it’s okay to delay your journey. Don’t put pressure on yourself to move forward if you’re not comfortable doing so. There’s nothing wrong with waiting until the time is right.

During this period, it’s a good idea to still prepare for moving forward. You can review your adoption preferences, complete your adoption profile and, depending on timing, even start your home study. But, of course, you should always hold off until you’re financially ready to move forward in the process. There’s no telling when an opportunity will present itself. The last thing you want is to have to turn down your dreams because you weren’t financially ready.

You may decide that it’s time to delay your adoption process, at least until you’re more financially stable. If so, talk to your adoption professional about your options.

During these uncertain times, try to plan ahead financially as much as possible. Openly communicate with your spouse (if applicable) and your adoption professional. If you’re worried or feel like there is something that will impact your adoption plans emotionally, physically or financially, don’t be afraid to speak up.

If You’re in the Thick of Things:

If you’re already in the middle of your family-building journey, then you need to keep your adoption professional up to date about what’s going on. If you’ve experienced a job loss or if you feel like you need to put your plans on hold, they’ll want to know as soon as possible. Some professionals will allow you to take a temporary break and come back when you are ready.

If you’re feeling financially unstable due to COVID-19, we encourage you to pause your adoption until you’re able to get back on your feet. Adopting a child is expensive, and you don’t want to completely drain your savings.

Just remehttps://consideringadoption.com/adopting/adoption-costs/how-much-does-it-cost-to-adopt-a-childmber that your adoption professional will want to help you as much as possible. If you have any questions or if you’re unsure about your situation, reach out to them for help.

3 Tips for Saving Money During COVID-19

Even if you haven’t experienced a job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic, it never hurts to be prepared. Here are just a few tips to make your money last — and save up for your adoption — during this global health crisis.

1. Stretch Your Dollars

You’re probably already saving as much as you can in this uncertain climate. So, stick with what you’ve been doing over the last few months. Try to make every grocery trip count. Take a look at your pantry. Odds are, you already have some extras in the back that you might have forgotten about. Take stock of what you have before you head out.

We know that it’s hard, but right now, try to stick to your list and only grab the essentials. This doesn’t mean you should eat less by any means, but just try to shop smarter. Take a look at the weekly ads, or shop at low-cost alternatives. Target might have everything you need, but consider the prices on all of their products before you make it your weekly stop.

Make a plan before you head out, and you’ll be less likely to overspend.

2. Cut the Extras

Now that we’re all stuck inside, very few of us are making trips out and about. Of course, that may mean the last thing you want to cut is your streaming service. But if it’s been a few months since you watched the last episode of “Mad Men,” or if you only had HBO Go to watch “Game of Thrones,” maybe it’s time to pull the plug.

The good news is that, even if you don’t have these streaming services, there are plenty of ways to get your movie night on. Libraries across the country actually offer e-rental services that you can use. You can rent digital movies, TV shows, and e-books or audio books. If your library has already started to open up, you might be able to pop in for a quick browsing session (just adhere to CDC safety recommendations). And, if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your car, you can get your holds delivered curbside.

If you don’t have a library card, don’t worry. You can easily make an e-card from the comfort of your home. Before you know it, you’ll be able to stream your favorite show in just a few minutes!

When you cut out extras like streaming platforms, gym memberships and subscription services, more money can go toward your adoption savings.

3. Look at Alternative Financial Options

If you’re out of work because of the pandemic, try to find out what relief programs are available. While many of us have received our stimulus checks, you should also check and see if your auto loan, student loans or credit cards offer relief programs.

Knowing where your money is going is the key to financial fitness. Before you do anything else, make sure that you’ve created a budget for your adoption plans. Some people like to use the 50/30/20 rule, but you can stick to whatever works best for you. If you’re putting your money toward anything non-essential, considering cutting some of it out for the time being so that you can focus on your adoption plans.

If possible, you might also think about starting your own fundraiser to help cover some of your adoption costs.

We’re all a little bit scared right now. The coronavirus has left a huge impact on people’s savings and financial plans for 2020. If you have any fears about how the coronavirus will affect your wallet, you’re not alone.

But adoptions have happened before a pandemic, and they’ll happen long after. No matter what happens, your family-building dreams can still come true. If you have any other questions or concerns about your finances and adoption, reach out to your adoption professional.

If You Regret Adoption, Can You Get Your Child Back?

For most birth parents, the placement of a child is the hardest decision they’ve ever had to make. But it’s a choice that they feel was in the best interests of their child — no matter how much it hurt. Few birth parents experience lasting regret over their adoption decision, but some do.

So, if you later regret your decision to place your child for adoption, and you hope to regain parental rights, what are your options? Is it possible to get your baby back after an adoption?

The answer is: Rarely. Adoptions are meant to be permanent. Nobody wants a child to experience any more disruption and trauma than is necessary.

However, reversing an adoption is possible in some situations. Before you do anything else, you’ll need to understand the window of time when you can legally revoke your consent and potentially regain custody. This article is here to help.

Below, we’ll explore some of the feelings you may be experiencing right now, and walk you through the options that may be available:

Is This Grief or Is This Regret?

You put no small amount of thought, effort and sacrifice into your decision to place your child for adoption. Even if, at the time, you felt fully confident that this was the best decision for you and your child, you may experience moments of regret.

When we experience loss, such as placing a child, we often go through the stages of grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Sometimes, denial can come in the form of wanting to go back to life before placement, so you can stop feeling these painful emotions. You might bargain with yourself; if you regain custody of your child, you’ll get a new job, leave your relationship, or otherwise improve your situation. Other times, your adoption regret may stem from depression and sadness over the loss of your child.

So how can you tell if what you’re feeling right now is part of the normal grieving process, or if it’s regret? Self-reflection is usually the best place to start.

When you think, “I want my baby back,” stop and take a moment to identify what you’re feeling. Try to put a name to that feeling, and then try to identify why you’re feeling this way. This may help you determine if these thoughts are a natural (if painful) part of the normal grieving process, or a more serious sign of regret in your decision.

After the placement of a child, you’ll hurt for however long it takes to heal. Most birth parents do heal from their loss with time. However, if you think these feelings may be a sign of regret rather than grief, it’s time to learn about your options.

Understanding Your Legal Options

Each state establishes its own laws regarding when birth parent consent may be executed and at what point that consent becomes irrevocable. These laws give prospective birth parents plenty of time to decide whether or not they want to move forward with giving consent after the birth of their baby — and then adds yet more time to ensure that the birth parents still feel confident in their decision.

Depending on the state you live in and how long it’s been since placement, you may or may not still be able to legally revoke your consent. However, if the legal window of time has already passed, your decision is almost always permanent.

What to Do If You’re Able to Revoke Consent

If you’re still within the legal window where you can revoke your consent, inform your attorney immediately.

You may still be able to petition the court, even after the legal revocation period has passed. There are some instances where the adoption can be examined by a judge, and if you have a very definitive reason why the adoption should be reversed, then they may consider returning your parental rights.

When a birth parent decides to contest their adoption decision later, the court will determine whether or not the child’s current placement is within the child’s best interests or not. It’s important to note that it’s very rare for an adoption to be reversed, because the child has likely been with their (adoptive) family the longest.

What to Do If You’re Not Legally Able to Reverse Your Decision

If regaining your parental rights is not a legal option in your situation, it can be a very difficult thing to hear. Coming to terms with the permanency of the placement will take time.

Not all decisions can be reversed, and the past can’t always be changed. Instead of dwelling on “should have”s or “might have been”s, all you can do is focus on the future. Remember that:

  • You can still be a part of your child’s life through open adoption, even if that role isn’t parental.
  • You made the initial choice for a reason. Remember the reasons that brought you to adoption in the first place.
  • You chose your child’s parents for a reason. What was it about his or her parents that made you choose them?
  • Your child’s parents love, care for and support your child just as much as you.
  • Raising an adopted child is, in some ways, a team effort. Your child will want their birth parents in their life in addition to their (adoptive) parents.
  • You should seek support when you need it, whether that’s from your adoption specialist or from fellow birth parents.
  • You will heal from this, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.

If you’re unsure whether or not you’re feeling regret about your adoption decision, reach out to your adoption professional for counseling and support. You should also reach out to your adoption attorney to learn what options are legally available to you in your situation.

7 Adoptive Parents to Follow on Social Media Today

With so many different resources available for adoptive parents, it can be easy to find answers to specific questions you may have. But maybe you’re interested more in the emotional aspects of the process — and not sure where to find them.

On the other hand, maybe you’re a birth parent or an adoptee. Understanding adoptive parents’ points of view may be an important part of your own healing and understanding of your adoption journey.

Everyone is different but, for many, the stories shared by adoptive parents can ease feelings of hurt and distress.

The best way to understand the adoptive parent perspective? By reading stories from someone who has actually adopted first-hand.

In this final part of our series on adoption influencers, you’ll find a list of social media accounts where adoptive parents openly discuss and share the feelings, thoughts and emotions they went through during their adoption journey. If you want to learn more about adoption, these stories and discussions are the best place to start.

  1. @mytwodads: Rod and Jake are an interracial, two-dad family raising their adopted son in Atlanta, Ga. Their Instagram features stories from their adoption journey as well as from their life post-adoption as a forever family.
  2. @fabulousfiveadoptionjourney: On this YouTube channel, find videos of a family of seven, with five of the daughters brought home through adoption. Their stated purpose? “To bring awareness to international adoption and help others that are considering adoption.”
  3. @theluckyfewofficial: Heather is an adoptive mother of three and advocate for adoption. On her Instagram, she shares the joys and struggles that parenting children with Down syndrome can bring. Heather provides her followers with a firsthand look at all that parenthood has to offer, with a realistic mix of tantrums and hilarious moments that only children can provide.
  4. @livesweet: Lindsey is an adoptive mom who often posts about her four adopted kids and adoption in general, as well as animals, crafts and more. Her page links to her blog, where she talks more about the impact adoption has had on her and her family’s life.
  5. @kindredand.co: Kindred and Co. is an Instagram page for the adoption community. It features blogs from adoptive parents who offer advice and support for parents in all stages of the adoption process. This feed is where you can read a variety of different perspectives and get your toughest adoption questions answered.
  6. @beccaanddan: Check out this YouTube channel featuring a family of five, formed through adoption. They post videos of their adoption story, as well as of everyday life and traveling and adventuring as a family.
  7. @tateylove: Jordan is an author and adoptive mother to Shep. She shares her emotional experience with both infant loss and transracial adoption. She is an advocate for adoption and provides many useful resources and individual stories.

No matter at what stage you may be in the adoption process, having the knowledge of and connection to a family who has been in your shoes is invaluable. And, even if you’re not adopting yourself, peeking into these families’ lives can help you better understand the experience of the whole adoption triad.

Have more suggestions of adoptive parents to follow on social media? Let us know in the comments!

The Debate: Adoptee’s Right to Know vs. Birth Parents’ Privacy

When it comes to modern adoption, there’s no shortage of important debates. But, as the nature of adoption continues to change, one question continues to take the forefront:

What’s more important: An adoptee’s right to know or a birth parent’s privacy?

Most adoptees would say their right to know their history holds the highest priority. After all, don’t they have the right to know who they are and where they came from?

On the other hand, many birth parents — especially those who placed in the era of closed adoptions — would say their privacy matters more. Their placement is their story alone, they argue, and they have the right to decide how much of it is shared with the world.

The truth? Today, it’s a bit of a moot question, for a number of reasons.

Beyond the legal arguments that have centered around this concept, we know a few things from the last few decades of adoption history. We’ll share them with you now, so you can find your own answer to this important debate.

For Some Birth Parents, Privacy Was an Expectation

Every adoption is different, and so is every birth parent’s story. That said, when many birth parents chose adoption, they were in sensitive situations:

  • They may have been afraid of their family members’ reaction.
  • Their housing, financial support, or safety may have been compromised if people in their lives knew about the adoption.
  • They may have chosen adoption to keep their child safe from a toxic situation.
  • They may have been worried about the societal taboo of adoption, and feared general censure if they shared their story.

For all these reasons and more, some birth parents chose a closed adoption and asked that their privacy be upheld. In some cases, they weren’t even given the option of post-placement contact — led to believe by outdated research that a “clean break” was best for all involved. This choice often kept their name, personal history and adoption details sealed away for decades.

After years of validating their closed adoption choice, many birth parents do not wish to be contacted by their birth child out of fear of the fallout in their current lives, or because they’re emotionally overwhelmed at the prospect of reconnecting. Placing a child for adoption is emotionally complex, even long after placement; an adoptee reaching out may disrupt a birth parent’s current life in various ways.

But for Adoptees, Knowledge is Now the Norm

Many birth parents want to “move on” from the adoption and the painful time in their lives that it represents. But many adoptees are not able to “move on” from how adoption impacted them.

When a birth parent’s desire for privacy is at odds with their birth child’s needs and desires, should that privacy be upheld, even decades later?

Consider why many adoptees of closed adoptions search in the first place:

  • They may need potentially life-saving information about their biological family’s medical history.
  • They want their own children and grandchildren to know where they came from.
  • They have unresolved feelings and something they need to say to their birth parents.
  • Or, they may simply want to know their own history and have the opportunity to get to know their biological parents.

All reasons for deciding to search (or not to search) for one’s birth parents are valid. There may be a dire need to learn about one’s birth parents, but truly, the desire to learn about one’s birth parents is reason enough.

Legally, birth parents have a right to privacy until their child is an adult. But at that time — legally in many states and ethically across the board — adoptees have a right to know. And that means getting answers from their birth family.

Explaining one’s status as a birth parent is never easy. But it will likely be necessary. It’s entirely possible that an adoptee may reach out to other birth family members, surprising all involved if the adoption is a secret.

When you’re a birth parent, being open about your adoption and answering your child’s questions may be the best course of action — for your own emotional resolution, as well as for your birth child’s.

Adoption is a lifelong journey, not just for an adoptee but for a birth parent, too. If a parent places a child for adoption, it’s not something that can be forgotten about or ignored in the effort of maintaining “privacy.” Instead, it requires maturity and grace to come to terms with. It can be hard, but it’s the reality that a birth parent accepted.

Simply put: A birth parent doesn’t have the luxury of maintaining secrecy about a choice that changed someone else’s life forever.

There’s No Longer Such Thing as a Truly Anonymous Adoption

Anonymity is no longer guaranteed in any aspect of life, especially in adoption. Facial recognition software, social media, digital footprints, the prevalence of DNA testing and ancestry websites — it’s easier than ever for birth parents and adoptees to find one another, should they choose to. It’s often as easy as a Google search.

Today, adoptees can, will and should be able to learn about their histories. Regardless of whether a birth parent wants to be found, an adoptee will be able to if they want to search. The same is true of adoptees: Birth parents can find you and might reach out, whether or not you want them to.

Prospective birth parents: Make the decision to enter into an adoption accordingly.

Adoption triad members: Prepare yourself for the possibility of being contacted.

Every adoption triad member should assume that they can (and might) be found at any point. This means that:

  • If you haven’t disclosed your status as an adoption triad member to the people closest to you, now is the time.
  • You should consider how you would react to being contacted and emotionally prepare yourself for that possibility.
  • You may want to reach out to your former adoption professional and let them know whether or not you want to be contacted if one of the other triad members calls the agency.

Ultimately, an adoptee’s right to know vs. birth parent privacy is a moot point. Anonymity is no longer an option in adoption; whether you had a closed adoption or you’re contemplating choosing a closed adoption now, you should know that there is no longer any way for your privacy to be maintained forever.

Birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees must come to terms with this as they move through their unique life experiences. It can be tough, but so are many other aspects of adoption.

If you’re struggling with post-placement contact, please reach out to your adoption professional or an adoption counselor.

7 Birth Mothers to Follow on Social Media Today

When a pregnant woman considers adoption for her baby, she is faced with one of the most difficult decisions in her life. With so many emotions, questions and concerns, it’s important for her to have the proper resources — and that includes the perspectives of women who have been in her shoes.

Adoptive families and adoptees can also gain insight and empathy by learning the experiences, thoughts and emotions a pregnant woman goes through during her pregnancy, during the adoption process and after she places a child for adoption.

Thanks to the internet and social media, these stories, experiences and advice are easily found.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered. Here, find a list of social media accounts run by influential birth mothers that you need to follow today.

  1. @muthonigaciku: Through her Instagram, Muthoni Gaciku shares intimate stories about her life and experiences after placing her child for adoption.
  2. @fromanothamotha: Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard uses her Instagram to share her perspective of being a birth mom and of life after adoption. Kelsey is also the founder of the Motha’s Day Project, an organization for embracing birth mothers and celebrating their motherhood each year.
  3. @bigtoughgirl: Ashley Mitchell shares her stories of being a birth mother in an open adoption. Her Instagram links to her website, where you can read more about the Lifetime Healing Foundation, an organization she founded that supports women healing from adoption-related grief and depression.
  4. @thegracebond: Leah Outten’s Instagram page tells her stories of being a birth mom and now a mother of five. She partners with Woven Together, which she co-founded as an educational resource for adoptive parents looking for information and advice.
  5. @dominique.rachelle: Check out the page of Dominique Rachelle, who is both an adoptee and a birth mother. Here, she provides stories from the two perspectives and discusses what it was like growing up and now growing older.
  6. @annaleece.fairbanks: Here, you will find stories about Annaleece Fairbanks’ pregnancy, adoption, difficulties of dating as a birth mom, and the impact being a birth mother had on her life post-adoption.
  7. @adrianccollins: Adrian Collins is a birth mother, adoptive mom and a mother of five. Her page links to her blog, where she details her journey from birth mother to adoptive mother.

These are just a few of the amazing birth mothers who have shared their adoption experiences with the world. The strength they have to not only selflessly place their babies for adoption but to also open up and share their stories is truly inspirational. Use their experiences to learn more about the adoption process and the emotions involved.

But don’t stop with this list — be sure to browse through as many social media accounts, blogs or Youtube videos as possible.

Have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments!