What exactly is adoption? Am I giving my baby away? What will people think of me? Don’t worry. You are not the first woman to be thinking about adoption and you won’t be the last. Did you know that women have the ability to fully actualize (reach their full potential) by completing the 9 months of pregnancy while still empowering another women with a child? I know; you’re thinking 9 months is so long! But think about it this way – if you lived to be 100 years old, these 9 months are only 0.75% of your life. Brings it into perspective, doesn’t it? The CDC (Center of Disease Control) states that 10% of women (that’s 6.1 million women) cannot get pregnant or stay pregnant. The ability to conceive is truly miraculous. A woman’s chance of conceiving each month is only 25-30% if they are under 35 years old. The chances decrease the older the woman gets. By the time a woman is 35-39 years old, it’s only an 8%-15% chance of conception. After that, it drops to 5% and under as the woman ages. It’s amazing that there are pregnant women walking around with stats like that!
Many women want to be mothers but feel like they may not be capable at a particular time in their lives. Maybe they are not employed or maybe they are unable to provide safe places for their babies. Some may feel like they have personal dreams and goals they want to achieve but can’t do that with a baby right now. They feel that abortion is not the choice for them but they also don’t feel led to parent at this time. This may be you.
Adoption does not mean a birth mom ceases to be a mother. A birth mom is a forever mother but has made a selfless decision that is best for her child. Adoption is a beautiful choice that takes great reflection on the birth parent’s part and the ability to love a child on a profound level. Giving a baby in adoption is a gift.
Adoption has been around for thousands of years. It has been an age-old solution for many women. Over the years, adoption options have changed to best suit the needs of the birth mom, her baby and the adoptive family. Imagine what amazing things this child may grow up to be or do? Maybe it’s the next president, schoolteacher or someone who could contribute to the cure for cancer. The possibilities are endless.
How do I decide?
Like anything in life, there are options. If adoption is something you are interested in, it’s important you know all of your options so you can make the best possible choice for you in your pregnancy. Remember, adoption laws differ from state to state. If you are interested in adoption, please let us know. We’d love to answer any questions you may have and we can put you in touch with an adoption agency.
Let’s look at the most common types of adoption.
An open adoption is pretty much exactly how it sounds. It’s open. Most adoptions in the United States now are open adoptions. It allows a birth mom (and birth dad), with the help of an adoption agency, the ability to choose an adoptive family that meets her personal criteria to raise her child. Many families like this option because it allows birth families to keep in touch with the adoptive family. The communication can be done directly from the birth parent to the adoptive parent or through means of a mediator (someone who communicates to both families). The adoptive and birth families work together and come up with an agreed upon communication plan. This can include emailing, texting, calling, personal visits, and letters. Anything and everything is up for discussion. On the other hand, if the families would rather just have identifiable information (first and last name, address and/or phone number) and medical records shared, that is fine too. There aren’t any two open adoption cases that are the same.
What You Need To Know: As with all decisions, it’s not always easy. Open adoptions do come with some difficult emotions. Some adoptive families may be insecure if the child has a strong bond with the birth family and vice versa. Sometimes life can cause people to move to another city or state making visitation more difficult or when a child grows into an adult, they may not want the same contact agreement. These are all real issues that come with adoption. However, there are people to help guide you through the journey if you choose this as your best option. Consider contacting a counselor who is skilled in working with birth moms and the adoption process. And, as always, give us a call at Bridges. We are happy to answer any questions or put you in contact with those who can help you.
According to American Adoptions, an estimated 1 out of every 10 adoptions is a closed adoption. Even though closed adoptions are uncommon, that does not mean they don’t exist.
The process includes an adoption agency finding a placement for the adopted child. The birth parents’ medical records are still given to the adoptive parents but no other identifiable information is shared. There may be very limited contact or none at all in a closed adoption.
What You Need To Know: Although a closed adoption may seem like a good option now, it does make it more difficult in the future if a grown adoptive child or a birth mother wants to reconnect. Closed adoptions tend to cause various, unanswered questions for the adoptive child and the birth family.
A semi-open adoption falls somewhere in between an open and closed adoption. Normally, semi-open adoptions have less direct communication between birth parents and adoptive parents. Although medical records are shared, no identifying information is offered. In semi-open adoptions, an adoption professional mediates between birth parents and adoptive parents. Like open adoptions, the birth parents have a lot of say in what their wishes are for potential adoptive parents. An adoption agency will guide the process of placement.
However, like open adoptions, no 2 semi-adoptions are the same. They can change over time. It gives you the freedom to be flexible on contact as it may change over time as you become more comfortable with the adoptive family/birth parent relationship.
Emotional Cost of Adoption:
Even though adoption is a selfless act of love, it is an emotional journey. It is not an easy one to come by and you should be aware of the complex feelings that can be involved. Here are some feelings you may expect if you choose adoption.
- Highs and Lows: You have delivered a baby. It is only natural to experience hormonal shifts.
- Grief: This type of grief is all-encompassing. You may feel the grief of not parenting this child and you may feel grief due to the absence of the child. Sometimes this grief can resurface over the years as the child grows.
- Guilt: Some women feel guilt that they were not able to or chose not to parent.
- Peace: Many birth mothers feel a strong sense of peace over their decision. When they think of their child in the arms of a loving family they chose, it gives them an overwhelming sense of meaning and reward.
- Empowered: Making the decision to adopt is one of the bravest decisions a woman can make. It allows a birth mom the chance to feel she shared her motherhood with another woman of her choosing. It gives a birth mom a new perspective of herself and of her life direction. She is now able to walk in confidence knowing she made the right choice for her child and herself.
Remember, if you are having any feelings that are overwhelming, consider contacting a counselor or attending an adoption support group. If you need help finding these, please call us. Here at Bridges, we don’t just support you in your pregnancy journey; we also support you in your post-pregnancy journey no matter what that may be.
As with any major life decision, lean on your tribe to walk with you as you make it. In looking at adoptions, it’s important to remember you are in control of your adoption plan. Just be open and honest about your fears, insecurities and expectations with an adoption professional and they can work with you for a plan that is best for you. If you have any questions about local agencies or about adoption, please call Bridges.