The adoption process will be different for everyone. Not one adoption experience is the same--whether you're a birth parent, adoptee, or adoptive parent. However, for those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering adoption, there are common adoption procedures of which to be aware and knowledgeable. Knowing about common adoption procedures can help you with your decision-making process and help you feel confident and comfortable during the adoption process. It will help you know what to expect and where to begin, who to talk to and with whom to work.
Formulating an Adoption Plan: Before you begin your personal adoption process, it's important that you formulate an adoption plan. Your adoption plan needs to be consistent and in line with your needs, goals, and expectations for life, the process in general, and life after placement. It is specific to you, and it should encompass everything that's important to you. It can include what you need from the adoption relationship, what you're looking for in an adoptive family, and your needs during labor and delivery.
One very important thing to include in your plan is which type of adoption works best for your situation. You'll need to list your needs in your post-adoption relationships and the specifics of the relationships. For example, how often do you want to visit or receive updates? Would you prefer to sever contact after birth? Do you want to have a completely closed adoption and never meet or speak with the adoptive parents or the child?
Working with Adoption Professionals: Along your journey, you'll need to work with some adoption professionals, for both your benefit and the benefit of the potential adoptive parents. Adoption professionals with whom you'll work could range from adoption lawyers, adoption agency workers, and adoption matching professionals. While it can be intimidating working with an adoption professional, it helps if you've researched the adoption process, your options, and the current adoption laws. If you feel uncomfortable with your current adoption professionals, remember that you can choose another. It's important that you feel confident and comfortable as you progress through the placement process.
Finding a Family: Finding the right adoptive family for your child can be both exciting and overwhelming. It's a big decision to make. You want to find the right family, a family that will respect your wishes and agree on the type of adoption. There are many ways to search for the right family. One of the best ways these days is through social media, networking sites, or online registries. Many couples or singles hoping to adopt will create online profiles that can help you get to know them a little better. If you don't feel comfortable with a particular family, move on to the next one. It's important that you're happy with your decision.
Court Proceedings: After you've decided on an adoptive family for your child, you'll go through some court proceedings. This is where your parental rights will be severed and those parental rights will be given to the new adoptive family. This is known as adoption finalization. It's necessary for any legal adoption. Again, remember that you need to be comfortable with your decision. Before the adoption is finalized, you can change your mind. This needs to be your decision, a decision without pressure or coercion.
Progressing through the adoption process will require a lot of patience, research, and perseverance. It may not be easy, but if it's the decision you think is best, continue to move forward. Even if your pregnancy is unplanned, you don't have to leave your child's future unplanned. What you choose today will make all the difference tomorrow.