Over the years, the adoption process has shifted towards giving expectant mothers more power over their choices. Today, a birth mother can choose the parents who will raise her baby, how things will be handled at the hospital when she delivers, and how often she’ll keep in touch with the adoptive family as her child grows up. So if you’re wondering, “what will the adoption process look like for me?” you’re in the right place! Here are the steps you can expect:
Step 1: Reach Out to an Adoption Professional
Finding out you are pregnant can be overwhelming, especially when it comes as a surprise. You may have many questions right now, like “What does this mean for my future?” or “How am I going to raise a baby right now?”
Reaching out to an adoption professional can help you discuss your concerns and learn more about your options. The professionals at Lifetime Adoption provide a safe, non-judgmental environment to talk about pregnancy, parenting, and adoption. They will go over what the adoption process would look like for you and if adoption is the best option.
Step 2: Create Your Adoption Plan
As you think about adoption, you will be helped by an adoption professional here at Lifetime called an “Adoption Coordinator.” She can get you connected with any financial, legal, and counseling resources you may need. As you make your adoption plan, you stay in contact with her. Based on your situation and hopes for the future, you can choose a closed, semi-open, or open adoption plan. If you want an open adoption plan, your Adoption Coordinator will help you find possible adoptive parents that best fit the life you wish for your baby.
With Lifetime Adoption, you are in charge of your adoption plan. You make the choices, which include:
- The type and amount of contact you desire after the adoption
- Your baby’s parents
- How everything will go when you deliver
- If you need help with pregnancy-related expenses
- Who will be included in your adoption planning
If you don’t feel ready to make these choices right now, that’s fine! We will help you as you make these decisions when you’re ready. Lifetime is here to tell you about all of your choices.
Lifetime Adoption will mail (or email) you a packet with adoption information. In your packet, there will be some initial paperwork you’ll need to complete. This isn’t the final adoption paperwork, so it doesn’t commit you to adoption. It helps us learn more about you, your baby, and the type of adoption you desire. All of the information you provide to us is kept completely confidential.
Your Lifetime coordinator will work with you one-on-one to discuss the packet and answer any questions that you might have. Once Lifetime gets the initial paperwork back, we’re ready to help you talk to one (or more!) adoptive families you have chosen.
Step 3: Choose Your Baby’s Adoptive Parents
The perfect adoptive family will look different for each birth mother. Determine what values and lifestyle you want for your child. Would you like your child to be raised in a specific faith? Do you want your child to grow up in a city or the country? Would you like your child to have siblings? When you know what you’re looking for, you’ll feel more prepared to view hopeful adoptive family profiles.
Each waiting adoptive family working with Lifetime Adoption has completed an adoption home study and has had a background check done on them. You can browse the pictures, videos, and testimony in each adoptive parent profile. Tell your Adoption Coordinator about families that interest you.
Step 4: Match With an Adoptive Family
Your Adoption Coordinator will set up a phone conversation with you and the family you have chosen. If it helps, she can be on the call with you. You can talk with or email more than one family if you wish. As you get to know them better, you will be more equipped to decide if adoption is the best choice for your baby. And getting to know a family is an important step in this process.
As you talk, you can discuss future contact, naming the baby, and more! This is where you get to set the stage for what your open adoption will be like. Your Adoption Coordinator will be here to walk through all of this with you, so you are never alone.
Step 5: Birth of Your Baby
You are in control of the entire adoption process, and that includes your hospital experience as you deliver your baby. You decide how much time you want to spend with your baby, who you want to be in the hospital with you, and what role you want the adoptive family to take.
The adoptive parents you chose will travel to your city once you go into labor. And after giving birth, you can spend as much time with your baby as you wish. You’re in charge of how things go at the hospital.
Creating a hospital plan before you go into labor tells the hospital staff, the adoptive family, and your Adoption Coordinator what you want your hospital time to be like. That way, you can focus is on you and your baby. It’s okay to make changes to your adoption hospital plan at any point, even at the hospital.
Step 6: Sign Adoption Papers
Usually, within a couple of days of your baby’s birth, you will meet with an attorney who will give you the legal paperwork for the adoption. This attorney will tell you about your rights and help you understand the legal process. Before you sign any paperwork, the adoption attorney will ensure that you’re confident in this decision.
The adoptive couple will stay in your city and can meet up with you if you’d like to spend some time with your baby. You don’t need to care for your baby between the time you are discharged from this hospital and when you sign paperwork.
Every state has a different revocation period, which is the waiting period before the adoption can be final. The timeline can range from 72 hours to 30 days, depending on which state you live in.
After the revocation period, a court hearing will be held. There, a judge will examine if the adoptive couple will be good parents. The judge will then grant parental rights to the adoptive couple.
Remember, open adoption does not mean goodbye. It’s more like, “I’ll see you later, and we will always keep in touch!” Lifetime Adoption can help you learn about your choices in adoption and how it may be the right choice for you and your baby! We’re just a text message or phone call away at 1-800-923-6784.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.