Placing a baby for adoption is a major, life changing decision. It is a decision not to be made lightly and should be done with careful consideration, counseling and a clear plan. This is where the services of an adoption agency are invaluable. Asking someone to navigate through an adoption plan and placement alone is like asking an untrained pilot to fly a plane. There are so many facets to adoption and having guidance is critical to the emotional well-being of the birthparent post placement.
The services of adoption agencies are free to birthparents. It is the adoptive parents that cover the costs of counseling, case work and living expenses for the birthparents. Therefore, it is up to the adoption agency to make sure that birthparents who ask for help are given the best services possible. This includes helping the birthparents to have access to an OB/Gyn immediately. The birthparents in return will be asked to release medical records to the adoption agency that is helping them. This is common practice and is necessary to confirm pregnancy and ongoing care for the birthparent and unborn child. Taking advantage of the counseling, offered free of charge, to birthparents is so critical for birthparents.
Receiving counseling through the adoption process will allow birthparents the opportunity to express emotions and work through issues that arise during the pregnancy. Birthparents will experience a range of emotions that will affect their relationships with significant others in their lives. Further, when close friends and family members learn of their adoption plans, they will voice their opinions and support or lack thereof. This is not easy to hear from those who believe they are making the wrong choice. Counseling sessions can help birthparents work through these issues and further investigate whether adoption is the correct choice for them. What is important for birthparents to remember is that no one else will be responsible for this child but them. Many birthparents were told they would receive help from family members and friends prior to giving birth. With promises made from these people whom they felt were trustworthy, the birthparents decided to parent the child. Some regretfully explained later that within two weeks to two months, not one of those who had made promises was available to help them any further. The birthparents were then left without the finances necessary to buy the necessities for a child, no one to care for the child while the birthparents went to work or looked for a job and a future that looked dismal at best for this new baby.
When making their plan, birthparents should remember that most people do not change. If relatives and friends are not willing to help during the pregnancy, it is unlikely that they will help once the baby is here. It is important for birthparents to remember why they contacted an adoption agency in the first place. It is very rare that circumstances change so drastically that a situation becomes completely different.
Remember, as a birthparent you are not alone when you work with an adoption agency. You will be guided through a goal setting and plan making process which will allow you to have something to work toward post placement. You will have support before, during and after placement. It will be a difficult time with many emotions that may seem overwhelming at times, but with a plan, support and goals in place, you can take one step at a time and become a better, healthier you.