23 Things You Need to Know About the Adoption Process
An unplanned pregnancy can make it feel like your world is falling apart. The adoption process might be the thing that helps put it back together.
When it comes to the adoption process, there’s so much to learn. Professional services and support can make your situation easier. You can click here to get connected with that support today for free.
Starting the adoption process can give your baby an amazing, loving family. Here are 23 things you need to know about it (including some things that might surprise you).
Looking for things you need to know about the adoption process as hopeful adoptive parents? While our goal is to help women considering adoption, this guide from a national adoption agency could be just what you’re looking for!
1. You can choose adoption.
Women from all walks of life choose adoption.
- Teenagers experiencing an unwanted pregnancy
- 20-somethings with an education and career in front of them
- 30-something mothers, whose families are already complete
You can always start the adoption process.
2. Your adoption will be unique.
Every adoption process is different. Your specific circumstances will shape your journey, and so will the choices you make. When you start your adoption process, you are in charge. You get to determine the unique shape of your adoption process.
An unplanned pregnancy can be overwhelming. It can make you feel powerless. The adoption process puts authority over your circumstances back in your hands.
3. The adoption process follows a few big steps.
Even though every adoption process is unique, there are a few big steps they all follow.
How does adoption work?
- Step 1: Decide that adoption is right for you.
- Step 2: Pick an adoption agency (more on this below).
- Step 3: Create your adoption plan.
- Step 4: Choose the perfect adoptive family for your baby.
- Step 5: Get to know the family before placement.
- Step 6: Complete your placement.
- Step 7: Stay connected with your baby through open adoption (if you want).
You don’t need to be an expert on how to start the adoption process to create your adoption plan. But, it helps to understand the big picture.
4. Adoption agencies make adoption happen.
“Even though adoption was the hardest decision I will ever make in my life, American Adoptions (my agency) also made it the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.”
Erika, a courageous birth mother, worked with a popular national adoption agency. She received all the support, guidance and encouragement she needed to complete her process of adoption. The agency you choose can provide the same type of support.
There are hundreds of options for your adoption agency. It can be a hard choice to make. Everyone is looking for something a bit different. In general, you should look for:
- An agency with a lot of adoptive family profiles. The more profiles you look through, the better chance of finding the perfect family. Some agencies may only have 10 or 20 families to choose from. Others have hundreds of potential adoptive parents for your baby.
- An agency that is available 24/7. Pregnancy is unpredictable. You’re going to need support outside of the 9-5 workday. Will the agency pick up the phone?
- An agency with experience in your state. Most states allow birth parents to receive adoption financial assistance to cover living expenses like groceries, rent and utilities. But, this assistance has to follow strict state laws. An agency with experience in your state will ensure you receive all your legal adoption financial assistance.
5. There are different types of adoption agencies.
The two primary types of adoption agency are:
You can complete the process of adoption with either. But, most women considering adoption end up choosing the latter.
6. National agencies are the most reliable.
Why? There are a few reasons.
Local agencies are more susceptible to drastic swings. The unfortunate reality is that many local agencies have unexpectedly closed, leaving adoptive parents and prospective birth mothers wondering how to complete their adoption process. While national agencies are not immune to surprises, their size does make them more reliable.
Additionally, national agencies tend to have larger, more experienced staff. This means you’re more likely to find support and knowledge that is specifically helpful for your situation.
7. Some agencies have personal connections to adoption.
While rare, some adoption agencies intentionally hire adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees. When you find an agency like this, you’ll work with people who truly understand how the adoption process works and what it is like to go through the process.
8. You can start looking for an agency today.
You don’t have to wait to start looking. If you feel overwhelmed, anxious or afraid because of your unplanned pregnancy, there’s help available now:
9. You get to choose the family you want for your baby.
Adoption is an act of love. Most people don’t get that. But if you are thinking about how to get started with adoption for your baby, then you know it’s true.
You want your baby to have a wonderful life. What type of family do you think will provide that? Maybe it’s important to you that they have a large extended family. Or, a faith-based upbringing could matter most.
Whatever you envision, you can choose that type of family for your baby. While the adoption process used to give birth mothers very little authority, the modern process puts you in charge. Because of this, you can play a big part in shaping your baby’s life for the better.
10. Different agencies will increase (or decrease) the chances of finding the right family.
We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth saying again: Some agencies give you a better chance at finding that perfect family than others.
Great families work with all kinds of agencies — local and national. But with one of these, you will have more profiles to look through. With more profiles, you have a better chance of finding the specific type of family you think will be great for your baby, rather than compromising on your hopes because it is time to make a choice.
11. Some agencies give you video profiles to look at.
Video profiles are becoming more common, but not everyone uses them. There are plenty of places you can look through the profiles online (including our website). This is a great way to get a sense of what a potential adoptive family is really like.
12. You can talk to the family before you choose them.
Picking the family is arguably the most important part of the adoption process. If you want to talk to the family before making this choice, then you can do that. Remember, you are in charge of your adoption process. If there’s ever something you want, you should ask your adoption agency if it will be possible.
13. The adoption process will give your baby a loving family.
“Will the adoptive parents love my baby?”
It’s a question that every woman considering adoption asks. The truth is that people who want to adopt make amazing parents. They have dreamed of this for so long. And remember: adoption isn’t easy for them.
Hopeful adoptive parents have made great sacrifices and overcome significant challenges to give your baby all of their love. But, don’t just take it from us.
“They are amazing parents, and I know my son has a huge family who loves and cares so much for him,” Candice, a birth mother, said. “I am forever thankful for that. Jeff and Amanda saved my baby’s life!”
14. The adoption process isn’t “goodbye.”
Choosing adoption means entrusting someone else with the responsibility of parenting your baby. But, it doesn’t mean your connection with them ends forever. It just changes.
How could that be? When you start the adoption process, you can decide to have an open adoption. This lasting connection with your child can give you confidence and peace about your adoption decision. You’ll be able to watch as your child grows, thrives and experiences all of the love of the adoptive parents you chose for them.
15. Open adoptions are very common.
It’s true. Most modern-day adoptions are at least semi-open. You may be worried that it will be hard to find a family that is willing to have this type of communication after placement. But, that’s not the case when you work with a good agency.
The best adoption agencies only work with families who are committed to open adoption and understand all the benefits this connection can create.
16. You get to choose how much communication you want before, during and after your adoption process.
We mentioned that most adoptions are “semi-open.” What does that mean? It has to do with the level of openness — which is something you get to choose. When starting the adoption process, you can decide if you want an open, semi-open or closed adoption.
Open adoptions are a direct relationship. You know each other’s contact information, and you can get in touch often. Semi-open adoptions maintain a bit more privacy. An agency might help mediate, so you send your correspondence through the agency. Closed adoptions cut off communication, letting everyone go their separate ways moving forward.
Which level of openness sounds better to you? You have the authority to decide during your adoption process.
17. Open adoption relationships can last a lifetime.
“They became my family,” Caitlin, a birth mother, said about her open adoption. “Knowing that I can be around and be there — I don’t even know how to put it into words.”
Every open adoption relationship is different, but stories like Caitlin’s are becoming more and more common. These relationships can last a lifetime, and they can benefit everyone involved.
18. The process of adoption usually includes adoption financial assistance.
Pregnancy can be expensive. And then, of course, there’s the cost of parenting. Can adoption help with that?
Yes, there is adoption financial assistance to cover your pregnancy-related costs when you start the adoption process.
19. You can’t get paid in the adoption process.
While this assistance can cover many of your expenses, you can’t get paid for adoption. There aren’t adoption agencies that pay you, and you shouldn’t trust anyone claiming otherwise.
20. The adoption process is always free to you.
However, the process will never cost you a dime. Thanks to free services and financial assistance, you can focus on the adoption process without added financial stress. If you are considering adoption because the cost of pregnancy and parenting will be too much to bear, this is important to know.
21. A lot of expensive things can be covered during your adoption process.
Every state has laws about financial assistance, meaning you may be able to receive more (or less) depending on which state you live in. Generally, this assistance can cover things like:
- Medical expenses
- Legal fees
- Costs of living (like utilities, housing and transportation)
- And more
22. The adoption process might be the best thing for your life.
Adoption happens when courageous people make a decision that creates a better future.
It creates a better future for you, because unplanned pregnancy doesn’t have to be the end of your story. It creates a better future for those two adoptive parents, because they want to give all their love to a baby. And it creates a better future for your baby, who will grow up in a loving, safe, supportive family.
The adoption process is not always easy, but it is always worth it.
23. You can start your adoption process today.
You don’t have to wait. You can get the support and services you need today. Contact us now to connect with a helpful adoption professional.