If you are in an unplanned pregnancy and the idea of parenting seems too overwhelming, adoption may be the perfect option for you. Perhaps you’re not ready to be a parent or circumstances make you unable to raise a child – no worries. Adoption is an incredibly loving option for you and your baby. Most adoptive mothers say placing their child up for adoption was the best decision they made.
If you’re considering adoption, you probably have lots of questions. Here are some answers to common questions about adoption.
What are my adoption options?
You have several options in the adoption process: closed adoption, semi-open adoption, or an open adoption. When you place your baby up for adoption, the adoption agency and adoption counselors will work with you to determine what is the best option for you. The main goal of every adoption counselor is to make you comfortable and happy with the decision you choose.
Closed adoption: In a closed (or confidential adoption), the agency will choose a family to place your child with. The birth mother and the adoptive family identities are kept confidential from each other. The adoption is facilitated by the adoption agency. After the adoption, there is no communication between the birth mother and the adoptive parents/child.
Semi-open adoption: In a semi-open adoption, the adoptive family and the birth mother identities are usually kept confidential from each other. The adoption agency facilitates the adoption. After the adoption is complete, some contact may remain between the birth mother and the family although the identities are usually kept confidential. This could include letters, emails, or even visits organized through the adoption agency.
Open adoption: In an open adoption, you, your adoption agency, and the adoptive parents work together to plan how closely you want to keep in touch. Open adoptions include the birth mother meeting the potential adoptive family and selecting which family she would like the baby to be adopted into. Open adoptions can also include visits between the birth mother and the adopted child after the adoption has been finalized as well as phone calls, emails, and letters to stay in touch with the family and the child. Open adoptions typically include a very open and welcoming relationship between the birth mother, the adoptive family and the child throughout the child’s entire life.
What will my child think of me?
You are a superhero! You are showing incredible love for your baby by choosing adoption. Your baby will grow up knowing that you want – and will always want – the very best for him or her. You are providing the baby with a life full of love and compassion. Some adoptive parents are only able to have children because of your strength in placing your baby up for adoption. Here’s more information for you.
What if I change my mind?
You can change your mind at any point in the adoption until you sign the parental right surrender documents (signed after the baby is born). You do not have to make the adoption decision immediately. You can wait to decide on adoption even until after the baby is born. Do not let anyone pressure you into choosing a family or an adoption agency before you are ready. There will incredible and loving families waiting to adopt your baby when you are ready to make your decision.
In Illinois, birth mothers must wait until 72 hours after birth to give final consent for adoption. This means 72 hours after the final papers are signed, the birth mother can change her mind about adoption. After those 72 hours, the adoption is complete. Fathers, however, can relinquish their rights earlier.
Can I talk to someone about it?
Here are a few adoption agencies where you can get in touch with adoption counselors to learn more about the adoption process:
Bethany Christian Services: 1-800-Bethany (1-800-238-4269)
American Adoptions: 1-800-236-7846
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois: 888-671-0300
Adoption Center of Illinois: 1-800-676-2229
St. Mary’s Services: 1-800-ST-Marys (1-800-786-2797).
You can call whichever one you like. Or call all five. The important part is that you feel comfortable with the agency you choose. You don’t have to go with the first agency you call. Just which one feels right for you and your baby. While we don’t facilitate adoptions, we are happy to walk with you, every step of the way through your adoption process. Just give us a call (312-422-9300) or drop us an email (confidential@IllinoisRightToLife.org). No matter what, you’re not alone. We will be here for you.
And don’t forget…
Once the adoption is complete, pursue your dreams! What are your life goals? Do you hope to finish high school, go to college, find a spouse, or travel the world? Read about other young women who have pursued their dreams after adoption, and watch the story of a young birthmother who was able to stay in college. Many mothers who choose adoption are college students. There are even scholarships available through some adoption agencies to young mothers who choose adoption.