If you are in an unplanned pregnancy and the idea of parenting seems too overwhelming, adoption may be the perfect option for you. Below are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about adoption. 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 (info@IllinoisRightToLife.org). No matter what, you’re not alone. We will be here for you.
Adoption Is Common
It’s actually a lot more common than you might think. Thousands of women and men choose adoption every year. Even though they aren’t ready to be parents, they want their babies to have a beautiful life full of love and laughter. In Illinois alone, 4,115 children were adopted in 2012. That is the equivalent of 10 jumbo jets full of children! And that is just in one single state, in one single year. Approximately 135,000 children are adopted in America every year.
Behind every one of the 135,813 children adopted in the U.S. each year, there is a birth mother who loves her baby, a mother who wants the best for herself, for her child, and for the many families waiting to adopt.
What Does Adoption Cost?
Most adoptions carry completely no cost to the pregnant mother looking to place her baby up for adoption. All of the adoption services, any counseling, and medical fees, available can be completely free.
Is Adoption Right for Me?
If you’re not ready to be a parent or circumstance make you unable to raise a child, 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, however it was also the toughest decision. You will have peace of heart know that your baby’s adoptive family can be handpicked by you. Some adoptive parents are only able to have a family because of your strength in placing your baby up for adoption.
Adoption allows you to pursue your dreams and give your baby a beautiful future and family. As we walk you through the facts about adoption, just remember: 1) Adoption can be free for the birth mother and 2) Adoption is common. For information and judgment-free advice you can call Birthmother’s Choice hotline at 1-888-535-2654.
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 the best option for you is. 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.
Is Adoption Complicated?
Adoption counselors are there to make it as simple as possible for you. There are resources and guidance available for you every step of the way. Just talk to your adoption counselor or call us (312-422-9300) if you need help finding one.
My Future After Adoption
Birthmothers like you have gone on to finish college, raise other children, have successful careers, and/or start new families of their own. Some adoption agencies even have scholarship programs! Placing your baby up for adoption is a difficult decision. After the adoption however, you will have peace in your heart knowing your baby knows you love him/her and s/he is loved by the adopted family as well.
What If I Don’t Want Anyone To Know I’m Pregnant?
No one has to know. Pregnancy is very personal. Adoption agencies can keep the process completely confidential upon your request. You can see more information here. There are also maternity homes, which may have anonymous housing for throughout the duration of your pregnancy. You can always call Aid for Women (312) 621-1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Well of Mercy at 773-274-4227 or email@example.com. You can also check out other maternity homes on our page here, or call us at 312.422.9300. You can find other maternity homes at Lifecall (call them at 1-800-662-2678) as well. Birth Mother’s Choice also has confidential housing available to keep you and your baby safe and comfortable.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for just give us a call at 312-422-9300 and we’re happy to help you with whatever you need.
How Do I Start the Adoption Process?
You are not alone. We are here to help you through the process if you need it. You can always call Illinois Right to Life at 312-422-9300 if you would like someone to walk with you through this process. Or you can call the Adoption Center of Illinois at 1-800-676-2229 or text them at 1-872-588-0757.
First, take a deep breath. You may feel overwhelmed or panicked right now, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This is an extremely big decision. But you’re going to be okay. You’re going to get through this.
Take your time. You do not have to make this decision immediately. You can make your adoption decision at any point in your pregnancy. You can even wait to decide on adoption until after your baby is born. Do not let anyone pressure you into choosing a family or an adoption agency before you are ready.
Next, get in touch with an adoption counselor. Adoption counselors are available and waiting to give you all the information you need. Just because you call them doesn’t mean you are making a commitment to put your baby up for adoption. Your first step is just to make a phone call and gather information.
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)
Catholic Charities: 1-312-454-1717
American Adoptions: 1-800-236-7846
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.
Now let’s talk about the birth and hospital stay. You do not have to finalize the adoption right away. In fact, you cannot sign your legal consent to an adoption until at least 3 days after the baby is born. Even then, you do not have to sign until you are ready. Once you sign your consent, the adoptive parents officially gain full parental rights.
During this time, it is your decision where you give birth, how much time you spend with the baby, and whether or not the adoptive parents are present. Make sure that you write down what you want and talk about it with everyone involved: your adoption counselor, the adoptive parents, the hospital staff, and other trusted people who are close to you.
If you need emotional support after the adoption, your adoption counselor will also be available afterward to help you find the support you need. You can also contact:
Adoption Center of Illinois: (800)-676-2229
Catholic Charities: (312) 655-7088
Here are some birth mother support groups:
American Adoptions: 1-800-236-7846
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.
More Questions Answered
What about the baby’s father?
If your baby’s father is absent, unknown, or unsupportive, the adoption agency you choose will help you navigate the necessary legal paperwork and provide any emotional support you need.
If your baby’s father is involved, he can walk with you every step of the way as you both make this decision together.
What if my baby has special needs?
Illinois adoption agencies have families waiting and wanting to adopt children with special needs! If you think your child may have special needs, talk to your adoption counselor. They can help you find a loving and healthy family for your baby.
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.
Under Illinois law, the first point at which a birth mother may relinquish parental rights is 72 hours after the birth of your child. Once you sign a form called Final and Irrevocable Surrender for Purposes of adoption, it is FINAL and you cannot change your mind.