When you choose to pursue adoption, whether you’re a prospective birth parent or adoptive parent, you’ll have many adoption options available to you. Each adoption is unique, and this is largely based upon the different aspects involved, including:
- What kind of adoption you want to complete
- What kind of professional you want to work with
- What kind of prospective birth parents or adoptive parents you want to work with
- What kind of communication you want before, during and after the adoption
In addition to these, certain adoption options, like a pregnant woman’s hospital plan or a prospective adoptive parent’s budget, will be unique to each party of the adoption. To learn more about these kinds of adoption options, talk to an adoption professional about your individual situation and how it may impact your adoption process.
In the meantime, here are the basic adoption options available to both prospective birth mothers and prospective adoptive parents:
Your Adoption Options – Types of Adoption
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make in your adoption process is deciding which type of adoption is right for you. Your individual circumstances will play a large role in this choice.
If you’re currently pregnant or have just given birth to your baby, you will complete a private domestic infant adoption. This process allows you to plan for your child’s adoption during your pregnancy and gives them the chance to be raised by their adoptive family from the moment they’re born. If your child is in foster care and you want to relinquish your parental rights, you might complete a foster care adoption. If you want to place your child with a family member, you would enter into a relative adoption.
If you’re a hopeful parent wanting to grow your family through adoption, you have a couple more options. In addition to adopting a baby through a private domestic infant adoption or an older child from foster care, you may wish to complete an international adoption with a child from another country. Or, you may wish to adopt a relative’s child or a stepchild to formalize an existing parent-child relationship.
Your Adoption Options – The Adoption Professional
After you decide what kind of adoption you want to complete, you’ll need to find a professional to help you through the process. Again, what kind of adoption you choose and the amount of assistance you need will determine what adoption professional you’ll work with.
In general, you have a couple of adoption options for choosing a professional:
- An adoption agency: Known as “one-stop shops,” adoption agencies can provide assistance through every aspect of your adoption. They can get you started and make sure you meet the proper requirements, match you with a prospective birth mother or adoptive parent, coordinate communication, complete legal requirements or refer you to a trusted attorney, and be there for you months and years after the adoption is complete. You can work with a national adoption agency or with a smaller agency that focuses on adoptions in your state or region.
- An adoption attorney: Adoption attorneys can provide all of the legal assistance you need to finalize an adoption. Certain attorneys will also be able to counsel you through your adoption journey or even match you with a prospective birth mother or adoptive family. Pregnant women and adoptive families who have already been matched with someone they know may choose to complete an independent adoption with only the assistance of an adoption attorney.
- An adoption facilitator: Adoption facilitators and law centers often provide great matching services but will refer you to other professionals for counseling, mediation and legal services. While adoption facilitators may be an option for your adoption professional (depending on your state’s laws), the lack of government review and services offered usually makes them an ill-advised choice for a professional.
Before you start considering adoption professionals, it’s important that you contact them and ask them questions about their services and their organization. You’ll want to make sure you’re comfortable working with them and trust them, as they will be responsible for working with you through a process that will change your life.
Your Adoption Options – Choosing a Birth Mother or Adoptive Family
Finding a prospective birth mother or prospective adoptive family is one of the most important aspects of your adoption. This will be the person that you work with throughout the process and that you will create a lifelong connection with in a successful adoption.
When you pursue adoption, you will have the chance to express your preferences for an adoptive family or prospective birth mother. It’s important that you are comfortable working with this person and having a lifelong relationship with them, which is why your adoption professional will take note of your preferences before showing you potential matches.
For example, if you’re a prospective birth mother, you can choose what kind of contact you want with the adoptive family, where the adoptive family lives, what kind of lifestyle they lead and more. Prospective adoptive parents can also describe the amount of contact they want, as well as the health and lifestyle situations they’re comfortable accepting in a prospective birth mother.
Your Adoption Options – Your Communication Preferences
Today, 95 percent of adoptions are open or semi-open, meaning that the prospective birth mother and the adoptive parents share communication before, during and after the adoption process. While open adoption has countless benefits for all members of the adoption triad, you will always have the choice to decide if you even want open adoption contact and, if so, how the communication will proceed.
Adoption communication falls on a sliding scale, with closed adoptions representing no exchange of communication and little exchange of information and open adoptions meaning the adoptive family and birth mother know first and last names and communicate directly. Your adoption professional will likely mediate between you and the other member of the adoption process to find a communication level you’re both comfortable with.
Open adoption communication can include everything from pictures and letters sent every few months to emails and texts to phone calls and in-person meetings. Your open adoption communication preferences may change as you become more comfortable with each other, and your adoption professional may provide mediation services for future contact if you choose a semi-open adoption.
Your Adoption Options – Deciding What’s Right for You
Adoption can be a complicated process and it may seem overwhelming when you start. That’s why discovering what your adoption options are is so important — so you can create a process that works best for you and your family.
To learn more about your adoption options and what might be right for you, reach out to an adoption professional today.