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How to Prepare for an Adoption

Prepare for AdoptionThe road to adoption is not always smooth. There are often speed bumps and even potholes along the way. This is true for both birth parents and adoptive parents. So, it is important to be as prepared as possible to ensure a smooth placement and an overall positive experience for all involved.

Making the Decision

Whether you are choosing to create an adoption plan or welcome a child into your family, adoption is not always an easy decision. It is one that requires a lot of thought – and often research. Educating yourself is the best way to prepare for the road ahead.

    • Birth Mother: “Being informed is the only healthy way of acting once women find out about their pregnancy,” says Elizabeth Danish, HealthGuidance. Talk with your family doctor, talk with an adoption counselor, talk with family and friends, and do your own online research to truly evaluate every option.
    • Adoptive Parents: “Whether it’s joining an adoptive parent support group, talking to adoptive parents or visiting adoption websites – it’s important to gain as much insight and knowledge as you can,” says Adoptions from the Heart.

Both birth mothers and adoptive parents can benefit from a strong support system, as well. “Women should share their thoughts on this experience and surround themselves with a supportive group of people,” says Danish. Everyone’s support system looks different. The important thing is to surround yourself with positive people who will actively help you throughout your journey – whatever that may look like.

“If you do not have a positive support system, you can see that through an adoption agency worker/counselor,” says Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C, Adoption Makes Family.

Research Adoption Agencies

Adoption is a complex process. “All adoptions involve some level of ‘red tape,’” says Katie Overstreet, an adoption agency professional. It’s important to understand the process and know what to expect. Having someone to guide you through the process can make everything feel less overwhelming. So, finding the right adoption agency is critical. Your adoption agency will be your partner throughout your journey, from that first phone call through placement, and beyond.

“There are thousands of adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and adoption facilitators that can help you through the adoption journey,” says Adoptions from the Heart. “When choosing a type of an adoption professional, you must be sure they meet the needs of you and your family.”

Decide on the Type of Adoption

There are two primary forms of adoption, Open Adoption and Closed Adoption.

Open Adoption means that information may be shared between birth and adoptive parents. The degree of openness depends on the birth and adoptive parents’ wishes. In an open adoption, adoptive families send letters and pictures to the Agency to be forwarded to the birth parents. Birth parents may also send letters and pictures to be forwarded to the adoptive family.

A Closed Adoption, on the other hand, usually means that birth parents and adoptive parents do not meet. They may not know anything about one another. The adoptive parents might not even know the name of the birth parents. They will, in general, not get any identifying information about one another and they will not be in contact in the future.

Pre-Adoption Counseling

Whether a birth mother or adoptive mother, pre-adoption counseling is a great way to explore your feelings in a safe and constructive environment.

Adoption Makes Family is a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal. Adoption Makes Family will provide you with counseling throughout the adoption process. And this relationship does not end on the day of discharge from the hospital.

“Counseling is a necessary component of infant adoption, not just prior to placement but, in many cases, after placement as well,” explain Chuck Johnson and Kris Faasse.

In many instances, counseling continues after placement. You are encouraged to stay as close as you feel comfortable. The support is here for you.

If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at dr.kirschner@adoptionmakesfamily.org or use our online contact form.

Sources

  1. “5 Things To Do To Prepare For The Adoption Process.” Transracial Adoption: When Parenting a Child of Another Race, 4 Jan. 2017, afth.org/preparing-for-adoption/.
  2. Overstreet, Katie. “Preparing for Adoption.” Focus on the Family, 25 May 2010, www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/adoptive-families/adopting-children/preparing-for-adoption.
  3. “Step 3: Prepare for Adoption.” The North American Council on Adoptable Children, 25 May 2017, www.nacac.org/help/how-to-adopt/steps-to-adoption/prepare-for-adoption/.
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