“It isn’t something you wrap your head around overnight,” says Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books. You are going to go through “a rollercoaster of emotions and it is both okay and healthy for you to go through these emotions,” adds Felicia Curcuru, Huffington Post.
Step 1) Create a Support System
According to Planned Parenthood, about half of all women in the U.S. have an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives.
“Unexpected pregnancies are not events that should be dealt with alone,” says Elizabeth Danish, HealthGuidance. It is important to develop a support system – friends, family, co-workers, and/or counseling professionals. However, not everyone is lucky enough to already have a strong support system around them .
“If you feel like it’s hard to find support within your family or circle of friends, try finding support from other places,” says Felicia Curcuru, Huffington Post. There are support groups, online communities, and counseling centers where women can go to find emotional help.
Step 2) Discuss Your Options
When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, there are several options to consider, including parenting the child, placing the child in a family member’s care (kinship caregiver), terminating the pregnancy, or creating an adoption plan. The ultimate choice is up to birth mother and birth father, and there are a number of factors to discuss when trying to plan your future.
“Being informed is the only healthy way of acting once women find out about their pregnancy,” says Danish.
Talk with the birth father, 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. Here are some questions to explore:
- Am I in a place in my life where I can be a good parent?
- Can I handle pregnancy and childbirth?
- Do I have the support system needed to raise this child?
- Can I afford to raise this child?
- Am I the best option to raise this child?
- Would I ever consider adoption? How do I feel about someone else raising my child?
- Would I consider other options?
“If you are interested in adoption, start doing some research into both the good and the bad,” says Curcuru.
Step 3) Researching Adoption
If birth mother and father decide adoption is the right choice, it is important to start thinking through the 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.
- Contact an Adoption Agency: Having someone to guide you through the process can make everything feel less overwhelming. So, finding the right adoption agency is critical. Look for an adoption professional that meets the needs of you and your family.
- Research Types 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, while Closed Adoption usually means that birth parents and adoptive parents do not meet or know anything about one another.
- Take Advantage of Counseling: Adoption counseling is a great way to explore your feelings in a safe and constructive environment. 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.
Want to Talk?
Adoption Makes Family is here to listen, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our experienced professionals can help and counsel you so that you make the best decisions for your and your child.
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