First Step: Decide Between Parenting and Adoption

Choosing adoption for your unborn baby is quite possibly the biggest decision you will ever make. Before you make any decisions, you should first fully explore your options. Speaking to a neutral counselor about all of your options is your first step in making sure that adoption really is the best decision. Pregnancy clinics or licensed therapists are probably your best bet for finding a truly neutral pregnancy counselor.  Click here for pregnancy centers in your area.  When you speak to a counselor, make sure that you ask all of your questions.   Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions: what if my family doesn’t know I’m pregnant? How far is “too far” along for an abortion?  What’s it like to give a baby up for adoption? Can I get help finding housing for me and my baby?

Second Step: Find a Trustworthy Adoption Professional

If you think you are seriously considering adoption for your baby, your next step is to find an adoption professional who can answer your questions about adoption and help you understand what to expect throughout the adoption process. Finding an adoption agency or attorney you can trust can be very challenging, as there are lots of people who appear to be certified adoption professionals, but actually aren’t. Some of these entities spend a lot of money on internet advertisements trying to find pregnant women who say they want to “give up my baby for adoption.” These so-called adoption professionals promise waiting adoptive families that they will find them a baby and charge them thousands of dollars for their services.  Often, these ads says things like, “give up baby for adoption at no cost to you,” or, “put baby up for adoption with loving couple and receive living expenses.” These kinds of ads should serve as big, red flags for you. Anyone who uses money or living expenses to get you to click on their ad should be avoided. AdoptMatch screens all of our adoption attorney and agency partners to make sure they use the highest standards in adoption. You can find an ethical adoption agency or attorney in your state here.

How to Choose an Adoptive Family. What to Look For.

In your first meeting with your attorney or social worker, you should discuss the type of family you want for your baby. This should take some time to figure out. Do you want to place your baby for adoption with a traditional two-parent family?  Is it important to you that your child look like his/her adoptive parents? Do you prefer a family that has other children? If so, do you prefer that those children be adopted? Is faith an important consideration for you? Do you want the family to live near you? What about contact after the adoption? Do you want to receive photos? How about visits? These and many other questions should all be discussed with your adoption professional. AdoptMatch is a great place to begin learning about potential adoptive families. Once you start thinking about the kind of parents you are looking for, many other questions will likely come to mind.  Click here to start viewing AdoptMatch approved families now.

Matching with an Adoptive Family.

If you find a family you like on AdoptMatch, you submit a Request for More Information to the family’s agency or attorney, who will provide you with more information about the family, including information about where they live, their extended family and why they want to adopt, They will also gather some information from you including medical records and background information (including things like your family medical history and your likes and interests) in order to make sure you and the family are a good match. It’s important to be completely honest about your medical and social history because you want the family you choose to be equipped to be wonderful parents to your child.

Meeting In-Person with Potential  Adoptive Families

It’s best to meet with the adoptive parents in-person before deciding that you’ve found the right family for your baby. The match shouldn’t be considered official until this happens. Sometimes, an in-person meeting isn’t possible, but if it is, be sure and take advantage of the opportunity. If you don’t live near one another, the adoptive family will probably be happy to come to you for the meeting. After the meeting, if you decide you want to move forward with the match, your next step is to meet with your attorney. It’s important that you and the adoptive parents both have your  own attorneys and to know that you a confidential space to ask questions.

Choosing the Right Adoptive Parents

If you ever find yourself feeling  “stuck” with a particular family, agency, or attorney, you’re not. You are in control of the adoption process and nobody should be allowed to pressure you into making a decision you’re not comfortable with. It’s your right to choose the adoptive family and you should only move forward with a family if you feel peaceful about your decision. You also have the right to ask for contact with the family and the child after the adoption. Don’t feel you can’t ask. worry you’re asking for “too much,” or don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings by doing so. If you find that your hopes for post-adoption contact don’t align with the potential family’s, seek out help from your attorney or social worker to have a conversation about everyone’s expectations. Again, It’s important to be honest. Just as you wouldn’t want to settle for a marriage partner, you shouldn’t settle for an adoptive family that you don’t feel great about. You’re not looking for perfection, but you need to be confident that they will be great parents and on the same page when it comes to post-adoption contact.

Taking Your Time with Your  Decision

Of course, at the end of the day, the most important consideration is what’s best for your child.

You ’ve chosen adoption because you love your child. Adoption is hard and is a lifelong journey. The choice of an adoptive family is one of the most important you’ll ever make. Take your time and feel free to ask as many questions as you need to. And don’t shy away from asking the hard questions! Asking about the adoptive parents’ hobbies and favorite sports teams is fine, but those aren’t the things that matter most. How’s their relationship? What challenges have they faced together? How do they handle conflict? Are  they close with their extended families? Do either of the adoptive parents struggle with addiction? What’s their childcare plan? Remember, you are gifting the adoptive parents in the most amazing way possible. Choose them with great care and with your child’s very best at heart. She (or he!) will thank you down the road.

What to Do When Facing an Unplanned Pregnancy

Facing an unintended pregnancy is scary and stressful. A million questions run through your head. “What am I going to do?” “How am I going to tell the dad?” “Is my family going to freak out?” “Am I ready to be a parent?” “Could I actually go through with an abortion?” “What about adoption?”

Considering Your Unplanned Pregnancy Options

Once the initial shock wears off and you can think clearly again, it’s time to seriously consider all of your options. You want to make a good decision, but none of your options are easy. Abortion may seem like a quick fix, but ask most women who have had an abortion and they’ll tell you that there are many lasting consequences. Parenting may be your first choice and if you think that’s your best option, there are many resources available to support you and help you succeed. If you don’t want to have an abortion and aren’t ready or in the right circumstances to parent, adoption may be the best choice for you and your unborn baby. Try finding birth mothers looking for adoptive families.

Where to Find the Best Adoptive Parents for Your Unborn Baby

When you’re first considering adoption, the idea of actually being able to find adoptive parents you love may seem like an impossible task. The good news is, there are more than 100,000 couples in the U.S. who want to adopt a baby. That means you have a heck of a lot of families to choose from and shouldn’t choose adoptive parents unless you think they’re pretty great. While we don’t suggest you hold out for the perfect adoptive couple (mostly because they don’t actually exist!), you should definitely be picky when it comes to choosing adoptive parents for your child. So, where should you start?

Let’s start by telling you the where you shouldn’t be looking. Here are the Top Three Places You Shouldn’t Look for Adoptive Parents for Your Unborn Baby:

The only legitimate places to start your search are either a licensed adoption agency or an adoption attorney (but NOT an adoption facilitator). Sounds good, right? But wait. It’s not enough to reach out to just any licensed adoption agency or attorney. Why? Because, while it’s sad to say, many adoption agencies and attorneys are not looking out for your best interest. Unfortunately, some of these so-called adoption professionals are motivated mainly by the opportunity to profit from adoption. As such, they should be avoided at all costs.

Where to Find the Best Adoption Agency

Where should a woman considering adoption for her unborn baby look to find the best adoption professionals and adoptive parents? AdoptMatch is the best place to start. AdoptMatch connects you with agencies, attorneys and adoptive families who are ethical, compassionate and committed to making sure you receive the support you need and deserve throughout the adoption process.

Support During Your Pregnancy

The adoption agencies and attorneys you’ll find on AdoptMatch will make sure that these things happen:

The other thing AdoptMatch offers an expectant mother considering adoption is full access to a wide range of potential adoptive parents. You should never limit your choices to the families that any one particular agency or attorney happens to be working with. AdoptMatch gives you access to adoptive families and adoption professionals from all over the United States. AdoptMatch families, attorneys and agencies all share one thing in common – they are all committed to ethical and compassionate adoption and to making sure that the adoptive parents and expectant mother all receive adequate support throughout your pregnancy and after the adoption is complete.

Adoption is not “giving up your baby.” Adoption is a parenting choice.

Facing an unintended pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster.

Getting pregnant with an unintended  pregnancy will result in a wide range of emotions. The fact that your body is being flooded with high levels of all kinds of hormones won’t help matters either. After the initial shock subsides, most women facing an unintended  pregnancy will experience a mixture of fear of the unknown, fear of the reactions of friends, family, and the father, embarrassment, and often confusion. On a happier note, you may also feel excited—after all, there’s an  actual life inside you! If you’re considering placing your child for adoption as an unintended pregnancy option, feelings of guilt may also creep in.  Many women feel guilty for thinking about “giving up” their baby for adoption or for considering abortion as an option.

Your Three Pregnancy Options

The fact is, while there are all kinds of emotions that come with unintended pregnancy, there are obviously only three options to consider: 1. Keeping, that is, parenting your baby; 2. Aborting or terminating your baby; or 3. Placing your baby up for adoption. In making your decision, It’s incredibly important that you receive neutral, unbiased help to thoroughly consider your options—we call that options education— visit our resources page to find an options counselor in your area. If you’re seriously thinking about adoption for your baby, it’s very important to fully consider your reasons for adoption. While adoption is a painful choice, sometimes it is the best one. As difficult as it can be, there are, in fact, good reasons to choose adoption. Usually, it’s not just one of these reasons that leads a woman to choose adoption, but a combination of factors. Every woman and child is unique, special, and worthy of help making a plan that is truly best for each. If you refuse to let fear and guilt motivate you, you can openly and honestly consider your options.

Making an Informed Choice About Your Pregnancy

For some women the choice between adoption or abortion is adoption because, for whatever reason, abortion is not an option for them (maybe they believe it is morally wrong, maybe they already recognize their baby as a child whom they love, or maybe they are too far along in their pregnancy to abort safely). For many women thinking about the adoption process, their previous experience with abortion has convinced them that they could never endure the experience of having an abortion again. Similarly, sometimes parenting is simply not a viable option.  Health issues or addiction can make parenting unsafe or unrealistic. When there is a strong possibility that a social worker with Child Protective Services will become involved, it can be a very smart decision (and one that protects your other children) to make an adoption plan before the baby is born and the hospital involves CPS. Birth parents have the right to make a private adoption plan for giving baby to adoption specialists and avoid having the child placed into the foster care system. Women in prison, likewise, also have the right to make a private adoption plan without involving CPS. An experienced adoption law attorney is probably necessary to help you navigate this—an AdoptMatch professional in your state is a good place to start.

Adoption when Parenting is an Option

Most women facing an unplanned pregnancy, are fully capable of parenting yet some still choose to start the adoption process. One of the most compelling reasons that women who are capable of parenting but ultimately choose adoption cite for their decision is their desire to give their biological child a life that they cannot give them themselves. Lots of single parents desire their child to be raised by both a loving mom and dad and just don’t see that happening for themselves anytime soon. Providing opportunities for their child that they are not in a position to give can also be a factor. A woman choosing adoption should be given her options of the type of adoption and a wide range of adoptive families looking to adopt to choose from. So choosing adoptive parents that can provide her child with the kind of life that she cannot can be easier. Any agency or attorney, or facilitator that pushes you towards a particular adoptive family that you aren’t sure about should be avoided. It’s okay to say no. It’s even okay to hurt someone’s feelings on this issue. If you are choosing adoption specifically because you are envisioning a certain kind of life and family for your child, then by all means, finding adoptive parents from the many waiting families prepared for an adoption home study that can provide that. Remember, though, that most kids would prefer to be with their birth parents, if possible, then to live by the beach or have private ballet lessons. Giving your child a “better” life isn’t all about the stuff that you can or cannot buy them. It may be about stability, two adoptive parents, or a healthier environment though. Only you know your personal situation and only you can fully evaluate if the benefits of adoption will truly be the best choice for your child.

Adoption as a Way to Protect Yourself and Your Child

Often, single pregnant mothers point to their lack of nearby friends and family to help them to parent or a bad (or absent) relationship with the baby’s father as reasons for making an adoption plan for their unborn child. The desire to help a child avoid an ongoing relationship with an abusive birth father is a frequent reason for adoption. Victims of sexual assault or domestic violence may find protection for themselves and their child through the adoption process. Even in less severe circumstances, mistakes and bad choices sometimes happen, and adoption can be an option when the birth father is not the person that you are in a relationship with now. Choose an adoption agency that encourages talking through biological father issues and other potential adoption barriers. Discussing these and other related issues with an experienced adoption professional can really help clarify if certain adoption opportunities are right for you. When you do, be honest and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Other Reasons for Adoption

It’s so important to know that placing your baby up for adoption does not mean that you are not capable of parenting or that you are a bad person. It’s very common for birth mothers to express the feeling that they are just not ready for a child at this point in their life. Sometimes that is because they are young or in school, sometimes it’s because they know they have personal stuff they need to deal with to be a physically and emotionally healthy person, sometimes it may be a relationship that they are in (or not in), and sometimes it’s just because they know that they aren’t ready to parent yet. While it should not be a driving factor in your adoption decision, you may really also like the idea of helping a married couple struggling with infertility by giving your baby to them.  All of these reasons for choosing adoption are valid and are anything but “giving your child up.” These reasons come from a thoughtful heart and a desire to choose what’s best for you and your child.

Money Should Never Be the Only Reason to Place Your Baby for Adoption

Sometimes, women cite reasons like lack of financial assistance or no money to support themselves during pregnancy or when the baby is small as reasons for choosing the adoption process. Money alone should never be the motivation for adoption. While it may be a legitimate factor in your decision, it shouldn’t be the only factor. A pregnancy resource clinic in your area can certainly help you find the support you need to carry, deliver, and parent your baby successfully. Money is most often a factor when a mom already has other children she is caring for and feels that another child would just be too much with living expenses, both financially and emotionally. A good open adoption plan that includes the siblings can be a positive option for her.

Any birth mother who chooses adoption needs to know that no matter how strong her reasons for placing her baby up for adoption are, it is emotionally excruciating.  Open adoption can help alleviate some of the pain, giving you an opportunity to watch your child grow and develop, albeit from afar, but it does not take eliminate your feelings of grief and loss. However, knowing that you have carefully weighed your options and made a fully informed decision that you believe is in your baby’s best interests, will give you peace in the difficult days ahead. The AdoptMatch team is happy to help you refer you to professionals who can assist you as you process your options and guide you on the road ahead.

Parenting is not an option for everyone.

If you’re reading this, you probably feel like the whole world is crashing down right now. To say that an unplanned pregnancy or baby is difficult is the total understatement of the century. Baby is perfect, but your situation is anything but. The brutal truth is that parenting is not always a viable option for everybody. Whether you are already struggling to parent other children and the new baby is putting things over the edge or this is your first child, it may be that parenting is no longer the best option for you and this child. That said, the decision to place a baby or child up for adoption after birth is honestly the biggest decision a human being can make and it should never be made hurriedly or without serious counsel.

Run, don’t walk, away from any adoption agency or individual that attempts to pressure you into a hasty decision.

When you consider adoption, contacting a social worker or an adoption agency should give you access to experienced adoption counselors and adoption professionals who can help guide your decision- making process without pressure. This article talks about your right to choose adoption at any time, some things to consider, the basic adoption process, and types of adoption. However, AdoptMatch strongly encourages you to talk with a neutral counselor who can provide you with answers for any adoption questions you have, your adoption options, and resources and support should you choose to parent. Contact us for help connecting with resources in your area.

In most cases, you have the freedom to choose adoption at any time, even after the birth of your baby.

If Child Protective Services has gotten involved in your child’s life, though, your time for choosing adoption may be shortened. It’s vital that you get counsel from an attorney in your area to help you make an adoption plan if that’s what you choose. If CPS isn’t involved, you can even make an adoption plan after you’ve brought the baby home from the hospital (or, in the case of an older child, at any time since adoption at any age is possible), provided you have the birth father’s consent or his rights can be handled another way.

Placing your baby up for adoption after birth is very similar to what would happen if you had made a final plan earlier.

There are waiting adoptive families looking to adopt for whom a call to come and meet a newborn would be a dream come true, even if there may be some issues involved. If you already have a family in mind, you will need to contact them through their attorney or adoption agency and let them know you are considering them for parenting your child. It’s important that you be represented by your own attorney in this process, to handle things like the post adoption contact agreement and to make sure that you are totally comfortable when you choose an adoptive family. Their agency or attorney should set you up with your own attorney. If they don’t, ask that they do. You can reach out to your own attorney as well. AdoptMatch maintains a list of attorneys who specialize in representing birth parents and expectant parents. If you don’t have a family in mind or if they aren’t already working with an adoption professional, AdoptMatch is a great place to start looking at family profiles for waiting families who are adoption home study ready and working with an ethical adoption professional. If you see someone you like, you can send a Request for More Information and their agency or attorney will contact you shortly. You can also reach out directly to an agency or attorney in your area.

Don’t rush into choosing a family you’re not comfortable with!

One thing you really need to be careful about is rushing into something because the baby is already here. Don’t settle for a family you aren’t comfortable with. Never be pushed into choosing a family that is not right for you and your child. Most adoption attorneys can arrange respite care for the child if you don’t want to bring a baby home while you are finding the right family. Don’t feel like you have to commit to the first family you think you might be interested in. You may want to speak on the phone with them and then meet them in person. AdoptMatch highly recommends that you meet a family in-person before signing any documents relinquishing the baby to them. You may want to read Questions to Ask Adoptive Families to help cover some of the topics you will want to make sure you discuss. Just make sure that if you are considering multiple families, you let everyone involved know that so they can keep their hopes in check and so you won’t be accused of misleading anyone. Adoptive families will, of course, have questions for you as well. They will want to view your medical records and the baby’s records and of course see the baby. Even if there is information that you are afraid will scare them away, go ahead and share it anyway. In adoption, as in just about everything, honesty really is best and leads to happier results in the long run.

Consider post adoption contact and “open” adoption.

One discussion you will need to have very early on with a potential adoptive family is how much post-adoption contact you will have with the child. Most adoptive families are well educated on the benefits of open adoption and are very open to not only sending pictures and letters regularly, but to annual or twice annual visits between them, the child, and you. Don’t be afraid to express what you want and to request a written agreement formalizing what you all agree to. Your own attorney will help you formalize this agreement and understand whether or not it is legally enforceable in your state.

Make sure you receive the support you need throughout the adoption process.

You can also request that you receive counseling as you go through both the decision-making process and the difficult process of actually releasing your child to his or her new family. Especially if you’ve already spent time with the baby or if the baby is older, you will definitely want to have someone who can help counsel you through the hard feelings of grief and loss that are sure to come. If the child is old enough to understand what is happening, it’s also absolutely vital that a therapist trained in transitions be involved to help ease the trauma that a change of custody introduces to an adopted child. If you have just delivered the baby, the adoptive family should be able to cover the medical expenses surrounding the birth and, depending on the state, and help provide you with some basic financial assistance to get you back on your feet immediately following the birth. Of course, the adoptive family will handle the cost to adopt the baby and pay for all of the counseling, legal, agency, and any other adoption costs associated with the adoption process.

Don’t fear the reactions of family, friends, or the birth father.

It’s likely that your decision to place your baby after birth may be met with concern and even anger by some of your friends and family and possibly the baby’s father causing adoption disruptions. Hopefully, their concern comes from real care for you as the birth mother. If that’s the case, then your adoption professional should be able to educate them about adoption and help them understand that you have carefully considered your choices and are doing what you feel is best. Sometimes including them in the open adoption plan can be a big step towards helping them become comfortable with your decision. The birth father issue can be a thorny one and it’s incredibly important that you rely on the judgment of your attorney and the adoptive parent’s attorney regarding how to communicate your adoption decision with him. Usually, unless he’s been supportive of the pregnancy and has held himself out to be the child’s father, or you are married to him, his rights are pretty limited and his cooperation is not necessary for the adoption process to proceed. In determining that, though, make sure that you are completely honest with your adoption attorney and counselor so they can navigate that issue wisely.

Ultimately, it is never too late to choose adoption for your baby after birth. Don’t let fear of judgment cause you not to do what you believe is truly best for your baby. On the other hand, never let anyone pressure you into adoption if you believe that parenting is the best option for you and your child. There are resources to support you in whatever decision you make. AdoptMatch is here to help do just that.

The agency or attorney tries to convince you that even though they’re not licensed to practice in your state, they can still handle everything “over the phone.”

AdoptMatch-approved adoption agencies and adoption attorneys are committed as adoption guides to assisting expectant parents who consider adoption where they live for a local adoption and help them make adoption decisions. The benefit of working with a local agency is that they connect you with services you need in your area, such as counseling, education, transportation, medical care, etc, not through a telephone line or over text, but in-person. You should never agree to work with an adoption agency or attorney who is out of state, even if he/she tells you they can provide everything you need over the phone and through email. Going through an adoption is quite intense and demands professional support. The relationship between you and your caseworker or attorney is more than important than most people realize. They both need to be very familiar with your state’s specific adoptions laws. They should also be able to connect to a wide range of local resources.

The agency or attorney fails to connect you with your own attorney early in the process.

Some agencies and attorneys apparently believe that because the adoptive parents and pregnant mother are working together toward the shared goal of the adoption, there’s no need for the birth mother to have her own attorney. AdoptMatch strongly disagrees with that view. Placing a child for adoption is a legal process and one that will forever impact the birth mother’s life. The intention of separate legal representation for both parties isn’t to “stir up trouble.” In fact, it’s just the opposite. Having an attorney provides assurance that you’ll have your rights and responsibilities and other adoption information thoroughly explained to you before you sign the adoption consent. The last thing you (or the parents looking to adopt) want, is to look back on your adoption experience feeling that you were kept in the dark or never fully understood what was happening. Having your own attorney gives you the peace of mind, knowing there is someone looking out for you and only you.

The agency or attorney doesn’t require you and the adoptive parents to have an in-person meeting before a “match” can happen.

It’s true that you can learn a lot about prospective families looking to adopt through long phone calls, late-night texting sprees and emails. Skype or Facetime offer an even easier method of getting to know one another; however, once you’re at the point of actually choosing an adoptive family for your child, there’s nothing that can take the place of an in-person meeting. In some situations, that may not be possible. If it is, you should politely insist that they make it happen. It doesn’t really matter if you travel to them or they to you, but whatever effort is required will be worth it down the road. Choosing adoptive parents for your child is a sacred responsibility – it’s one moment in life you want to get right. When you spend time with the prospective adoptive parents in-person, you’ll have a chance to watch them interact with one another, to observe their non-verbal communication, get to know them in a relaxed setting and begin bonding with them before baby arrives.

The agency or attorney doesn’t require a written post-adoption contact agreement.

If your adoption social worker tells you it’s fine to merely have a verbal agreement (or handshake deal) that covers your post-adoption contact or, worse yet, casually suggests that you and the adoptive parents should chat about post-adoption contact at the hospital and let her know what you decide, it’s time to push back. Note: If you’ve followed our above advice (see no. 2), you will have your own attorney and this won’t even be an issue!). But if not, you still need to politely (but firmly) request that the agency or attorney assist you and the adoptive parents work out a mutually agreeable contact agreement and put it in writing for all to sign. After all, that is precisely the job of both an adoption agency and attorney.

In 2018, the majority of domestic adoptions are categorized as “open.” It’s important to know that “open adoption” can be defined in many different ways, ranging from receiving periodic pictures and letters of your child, to seeing him or her on a regular basis. Be honest with the adoptive parents about what you want in terms of post-adoption contact and why you think it will be best for your child. Adoptive parents, as well as birth parents, are often guilty of tip-toeing around this issue, not wanting to stir up conflict. We promise you that it’s much better to have those difficult conversations up front, with the help of a knowledgeable adoption counselor than to have to deal with hurt feelings, misunderstanding and resentment later. (Tip: If you really don’t feel up to having contact in the near future, ask for an agreement that reserves your right to request letters and photos (and even visits) later. That way, if down the road you change your mind, it won’t be too late no matter how many months apart between your decision and the baby’s birth.

The agency or attorney doesn’t offer you adequate counseling with an experienced and licensed therapist who is experienced with issues of grief and loss.

We’ve noticed lately that just about every adoption agency and attorney’s website out there promises 24/7 counseling and support for birth mothers. “We’re here for you” is the typical mantra. Unfortunately, our experience with birth moms at all stages in their post-placement journey tells a different story. The truth is that very few adoption agencies (and even fewer adoption attorneys) offer anything close to adequate post-placement care for birth mothers. Placing a baby for adoption is a traumatic life event. In order for a birth mother to begin to heal, she needs access to therapy (and not just for 2 or 3 sessions), peer support from other birth mothers (preferably those who are farther along in their post-placement recovery) and sustained care from family and friends. Make sure you thoroughly discuss this issue with the adoption agency or attorney before you agree to work with them in your adoption. If comprehensive, post-placement support is not a regular part of how they care for birth mothers, it may be best to find a different adoption professional.

Choosing Adoption Isn’t Giving Up

“When I chose adoption for my son, the last thing I did was give up.” – Sierra, Birth Mother

Facing an unplanned pregnancy is overwhelming. You’re under pressure to make a decision, but it’s a challenge to even think clearly. Who should you turn to? Family? Friends? Counsellor? You know that’s it’s your decision, but it may not be one you ever thought you’d have to face. Whether you choose abortion, parenting or adoption, you need to first get educated about all three of your options. Start gathering information about adoption while pregnant from as many sources that you can – websites, adoption forums, and the like. Remember, the best choice is an informed choice.

Even if your circumstances are not picture perfect, parenting may be your best option. Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

Is Parenting Your Best Option?

Will your family help you raise a child?

How about the baby’s father? Regardless of whether you’re in a relationship with him or not, he has a responsibility to provide financial support for his child since he is one of the birth parents.

What local parenting resources and support is available? Find out what programs are in your area. Visit a local daycare and ask them about government-subsidized childcare. Most counties will provide or at least contribute to childcare (assuming you will qualify) as long as you’re in school full-time or working a certain number of hours per week. Get educated about other resources in your area, including child care, parenting classes and even housing and support groups. You can find some of the available government resources out www.adoptmatch.com to find a database of some of the government funding available.

Is Abortion Your Best Option?

You may conclude that you’re just not equipped to parent and that abortion is your only realistic option. If so, you must first seek out accurate and honest information about the short and long-term effects of abortion. Sure, everyone’s abortion is experience is different, but the vast majority of women confirm that going through an abortion is traumatic and has lasting consequences, despite the fact that having an abortion obviously resolves the issue in the short-term.

Is Adoption Your Best Option?

Adoption is your other option, but before you start down the adoption journey, you need to have a clear understanding of what the adoption process is all about, including how to find parents hoping to adopt, which agency or attorney to work with, your state’s laws regarding expectant parent living expenses, what are birth fathers’ rights, post-adoption grief and support resources and post-adoption contact.

In the end, the only way you can truly know which option is best for you and your child, is to gather as much information as possible, listen to birthparent’s adoptive parents and adoptees talk about their adoption story and then honestly evaluate your circumstances in light of everything you’ve learned. Going at this alone is not recommended. It’s best to seek counsel from individuals you respect and trust, such as a parent, older relative, teacher, counsellor, pastor or medical provider. As you consider each option, make lists of the pros and cons of each. In the end, don’t be tempted to shy away from the hard decision. You can do hard things and you’re stronger than you think.

How to Find the Best Adoption Agency or Attorney

If you decide adoption is the best choice for you and your unborn baby, your first step is to find a trustworthy adoption agency or attorney to assist you in finding an adoptive family you love. But don’t just rely on your search engine to do the work for you. The adoption professionals who appear at the top of your search results may not necessarily be the most ethical or even qualified to offer you the guidance you will need. Thankfully, AdoptMatch has made it easier to find an adoptive family who is committed to an ethical and compassionate adoption. AdoptMatch-approved adoption professionals and their adoptive families are committed to post-adoption contact, separate legal representation and ensuring your needs are met throughout the adoption process and beyond, including assistance with reasonable living expenses, counseling, transportation, medical care such as prenatal care, housing, birth education and legal representation.

How to Find an Adoptive Family for Your Unborn Child

It’s hard to know where to begin looking for an adoptive family for your child. The good news is that you can choose from literally thousands of qualified (home-studied) waiting families with adoptive parents waiting for a child to adopt. If you don’t find some great options among the families your agency presents to you, be sure and ask to see additional profiles until you do. Before you consider any families, take the time to think hard about what you’re hoping to find in an adoptive family. This is another great time for list-making. There are the basics to consider, such as ethnicity, marital status, faith, sexual orientation, other children in the home, geography, career/education, etc., but there are also more nuanced considerations including the adoptive parents’ individual family background, marital issues, communication styles, conflict resolution skills and, of course, hobbies, taste in music and favorite sports teams. The latter is obviously not as important, but most of our birth mother clients report that the more similarities and interests she shared with the adoptive family, the easier it was to forge a relationship. That makes perfect sense. We’re drawn to people with whom we feel a connection. For an expectant parent, choosing parents who are looking to adopt is often a matter of finding people she can relate to and who she sees herself in.

The Importance of Birth Mother Counseling

AdoptMatch firmly believes that counseling is a vital part of a birth mom’s experience during and healing after an adoptive placement. Having the support of a counselor in the months leading up to your baby’s birth can make a huge difference in just about every aspect of your adoption; from your relationship with the adoptive family, labor and delivery, interactions with the hospital staff, your time with baby after delivery to your overall hospital experience, being emotionally and psychologically prepared will significantly impact

A counselor equipped to deal with issues of adoption-related grief and loss can help prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster ride that you may find yourself on from the moment you step through the hospital doors to the moment you exit empty-handed. While there’s nothing magical about counseling, it can definitely help alleviate some of the long-term adoption trauma and feelings of loss that an adoptive placement brings. Counseling can create a safe space where you’re invited to acknowledge your feelings of heartache, rather than ignoring them with the hope that they will simply diminish with time. Chances are, they will not.

We understand that just because counseling is available, that doesn’t mean you’re going to take advantage of the chance to go. When things are emotionally hard, it can be a serious challenge to drag yourself to the counselor’s office for the fun of drudging up painful topics. Life gets busy and it may seem easier to instead try to ignore the pain (aka burying your head in the sand) rather than dealing with it. Because they understand the importance of post-placement support, AdoptMatch-approved professionals do everything they can to make it easier for a birth mother who is thinking about adoption to actually attend her therapy sessions, such as offering the option of attending counseling via skype or via telephone, in addition to regular in-office meetings. They may also offer transportation to counseling appointments if needed.

How AdoptMatch Can Help

Finding out you’re pregnant when a baby wasn’t in your immediate plan, is never easy. In fact, an unplanned pregnancy may be one of your life’s most difficult experiences. Getting pregnant means that in nine months, you can potentially have a baby girl or baby boy in your arms. Whether you choose abortion, parenting, or adoption, there will be uncertainty ahead and hurdles to overcome.

Ultimately, the responsibility is on you to make this choice, and it’s not an easy one.

AdoptMatch is on a mission to ensure that if you do decide to pursue adoption, you will have access to compassionate, qualified adoptive families and ethical, experienced professionals who are committed to a child-centered adoption.