How to Give a Baby Up
The first thing to know about how to give a baby up is that the best kinds of adoption are not about “giving up” your child, but instead, placing him or her with a loving family you can trust… forever.
‘Giving up your baby’ is how folks used to see adoption, back in the days when mothers were expected to hand over their kids to complete strangers, walk away and never look back. That was what is called “closed adoption” and it really wasn’t healthy for anybody.
See, whether or not you can afford to raise a child and whether or not you chose to become pregnant and whether or not you are ready to parent, there are still things your child will need from you, and there are things you will need out of an adoption.
Your child is going to need to know about you. He or she will need to know you put some thought into this decision, that you considered all your options carefully, and that you did whatever you truly felt was best for you both.
And you will need to choose an adoption agency you can trust, to help you look at all your alternatives, to prepare you for the ups and downs, to arrange and cover support and services before, during and after the adoption, to supervise the family you choose for your child, and to be there for you and your child and his or her family over the years to come.
That’s where a private, nonprofit, licensed adoption agency like Abrazo becomes important. You need an agency that’s close enough to where you live that they can come see you if you need them. You need some place where you know the people that work there well enough that you know they truly care about you and your child. You need people you can trust.
Here’s what to expect…
The first time you contact Abrazo, you’ll be provided basic information about adoption and how it works, and you’re offered the opportunity to meet with Abrazo’s staff, like our maternity coordinator, April, who is easy to talk to and can answer any questions you may have; or Elizabeth, our director and resident therapist; or Ximena, our counselor who speaks fluent Spanish.
All of our services are free to prospective birthparents (people who are planning an adoption for their child.) There’s some paperwork to fill out so Abrazo can open a file and begin the process of helping you find the right family for your child, once you’ve considered all your options and feel sure adoption is how you want to proceed. (You need to know, though, that in Texas, you cannot sign any final legal paperwork committing you to an adoption decision until your baby is at least 48 hours old.)
Abrazo makes both private counseling and a support group available to all prospective birthparents, but it’s up to you if you wish to make use of it. We can set you up with a doctor, if needed, help arrange housing if you have nowhere to stay, provide you with rides to prenatal appointments, and have whatever family you choose for your child come meet you in advance of the birth if you wish. The State allows Texas-licensed agencies like Abrazo to also provide limited financial assistance with certain maternity needs like groceries and clothing and utilities or rent or medical bills, if needed, before and after placement.
At birth and after
When the baby is born, it’s your choice whether you want the adopting family there at the hospital. It’s your choice if you want to pick the baby’s name to go on the original birth certificate. It’s your choice how much time you want to spend with your baby in the hospital. And it’s your choice whether or not you still feel going through with an adoption is the right decision. The legal paperwork can be done in the hospital or at the agency or even in your home, if you wish, and the baby goes right home with the adopting family (no foster care is required.)
You and the adopting family decide how often you want to get together or be in touch after placement, and Abrazo has a voluntary written open adoption agreement drawn up to document what everybody feels comfortable with. (If you do not wish to keep in touch, that’s your right, as well, but Abrazo and its adoptive families hope you will.)
Abrazo’s staff continues to be available to you after the baby goes home with the new family, because making an adoption decision, however sure you are, is a tough thing to go through, and you’re going to need you have support afterwards, too.
Get this: whether you give up a baby for adoption or you make a loving placement plan, it means letting go of the rights and responsibilities of parenting that child, and that’s not easy, especially when a piece of your heart goes with that child. And this is where picking the right adoption agency is especially important– you need to know you are working with an agency that is honest enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear.
Because even if it’s tempting to sign up with some place that will gloss over the hard parts and only tell you what you want to hear, the truth is that you (and your child) are going to need the kind of place that is invested in your long-term welfare (for both of you.) Adoption isn’t easy– but then, neither is parenthood, or marriage, or any of the most important endeavors we sign up for in this lifetime.
If you need to know how to give a baby up for adoption, then know this: you need to get in touch with Abrazo and learn how to make a loving lifetime adoption plan, instead– for you and for your baby.