The first thing you need to know that there’s nothing about giving up a baby or placing a child for adoption that is easy or simple. But if you’re thinking about adoption, chances are you already know that, because it’s a hard thing to think about. You can always call Abrazo at 210-342-5683 anytime, day or night, if you have questions or need to talk. It’s our job to help you think about all the aspects of open adoption, so you’re prepared and so that you know what to expect. But “doing your homework” is important, too, so here are a few more resources to help you make your own best choices…
Read up! A few books we think are especially helpful for parents who are placing are Lifegivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoption by James Gritter and The Open Adoption Experience by Lois Melina and Sharon Kaplan Roszia, and The Third Choice: Second Edition by Gail Foge and Gail Mosconi. (All are available on Amazon.com)
Consider adoption counseling. In addition to the in-office counseling Abrazo’s staff gladly provides, we can provide placing parents with a licensed, private therapist who will be available before and after placement. Adoption is not always the right choice for everyone, although it can be a very positive decision for many, so taking advantage of the opportunity to have your very own therapist/life coach can really help you sort through your alternatives, evaluate your support system and work on your coping skills.
Learn about childbirth in advance. Your ob-gyn will likely provide you with information about what to expect in the course of labor and delivery, but if he/she doesn’t, your Maternity Services Coordinator at Abrazo will gladly help get you whatever information you request. And check out what else we’ve found to help prepare you: free online childbirth course. (How awesome is that?)
Prepare for separation, loss & grief. Placing a child for adoption means losing the right to parent that child yourself, and with every loss in life, we experience grief to one extent or another. Dr. Kubler-Ross identifies the stages of grief as being “denial, bargaining, anger, sadness and acceptance” and she believed that most human beings tend to bounce back and forth between those stages as they adjust to a loss. (Find more info here about healthy grieving.) Factor in the hormonal fluctuations that every mother experiences after childbirth, and you can understand how some women who place might really feel overwhelmed by all the emotions, while others might find them more manageable. That’s where counseling can really be helpful, in enabling you to ride the waves of emotion that may come after you place a child for adoption.
Get your adoption law questions answered upfront. Adoption is a lifelong decision, and in Texas, once relinquishment documents (the legal papers that allow a child to be adopted) are signed at least 48 hours after birth, it’s final. Want to view a copy of Abrazo’s legal document in advance? Just click here: Sample Relinquishment Upon written request, Abrazo can arrange for placing parents to meet privately with an attorney before placement, if they have any questions about the relinquishment papers or the process by which the courts terminate parental rights to free a child for adoption.
Make use of all available support. In addition to Abrazo’s private counseling, and weekly birthparent support group meetings, Abrazo also offers a private Facebook group for mothers who place through our program. And you can find additional information (and the support of other Abrazo moms) before and after placement, 24/7, on Abrazo’s Forum, at http://www.abrazo.org/forum.
Know the pros and cons of placing. Ultimately, only you can know whether or not making a permanent plan for your child’s future to join another family is best for you both– or not. Take some time to also read this brochure, created by a birthmom who placed her child for adoption elsewhere and wants to prepare women for all the positives and negatives of what it means to be a birthmother: Heather Lowe’s Adoption Advice. Knowing all the ins and outs of the adoption decision helps everyone make better choices, after all, and at Abrazo, we fully support your right to make your own best choices– both for your sake, and for that of your child. Call us, anytime, and let’s talk. We’re here for you.