Here are some things placing parents need to know. (Unfortunately, though, not all adoption professionals will tell you this upfront.) Anyone who believes in adoption has a natural bias, so they’re likely to present information in a way that may (or may not) adequately prepare you. Making an adoption plan is one of the biggest commitments any parent ever makes, so get all the info you can upfront, in order to make a fully-informed decision.
It’s tempting to go with whomever makes the process seem easiest, but that’s usually a clear sign that they’re not genuinely invested in you– only the outcome. Check out their state licensing records– that’s public info. (The biggest advertiser in the USA, whose Google ads keeps urging pregnant women to “choose us!” isn’t even an agency, is not licensed in Texas and isn’t supposed to be advertising here.)
And whomever you decide to work with, take your time to be sure that adoption is the right choice. In Texas, no legal decisions about placing can be made until at least 48 hours after the birth, so don’t let anybody rush you into anything.
For those who are already sure adoption is the right choice for them and their babies, here are a few more things placing parents need to know…
Adoption is a lifelong arrangement for what may be a temporary problem.
When expectant moms come to Abrazo, we talk with them about why they’re thinking about adoption and what their expectations are. Sometimes they think we’re trying to talk them out of adoption? But we’re really trying to discern whether they are thinking realistically about what adoption can (and cannot do) for them and their child. Every unplanned pregnancy is a time-limited crisis, after all. Adoption is a lifelong commitment. Sometimes, what’s really needed is just time to consider all alternatives, to make the least restrictive choice.
Adoptive parents aren’t perfect people and cannot ensure an adoptee has a perfect life.
We know: adoption profiles can look enticing. Adoptive parents are so eager to adopt, they sometimes sound like they have everything anyone could need in life. But nice as they are, no adoptive family is perfect. Parents who adopt encounter parenting challenges just like anybody else. Their marriages don’t always last. And their adopted kids may sometimes struggle to feel they belong. No matter how much you like any adoptive parents, they’re bound to have bad days, too, and they won’t be perfect parents any more than you would be. They’re going to make mistakes along the way, too, so be realistic..
Money should never (ever) be your primary reason for considering adoption.
Having a baby isn’t cheap, and raising a child can get expensive. But money problems are usually temporary, so don’t let financial issues be your only reason for placing a child for adoption. It’s true: the public seems to think that’s always a “reasonable” reason for an adoption decision, but it should never be your only reason for doing this. And if you ever get the feeling somebody is using money to influence your adoption decision, get away fast. It is a felony offense to give or receive payment or gifts of value in exchange for an adoption in every state.
Open adoption never comes with guaranteed outcomes.
Any open adoption is an arrangement of trust between the placing parents and the adopting parents. In Texas, any contact agreements voluntarily made between the adults are not legally-enforceable. If you don’t keep your communication promises or if the adopting parents don’t, the courts won’t do anything about it, and adoption agencies can’t, either. We’re not saying don’t trust anyone, because good people will follow through, in our experience. But just go into this knowing the other party well enough in advance to know if you can really trust them (or not.)
Letting go hurts, and parts of that hurt just might last forever.
Every adoption (yes, even open adoptions) requires placing parents to surrender all their parental rights forever. If you carry a baby for nine months, letting go is going to be hard, no matter how sure you are about your decision. Birthmothers do experience grief and loss (and sometimes secondary infertility, as well.) Having quality counseling before and after placement can help you manage the emotions, but open adoption doesn’t cancel out the loss and it won’t eliminate all the pain. That’s why having adoption professionals you can trust to stick around and a strong support system is so important for your recovery, both short-term and long-term.
Your child may or may not grow up to approve of whatever decision you make.
Choose not to place and your child may resent having had to forfeit the better life they might have had. Decide to go through with the adoption, and your child may grow up to thank you– or he/she may forever wish he/she could have grown up with you instead. There’s no way to predict (nor control) how the future will be impacted, of course. Adoption doesn’t guarantee adoptees a better life, just a different one. And only you can know, in your heart, what choice you feel will be best for you both.
Don’t get us wrong…
Adoption can be (and usually is) a very positive decision for a child’s future, when it’s done the right way and for the right reasons. But it is never (every) a simple transaction and it’s rarely an easy thing to go through for anyone involved. That’s why you need adoption professionals you can truly trust, not just from the start until placement, but for years and years to follow. (And that’s where Abrazo really shines.)
Whether you’re completely new to the adoption process or if you’ve already signed up with another adoption program and feel you’ve made the wrong choice, Abrazo is here to help. You can count on us to shoot straight with you, and you can reach someone on our staff anytime: just text HELPME to 210/860-5683 or call 1-800-454-5683 and ask to speak with a counselor.
We can’t promise to always tell you what you want to hear, but we guarantee that you can trust us to be forthright in telling you the things placing parent need to know… whatever you ultimately decide.