Many adoption stories begin with a pregnant teenage girl. She is scared, sometimes alone and often financially instable. While this profile may not be completely accurate for all teenage births, it is a familiar story. The decision to put a baby up for adoption is always a difficult choice; the process is long, involved and daunting for many young mothers. Here is a small jump start to the process. An outline of the options available will often makes this easier when it comes down to decision making. The most important thing to keep in mind is the baby. What is best for the baby’s future should be the first concern for all parties involved.
There are two options for adoption open to birth mothers. These options are confidential adoption and open adoption, and each has its own delineations throughout the process.
The birth parents and adoptive parents do not meet or exchange information personally at all. Everything passes through an adoption agency or attorney. The only information kept by the adoptive parents in the medical history of the birth parents in order to care for the child. A letter may be left with the adoption agency or attorney to give the child at a pre-determined age; however, the adoptive parents can opt against this until the child is an adult.
The open adoption involves both sets of parents to one of four degrees.
- Least Open Adoption
The birth parents will review material on perspective adopter possibilities and choose. No names will be transferred between parties, and the child will not have contact with the birth parents (much like a confidential adoption).
- More Open Adoption
The choice of the adoptive parents is still up the birth parents; however, first names will be exchanged through remote communication such as phone calls or email. This will most likely not continue after the adoption process has been completed.
- Even More Open Adoption
This choice allows the birth parents to meet the adoptive parents at a neutral location. A social worker or attorney will be present at the meeting to help facilitate the adoption. Again, communication after the adoption process will most likely end.
- Most Open Adoption
With a completely open adoption, the birth parents are involved past the adoption process. The adoptive parents agree to allow the birth parents contact with the child throughout the child’s life. Full names, addresses, phone numbers and the like will be traded, and the two families may become very close. The specific terms of an open adoption will be laid out by the social worker or attorney and agreed upon by both the birth and adoptive parents. The important thing to remember here is that the child is no longer the birth parent’s child. They are a part of the adoptive family now and should be treated as such at all times. This may be very difficult for the birth parents; this option, as all decisions concerning the child, should be considered very carefully.
Regardless of the decision made, it is important to remember that this is ultimately the decision of the birth parents. They need to be open to the advice they are given and not allowed to remain selfish when it comes to the future of the child. Keep the baby’s best interest for their pursuits in life at heart, and the individual right decision will be made in the end.