Adoption Talk Blog | A Baby Step Adoption

Things to NEVER say to a Birthmother or the Child who was Placed for Adoption

It’s a lifelong decision that is never easy to make. Placing a child for adoption is not about giving up a baby, nor putting up a baby. It’s about creating a future. Adoption changes a birthmother’s life forever, and it’s important that the adoptive family, her own family and everyone in between realize the impact of that choice and support the birthmother through their actions and words. Although the people in her life usually do not mean any harm, certain phrases can truly hurt a birthmother’s psyche. Similarly, an adopted child can also be harmed by the terms commonly used to describe adoption and the scenarios that can lead to a birthmother choosing adoption.   They can make the child feel unwanted, disposable and unloved, all of which can be very damaging to their self-esteem and long term emotional growth. 

Here are some common terms we should forever retire when it comes to placing a child for adoption:

Unwanted Pregnancy
Unwanted insinuates the baby was never wanted, nor will ever be wanted. Feeling unwanted is feeling unloved. No child at any age should ever feel this way no matter the circumstance of their birth. From the minute they are born, they should feel loved. When you think about it, in reality, placing a child for adoption, is not giving up a baby but is the ultimate gift of love.  The birthmother loved her child enough to selflessly give him or her the gift of life, and of course for the adoptive parents, the gift of the child they often have always wanted.  A much better term would be unplanned pregnancy.

Illegitimate Child
Often times, the child who was placed for adoption is described as an illegitimate child. The word illegitimate has an extremely negative connotation, inferring something is outside the norm, even criminal. Those words can have a profound impact on the child who was placed for adoption.  A child should always feel treasured and important. Children cannot be illegitimate. A better way to describe a child is loved or adored.

Gave Up for Adoption
No other term is more greatly misused in adoption than “She gave up her child for adoption.” The truth is, the birthmother did the exact opposite of giving up a baby. Giving up a child for adoption suggests the child was not wanted or needed. On the contrary, the birthmother made a conscious decision to give their child a better life, one she felt she couldn’t provide. A child who hears they were given up may ask themselves why their birthmother didn’t want them. A birthmother could be hurt by this phrase as well since most of the time, love and selflessness are usually the reason they choose adoption in the first place. A better term would be “placing a child for adoption.”

Placing a Child for Adoption can be a delicate situation, but if the people in the lives of the birthmother and adopted child think before they speak, and realize how certain words could be conveyed, it would be a more uplifting, positive experience for everyone.

Post Adoption

Post adoption is a very important time for all parties involved in the adoption process. For the adoptive family, the final stage of the adoption, bringing home the baby, is incredibly amazing in so many ways! For many, it’s their first role as a parent. For others, the newly adopted child is joining siblings in their forever home. Either way, all of the preparation finally pays off. The child you have yearned for is yours.

On the contrary, for the woman who chose to give her baby up for adoption, this can be a painful and emotional time. The decision to place the baby for adoption coupled with the hormones running throughout your body post pregnancy can be a difficult combination that can sometimes lead to sadness and even depression.  It is important to remember you did not give your baby up for adoption; you made an adoption plan for his or her future. You made a selfless choice. There is no greater gift or sacrifice.

For The Adoptive Family

Once you bring home the baby, the relationship with your caseworker and your adoption agency does not abruptly end. A Baby Step Adoption Agency offers post adoption services where your caseworker will visit you in your home and see how the family is doing. We are here to support you, answer any questions you may have or any concerns that have arisen since the baby was born. It’s a significant time during the adoption process. We want to make sure you and the baby are adjusting well. Many of our clients go on to maintain contact with their caseworkers. We are always here for you through the years, and we ALWAYS love to see photos and get updates from our forever families.  A Baby Step Adoption Agency supports the open adoption process for those who make open adoption agreements forever.

The very last step in the adoption process is the finalization. As long as the placement is working well, a request for a hearing is submitted to the court. Many legal obligations must be met before this date. A Baby Step Adoption Agency was founded and continues to be run by an American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) lawyer so you can rest assured every legal right and requirement will be in place before the finalization. At the hearing, the judge will review the information presented and will approve the adoption. This is an incredibly joyful time for our forever families and the final step of the adoption. It’s been a long journey, but trust us, it is totally worth it!

For The Birthmother

Even when the decision to give your baby up for adoption was made months before the actual birth, the reality of the adoption can often hit home after the baby is born. Rest assured, it’s very normal to have feelings of sadness and, sometimes, even regret at this point. Remember why you chose to place your child for adoption in the first place. The reasons are always personal, but one thing is consistent for all of our birthmothers. These women are brave. These women are strong. These women know they are choosing a better life for their child. They are not giving up a baby at all. They are choosing to give their child the gift of adoption, the gift of a better life. Whatever your circumstances, there was a reason you felt you couldn't become a parent. Trust your gut, and know you made someone else’s dreams come true. There will be a road to recovery after giving a baby up for adoption, but A Baby Step Adoption is here to help you get back on your feet and support you every step of the way.

For All Biological Parents and Adoptive Families

Fortunately, at A Baby Step Adoption Agency, you will have one of the best adoption attorneys who is familiar with the adoption laws in all fifty states. You are also backed by the best Pennsylvania Adoption Agency who works nationwide for US domestic adoptions.  All of your questions,  your adoption options, and your legal right issues, will be answered and addressed long before your final adoption hearing.

Pregnancy & Planning

The pregnancy and planning phase of the adoption process is an exciting one!  If both parties have chosen an option adoption, these months are often used for the birthmother and the family to get to know each other.  An open adoption allows for communication between the two parties, while a closed adoption limits the contact.  Whether you have selected an open or closed adoption, this special time of the adoption process is always filled with planning and preparations for the birth of the baby.

For those who have chosen an open adoption, contact options between a birthmother and an adoptive family can vary widely. You may get to know each other before the birth through email, mediated phone calls with your adoption counselor, in person meetings or first encounters at the hospital. For both parties, this interaction can bring much comfort that you have selected the perfect adoptive parents for your child or that you feel comfortable with the birthmother who has chosen to give up her baby for adoption.

For the Birthmother

When you decide to give your baby up for adoption, it is ultimately your decision whether to have an open or closed adoption. Open adoptions have become increasingly popular over the past several years and can be a wonderful way to learn about your child’s adoptive family.  If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and have deiced to have an open adoption, you can expect to get to know the adoptive family prior to placement. This can be hugely gratifying as you will know your child will be in good hands with the family you choose to raise him or her. The family may request to attend ultrasounds and/or doctor’s appointments with you. They may want to meet with you periodically to check in and see how you are doing. The contact with the adoptive family can help you confirm that you have chosen the perfect match for your child, and the relationship can grow after the child is born and throughout his or her childhood.

Like the type of adoption you choose, you will have full control over your birthing plan. Your caseworker will assist with in creating your plan for delivering the baby and help you understand what will happen at the hospital. Depending on your type of adoption, the adoptive family can be present during the birth or not. These decisions are entirely up to you. You have chosen to give your baby up for adoption, and you will continue to make choices during the entire process. Ultimately, all of the details are up to you!

For Adoptive Families

If an open adoption is mutually agreed upon, many of our clients get to experience the magical moments of the pregnancy from the ultra sound to monthly checkups. This is a good time to forge the relationship with your birthmother. Remember she is going through an emotional journey as well as an unplanned pregnancy so be mindful of her situation and her feelings. She has chosen to give her baby up for adoption but the magnitude of her decision may not have set in yet. The pregnancy stage can be surreal. Support her and ask how she is doing often. After all, her selfless decision to give her baby up for adoption is allowing you to become a parent.

Depending on how the details of the birthing plan play out and the type of adoption both parties have agreed upon, an adoptive family may be able to be in the room for the birth of the child.  This can be an incredibly powerful experience for you and for the birthmother, and is the first step on the magical journey of parenthood!  Once the baby is born, you usually must wait 48-72 hours before you can sign the adoption paperwork.

For Both Parties

Contact between a birthmother and adoptive family after the adoption is official can be as extensive or limited as all parties’ desire it to be.  Some birthmothers are interested in receiving regular pictures and letters of their child – sometimes for up to 18 years after the adoption – and may enjoy engaging in exchanges of emails, phone calls or even visits.  Others want only occasional updates and may over time decide to limit contact.  Whatever path you both choose, rest assured that it is the right one, because it is what makes you feel most comfortable.  Also remember that there is always a family or a birthmother who will want the same adoption relationship that you do, and it is worth waiting to find that right connection.

The Matching Process

We are continuing our Adoption Talk series this week by highlighting how the matching process works. This is a topic that both birthparents and adoptive families often have many questions and concerns about. How long does the matching process take? How does the matching process work? Can I choose the family my baby will be matched with? What if I don’t find a match for my baby? We will cover all of these questions and more in this article, and welcome you to reach out to us with any additional concerns you may have.

For Adoptive Families

Once you have all of your clearances, documents and home study in order, the process of actually finding a baby for adoption begins.

Carefully developed by ABSA Director, Barbara Casey, our Agency Match Program will link you immediately with all available adoption situations from the day you join. This means there are no long wait lists! Due to our extensive outreach and numerous referral sources from adoption attorneys, agencies and other adoption professionals, we are able to match our families with the right expectant mother who is facing an unplanned pregnancy or child quicker than other agencies. Once you join our agency match program, you will be informed of all current and new leads that come into the agency, and have the opportunity to have your adoption profile shared with birth mothers around the country who are hoping to give their baby up for adoption.

To start the matching process, you and your family will create an adoption profile. Our caseworker will assist you with this project. The profile is basically a brochure describing you and your spouse, and children if you have them, your journey to adoption and the kind of family you hope to raise. We encourage you to make this a fun process. The more detail and personality you include, the better! Women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and have decided to give their baby up for adoption will review the profiles to find a good fit for their baby. We will make sure any woman who is seeking adoption for her baby through our agency sees your profile.

When a birthmother chooses your profile as a match, you will be provided with additional information about her, and will receive complete social and medical history background information so that your decision to proceed with the match is a well informed one. Once you have had an opportunity to review all of the available information, and are satisfied that the match is a good fit, the adoption process can continue. As information becomes available during the pregnancy, we will pass it on to you so that you feel well informed and connected. In some situations, if both parties agree, you may even have an opportunity to talk to or meet with the birthmother throughout the pregnancy.

Our average match at A Baby Step occurs in less than 6 months of you signing the agency's pre-match contract. However, it can take more or less time depending on your personal preferences. The more open you are to choices, the faster you will match! Last year 62% of our families matched in less than 6 months, and 92% matched in less than 9 months.

For Birthparents

For many women facing an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, the adoptive process can seem overwhelming and intimidating.  Many women fear that once they chose adoption for their baby, they will lose control of their choices. When a birthmother calls saying, “I want to give my baby up for adoption,” our first step is to explain you’re not just giving up a baby or putting up a baby, you are choosing a future. It’s the beginning of a process that can be as open as you choose. Rest assured that when working with A Baby Step, the choice as to where your baby will go after his or her birth remains in your hands! This is especially true during the matching process, where you get the opportunity to “match” your baby with the family of your choice.

Once you decide to work with A Baby Step, you will be assigned a caseworker who will be available to provide you with ongoing support and guidance. This is particularly true during the matching process. Your caseworker will ask what you are looking for in an adoptive family. You may consider ethnicity, religion, marital status and length of marriage, any previous marriages, age of parents, any other children in home, employment status of parents, financial stability, compatible personalities and openness to ongoing contact with the birth family before and after the child’s birth. When you choose to give your baby up for adoption you have the ultimate say in who your baby is matched with, which will help ease the emotional feelings you may feel as you go through the adoption process.

Based on your criteria, your caseworker will provide you with profiles of waiting families and, if needed, will help you to sort through them and find the match that is right for you. We encourage you to design your own adoption plan, which will help you find the right match and a family that shares your values, goals and plans for the future. We will also work with you to decide on whether you would prefer an open or closed adoption and the type of contact you desire. Once you have taken some time to look over the profiles, you will have the opportunity to meet or speak with the family or families you are interested in before you make your final choice for your baby's adoption.

You do not have to face unplanned pregnancy alone. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support you through the matching process and beyond.

Next Step

Once the birthmother and the adoptive family have “chosen” each other, an official match will be made and the adoption process will continue. This is often a very exciting time filled with planning and anticipation! Once this decision has been made, both birthmothers and the adoptive families can focus on what comes next – i.e. the birth of the baby! -  which will be addressed in our next Adoption Talk series.


The Adoption Process Step by Step: The Home Study

The Adoption Process Step by Step: The Home Study

In our Adoption Talk series, ‘The Adoption Process Step by Step,’ this time we explore the home study process. Although the home study process may seem intrusive, it is an integral part of the process to adopt a baby and will help you make sure adopting a baby is right for you and your family. It will also help determine the type of child you could parent best. The report is submitted to the Court and is a legal requirement for every family hoping to adopt a baby. The birthparents who gave their baby up for adoption never see the home study report.

It may sound overwhelming, but we have laid out a checklist of what you’ll need for your home study. Although regulations vary from state to state, this will give you a general idea of the documents and clearances you will need before adopting a baby.

▪ Autobiographical statement
          o Basically, this is all about you. Where you were born, your education, your career, your relationship status, any experience with children, your current home and neighborhood.
▪ Parenting plan statement
          o What kind of parent do you plan to be to the baby you are about to adopt. What kind of life can the baby you are adopting expect?
▪ Driver’s license(s)
▪ Birth certificate(s) of everyone who lives in your home
▪ Social security card
▪ Marriage certificate if applicable
▪ Divorce decree(s) if applicable
▪ Military discharge(s) if applicable
▪ Past adoption decree(s) if applicable
▪ Green card(s) if applicable
▪ Financial information
          o Copy of most recent W-2’s
          o Verification of employment (most recent pay stub, letter from your employer, or a statement stating that you are not working)
          o Proof of insurance: (home, health, life, auto)
▪ Physician statement(s) of health status for applicants and everyone living in the home
▪ Immunization records
▪ Pet vaccination records if applicable

Clearances – All Must be Updated Within One Year
• Criminal background check
• FBI Clearances
• Child abuse and neglect clearances for every state/country you’ve lived in for at least the past 5 years
• Sex offender clearance
• 4 letters of recommendation from family and friends.

Household Items and Safety Considerations
• First-aid kit
• Working carbon monoxide detector
• Working smoke detectors on every floor and near or in the child’s room
• Medications, vitamins, cleaning products, other toxic substances out of child’s reach
• Screen covering a fireplace or wood stove
• Covered kitchen trash
• Fire extinguisher near the cooking area of the home
• Covered outlets
• Gates for stairs
• Windows have secure screens and locks
• Household heating equipment has appropriate safeguards
• Fencing around swimming pool or pools of water
• Hot tub has a locked top
• Emergency telephone numbers visible
• Evacuation floor plans available
• Firearms in locked container with ammunition stored in a separate locked container

A personal caseworker from Baby Step Adoption Agency will walk you through the home study process from start to finish and help make it as painless as possible. You do not have to adopt a baby through our agency to use our home study service. We also offer adoption home study updates for those families who have had a home study completed, but it is set to expire. This process is faster and less expensive than a full adoption home study. Wherever you are in the home study process, we can help you to make your dreams of adopting a baby a reality! Take the next step with A Baby Step Adoption Agency. Contact us today at 877-514-9701 to get started!

The Adoption Process Step by Step: Selecting an Agency

In our Adoption Talk series, ‘The Adoption Process Step by Step,’ we will address each step of an adoption from the moment a woman decides to give her baby up for adoption to when a family decides adoption is the right choice for them and brings a new family member into their life. We will review all of the steps to help you navigate the adoption process, and hopefully answer any questions you may have.  Here are the highlights to help you understand the process.

Step 1. Selecting an Adoption AgencyQuestions You Should Ask

If you are a family hoping to adopt a child, or a mother facing an unplanned pregnancy who has decided to give your baby up for adoption, the very first step when thinking about adoption is to select a reputable agency to work with to help you through the adoption process. There are certain questions you should ask the agency to ensure they are a good fit for your family and to make sure they have experience and the moral compass to put your family first.

Here are a few of the important questions to ask when selecting an adoption agency:

For a Birthmother

1. What kind of services do you offer pregnant women who are considering giving their baby up for adoption? Do those services continue even after the baby is born?

2. What kind of financial assistance can I expect if I choose your agency? Is the money for the adoption completely covered?

3. What types of families do you work with? Will I have a say in choosing the
family who will raise my child?

4. Do I have say in how much contact I have with the baby I choose to give up for adoption?

A Baby Step Adoption offers women facing unplanned pregnancy emotional support during and after the pregnancy. We understand how difficult it can be to give your baby up for adoption, and our caring caseworkers will help you from the moment you contact us.  We offer counseling services even after the baby is born and will work with you to ensure you feel comfortable about your decision. We will offer you the maximum amount of financial assistance, including all pregnancy related expenses, housing services, food and maternity clothes. You will not have to worry about coming up with any of the money for the adoption.

We work with all types of families, and you choose the adoptive family. You also decide how much contact you want with the family during the pregnancy and how much contact you want with the child and the adoptive family after the baby is born.

For an Adoptive Family

1. How long have you been placing children with families?

2. How many children did you place last year? (For single parents) How many children did you place with a single parent? (For gay and lesbian parents) How many children did you place with gay or lesbian couples?

3. What is the average wait time to be placed with a child?

4. How much money will I need for adoption? What will be the total cost of adopting through your agency be? Does the payment include legal services?

A Baby Step Adoption has been creating forever families for over 10 years. We placed over 80 children last year with loving forever families. We work with all types of families regardless of race, religion, sexual preference or whether or not you are married. A Baby Step Adoption touts the quickest match time – 67% of our clients match within 6 months; 92% match in 9 months.

When you are considering how much money an adoption costs, it’s nice to know legal services are included in the adoption agency fee. Our founder and the director of A Baby Step Adoption is a family formation attorney so all of your legal requirements will be taken care of without help from an outside party. We also can help you come up with the money for the adoption by reviewing the funding and grant options available to you. We also offer our clients the Adoption Finance Coach, a free service that helps you navigate how best to pay for the adoption.

Whether you are a birthmother or someone looking to adopt, A Baby Step Adoption has the expertise (over 10 years and counting!), knowledge and educated staff needed to make your experience seamless and stress free. Our caring and compassionate staff looks forward to working with you. We have years of experience helping birth mothers and adoptive families, which means we have seen, dealt with and typically overcome every issue, glitch or question that may occur, and are fully equipped and looking forward to working with you through every step of the adoption process.  We hope you will contact us at (877) 753-5663 with any questions and to discuss how to take the next step.

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