Anyone that finds themselves in a situation that involves placing a child for adoption will feel bombarded with dozens of different sensations all at the same time. Whether just faced with an unplanned pregnancy or contemplating your future steps after having given birth to a baby, these are not simple decisions for anyone involved, and perhaps the most important thing is to be assured that adoption is a sensible solution that puts the best interests and the wellbeing of the child first.
While paperwork and legal procedures may differ from one state to another, the main point remains the same – adoption is a process through which a distressing situation of the birth parents has the great potential of turning into a wonderful life-changing joy for the adoptive parents – all with the child’s future in mind.
What are the options?
There are three basic options when it comes to placing a child for adoption and adopting a child (importantly, there is variation from state to state on which option is preferred or considered the best for the child): independent adoption, agency adoption and international adoption. Independent adoption does not involve the government or adoption agencies in the process beyond a certain minimum mandated by law to establish that the adoptive parents are a good fit for the child.
Agency adoption involves putting the process in the hands of a professional and accredited adoption agency that then works with the parties involved to establish the action plan. International adoption takes place when the child was born in another country (the specifics there would differ from country to country).
Independent or agency?
Setting international adoption as perhaps the most difficult variant aside, we are left with the options of independent and agency adoption. As was noted above, state laws differ in terms of the attitude and approach to independent adoption – in fact, in some states the only option is agency adoption. The positive side of independent adoption is not involving more people than needed in the process.
The negative side is, of course, the lack of a strong legal framework and a very subjective adoptive parents screening process. Agency adoption is, by far, the easier route for birth parents to take. There is enough stress in the situation as is – why create additional stress by trying to avoid the help of adoption professionals?
Does the agency decide everything?
Going through an adoption agency does not mean giving up all responsibility for the process. In fact, professional and dynamic adoption agencies do their best to involve the birth parent or parents into the decision-making process as much as possible.
As a number of studies have shown that avoiding complete loss of contact between the birth parents’ lives and the life of the child leads to better socialization and interpersonal relationships, some of the more progressive adoption agencies now make it possible to keep in touch with the child after the adoption.
While it is the agency’s job to conduct criminal background clearances, income verification and home inspection in regards to the adoptive parents, the ultimate decision on who will adopt the child remains with the birth parents.
What to keep in mind
It is important to know that the adoption process is made much less stressful for the birth mother through working with a fully accredited and experienced adoption agency. In many cases, the mother’s living expenses and medical expenses are fully covered through the agency, so that she can focus on a healthy and positive lifestyle during pregnancy. When researching the agencies, make sure that you do not rush into a decision.
Go through the materials provided by the agency and examine their success stories, how many years they have been operating for, the level of control you would have over the adoption process, how open they are with communicating with your on a day to day basis, whether they would be open to supporting your through the pregnancy and so on and so forth. Sensible and time tested options exist that should fit your criteria for a reliable and friendly adoption agency.
The right focus
It is necessary to always keep the focus right. When contemplating and planning placing a child for adoption, it is important to put the child’s best interests, well-being and safety front and center. If an option you are looking at would ensure that the child grows up in a loving home where he or she is already awaited by kind and generous people, listen to your intuition – and then be sure to ask a lot of questions when you contact the agency of your choice.
This article was written by Adam Benett, who works for a reputed adoption agency and has seen the fall-out of a disrupted adoption.