Choosing an Adoption Agency
Services an Adoption Agency Should Provide to Parents Experiencing an Unplanned Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, we imagine you have lots of ideas, questions, and maybe even some concerns. If you’ve ever considered adoption, knowing about the services and resources available to you and your baby can help you as you navigate through your pregnancy journey. Here are the critical services an adoption agency should provide for you.
1. Options Counseling
An adoption agency should provide free and unbiased, one-on-one options counseling by an experienced adoption professional. This counseling should talk through the options available to you on your pregnancy journey–parenting your child, having an abortion, or choosing adoption.
You may be wondering, “How can adoption agencies provide me with unbiased options counseling? Won’t they just push me toward adoption?” At Adoption Life, we believe in strong adoptions. Strong adoptions are made when birth parents understand the facts about adoption and are empowered by their decision to place their child for adoption. This empowerment comes from careful and thoughtful consideration of all the options available to them and their child. We can provide you with resources and referrals no matter which option you choose for you and your child.
2. Connection to an Adoption Professional
If you choose to explore adoption options for you and your child, an adoption professional should be there for you every step of the way–helping you through the adoption process, providing you with adoption resources, and being your vocal advocate before, during, and after placement. They should help you understand that you are not giving up by putting you and your baby first.
There are certain qualities you should expect from your advocate. They should be experienced, compassionate, knowledgeable, helpful, supportive, unbiased, and non-judgmental.
At Adoption Life, you will find ethical and empathetic adoption professionals who are ready to share with you all the information you need on adoption. We take great care in the selection and training of our staff because you and your child deserve the best. In most cases, you will have a separate professional from the family you’d like to adopt your child. This enables your worker to remain an unbiased advocate of your wants and needs during the adoption process.
3. Financial Support
Assisting you in having a safe and healthy pregnancy is something an adoption agency should do. You may need some financial support to help you achieve those goals. Support may include resources for maternity clothes, a safe place to live, medical care, and healthy food. Often these funds are paid to the agency by the adopting family you have selected. Following legal guidelines, the agency makes sure these funds are used appropriately to help you stay safe and healthy.
At Adoption Life you can sit down with your adoption professional and assess together what your needs are. From there we will help you create a financial needs plan for a safe and healthy pregnancy and recovery.
We know these conversations can be difficult. That is why we will work with the hopeful adoptive family directly to obtain the funds and set up a system to cover your needs. These funds are meant to help you and your child. Accepting this support will never be used to coerce you into making an adoption plan for your child. You are the person who makes your adoption plan. You decide what it looks like.
4 . Resources and Support
An adoption agency may not be able to directly provide you with everything you need. However, a good agency will take the lead in personally connecting you with important resources to meet your immediate and long-term needs and goals. These resources aren’t always directly about adoption.
Some of your immediate needs may be help finding a doctor, midwife, or doula, finding a hospital or birthing center, and working with insurance-related issues. Other needs may include assistance in finding employment, education, and therapists who specialize in non-adoption-related mental health issues.
Adoption Life feels strongly about helping those considering an adoption placement for their child. If we cannot directly provide you with the resources you need, we are delighted to help you to personally connect with a myriad of services to help you stay healthy, safe, and happy.
5. Connecting with Other Birth Parents
One of the most valuable pieces of support you can have if you are pregnant and considering adoption is from people who have already placed. They will be able to share their personal experiences with adoption. Their perspectives can help you shape how you would like your adoption plan to unfold. They can share with adoption services and resources they found most valuable on their journey. Many times they can provide emotional support, an adoption connection, and a sense of belonging that you can’t get anywhere else. Agencies should be good at connecting you with other birth parents both online and in person.
At Adoption Life we understand how imperative these connections are to your wellbeing. Our pre and post placement services include helping you find meaningful connections both individually and in groups with birth parents. We work closely with birth parents who have already placed and who are strong advocates for other men and women who are starting their adoption journey.
6. Finding the right family.
A key service of an adoption agency is helping you to find the adoptive family that you feel is perfect for your child. This is often a difficult task that adoption agencies should support you through.
At Adoption Life, we understand that you are not just looking for a family that will give your child a home – you are searching for the right family that has the qualities you want for your child, a family that you feel comfortable with, and a family that you can trust to raise your child. We can assist you in identifying families that have the qualities you are looking for and in making connections with the families you are interested in. We have connections with many qualified families for you to choose from.
7. Creating a Personalized Adoption Plan
An adoption agency should be supportive of you. They should answer any and all questions you may have. Adoption agencies empower you as you make your decision. You should feel in control, supported, and educated as you design your adoption plan. An agency should be good at helping you match your needs and personality to your individual plan, not a one size fits all approach to expectant parents.
At Adoption Life, you are the person who makes your adoption plan. We are there to support you as you choose the family and what you want your contact to look like after placement. We will be a helping hand as you make your hospital, birth, and placement plans and will inform the hospital staff and adoptive family of your wishes so that things will go more smoothly. We will use our expertise to support you in creating the adoption plan you want and that fits with your unique circumstances and personality.
8. Open Adoption Planning, Mediation, and Support
An adoption agency should educate you and hopeful adoptive families about open adoptions. In open adoption relationships, birth families, adoptive families, and the adoptee have contact with each other. Each adoption is unique and each has varying forms and frequency of communication. Some people want letters and visits after placement. Some people want a more “closed” relationship where very little or no contact takes place.
At Adoption Life, we will talk you through what kind of relationship (if any) you want to have with your child and the adoptive family after placement. We encourage you to be vocal about your wants and needs. We will work with you to identify families who want to have the same kind of open or closed adoption relationship that you’d like to have. However, our assistance doesn’t stop there! We will work with you and the adoptive family in maintaining this relationship as it evolves. If you choose, contact can be done through the agency or outside of the agency. Either way, you will receive lifelong adoption support with your relationship.
9. Grief and Loss Support
Placing a child for adoption can be very difficult and grief is inevitable. Long before an adoption placement occurs, an agency should help you understand what you may go through before, during, and after placement as well as strategies to work through that grief and loss.
At Adoption Life, we start early to help you prepare for the emotions of placement and the finality of your decision. You can expect to have honest conversations with your worker and in support groups about grief and loss. Our goal is to help you set up support systems before and after placement that will allow you to feel the emotions you need to feel and work through them in a healthy way. We can even help educate your family and friends if you’d like us to. We will never ask you to “get over your adoption” but we do believe you can move forward in your grief in a healthy manner.
10. Lifetime Support
Placing a child for adoption isn’t a one time event. Adoption is a lifelong journey. An agency should support you before, during, and after your placement. How the agency supports you may look different as time goes on, but they should be able to connect you with resources throughout your life to help you lead a happy and healthy life.
At Adoption Life, we are here for you on your lifelong adoption journey. You will have lifelong access to adoption related counseling, support groups, grief support, open adoption mediation, and connections to other resources to help you.
11. Legal Expertise
Adoption is a legal matter. Your adoption agency should be experts in the laws of the states that they are working with. They should help you understand your rights, the rights of the other parent, timeframes of when things can be done, and the finality of your decision.
Adoption Life will be upfront and honest with you about legal matters. Our legal team has specialized in adoptions all over the country for decades. We take a strong stance on having high legal and ethical standards. We believe in adoptions that are strong and safe for all parties involved, especially the child.