Approximately 40 percent of adults in America have considered welcoming a child into their home via adoption. Nationwide, American attitudes toward adoption have changed dramatically in the past 100 years and the stigma attached to raising adopted children born to unwed mothers is a thing of the past. This bodes well for pregnant women who, for whatever reason, do not want to raise their unborn child. If you have a family member who is seriously considering putting a child up for adoption, the following primer can provide you with some valuable guidance on the process.
Take Advantage of State and Federal Resources
Social workers at the local branch of your state's department of health and human services can provide you with advice and information on adoption statistics in your area and laws specific to your state. If an adoptive family has already been identified, the state agency is an excellent resource as well for them to get acquainted with the process.
The federally-run Child Welfare Information Gateway also provides a wealth of information and resources on adoption that could helpful in preparing a mother to give her child to another family.
Choose an Adoption Agency
You can seek to put a child up for adoption through a public agency or via a private organization. Regardless of which type of agency you choose, the adoptive family will still have to comply with state and federal rules for adopting a child including undergoing a background check, submitting references, verifying personal income, counseling and pre-adoption home visits.
However, with a private agency, the pregnant mother may receive some perks that can help make the pregnancy and childbirth easier. Some prospective parents who choose private agencies are ready and willing to provide financial and medical assistance when they are matched with a pregnant mother.
If the pregnant mother is in a precarious living situation, the adoptive parents may foot the bill for better living arrangements until the child is born and provide other types of stipends even after the baby is born.
In addition, in some private adoptions, the pregnant mother and the adoptive family can work out legal agreements that enable the child to have contact with the biological parents once the child reaches a certain age.
On the other hand, if the child goes into foster care via a state agency, the adoption is permanent and the birth mother will have no legal rights once the child is placed with an adoptive family.
Prepare for the Emotions
Having a baby is a life-changing event even if the mother gives the child up for adoption. No one can predict the emotions the mother will experience when the child goes to live with someone else. Even if the mother is unequivocal that the decision to give up the child was right, she may still experience feelings of loss, shame and guilt.
Consequently, make sure your pregnant loved one has the adequate post-natal emotional support to deal with postpartum mood disorders.
In addition, the following factors increase the risk of postpartum depression:
- A recent traumatic event
- Childhood abuse
- Getting pregnant at a young age
- Thyroid problems
- A family history of mood disorders
Private adoption agencies may offer counseling for the birth mother. If funds are tight and paying for psychological support is out of the question, the birth mother can take advantage of free support groups for depression offered by non-profit agencies, seek care at free clinics or make an appointment with a mental health practice that offer services on a sliding scale.
Parenting is not for everyone. Giving up a child for adoption can be a magnanimous gesture of love when it helps a deserving family fulfill their dream of having children. So when you find yourself in the position of giving guidance to someone who feels that they are unfit for parenthood, use the tips above to help provide positive reinforcement and emotional support. Try this web-site for more information on placing a child for adoption.