Overview of an adoption plan Gone are the days when a woman felt disgraced by finding herself pregnant and unmarried. Also gone are the days when married couples felt inadequate because of their inability to conceive a child. Today, pregnant women and married couples embrace the adoption process as the best alternative to their seemingly desperate situations. In fact, they soon discover that adoption has become a widely recognized and socially acceptable option. In adoptions of the past, the newborn was whisked away immediately after birth to some unknown family. Now the birth mother has the opportunity to select and meet the family who will raise her child. For the birth mother, the adoption process begins when she meets with an adoption professional (attorney or social worker) to discuss the legal and emotional ramifications of adoption. After much discussion she may decide to parent the child or to initiate an adoption plan. The adoption plan begins If the birth mother decides to implement an adoption plan, the next step allows her to express preferences as to various characteristics of prospective adoptive families. Religion, family size, geographical location, hobbies and interests are all important considerations. Once these facts are decided, the birth mother is presented with photographs and background profiles of adoptive families*. The profiles are unique portrayals created by each prospective adoptive family. Similarly, adoptive families consider the individual characteristics of birth mothers. Birth mothers range in age from 15 to 40––some are married, others single, some have children, some were adopted themselves, some are professionals, while others are unable to break out of the welfare cycle. All have one thing in common; they have made a decision to ensure their child is raised in a safe, financially secure, loving home. *The birth mother may also choose to have little or no information about the adoptive family. In this situation, the adoption professional usually selects the adoptive family. This is sometimes referred to as a “closed” adoption which is discussed later in this article. Choosing an adoptive family The key factor to the successful completion of an adoption plan is the involvement of a committed, energetic and influential adoption professional. The adoption professional becomes a close ally to the birth mother by offering guidance and reassurance during each stage of the adoption plan. Assisting the birth mother in the selection of an adoptive family serves as the first major act which reinforces her commitment to the goals and objectives of the adoption plan. Once the birth mother has settled on the family to parent her child, the family and the birth mother are encouraged to freely communicate throughout the pregnancy, through either personal meetings or by telephone. Through open communication a warm bond is established between the birth mother and her chosen family. Such a bond provides the birth mother with a genuine sense of contentment about her adoption decision while enabling the adoptive family to become secure with the birth mother’s commitment to the adoption plan. Open or closed adoptions Many different relationships may be developed between the birth mother and the adoptive family. In confidential (“closed”) adoptions, the birth mother chooses to have little or no information whatsoever about the adoptive parents and the adoptive parents receive little or no information about the birth mother. In closed adoptions, the adoption professional usually selects the adoptive parents and there is very little, if any, contact between the birth mother and the adoptive parents. In an open adoption, which is much more common today, the birth mother and adoptive family exchange comprehensive personal information. The birth mother receives a background profile and photographs of the adoptive family as well as non-identifying information about the family’s life. Likewise, the adoptive family receives the birth mother’s complete biographical and medical background information along with photographs depicting her family members and, if available, pictures of the birth mother as a child. Additionally, the birth mother may prepare letters or diaries for the adoptive family to present to the child at age-appropriate times. Although not required, more frequently than ever before, birth mothers are offering adoptive families complete identifying information (address, phone number, social security number) so that the family may contact the birth mother in the future, if necessary. Preparing for the child’s birth date As the date of birth approaches, the birth mother anxiously awaits the culmination of a long pregnancy and the adoptive parents plan for their ascension into parenthood. The adoption professional ensures that the birth mother and the adoptive family are well prepared for each and every circumstance that may arise when the birth mother goes into labor. When will the adoptive parents be called? Will the adoptive mother be present in the delivery room? How will the birth mother get to the hospital in the middle of the night? Will the birth mother “room in” with the baby? Every minute detail is addressed by the adoption professional so that everyone feels comfortable and ready for the big day. Finalizing the adoption plan A well-formulated and effectively orchestrated adoption plan will yield positive results for everyone. Forget all of the sensational horror stories reported on 20/20 or similar entertainment news shows. With few exceptions, properly prepared adoption plans succeed. The birth mother signs the surrender documents, the baby is healthy, the adoptive family leaves the hospital as new parents and the birth mother is ready for a new beginning, secure in her adoption decision. Following discharge from the hospital the birth mother meets with the adoption professional to review the concluding aspects of her adoption plan, including her participation in post-placement counseling groups, her receipt of annual pictures and updates from the adoptive parents and her participation in the Florida Reunion Registry. Where to begin? All of your information is confidential. Call us at 1-888-41ADOPT (1-888-412-3678) right now to speak with an adoption professional. We’ll explain the adoption process and the adoption options that are available to you. Your phone call or e-mail is completely confidential and does not obligate you to adoption in any way.