The Adoption Process: 10 Helpful Steps
We have outlined some steps to help you understand the adoption process if you begin your relationship with Adoption STAR during your pregnancy. If you have just given birth and have not previously contacted us or if you are contacting us after bringing your baby home, please know we will provide you with the same services and options. The process may or may not need to be expedited, as it will depend on your timetable and preferences. Always feel free to call Adoption STAR directly 1-866-691-3300 so we may provide additional information.
Step 1 ★ Making The First Contact With Adoption STAR
When you feel ready, you may make your initial contact to Adoption STAR in a number of ways. Fill out our online form or you can also request an information packet by calling us directly, toll free, at 1-866-691-3300 or 716-639-3900; or, email Adoption STAR.
Our philosophy is that you should educate yourself about the process and Adoption STAR is ready to assist you. Our acronym STAR stands for Support, Training, Advocacy and Resources because these are the most important ingredients when considering an adoption. Adoption STAR counselors are available 24 hours, 7 days per week to assist you. Your contact with Adoption STAR will remain confidential.
Step 2 ★ Initial Appointment (If Desired)
We are able to set up an appointment with you at your convenience either in your home, in our office or another location. If you are not ready to meet in person, we will respect that and will be able to speak to you by telephone or correspond by e-mail and regular mail.
Step 3 ★ Informational Packet And Application
We will mail you information on Adoption STAR, the adoption process and an application. By completing and returning the application form you are not making a legal commitment to place your baby for adoption, rather you are agreeing to learn more about the process and may withdraw from the process at any time. Please return the application by mail to Adoption STAR or you may hand in the application at an upcoming appointment.
Step 4 ★ Explore All Your Options
You will be assigned an Adoption STAR counselor who you will meet in person or if you prefer, to connect with you by phone. The counselor’s role will be to learn more about your situation so she can help you receive the support and services you may need during your pregnancy. She will be available to you at anytime day and night to support you.
You will not only explore your adoption options but you will be encouraged to consider all your options including but not limited to parenting. It is important to visit all of your options in an effort to determine what is in yours and your baby’s best interest. In addition to discussing your options, you are able to receive resource referrals and related services.
You will be asked to consider family and friend support whether you decide to parent or make an adoption plan.
Step 5 ★ Explore Adoption With An Adoption STAR Counselor
Your counselor will explain the adoption process to you and will be available to answer your questions. You will quickly learn that by selecting adoption as your plan you now have many decisions to make. There are so many options within an adoption plan and your counselor will tell you about them.
Prior to making an adoption plan, your counselor will either mail or bring you additional paperwork to begin building your file. All information remains confidential. This paperwork includes a packet known as the Birth Parent Background Packet. The packet asks you questions about yourself asking you about your physical appearance, your hobbies and interests, your medical history, etc. This information will be used confidentially and is an important packet as you being to consider selecting an adoptive family. You may complete the packet on your own if you desire, you may ask your counselor to fill it out with you.
If you have any questions regarding background packet and any other forms provided to you, your adoption counselor will be available to assist you. Again, by completing the paperwork you are not committing yourself to choosing adoption, you are simply telling us you are ready to begin exploring and creating an adoption plan. You will not sign any legal adoption paperwork until after the birth of your baby.
Finally, your counselor will be available to you throughout your pregnancy and to assist you in not only preparing an adoption plan but a birth plan for the hospital. She will be able to provide counseling and support after the birth and adoption as well. She will be available to you at no cost.
Step 6 ★ Creating an Adoption plan
If you believe adoption is the best option for you and your baby, your counselor will work with you to help you develop an adoption plan that is tailor made for you. She will work with you to learn your preferences for an adoptive family and should you desire, she will also identify profiles of prospective adoptive parents for you so you may get to know them and select your baby’s parents. If you choose to meet the adoptive parents, your counselor will be available to arrange contact and be present with you if you wish her to be.
Once you are ready to create your adoption plan there is no right or wrong way to put it together. The most important thing is to know that Adoption STAR is here to support you and provide you with options within your plan.
You can be as involved in the adoption as you want. Here are some examples of the choices you have within an adoption plan:
- You can view profiles and select the adoptive family or you can ask the agency to do so on your behalf.
- You can choose to have communication with the adoptive family even before you give birth via telephone, email, or in person.
- You can select an open adoption where a continued relationship is developed between you and the adoptive family or you can select a semi open adoption or even a closed adoption should you feel that would suit you better.
- You can receive letters and pictures of the baby as well as have ongoing visits if you desire with an open adoption plan.
- You can receive letters and pictures of the baby even if you choose a less open adoption.
- You can waive your right to receiving letters and pictures.
The choices are yours.
No matter what type of adoption you select you will always be able to receive:
- Free counseling.
- Help with medical bills and other pregnancy related expenses.
- The ability to speak with other birth parents and/or adoptees to learn about their personal experiences.
- Be invited to participate in our support groups.
Step 7 ★ Creating A Birth Plan
Typically a birth plan is a written document prepared by you with the support of your adoption counselor. It is provided to the hospital and your obstetrician prior to your due date. Even though the adoption counselor will send the plan to the hospital it is always good to bring a copy with you. It is important to include in your plan who will be your support person for labor and delivery. Often times our adoption counselors are present for women so this is available to you if you desire. Click here for a sample plan.
In addition to creating a birth plan, it is helpful to have a list of all the things that you should bring with you to the hospital. Many of these items will make your stay more comfortable.
Click here for a suggested checklist of what to bring with you to the hospital.
Step 8 ★ When The Baby Is Born
When you go into labor please give us a call and let us know. If you chose to participate in developing a birth plan stating your preferences for how you wish things to go at the hospital during your labor and delivery, then please remember to bring that plan with you to the hospital.
Once the baby is born, your adoption counselor will review your adoption plan with you and make sure everything is happening in the way that you want. Many different emotions will be enveloping you at this time. This is normal. Your counselor will do her best to prepare you ahead of time for what to expect and our Birth Parent Services Packet is also helpful providing a guide to common emotions that occur at this time.
As much as we advocate and work to educate staff at hospitals to respect and support a woman who is making an adoption plan, there can be unwelcome comments made. If at any time you feel uncomfortable or feel you are not being treated well please immediately contact your adoption counselor.
Step 9 ★ Placement Day
As long as you are still comfortable with your adoption plan it would be at this time that you would place the baby with the adoptive family. In most situations, it is the day that the baby is discharged from the hospital. The baby can be placed directly with the adoptive parents upon discharge from the hospital or discharged by a staff member of Adoption STAR and on the same day placed with the adoptive parents. You can choose to be present at the time the adoptive parents receive the child or you can select not to be present.
Adoption STAR understands that this is a very emotional time for you. We will work to provide you with support and guidance and to give you as much hand holding as you desire. We will also respect your desire to have time alone with or without the baby prior to the placement.
It is during this emotional time that you should encourage yourself to remember and review why you have selected adoption as the journey for you and your baby. It is also important to acknowledge that your feelings are normal and expected. You will never be pressured by your adoption counselor to continue with your adoption plan, your adoption counselor will only work to help you through this time and to make sure you are comfortable with your plan.
Depending upon the adoption plan, you may be signing the adoption surrender or consent on day of placement or before. You will be familiar with the documents you will be signing as they would have been introduced to you before. An attorney will be present to represent you (and who you will have had an opportunity to meet during your pregnancy if you desired.) This attorney will be hired by Adoption STAR to represent only you and he or she will spend some time with you to be sure you not only understand the process and the paperwork but to also be sure you are comfortable with your plan.
Adoption laws can vary from state to state so depending upon that, the adoption counselor and your attorney will prepare you for the process.
Step 10 ★ Post Adoption Support
Over the next week, then months, you will feel a range of varying emotions. It recommended that you permit your adoption counselor to stay in touch with you after placement. Staying in touch includes telephone and in person contact. It is important to you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts, feelings, and questions with your adoption counselor.
Adoption is a life long process. It does not end with the placement of a child. At Adoption STAR we like to say that it actually begins… meaning that you are now a birth mother. You began the process as an expectant parent and the journey led you to becoming a birth mother. Birth mothers are women who chose adoption as a life long plan for their child and who have experienced and continue to experience the intense emotions due to that decision.
The most successful women in the future are those who permitted themselves to “feel” and to allow themselves to receive the support necessary to begin the healing process. These women also stay healthier when they have a personal plan for the future, for you it may include getting a new job, continuing your education, or working toward other personal or professional goals.
Adoption STAR recommends that you receive counseling after placement. You will also be invited participate in a support group, meet with other birth mothers, to receive photos, letters, emails and/or phone calls from the adoptive family, and to work toward your personal and professional goals.
You deserve the opportunity to talk about all of your options, and to be able to do so without guilt, fear, or judgement.
Getting Started with Your Adoption Plan: Request a FREE Information Packet
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