After you discovered you were pregnant, you might have felt shocked or even panicked. If you decide to choose adoption for your baby, you might still feel like you are treading in deep water. What do you do first? Where do you start?
If you are hoping to pursue adoption for your baby but feel overwhelmed at getting started, here are some first steps that can help you feel more in control of your choice.
- Reach Out for Support
You don’t have to face the adoption process alone. Many women find hope and help through friendships or family. If you have a parent who supports your choice, they can help you feel more confident as you make plans for your future. If you don’t have a parent you trust, you might ask a close friend or extended family member, such as an aunt, cousin, or grandparent, to support you.
When choosing someone who can support you, try to focus on what help they can give you. You want someone who is level-headed and who can help you stick to your goals when you might feel overwhelmed. You also want someone who can give you emotional support. Choose someone who cares for you but who will not manipulate you or monopolize your choices.
This person can help you in many ways. For example, when you meet with an adoption agency, they can come with you with the questions you have written down. If you feel emotional, your friend or loved one can help direct the conversation.
- Contact an Adoption Agency
One of the first things you should do is reach out to an adoption agency. The right agency will provide for your emotional needs. You should never feel forced, rushed, or pressured into choosing adoption for your baby.
When you meet with an agency representative, bring all the questions you have to the consultation. You might want to know how birth parents are screened, how long the process takes after you give birth, if you can change your mind, and how you will pay for your medical bills.
Choosing to meet with an agency does not mean that you have to continue to use that agency. Meet with as many people as you like until you find a place which fits your needs and where you feel comfortable. You can also use a family lawyer instead of an agency if you already have birth parents you want for your baby.
Going to an adoption agency early in the process will make everything easier for you. They provide the services, including legal services, that help connect you to good adoptive families, but they also can provide mental health support for birth mothers and guidance during the pregnancy.
- Make a Doctor’s Appointment
Your health is important. When you find out that you are pregnant, call a local doctor’s office to get your first OBGYN appointment. And OBGYN focuses on the health of both mother and baby. Your first appointment should happen when you are about 6 to 8 weeks pregnant. Your OBGYN can confirm the pregnancy with an ultrasound.
Your first appointment will also involve some blood tests and questions about your medical history. The doctor will test your blood for sexually transmitted diseases that could affect your baby, and they will also test for things like iron levels to make sure that you don’t need extra supplementation. You might also get a breast exam and Pap smear at your first appointment.
Your doctor will recommend that you take a prenatal vitamin to make sure that you and your baby get all the nutrients you need. If you have been using alcohol or smoking, your doctor will recommend that you stop immediately and can provide advice on how to keep you and your baby healthy during your pregnancy.
Don’t postpone getting prenatal care because you are concerned about cost. Adoptive parents sometimes cover the cost of pregnancy expenses. You can talk to your adoption agency about how that compensation will occur.
- Seek Counseling
Your adoption agency might suggest that you get counseling as part of the process of adoption. This counseling can be provided by the agency, but you might feel just as comfortable seeking a different counselor.
Counseling can provide you with the emotional preparation that you will need during the adoption process, but it can also help you focus on your own future. You can set goals for your life, and your counselor can help you plan how to achieve them. You might find it hard to stay positive, and counseling can help you through bouts of depression that can occur during pregnancy.
- Fill Out Your Forms
Finally, once you have met with doctors and adoption agents, you will have some paperwork to fill out. These forms will detail your desires for your child and help the agency find a good match your baby. You can explain the type of adoption you want, how much contact you hope to have with your child, and the future you want your baby to have.
After you fill out these forms, you can start the process of choosing your baby’s parents. The choice is entirely yours so that you can know what future you are giving your baby.
For more information, contact us at A Child’s Dream.