Birth Mum's Checklist
Pregnant and thinking of adoption?A few tips are given below.
The decisions which birth parents must make concerning adoption plans affect them and others for a life time. The following list is offered as a guideline but is not all-inclusive. It is helpful to discuss the various decisions with one’s support system, including your family, the other birth parent, your counsellor, good friends, clergy and social worker.
1. Why am I placing this child for adoption?
Could I explain this to the child, face to face, a few years down the line?
Is this my decision? (Keep in mind, that you will have to live with this the rest of your life, not someone else’s life.) Are you aware of all your options? If not, you are not making a clear, informed choice.
2. What kind of an adoption do I desire?
(Keep in mind that most birth parents want/need more contact with the adoptive family after delivery than before.) Do some reading on types of adoption. Discuss adoptive parents’ fears about contact with you after placement; educate them about your possible need to know how the child is doing. Clarify all this before your baby goes home with the adoptive family. Be aware that parties may feel very emotional about this topic. For instance, do you want to:
Have the adoptive parents meet your extended family?
Do you want to name the baby? (First and middle names; your last name is used. The adoptive parents will give the baby the name they choose or you can choose a name together as another alternative.)
Do you want letters and pictures over time? How often? When?
Do you want phone contact with the adoptive family?
Do you want to see the child? How often?
Will anyone else want these privileges? Is there anyone you would specifically want to exclude?
3. What Kind of Family Do You Want?
Things to Consider:
Religious beliefs/value system.
Years of marriage/divorces and remarriages.
Will your child be the first or a subsequent child?
What are the adoptive family looking for in an adoption and does it match your needs?
Why are they adopting?
What is their lifestyle; how do they play, work, etc.?
What is their relationship with their extended family and how do they feel about adoption?
What do the prospective adoptive parents know about adoption? Do they know anyone who is adopted, who has adopted a child, or has relinquished a child? Are they educating themselves?
4. Additional Subjects to Explore with the Prospective Adoptive Parents.
Something about their childhood. What type of parenting did they receive? Were they ever abused? Is there any history of alcohol or drug abuse in their family?
Why were they attracted to each other and subsequently married? Have they had any separations or counselling for their marriage?
How do they work out differences?
What experiences have they had with children, either their own or other people’s?
Will you get to see their home and living environment?
5. Further Questions to Ask Yourself:
Who is supporting you in this adoption and feels good about your plans? Who opposes your plans? Does their opinion matter?
What are your future goals after you place the child for adoption?
What is your relationship with the birth father? How does he feel about your plans? Is he going to be involved in this process? (Remember, he is 50% of your child’s gene pool. Even if he does not participate in the adoption and even if you do not like him, your child will be curious about him.)
6. Keep a journal of your experience
You may like to keep a journal of your pregnancy and all of your decision making process. This can be quite a gift to your child someday, who may not be able to ask you directly how all of this unfolded. Be clear in the journal why you are picking a particular family as well as why you are placing the child in the first place. Define your relationship with the birth father, and share not only negative feelings about him, if that is what you are presently feeling, but also the good feelings that allowed you to come together with him in the first place. Talk about your hopes and dreams for yourself and for this child. A family tree and detailed information about your own childhood would also be very helpful for a child. Also, pictures – particularly of you pregnant, would be a nice inclusion