This is a scenario we see almost everyday at the AAA Center for Pregnancy Counseling: a young woman comes in who was not expecting to get pregnant. She may be in school or just lost her job. Her boyfriend is not happy about the pregnancy or she feels like her parents will be very angry. Whatever the reasons, she feels she is not at a good place in her life to raise a child.
Most of the time, we see one of two choices come to the fore-front: parenting or abortion. Honestly, in the tough situations, neither one seems to fit. She can’t see how she could possibly parent, but most women do not really want to abort . So, we remind them of the third option: adoption.
Like I said yesterday, I think adoption has gotten a bad rap. I am constantly amazed at the number of women who tell me they are afraid their baby will not end up in a good home. However, once I explain a few of the changes that have taken place in adoption over the years, they are usually quite pleasantly surprised.
Sometimes when we think of adoption, we think of the old movies where the baby was whisked away from the crying mother at the moment of birth. The woman then spends many years suffering in silence, wondering what has become of her child. If they meet up again, both have suffered greatly, but it ends happy because they are together again.
Baby, things have changed! First of all, the birthmother can now choose the family that will adopt her child. She is presented with a selection of parents who have been screened and approved to bring a child into their home. Some mothers prefer their child to be in a family with no children, and some prefer a home where there will be brothers and sisters. Sometimes, one family just “feels” better than the others. Anyway, the choice is hers!
Also, the baby is no longer whisked away unless that would be her choice. Birthmothers are encouraged to hold their baby and take care of them while they are in the hospital. Most babies go home from the hospital with the adoptive family. However, the choice is there to have the baby go to temporary care if the mother needs a little more time to make up her mind.
Even after the baby is in the adoptive home, the birthmother can choose to have as little or as much contact as she wants. In an open adoption, letters and pictures are sent and visits are possible. That way she can see that her baby is doing fine and that the family is just what she hoped they would be. However, if she desires to put it all in the past, it is fine to have the adoption be closed.
How about the birthfather? He has rights, and it is best to include him in the adoption plan whenever possible. If the mother no longer has a relationship with him, the adoption agency or the state will contact him and make sure that the proper procedures for notification are followed. If the birthmother and father disagree on the adoption, the courts can determine if his rights can be terminated.
There is no cost to the birthmother for an adoption. In fact, she may be given assistance with medical and living expenses. If she works with an adoption agency, she will also receive free counseling to make sure that adoption is the best plan for her and her child, and to help her to be prepared for the day she gives her baby into the arms of another family.
In my opinion, working with an adoption agency is really the best way to go. They are experienced at working both with the birthparents and the adoptive families. They work hard to make certain that babies will be safe and go into only the most qualified homes. They have experienced counselors working with all the parties involved in order to make it the best experience for all concerned.
Here are some adoption agencies that I would recommend in Omaha, NE:
Bethany Christian Services: 712-352-0222
Catholic Charities 402-554-0520
KS American Adoptions- 800-236-9837
Lutheran Family Services- 402-342-7007
Nebraska Children’s Home- 402-457-0787
One thing I have found with undesired pregnancies: there are no easy choices. No matter what a woman decides to do with her baby, that child will be with her for the rest of her life- either in memory or in person. Some of the choices are easier in the short-term, but get harder to live with as time goes by. I think that adoption is just the opposite: it is tough giving up the child, but the knowledge that they are in a happy home makes things easier as time goes by.
Keeping it true! Barb