6 Steps for Creating an Adoption Plan as a Birth Mother in Missouri
By Samara Wiley
Have you discovered that you are pregnant unexpectedly? It’s natural to feel overwhelmed and lost. Unplanned pregnancies have a way of flipping life upside down. But don’t worry. You have options! What’s more, you are in control of your situation and can choose whatever you feel is best for both you and your baby. One of these options is placing your baby for adoption. Maybe right now you’re wondering, “What do I do if I’m considering adoption for my baby?” No doubt, you have a lot of questions about what giving a child up for adoption entails and how to begin. Adoption Choices of Missouri is here to help. From the moment you walk through our doors to after your child is born, we will be with you every step of the way. To begin, we recommend that you start with creating an adoption plan. If you aren’t sure what an adoption plan entails, keep reading. We have all the information you need to know about creating an adoption plan as a birth mother in Missouri.
Put simply, creating an adoption plan is forming an outline of what your adoption journey will look like. It details the arrangements and expectations you have and how/where you want to give birth. There is no right or wrong way to develop this. What matters is that it helps ease stress and anxiety by mapping out a path that feels best for you and your baby.
Steps for Creating Your Adoption Plan
No matter how afraid, overwhelmed, or anxious you may feel — know that you have made the selfless decision to place your baby up for adoption. We understand that this wasn’t an easy choice to make, and we are here for you.
The best place to begin with your adoption plan is by figuring out the following steps:
Speak to a Birth Parent Counselor
This can be done either over the phone or in person. Our highly-trained and compassionate adoption caseworkers will be more than happy to speak with you and walk you through your thoughts, emotions, and expectations. Once you’ve made contact with one of our Birth Parent Counselors, you will work with them throughout your adoption journey. We are here to comfort and support you throughout your pregnancy and the adoption process.
Select Your Child’s Adoptive Family
What kind of family do you envision for your child? What are some preferences you have? Your adoption caseworker will discuss these with you and ask you questions to see what kind of life you’d like for your child. Again, there are no right or wrong ways to do this. Do you want your child to grow up around pets? With other siblings? In a diverse neighborhood? Are you open to a transracial couple, a single parent, or LGBT adoptive parent(s)? Selecting your child’s adoptive family is all about determining your personal preferences.
Determine how Open You want the Adoption to be
Do you want to get to know your child’s adoptive family? Do you want to have contact with your son or daughter as they grow up? If so, how much? Adoption plans have three different levels of openness to customize what you feel most comfortable with. You can choose from open, semi-open, or closed adoption. Each option has its own pros and cons, which can be discussed with your adoption caseworker.
Customize Your Hospital Stay and Birth Plan
If you’ve never given birth before, this can feel like one of the scariest parts of your adoption journey. However, remember that you are not alone. Your adoption caseworker will help you design your hospital stay and birth plan, and address any concerns that you might have.
Some common concerns may include:
- How long will I have with my child after he or she is born? Depending on the hospital, you may be given a few hours or a few days with just you and your child to be able to bond and share memories. This also depends on whether or not you’ve invited the adoptive parents to join in the hospital as well.
- Would the adoptive parents be in there in the room while you deliver? This is entirely up to you! Some birth mothers prefer that the adoptive parents are in the delivery room and get the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord. She knows that the birth is an important and special moment, and wants the adoptive parents to feel like they were included as much as possible. If you are comfortable with this — go for it! If not, that’s ok too.
- Taking pictures with your child or the adoptive parents? During your stay in the hospital, you may want some alone time with your baby before he or she leaves with their new adoptive family. Or, you may want additional time with your child and the adoptive parents together. Whatever you are comfortable with, do that. If this includes taking pictures with your child — just you and them, make sure you do that. If you want a group picture with your child’s adoptive family, be sure to get one. Your hospital stay is all about you and the time you will need to healthfully grieve and move forward afterward.
What about when it’s time to say goodbye?
When the time comes to hand your child to their adoptive parents, you may decide not to see them off as I was too overwhelmed with emotion and decided to leave the next day. Make sure both the adoptive parents and your adoption caseworker know if you need any extra time before the adoptive parents leave the hospital with your child. Even if this wasn’t part of your original plan starting out, it’s natural for emotions to be heightened when you’re in the hospital and for things to change last minute. So, you’ll want to be prepared for that as much as you can.
Fill Out the Original Birth Certificate
Before you are discharged, the hospital staff will have you fill out what’s known as an “Original Birth Certificate” (OBC). This is the official record that announces the birth of your child and lists you as the birth mother. If you have the birth father’s information and want to include that, you can. But there is no pressure with this piece. There is also a space for you to fill out any birth name you’d like to give your baby. This may change after the adoptive parents finalize the adoption in court, but if there’s a name that you’ve always wanted to give your child, you can. If not, that’s ok. The hospital staff will write “Baby Girl” or “Baby Boy” in that space.
Relinquishing Your Parental Rights
This is your final step with your child being fully yours. While you will always be his or her birth mother, the moment you sign away your parental rights, you allow the adoptive parents to become your child’s legal parents. It’s important to set the terms of your adoption plan early on. Let the adoptive parents know how involved you want to be when establishing a relationship with them and your child. Create a plan for how you want to communicate with them and your child after the adoption has been finalized. For instance, if you may want to have yearly visits, daily or weekly video calls, then an open adoption agreement may be the best option. If you prefer a bit more distance, semi-open adoption may be what you’re looking for.
In the state of Missouri, after the birth of your child, you have 48 hours before you have to sign away your parental rights. Some birth mothers choose to take this whole time with their children. Others do not. It’s entirely up to you, and what you need.
Why You Should Create a Plan as a Birth Mother
Being a birth mother and deciding on all aspects of your adoption journey will help you feel comfortable and ease your stress. It’s encouraging to know that you have carefully chosen the right kind of adoptive family and life that you want for your child. It also helps you establish a strong and healthy relationship with your child’s adoptive parents, depending on the level of openness you choose.
This is why it’s so great to create an adoption plan. To remind you that you are in control and that you are not alone. That everything will be ok. An important thing to remember is that you will always be a birth mother and get the respect and care that you deserve.