You are not alone.

I've been in your shoes. I've seen those two lines and felt the panic wash over me-- twice.

 

What am I going to do? What will my parents say? What will people think?

It was through months of support in my family, friends, counselor, and even teachers that helped love me through whatever choice I made. Their safe place and non-pressuring support empowered me to feel confident in my decision for my baby.

I want you to have to that too. You matter.

Know your options. Make an informed choice.

Be empowered in your best decision and then have the support to carry it through.

 

  Whatever path you chose, there is a lifetime that follows. .

As a birth mom myself, and then a young mom, I can assure you that there is no easier path. They all come with challenges, pros, cons, grief in some form, sacrificing in some way, and a need for support. I promise you though hope and help is available and waiting for you! 

 

We want to be a spot in your journey to help make an informed decision and connect you with resources that are out there. 

Woven Together is not an agency. We have nothing to gain or lose in whatever decision you make for you and your baby. We do not believe adoption is right for most situations. Usually we find that when a momma has the emotional and physical support she needs, she is empowered to parent. We fully celebrate that and have resources to provide and connect you with that case as well!

However, when adoption is what a momma choses after careful consideration with informed information, we believe adoption can be an option that God can use to redeem. He can use it to bring beauty from ashes. He can heal. 

I know, because I've lived it. You can watch my adoption story here. 

Is it always easy? No. It is bittersweet. It is complex. There are many joyful moments in our open adoption relationship, but also an ache that will never truly leave. Yet I wouldn't go back and change my decision. I know deeply I made the right choice for us at 16 years old and I have peace that that.

That's what I hope for in whatever you decide: peace.

If you are considering adoption, keep reading to learn more of what you need to know and how to surround yourself with the best possible support system.

 

Leah

We are here for you!

We have several birth moms on our team who would love to share their experiences, guide you to resources, answer your questions, or just be a listening ear.

Everything below on this page is also available for you to print. Use the checklist as a guide as you ask questions 

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Why Ask These Questions?

  • Fully open

  • semi-open

  • closed

These can have a wide variety of what each level truly means, and much of that is guided by you! Ask the adoption professional you are considering or working with which level of openness they encourage and why. Hint: Professionals should encourage open most of the time!

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Adoption relationships

What are some benefits of open adoption?

  • Continued relationship with your child.

  • Your child can have their medical and adoption questions answered.

  • It can provide a child with more security in their identity as an adoptee to know their biological roots.

  • It may help you to see and know what your child looks like and have a relationship with them to help process your grief and have your questions answered in a more healthy way.

 

There are many other benefits that open adoption can bring to all members of the adoption triad (biological mom, adoptee, and adoptive parents). Studies are showing that overall, ALL members of the triad are more satisfied with open adoption relationships. We encourage you to listen to other birth moms who have placed and hear how the level of openness they have with their child has been both good and hard. We also encourage you to listen to adoptees and adoptive families in their experiences.

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Is openness between birth parents and adoptive parents legally enforced?

 

Many states do not have laws in place that protect an agreement that is made between the birth parents and the adoptive parents, although there are some states that do. Regardless of the laws in the state in which you place, the adoption professional should still have a written agreement between you and the adoptive parents. The adoption professional should be following up with all parties to make sure the agreement is being upheld!

YOU are important. Your rights are important. Your desires are important. Unfortunately, sometimes adoption agencies and professionals can view adoption simply as a business- a pay check- and not about the people's hearts and lives that are involved. These questions may help you uncover their motives and how they serve expectant parents considering adoption and how they support birth parents after placement. If you choose to pursue adoption, the professional you choose to walk alongside you should be a major support system where you always feel heard!

Why ask questions and research?

Questions to ask adoption professionals

  • Do you encourage modern adoption language?

  • How are your employees and contract employees paid?

  • Do they get percentages based on the “success” of different stages of the adoption journey, such as match, placement, finalization, etc. 

  • Are fees more or less depending on the situation, such as race of my child?

  • What do you believe is the best adoption type (open, semi-open, or closed)? 

  • What type of adoption do you most often see?

  • What requirements do you have for hopeful adoptive families?

  • In what ways do you support me when I'm  trying to decide if adoption is right for me? 

  • Do you support my decision if I parent and help me with parenting resources?

  • If I take any "birth parent expenses" during my pregnancy, do you require that I pay those back if I choose to parent?

  • Do you provide me with my own separate legal representative to advocate for my rights?

  • Do you offer to fly expectant moms to the agency’s home state and put her in a hotel until the baby is born?

  • Is non-biased counseling provided during pregnancy and post-placement? If so, how long?

  • Do I pay for my own counseling before or after placement?

  • Do you reimburse for an outside therapist of my choice after placement? If so, how long?

  • What other specific services do you provide birth mothers after placement for healing and getting back on their feet? If so, how long?

  • Do you work in states where it’s “easier” to terminate birth father rights?

  • How do you handle cases where the father doesn't want to choose adoption or doesn't contest?

  • What is your stance on creating a written adoption contact agreement (even if it can't be upheld in court)?

  • Does my social worker attend the hospital with me for support?

  • Will my social worker or any agency representative force me to sign relinquishment at the minimum time period that the state requires or can have have as much time with my baby before choosing to sign?

  • Do you provide options of hopeful adoptive families to choose from who will support the desired level of communication that I am looking for?

  • Do you hold your adoptive parents to the open adoption agreement?

  • Can I talk with other birth mothers who have worked with you before choosing to work with you?

  • Can you walk me through your pre-match screening for hopeful adoptive parents who want to work with your agency?

  • How can you ensure they will uphold their promises?

  • What kind of pre-placement and post placement education do they receive? How is that reinforced by your agency?

Red flags in their responses:

  Modern adoption language:  

Are they already referring to you as a birth mother, when you haven't signed relinquishment papers yet and are still deciding what option is best for you?

 

Adoption professionals should not refer to a mama who is pregnant as a birth mom. Even if you are very determined in making an adoption plan, you have every right to change your mind. During this time you are a mom who is expecting a baby.

Do they talk about adoption as "giving up" or "giving away" still?

By making an adoption plan or following through with an adoption plan, a mom is not giving up or giving away her child. There are many reasons a mom chooses adoption, but this choice is never a flippant one. 

  Instead of:  :

  • Giving up your baby

  • Choosing adoption

  • Keep your baby

  • Real parent

  • Birth parent

  • Adopted child

  • Is adopted

  • Failed adoption

  • Orphan

       Use.:      :

  • Placing in an adoption plan

  • Considering adoption

  • Parent your baby

  • Biological parent

  • Expectant parent (before placement)

  • Child

  • Was adopted

  • Disrupted adoption

  • Adopted child

  Other unethical practices:  

Learn how the agencies you are considering paying their employees.

Adoption professionals should never be paid on a pay scale. They should also never be paid in percentages based on how "successful" the case is. Example: Some adoption professionals are paid a percentage when you contact the agency and start your process with them. They will then be paid once you choose a family, then again when you sign relinquishment papers. This should never happen, so if an agency you are talking with says they do this, RUN! 

  1. An adoption professional should provide options counseling and talk about your parenting options in depth. They should not show you hopeful adoptive parent profiles right away. You need time to talk through your plans and desires before going to the next step.

  2. Adoption professionals should encourage you to involve the birth father. They should never encourage you to lie about him, where he lives, if he knows about the baby, etc. Honesty from the start about the relationship with the birth father and his feelings about the adoption plan is important.

  3. Adoption professionals should never encourage you to sign any relinquishment paperwork before the baby is born. This should always take place after the baby is born and on your timeline, not theirs (state laws on relinquishments do apply here also).

  4. Adoption professionals should encourage you to be 100% honest and accurate in what you share on paper and with hopeful adoptive parents.

  1. Do not work with an agency who wants to fly you to another state so that placement can happen.

Post placement care is a must

Your adoption professional should still support you in many ways after placement...

 

  • You should always have nonjudgemental and kind support.

  • You should always have free, no cost professional counseling that you can utilize as you need and want it.

  • Your adoption professional should provide lifetime support through other resources such as support groups or retreats.

It's important that you have on-going access to support as you process your grief, heal and walk through your role in the adoption triad. This is where the healing happens and it is vital so that you can be healthy for your child, your relationship with the adoptive family, and other relationships around you.

Woven Together also has an ongoing list of national resources for birth parents and aims to step into the gap to provide more. You are not alone! There are virtual and local weekly support groups, birth mom dinners and retreats all over the United States, and options for adoption experienced life coaching.