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Megan Cohen, Birth Attorney

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How to Give a Baby up for Adoption: A Step-by-Step Guide

megan birthmother adoption expert photo

Most women get overwhelmed when thinking about how to give a baby up for adoption.  There seems to be so much to think about and consider (click here to read more about adoption agencies versus attorneys).  Here is a simple step-by-step guide to the process with links to other articles and topics you might find helpful.

Step 1) Talk to an adoption expert

Choosing adoption for your baby may be the most important decision you ever make.  You need an adoption expert, someone who can support you through this process and answer all of your questions.  My promise to you if you choose to work with me: 

  • I’m a great listener. I’m always available to you 24/7. 
  • I will help you make the plan that works for you and your baby.  
  • You will always be in control of the decisions you make about your adoption.
  • I understand exactly what you’re going through emotionally (since I am a birth mother) and can provide support you won’t find anywhere else.
  • I will clearly and accurately explain all of your options, including the option to keep and parent your baby if you wish.

Step 2) Decide if adoption is right for you and your baby

Hundreds of women I’ve spoken to over the years have asked themselves whether adoption is right for them.  Some women know right away that putting their baby up for adoption is the best thing.  Others need to get more information before making any decisions.  Just remember that you aren’t committing to anything when you make an adoption plan.  I tell women to think of a plan as a way to keep her options open.  Here are the questions most women want answered as they think about adoption:  

Step 3) Make a plan to give up your baby for adoption  

The adoption plan is always flexible.  You can change your mind as often as you want.  I will help you make decisions about the plan as well.  Here are the basics:

  • Complete paperwork that gives details about your background.
  • Choose the adoptive parents.
  • Talk with your support people about your adoption plans–family and friends or someone else you trust.
  • Learn about your rights in an open adoption.  I can help!

Step 4) Get to know the adoptive parentsbaby given up for adoption with father photo

Families come in all shapes and sizes—singles, same sex, couples with kids, couples of different races.  Some women have very specific ideas about what they are looking for, and that’s okay.  However, I always encourage women to keep their options open as best they can.  The perfect parents for your baby might not be exactly what you envisioned when you started on this journey.  Here’s what’s most important:

  • Get to know the adoptive parents by asking lots of questions
  • Talk with them on the phone and plan to meet them before you deliver. Remember that everyone is nervous, and that can be a good thing!
  • Questions to ask potential adoptive parents.

You can feel confident in the families I work with.  These are all people I know really well:

  • I have met them personally and spoken with them extensively about the process
  • They have completed home studies and background checks and fingerprinting
  • They are thoroughly educated on open adoption and want a relationship with you and your family if you wish

Step 5) Make a plan for labor and delivery

mom giving baby up with adoption mom photoI’m really good at this!  I will help you think of many things that you probably wouldn’t think of.  Your plan can have as much or as little detail as you want.  The most important thing to remember is that you can change your mind about any aspects of the plan whenever you want and as often as you want!  You can visit with and care for your baby any time, even if you’ve made an adoption plan.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Who will be in the delivery room?
  • Do you want to stay on the maternity ward?
  • Would you like to name the baby?
  • Do you want your hospital stay to be confidential?

Step 6) Make a plan for contact after the adoption is final

I’ve saved the most important step for last!  The adoption process can happen over a very short period of time, but the future of your adoption is life-long.  Planning what the adoption will look like in the future is really important.  This is largely planning openness and future contact.  Have a really honest conversation with the adoptive parents about this future contact before you decide they will be your child’s parents.  Ask the following questions:

  • What does open adoption mean to them and why did they choose it to build their family?
  • What challenges do they foresee to an open adoption?
  • How and when do they plan to tell their child about the adoption?
  • What role do they see you playing in their lives in the future?

I know how difficult this time can be, and I am ready to help in any way that I can.  Please feel free to text, email, or call me anytime with questions.  I’m here for you.

Megan Cohen, Birth Attorney

Contact Megan today

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