Mary K. Wimsett
September 27, 2011
Many birth mothers who contact me begin our conversation by stating, “I just didn’t know where to begin.” Thanks to the Internet and the relatively new but increasingly frequent appearance of adoption in our popular culture, adoption is now part of our regular discourse and there is an abundance of information available. Unfortunately, there is so much information that it can be difficult to decide where to begin to learn about the process. Selecting the type of adoption you wish to pursue is the first step as this will allow you to narrow the resources you utilize.
You should start thinking about whether you prefer for your adoption to be closed or open and if open, the degree of openness. Birth mothers should craft an adoption plan that fulfills their wishes for their child but is also something that fits their own needs. Birth mothers should start thinking about the type of family that they would like to match with—single parent; infertile couple; couple with children; mixed race couple; couple living in small town; family who has adopted before; etc. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of variables. And if you don’t know or don’t wish to know, that is perfectly fine too. Some birth mothers chose a closed adoption where they do not meet the family or know anything about them.
You should then decide if they would like to work with an agency, an attorney or select the family directly. Each adoption entity provides a different experience so it is important to interview the entity. You should ask questions about their experience, services provided and also ask to speak with another birth mother who has utilized their services.
Finally, you should start thinking about what support you will need during your pregnancy. Florida law allows the adoptive family to provide the birth mother with financial support related to the pregnancy throughout the pregnancy and 6 weeks post partum. This means that the family can assist you with rent, utilities, food, health care and other expenses related to the pregnancy.
My office can provide a complete overview of the many options and variables associated with adoption. While it can be overwhelming at the beginning of your journey, it will make your adoption much more fulfilling if you have explored your options thoroughly.
My next blog will feature the first steps for the adoptive family.