We Don’t Say “Giving Up a Child”
Demonstrating Respect for Birthparents
Considering whether or not to place a child for adoption is one of the most challenging and important decisions that a parent will ever make.
There are so many factors that go into thinking about the possibility of placing a baby for adoption. For almost every parent just thinking about placing a child for adoption is very emotional, which is understandable. For others, having thought through their decision and having made an adoption plan for their child, many different kinds of thoughts and feelings come and go. It is frequently a very emotional process and the decision making process often involves cycling through many different thoughts and emotions.
One of the first challenges that some expectant mothers face is, how, or whether a all, to talk with people about adoption. Another is finding the best way to get all the information they need and then deciding whether or not to move forward.
Our agency has been involved with adoption for more than 30 years. During this time we have seen how people’s thinking about adoption has changed.
Here is a short video of one person we worked with, Jennifer, talking about what she was thinking and feeling when she placed her son for adoption 16 years earlier.
It is interesting to note that back when Jennifer placed her son for adoption, the way adoption was practiced was very different. Contacts between birth parents and adoptive parents were not as frequent and both birth parents and adoptive parents were operating under a different set of understandings about ‘birth parent’ and adoptive parent contact. Also, in recent years Jennifer has had a reunion with her son and he with his other siblings. In this situation all relationships have turned out to be positive and Jennifer and her son’s adoptive parents think of each other as ‘family.’
Since before the time Jennifer placed her son for adoption, our agency was looking at a whole new way of thinking and talking about adoption. Society’s views towards adoption have changed over time leading to some positive changes. Our agency has been developing a new approach to adoption that changes the way people view adoption.
In recent years more and more people have come to respect and honor birth parents and accepted their right to take an active role in creating their own adoption plan. Some still talk about a woman “giving up her child for adoption,” however agency recognizes that when a woman is considering adoption for her child, she is either ‘making an adoption plan’ or ‘placing her child for adoption.’
Ozella’s video on placing vs. giving up a child
Our agency’s motto is “Our Help, Your Decisions” and all of us at Adoption Center of Illinois firmly believe that people should do what they think is best for themselves and their child, particularly when it comes to adoption. We are here to provide information on all of the options and resources that are available. We are here to support expectant mothers throughout the whole process of making an adoption plan, including all of the following and more: deciding to place a child for adoption; matching birth parents and adoptive parents expectations, to helping to arrange communication between expectant mothers (and fathers) and the adoptive family they choose.
We continually re-examin how to support expectant mothers (birth mothers) who are thinking about placing a child for adoption and supporting birth parents and adoptive parents in communicating with each other before and after an adoption is initiated.
Here are some of the things we can do help:
- Examine all your options… all of them…
- Listen to your concerns and, if you like, help to put you in touch with women and men who chose adoption for their child.
- Listen to your ideas regarding how you would like to proceed and then do what we can to help implement your plan
- If you decide to choose the adoptive parents for your child, we can show you (either on line or in person) profiles of waiting families and help you to get in touch with the family you choose – before and after the birth of your child.
We have listened to literally hundreds of women and men who have placed a child for adoption. Here are some of the typical questions that many expectant mothers have asked:
- Will my child understand my decision to place them for adoption?
- How will I know if I am making the best decision for my child and me?
- What will adoption look and feel like?
- What are my rights with adoption under the law?
- What will the future of my relationship with my child and the adoptive family look like?
Society’s view of adoption
We know that many in our society are unkind to women and men who chose to place a child for adoption. In the media, birth mothers are often described as women who “gave up” their baby for adoption. Talk show hosts and people in social media use the term ‘give up’ and ‘adoption’ in the same sentence contributing to the misconception that when someone ‘places a child for adoption’ they are “giving up” their baby for adoption.
We do not think talking about placing a child for adoption and making an adoption plan means the same thing as giving up a child for adoption. One way looks at considering adoption as a responsible, difficult and loving decision and the other looks down on people who are considering placing a c child for adoption and sees them as someone who doesn’t care and is not acting responsibly.
People chose to place children for adoption for many reasons. Some make adoption plans because they could not see themselves having an abortion. They see the choice as being between providing their child with what they hope will be a life with laughter, love, and security vs. choosing to have an abortion and not providing their child with the opportunity to experience all that life has to offer.
Some choose to make and move forward with an adoption plan, not because they want to ‘give up their child for adoption’ but because they want to provide for their child’s future in a way that they do not think they can do themselves.
Listen to Domenic talk about what lead him, many years earlier to agree, even though he did not want to, to place his daughter for adoption. It is interesting to note that Domenic, like so many other birth parents, now later in life has a very close ‘family’ relationship with the daughter he placed for adoption and with her adoptive parents.
What is different now and what is beyond the concept of ‘openness’ is the possibility of birth parents and adoptive parents coming to see each other as part of a larger extended family network. Today, many adoptive families and birth families are finding a way to form ongoing relationships that they view as a ‘family relationship.’
Adoption is not like it used to be…
The way adoption works today is very different from the way it worked in the past century and up to the early 2000’s.
Now there is much greater transparency. Birth parents can meet and choose the adoptive family for their child. Even though it can be uncomfortable at first, birth parents and adoptive parents can talk about what kind of relationship they want to have after the birth and adoptive placement of a child.
There are no cookie cutter answers, however, the days when a woman simply handed her baby over to a social worker or an agency and did not get to see her child again, no longer exist. Today birth parents and adoptive parents form relationships naturally, and just like with any important relationship, things are not always easy, and, in our experience, usually things work out for the best.
At a minimum, birth parents receive photos, letters, videos, phone calls, share Facebook family pages and frequently have in person visits. What we have noticed is that no two adoptions are alike, just like no two families are alike.
We think our view of adoption is on the leading edge of understanding. We believe that our approach is beyond “open adoption” and represents the way adoptions will be viewed in the future. And the way adoption is practiced by many right now.
We believe that when a child is placed for adoption, everyone related to them becomes part of a larger extended family network.
We would consider it an honor to speak with you. No matter where you are in your pregnancy, whether your child has just arrived, or if you are due in eight weeks, we are here to help. Our motto is “Our Help, Your Decisions” and we mean it.
We feel good about telling the truth about adoption, about not sugar coating the experience. We like providing a place where people are encouraged to question absolutely everything and believe that every question deserves an answer.
There are three ways you can contact us
You can call us at (800)676-2229
Or you can text us at (872)-588-0705
Or you can fill out the form below, and one of our counselors will reach out to you.