The adoption process can be confusing, not to mention emotionally trying. You may feel that you have nobody to talk to – but be reassured that you are not alone; nearly 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. And that percentage is much higher for women 15-24. These are some places that you can look to for support.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Crisis Pregnancy Centers are a great place to start because they’re easy to find and specialize in working with pregnant women. They provide counseling on pregnancy, abortion, and childbirth, and may include other services such as pregnancy testing and medical exams. Crisis Pregnancy Centers can be helpful, especially if you live in a community where there’s limited access to other professionals. But don’t expect a balanced view. Many centers have ties to pro-life groups and have a very specific agenda.
Public Health Services
If you live in a small town or want to keep your pregnancy secret, Public Health Services may not be the first folks you want to call on for help. But they’re easy to find and can provide basic counseling about your choices. So if you’re just looking for someone to talk to or suggestions on where to go for additional help and support, they’re as good a destination as any.
Adoption is a legal process as well as a social process, so that’s where your attorney comes in. He or she can explain how the adoption laws in your state work, and what you can — and can’t — do as an expectant parent and once you’ve relinquished your parental rights. They will be able to help you with an adoption plan, refer you to a licensed counselor or an adoption agency.
If you’re interested in putting together an adoption plan or just considering one, you can contact an adoption agency. An agency can put you in touch with a licensed adoption counselor who can answer all of your questions and guide you through every step of the adoption process. Among other things, they’ll explain your rights and responsibilities and the pregnancy- or birth-related financial assistance you may be eligible for.
Adoption may be a new experience for you, but not for birthmothers. Birthmothers are women who have placed their baby for adoption. As a result, they can give you insights into the process and what to expect that other people can’t. Because they’re been through the process themselves, they “get” what you’re going through. So you don’t have to worry about what to say to them or how to say it. Sign up to connect with a peer counselor birth mother.
Neither agencies nor attorneys, facilitators often work with one group or the other. Their main role is to help connect hopeful adoptive parents with prospective birth parents. If you have doubts about whether to go forward with your adoption plan, you’re better off seeing a counselor first. Unlike agencies and attorneys, facilitators are not licensed. And in some states, they’re not even allowed to operate.
Although an unplanned pregnancy is difficult to deal with, there are many people who can help you turn your crisis into an opportunity. Be sure to reach out to them and see what they have to offer before making any plans regarding your baby’s future.