Are You Pregnant and Thinking About Adoption?
Series: Factsheets for Families|
Child Welfare Information Gateway |
|Year Published: 2007|
Exploring your options
- Your local library or bookstore and the Internet let you find information in private.
- A counselor (e.g., a therapist or social worker) may help you make a decision based on your own personal situation and values.
- An adoption agency or lawyer can provide adoption-specific information.
These three types of resources are discussed below.
Books and the Internet
If you are just beginning to gather information about adoption and other options, books and the Internet may be a good starting point.
Books. To get a complete view of adoption, you may want to look for books about:
- Parents who placed their children for adoption (birth parents)
- Parents who formed their families by adopting children (adoptive parents)
- Children and adults who were adopted (adopted people or adopted people)
You may want to read about how other parents felt when they placed their children for adoption, and how they felt later in life.
The Internet. If you don't have a computer at home to search the Internet for information and support, you can usually use one at a library. Searching under the terms 'adoption' or 'pregnancy' may be too general to be useful. Here are some ideas for search terms if you use a search engine like Google or MSN. (Using quotation marks around the term usually allows you to search for that exact term.)
- "Adoption options"
- "Teen Parenting"
- "Single motherhood"
- "Pregnancy options"
- Adoption "birth mother"
- Adoption "birth father"
- "Adoption impact"
- "Unexpected pregnancy"
- "Adoption birthmother"
- "Adoption birthfather"
- "Healthy pregnancy"
- "Support group" "birth mother"
- "Adoption triad"
It's important to remember that information on the Internet can be one-sided or incorrect. Try to look at a number of different websites. You may have questions about what's true or what applies to your situation. If so, you may want to talk with a counselor, therapist, or social worker.
Counselors, Therapists, or Social Workers
While you are considering adoption, it's important to find a therapist or counselor who can provide information and answer your questions in a sensitive and neutral way. This means finding a counselor who doesn't stand to gain from whatever decision you make. Here are some possible questions to ask a counselor:
- What are my options for this pregnancy?
- Can you help me explore my feelings about my pregnancy and what I want for myself and my child?
- If I decide to parent my baby myself, how can you help me?
- If I want to place my baby for adoption, will you help me find an adoption agency or lawyer?
- What are my rights and responsibilities? What are those of the expectant father?
There are many different places to find professionals trained to counsel pregnant women about unexpected pregnancy. Here are some places to start looking:
- Departments of social services or family services offered by your county or city
- Health departments or mental health centers at your local health clinic or through your local hospital or county or city government
- Faith-based counselors, including pastors, rabbis, or others associated with a place of worship
- An adoption agency that has pregnancy counselors or 'options counselors' (see section below for more information)
You can also dial 211 (available in some areas) or call your local United Way for help in locating a counselor.
No matter where you go, a counselor should always treat you with respect. A counselor's own feelings about adoption or other options shouldn't affect the information that he or she provides. In order to make up your own mind, it's important for you to get clear, full, and unbiased information.
Adoption Agencies and Adoption Lawyers
Talking with someone at a licensed adoption agency or with a lawyer who specializes in adoption may be a good choice if you are already leaning toward adoption. They can tell you more about the actual adoption process. Talking to an agency or lawyer doesn't mean that you're promising to place your child for adoption. You can get information from agencies and lawyers without making that plan. It's just another way to collect information so that you can make a well-informed decision. Some States also require that free counseling be offered to you and the baby's father by an agency or lawyer providing adoption services.
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