The Adoption Process
You might be feeling unsure of where to start or exactly what is going to happen if you decide to make an adoption plan. Because every woman and situation is unique, a counselor at the IAC will build an adoption plan that works best for you, but the following is a step-by-step guide to the adoption process.
1. Research and contacting us
- The first thing to do is to educate yourself about your options so that you can make the best decision possible.
- We will send you an information packet and speak with you to answer all of your questions; our counselors are also available to just talk over your feelings.
- It’s ok if you are still considering other options at this time – there is no pressure to choose adoption! We can help you understand what open adoption means and help you evaluate whether it is the right choice for you. Contacting us is never an obligation to choose adoption.
2. Choose a family
- If you are feeling like open adoption might be the right decision for you and your baby, the next step is to search families who are hoping to adopt.
- You are in control of choosing the family for your baby. You can speak with them on the phone and meet them in person to make sure you are making the best choice.
- Your counselor will guide you as you are making contact with families, as this can be a little scary for a lot of women!
- When you feel like you have found the right family, you can request to “match” with the family. This means that you are feeling pretty sure that open adoption is the right decision for you, and that you have selected the best family possible.
- Our counselors can help you decide when you are ready to match. Even when you match, you will still not sign any paperwork that obligates you to move forward.
4. Match Meeting and Counseling
- Once you have matched with a family, a counselor will begin to work with you to plan the details of your adoption plan. She will schedule a time to talk with you and the adopting parents, called a match meeting.
- At that meeting, you will have the opportunity to get to know the adopting parents in depth, to be sure they are the right family for you.
- You will be in regular contact with your counselor, who can help you figure out what you want your adoption plan to look like and will be there to support you. She will help you understand how you might feel when the baby is born so that you will be prepared, and you can talk to her about your relationship with the birthfather, your own family and the adopting family. It is very normal and expected to be feeling a lot of different emotions, and it is important to have someone to talk to about them!
- Depending on what state you live in, maternity-related financial assistance can be available during this time if needed.
5. Birth and Placement
- You and your counselor will create a plan for what happens at the hospital. The hospital will have your birth plan ahead of time so that the birth and hospital experience will go the way you want it to.
- You can choose to have alone time with the baby and to spend time together with the adopting parents. After the baby is born, your counselor will work with you to see if you are still comfortable with your adoption plan. If you are, she will set up a time to sign the paperwork, making the adoption official. This process can vary a little depending on what state you live in, and your counselor will let you know what to expect.
- Adoption doesn’t end when you place the baby; it is a lifelong decision. Your counselor will still be available to you to help you manage your feelings and make sure your contact with the adopting parents is going as planned.
- Your feelings might swing up and down a little during this time, and that is normal. Talking to your counselor will help you manage your feelings.
- You will also be able to connect with the IAC and other birthparents and adoptive families at events like summer picnics and winter holiday parties if you live near an IAC office!
To hear about what it's really like to place a baby in an IAC open adoption, please watch the video testimonies of real IAC birthmoms. You can also read birthparent stories.