When it comes to an adoption, prospective birth mothers are the ones in charge. So, what do you want your adoption to look like?

As a woman considering an adoption, you get to create an adoption plan that is unique and made just for you. Of course, this will require plenty of thought on your part. After all, there wouldn’t be an adoption plan without you in the first place. If you have a specific future in mind for your child, making an adoption plan can help it come true.

But, you may be wondering, “What is an adoption plan, and what do I get to decide in my adoption?” While every adoption is different, here are the general steps to making an adoption plan if you are a prospective birth mother:

Step 1: Contact an Adoption Professional

If you’re ready to start making an adoption plan, the first step is to contact an adoption specialist. You will always have the choice of working with whatever adoption professional you want, whether that’s a local adoption attorney or a national adoption agency. Make sure to research professionals to choose the one that is right for you.

In order to create a successful adoption plan, there is some information that you’ll need to provide.  Your adoption specialist will ask you for your recent medical history, social history, and your preferences for an adoptive family. It’s important that you fill out the forms to the best of your ability. If you have questions about the forms that you’ve been given, don’t be afraid to reach out to your adoption specialist.

You can also rest assured that any personal information that you provide during the adoption will be kept confidential.

Step 2: Find an Adoptive Family

Once you’ve found an adoption professional that you’d like to work with, the next step is finding an adoptive family for your baby. Finding an adoptive family can feel like the most time‐consuming and stressful parts of your adoption plan. But don’t give up — there is a family waiting for every child. And, when you are a prospective birth mother, you will always be the one who chooses which family you want for your child.

As you’re looking at a variety of adoptive family profiles during your adoption planning, here are some questions that you can ask yourself:

  • Do you want to find a family that lives closer to you, allowing for frequent in-person visits?
  • Do you want to find a family with the same religious background as yours?
  • Do you want to find a family that already has children, or do you want your child to be an only child at this time?

Whatever your preferences are, you can find an adoptive family that meets your needs during your adoption planning. Your adoption specialist will help you create an ideal family profile as part of your adoption plan, and your specialist will work to find the perfect family for you and your baby. You will always make the ultimate decision about which family you want for your child.

Step 3: Pre‐Placement Contact

Once you’ve found the right family for you and you feel confident in your decision, it’s time to start getting to know the adoptive family. You will always have the final say in what kind of contact you wish to share with the adoptive family; they and your adoption specialist will always respect your wishes on this topic.

The first time you officially get to know the adoptive family will often be through a phone call with your adoption specialist, the adoptive family, and you. The birth father can also join the phone call if he is involved in the adoption planning process. After this initial step, you’ll be able to get to know each other through:

  • Phone calls
  • In‐person visits depending on where you both live
  • Pictures and letters
  • And more

What kind of contact you share with the adoptive family will always be up to you. In fact, this contact will often be decided upon as part of your original adoption plan before you even select a family for your child.

Step 4: Your Hospital Stay

Planning for your hospital stay in advance can help you focus on this big day and the healthy birth of your baby. Here are some things to consider when it comes to your hospital adoption planning:

  • Who will be in the delivery room with you
  • How much time you would like to spend with your baby after the birth
  • Whether you want to take pictures with your baby and the adoptive family

Your adoption specialist and adoption attorney will be with you throughout this process, including when you first put together this hospital plan. They will work with the hospital of your choice to ensure your rights and desires are protected during your delivery process.

Step 5: Post‐Placement Contact

Signing away your parental rights doesn’t mean that your connection to the adoptive family and your child has to end. Depending on what type of contact you and the adoptive family have agreed on, there are two different ways that you can choose to continue a relationship with your child. Remember, this will always be your decision.

Here is what both of these options can look like for your adoption plan:

  • Open or Full‐Disclosure Adoption: This option is great for prospective birth mothers that are looking for plenty of communication with the adoptive family and their child. In a full‐disclosure adoption, you can share as much about yourself as you want. No two open adoptions are the same. So, you can make an open adoption plan that is unique and has exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Semi‐Open Adoption: Semi‐open adoptions allow for more privacy, while still giving you an opportunity to get to know the adoptive family and your child. With this option, your adoption agency will be able to mediate the sending of pictures and letters between you and the adoptive family. If you need additional help mediating contact with the adoptive family, your adoption specialist will be happy to assist.

Of course, you don’t have to choose an open adoption if you’re not comfortable with one. You may be in a situation where a closed adoption is necessary in order to protect yourself and your baby’s well‐being.  Be sure to talk to your adoption specialist about the pros and cons if this is something that you’re considering.

As you’re making an adoption plan, always remember that the adoption process will begin and end with you. Your adoption specialist will be able to provide whatever you need to help make your adoption a success, including adoption plan templates, 24/7 counseling, and more.

If you are looking for an adoption specialist that can help you jump‐start your adoption plan, here are some great agencies that you might consider contacting: