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Birth mom

Birth mom - what does that mean?

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Legally speaking, a ‘birth mom’ or ‘birth mother’ is someone who has given birth to a child and completed all the necessary steps to place the child for adoption. 

 

Until that final step has been completed, a more sensitive phrase to use is something like ‘expectant mother’, as this helps to reduce the social and societal pressure on the woman in question, and enables her to make a decision around her and her child’s future without the pressure of labeling, or pressure to go through an adoption plan .

 

Becoming a birth mom can be a life-changing event that comes with some difficult decisions. With the right support and counseling, many birth moms find peace in the knowledge that their child is part of a loving adoptive family, especially if contact is maintained through an open adoption.

 

  1. What is a birth mom?

  2. What is it like to be a birth mom?

  3. Support for prospective birth moms

  4. Post-adoption support for birth moms

 

What is a birth mom?

 

The term ‘birth mom’ is used to differentiate between the person who gave birth to the child and the adoptive parents. It is a term used to refer to the woman who gives birth to a child that is then placed for adoption, but only after the adoption has taken place.

All parties involved in the adoption agreement should reach a consensus on how the birth mother should be referred to, especially in an open adoption agreement. You may prefer to be referred to as the child's ‘first mom’ rather than ‘birth mom’, or choose a fun or endearing name that helps the child understand the role you have in their life.

 

What is it like to be a birth mom?

 

The experience of every birth mom is deeply personal, and becoming a birth mother is often described as a bittersweet journey. 

During the initial stages, you will not only be recovering from the physical effects of pregnancy and childbirth, but also the emotional effects of the difficult decision you have made.

However, over time many birth moms find reassurance and peace in the knowledge that their child is loved and supported by their adoptive family and has the life they dreamed of for them. An open adoption, where the birth mother retains some contact with the child, can ease some of the pain and grief felt when a birth mother chooses to place their child for adoption.

The best way to figure out how you might feel to become a birth mom yourself is to get ethical and honest adoption counseling with a knowledgeable social worker or therapist.  You could also speak to other women who have been through this process, and their experience of placing their child for adoption, who also have valuable perspectives that may help you to make a decision.

 

Support for prospective birth moms

 

It is important to emphasize that until the baby is born and the adoption process is complete, you are under no obligation to be referred to as a birth mom. 

There is no pressure or expectation for a mother to go through with an adoption - this is always your choice, and you are in control. 

Mothers considering placing their child for adoption may prefer to be called a prospective birth mom, or simply an expectant mother. 

If you are considering whether adoption might be the right course of action for you and your unborn child, consider enlisting the services of a licensed ethical adoption agency for advice and support.

Many adoption agencies have decades of experience supporting both expectant mothers, and adoptive families, and can provide you with access to services, resources, and practical help. 

Post-adoption support for birth moms

The adoption process is just the start of the journey for any birth mother. 

Regardless of whether you opted for an open or closed adoption, it is natural to experience feelings of grief and loss. Counseling both before and after the adoption takes place can help you find healthy ways to deal with these feelings, aiding you to move forward with your life in a fulfilling way.

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If you are pregnant and considering placing your baby for adoption, you deserve to have a respectful and positive experience.

 

We can help every step of the way.

Our adoption counselors can:

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Help decide if adoption is right for you

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Advise you of your rights, and connect you to resources

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Help you choose an adoptive family

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Assist you with obtaining adoption expenses

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Help you learn more about open adoption

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Support you before and after the birth of your baby

You are in control, and can choose what your adoption plan will be.

About us

At Adopt International, we believe it is important that you make this decision on your own terms and surround yourself with helpful, supportive professionals.

We have over 40 years of experience working with pregnant women, which has taught us that in order to have a successful adoption it is imperative that a birth mother is comfortable and confident in the choice she makes.

We are advocates for open adoption. Research shows it is the best kind of adoption plan for birth families, adoptive families, and adoptees.

Words from birth mothers

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“I want to thank Adopt International for all they have done for me and my daughter and her family.

 

They truly know the meaning of open adoption and making it work for us all.”

- Monica

“From the second I walked in the door I felt like I was in a very warm and supportive environment.”

- Bethany

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“You didn’t pressure me into anything.

You held my hand all the way through the process and made sure I knew everything about placing my child for adoption.

I am forever grateful for your agency.”

- Birth mother

“Well, I chose Adopt International because the awesome family I chose to be my birth daughter’s adoptive parents were already working with y’all, and when I met with y’all myself, you were so pro birth parent, understanding, and down to Earth in a situation that was straight up madness.

I have love, love, loved being in contact with y’all over time and seeing that you really do care, just like you showed me over a decade ago!”

- Myra

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  • How do I make this decision?
    We’ll help you think of all your options, and the pros and cons of each of them. We are always here to listen and sort through your emotions so you are comfortable with the choice you make in the end. Adopt can also give you referrals to other programs, counselors, and connect you to other birth moms or parenting resources.
  • What is open adoption?
    Open adoption is when you choose the family who will parent your child, and you have the option to stay in touch with that family. Often times in open adoption you will exchange pictures, letters, and have visits with the family and your child. If you are interested we can share lots of research with you about how this is best for everyone involved, but ultimately you get to make the decision that feels most comfortable to you.
  • How do I pick a family?
    Families make picture books about themselves for you to start to get to know them. After you look at the books and have chosen a family you can, if you want to, meet them face to face. If you don’t like the first family you meet it’s perfectly alright to keep looking until you find the best family for you and your baby.
  • I don’t live in Hawaii or California, is that okay?
    Yes, we are available 24/7 no matter where you are living. We can work with you to pick one of our waiting families, who are in California and Hawaii, or work with an agency in another state in order to make sure you have the best family and adoption plan for you.
  • What happens at the hospital?
    If you are matched with a family before going into labor we will work with you, the adoptive family, and the hospital employees to create a hospital plan that meet your needs. This plan is flexible and can always change depending on how you are feeling at the hospital. We believe this is your time to call the shots and make sure the experience is what you want it to be. ​ If you are admitted to the hospital and have not been matched yet, don’t worry. With our over 40 years of domestic adoption experience working with women, we are well versed in being flexible, and working quickly in order for you to pick an adoptive family, meet them, and even have the baby go home with them. We can help you fill out the paperwork, or can work with you to get it completed after discharge.
  • Do I have to pick the family?
    No, some of the expectant mothers we work with, don’t want to pick the family, and we are happy to do that for you if you want. We will ask you questions about yourself that help us narrow down who would be a good match for you and your baby.
  • What happens after the baby is born?
    Every open adoption is different because the relationship between the adoptive family, birth family, and adoptee changes based on how much and what kind of contact the birth family wants. Often birth families are in touch with the adoptive family pretty soon after the baby is born, and receive pictures, letters and even have visits with the child. Before the adoptive parents are able to finalize the adoption they have to wait 6 months. During that time they will meet with a social workers 4 times to check in on the baby, their parenting, and to make sure everything is going smoothly.
  • What if I am due really soon?
    Don’t worry. We have been doing this for a long time and no matter how much time we have before the baby comes we will make sure you are supported, and feel comfortable throughout the process. We work with people at all stages of their pregnancy and some women even after they have delivered.
  • Will this cost me?
    No, there is never any cost to birth families. Most state laws allow the adoptive family to pay for pregnancy related expenses for the birth mothers a few months before delivery and 1 or 2 months after. This means any maternity clothes you need will be covered, along with the medical bills, as well as a few other expenses. Every state is different but we can help you figure out what is allowed and what isn’t.
  • What if I used some drugs/alcohol?
    We will find a loving forever family for your child no matter what your medical history entails. Depending on the type and amount of the drugs used, we will make sure to match you with a family who is prepared to raise a child who may have been impacted by drugs in utero. It is important that you are honest and upfront about the drug use so we can match you with an appropriate family.
  • What happens if I decide to parent?
    If you decide to parent your child we are completely supportive of you and the decision you have come to. This is a big and important decision, and we would never want you to feel pressure to place your child for adoption - no one will be upset with you.
  • Will my child be mad at me, or confused when they are older?
    One of the benefits of open adoption is that there are no secrets. Children are told about their past and their birth families. They understand the decisions that you made when they were a baby were in the best interest of you and your child. Also, many birth parents enjoy making scrapbooks and albums that document pregnancy, birth, and the early life of their child from the perspective of the birth parent. We have seen that when children grow up knowing their birth families and are able to ask you questions they do better. They have less confusion, less anger and feelings of resentment and abandonment. Since we have been around for so long we have seen the benefits of open adoption first hand. Children of open adoption enjoy getting to know how they are like their birth families and how they are like their adoptive families.
  • How do I get started?
    Call us at (800) 969-6665 and we can answer any questions you have and send you the paperwork to get started. We can also meet with you face to face if you prefer.
  • Do I need a lawyer?
    No. An adoption agency, like Adopt International, will advocate for you and advise you of your legal rights. That being said, if you want a lawyer we will help get you one.
  • If I place my baby for adoption, can I still choose their name?
    Yes, a birth certificate will be created that has your name, as the mother, and whatever name you give your child (we will get you an original of this birth certificate). With your permission, we will also get an original for your child to keep as many adoptees really value having a copy of their original birth certificate. When the family finalizes their adoption a new birth certificate will be made with the adoptive parent’s names, and the name they give the baby. Often both parties talk about it and decide a name together. Many adoptive parents choose to include the name you give the baby as their middle name.
  • How do I know who will be good parents my baby?
    In order for us to present a family to you they have to go through a long background check, where we look at their personal history, medical history, criminal history, and finances among other things. They are also required to take classes on parenting, and adoption. Then we approve them to become an adoptive family, this is called the Home Study. We find the best matches come when you and the prospective adoptive family have things in common like shared values, hobbies and dreams for your child.
  • How will I feel after the adoptive family takes my baby home?
    Placing your child for adoption is a scary, stressful, and very hard thing to do. You will feel sad, there is no way around it. Grieving is a normal process after placing your child, and we are here to support you, listen and help you cope with your emotions at this time. Many people find it helpful to go to counseling or talk to other women or couples who have been through a similar situation.
  • How do you make sure that the adoptive family upholds the open adoption agreement?
    Adopt International only works with families who want open adoptions and in California you have the option to make your post adoption agreement legally binding. We can help you figure out exactly what details you want in your agreement, and then make it legally binding if that is what you choose. If you live outside of California but pick a California family you may have the option to still have a legally binding agreement about continuing contact. Many other states have similar laws. We can help you figure out the laws of your state.

¿Considerando dar en adopción? 

Si estás embarazada y consideras dar en adopción a tu bebé, mereces tener una experiencia respetuosa y positiva. Te empoderaremos para que puedes tomar la mejor decisión para usted. Tenemos trabajadoras sociales que hablan español para ayudarte y responder a tus preguntas.

 

Nuestras consejeras de adopción pueden:

  • Ayudarle a decidir si adopción es la mejor opción para ti

  • Apoyar en su decisión de criar a tu niño o por familia adoptiva.  

  • Ayudar a aprender sobre la adopción abierta. 

  • Ayudarle a elegir una familia adoptiva

  • Informarle sobre sus derechos y a poner en contacto con los servicios que se requieran. 

  • Asistirle para conseguir ayuda en los gastos de adopción. 

  • Apoyarle antes y después del nacimiento de su bebé. 

 

Usted tiene el control, y puede elegir el mejor plan de adopción que mejor le convenga

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