When we think about adoption, most of the time we’re thinking about women who have an unexpected pregnancy and are not prepared to parent, for whatever reason. But sometimes, the circumstances that lead a parent to place a child come about much later. Maybe it’s a loss of resources–no longer being able to financially support a child, experiencing homelessness, losing family members who have been supporting or helping with parenting. Sometimes it’s hard circumstances–addiction, abuse, or other trauma. Sometimes it’s a totally unique situation that leads a parent to feel that they may not be the best person to raise this child. Whatever it is, it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, a bad parent, or that you don’t love your child. So what do you do next?
1. Call an agency.
When you call An Open Door, one of our local caseworkers will speak with you to learn more about your situation, your child, and what is leading you to consider adoption. We’ll talk with you about your options, talk about what adoption will mean for you and your child, and what resources may be available to help, if you decide adoption is not the best plan for you. If you decide that you want to move forward, we’ll walk with you through the process of making a plan.
2. Make a plan.
Placing an older child for adoption is very similar to an infant adoption and involves many of the same options. Your caseworker will speak with you about your option to choose the adoptive family and help you work through that process, if you’d like. They’ll help set up contact with the potential family so you have the option to meet them over the phone or video chat and find out more about what kind of family they will be for your child. While the adoption process usually takes some time, your caseworker may also be able to help if you are in a situation where you need someone to take the child immediately.
3. Complete the process.
Once you are ready, your caseworker will work with you to complete the required paperwork. This will involve getting some background on your family and medical history and any information that will help the adoptive family care for your child, as well as the paperwork to surrender your parental rights.
Whatever your reasons for considering adoption for your older child, know that we are not here to judge or coerce you, and you are not alone. We’ll walk with you through the process, make sure you know your rights and options, and help you make the plan that’s best for you and your child.