Adoption today is very different than it was when you were growing up. Today when a woman decides to place her child for adoption she gets to be in charge of the process. You do not have to have your mind made up before talking to one of our counselors about adoption. Our counselors will help you objectively explore all your options to determinethe best choice for you and your baby.
BECOME A PARENT
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Becoming a parent is a big responsibility that also brings great joy. There are many factors that go into determining whether you are able or willing to parent at this time in your life. Some of the factors you may consider will include practical matters such as your age, your ability to earn an income to support your child, your mental health, your support network, but also emotional factors such as your goals in life and how raising a child will affect those goals, your dreams for your child, as well as yours and your child’s emotional and physical wellbeing. In order to parent your child you will need to be able to provide the material things your child needs, such as diapers, food, clothing, but also a loving a nurturing environment for your child to grow in. If you are feeling concerned about your ability to provide for your child, you can reach out to trusted family and friends and see what kind of support they are able to provide.
MAKE AN ADOPTION PLAN
If you are considering an adoption plan, you can speak with a counsellor at Sunrise who will explore all of your options with you. You will have the opportunity to discuss the positive and negative sides of each possible path. You will have a chance to look at profiles of adoptive parents that are waiting for a child. If you decide that making an adoption plan is the best choice for you and your baby, you will be able to see more information about the families that you feel would be the right fit to raise your baby. You and your counsellor will have a chance to meet the family that you select, prior to the baby being born and be able to communicate with them by phone and text or skype. During this time you will have a chance to explore the idea of “open adoption” and make a plan that meets yours and the adoptive family’s needs. Your counsellor will help you make a plan for your birth and hospital stay that is tailored to your needs and wishes. You can decide when you would like to invite the adoptive parents in to meet the baby, or you can invite them to the birth, if that is what you would like to see happen. You will be in charge of the process.
Some women call Sunrise early on in their pregnancy and they form a relationship with the adoptive parents that they have chosen throughout the pregnancy. Other women call very close to the time they will deliver. And other women call once the baby has been born. We can help you whenever you call, but by calling earlier you can make a plan and feel more relaxed and comfortable during the remainder of your pregnancy, knowing you have a plan in place.
WHAT IF I DON'T MAKE A PLAN ?
Many women facing an unintended pregnancy may feel overwhelmed by emotions of guilt, shame, unworthiness, confusion, or sadness.
Sometimes these big emotions can be so painful, it seems easier to turn away from them and as a result many women feel unable to make a plan for their baby. You may feel like if you ignore the pregnancy then the problem will go away. Even if you do not make a plan while you are pregnant, inevitably you will go into labour and deliver your baby.
If you do not have a plan, and are unwilling or unable to parent your child, the hospital social worker will likely call the Ministry for Children and Families or may call an adoption agency like us. If they call the Ministry, you will often lose control over what happens to your baby and you may not have many choices. The ministry is there to make sure the baby is safe, but they will start to make the decisions for you and your baby. You will have decision making power and the process is completely confidential with our agency. Whereas if you call an adoption agency, even at the last minute, you can make a plan for your baby and stay in control of the process. You will have decision making power and the process is completely confidential with our agency.
You will be able to select the family that will parent your child, whereas if the Ministry apprehends the baby, they will make the decision who will parent your baby and you may not be able to have openness.
ABORTION, ADOPTION OR PARENTING
Women facing an unplanned pregnancy often have to make some very tough decisions. For some these can be made more complicated by the nature of the debate between pro-life advocates and women’s choice advocates. For many women that discussion is just the overlay on top of many other potential crises in their lives at that point. In addition to an emotional or religious conflict over whether to have an abortion there are other influences that pregnant women can be struggling with, including:
1. Family Pressure
Pressures from her family, mother, boyfriend, or others to either terminate the pregnancy by abortion, to parent the child, or to place the child for adoption. These pressures can make figuring out what she wants to do very challenging.
2. Abusive Partnerships
Sometimes women in an abusive relationship may face the choice of either terminating the pregnancy by abortion, placing the child for adoption, or spending the next 20 years in a conflicted and abusive relationship fighting with the birth father over money, visitation and other issues.
3. Life Plans
For some women parenting a child simply does not fit with their life’s plan. It could be because she has just finished high school and wants to get job training or go to college. For others who may already have children, another child is too overwhelming.For those women who may already be past the time to have an abortion, the choice may be to parent or place the child for adoption.
To make things even more complex for women struggling with these decisions, family members occasionally change their minds about what they want to see happen. The pressure they have been placing on their pregnant relative flips around and they now want the opposite result.
What Should Happen?
Women should make the choice which is right for them and their lives. The consequences of choosing any of these paths (abortion, placement for adoption or parenting) can have long term impact, and the process of coming to the right decision can be torturous. At Sunrise our role is to provide counselling so that women can make the right choice for themselves. That is the only decision that will work in the long run. The counselling is free and unlimited in time. Sunrise does not have an agenda as to what choice should be made. We are truly neutral, and sometimes are the only people who are neutral as to the result. We help you to find the right decision and then support you to take that course of action.
We truly and firmly believe that is what should happen. We do not want to influence you in one way or another. When Sunrise became an official charity, we had to decide what the focus of our work would be. For Sunrise it’s providing resources to pregnant women facing difficult and complex choices. There is no pressure to choose the adoption route or any other. For Sunrise a successful outcome is that you make a good plan for your life, no matter what path you follow.