30 Jun Putting A Toddler Up For Open Adoption
“I’m a single mom to a two-year-old girl, and ever since she was born, it’s been a struggle to pay bills and make sure she has everything she needs. I don’t have any support from my parents, and her dad disappeared when he learned I was pregnant. I only see my daughter when I’m dropping her off at daycare in the morning and picking her up at night. I want her to have better than this. It breaks my heart to have to admit this, but I’ve Googled, “putting toddler up for adoption.’”
If you’re searching for information about adoption, it means that you love your child so much that you want the very best for them. No matter what you’re going through, please know you’re not alone. We often hear from moms who don’t have enough money to care for their child, or are facing a sudden illness or incarceration. Adoption was the answer to their dilemmas, and it could be for yours, too.
Reasons for Putting a Toddler up for Open Adoption
Some women contact us because they’re in an abusive situation and can’t guarantee a safe place for their children. They worry that CPS might step in and remove their child, so adoption is a better option. Instead of letting the courts decide where their child goes, these moms are trying to find a good home for their child while they still have the chance. With open adoption, you can choose your child’s parents and stay in touch in the future. Your child won’t end up getting lost in the foster care system.
Birth mothers today choose adoption because they’re putting their child’s interests before their own. There are a lot of different reasons why women choose adoption:
- Finances: There’s just not enough money to provide for this child and/or for other children in the family. Mom is feeling stretched too thin, and wants her child to have a better life than she can afford to provide.
- Physical illness: Sometimes, a birth parent will contact us about putting a child up for adoption because of a sudden illness like cancer or a debilitating, long-term condition.
- Mental health issues: Moms who struggle with mental health conditions may not be able to care for their child, and so they turn to adoption.
- Drug addiction: This personal challenge may prevent a woman from providing the life she wishes for her child. So, she places her child for adoption to give them the path toward a more hopeful future.
- Incarceration: Occasionally, jail time is a reality for a birth mom. Even though many things are outside of her control right now, she can still take control of her child’s future by choosing adoption, knowing that her child will have a strong, loving family.
- Abusive relationship: If the child’s birth father is abusive, she may feel that moving her child to a safer situation with an adoptive family is best.
- Lack of support: Sometimes family members say they will be there to help out with the baby, but after a short time, that help vanishes. If her family or the birth father aren’t willing to help, a mom may feel very alone and unable to care for her child.
These personal challenges and more may prevent you from being able to provide the life you want for your child. Considering adoption for your toddler is a way you can guarantee they will have a promising future.
What is Open Adoption?
An open adoption is one in which both the birth mother (or birth parents) and the adoptive family meet before, during, and after the adoption. A big part of open adoption is that the birth mother chooses the adoptive parents for her child. There is an exchange of some personal information, discussions about adoption plans, and how best to raise the child.
When you choose an open adoption, YOU can make the choices you want for your child rather than someone else. You won’t have to wonder if your child is safe and cared for the way you would like. Open adoption allows you to be part of your child’s life throughout their growing years. You can receive photos and updates, and even have in-person visits with the adoptive family. Unlike a closed adoption, an open adoption gives you many choices throughout the process. Open adoption allows you to:
- Chose your child’s adoptive parents
- Decide how you want the transition period to go
- Decide what kind of future contact you want with your child
With open adoption, you choose the adoptive parents you feel would be the best to raise your child. Cradle of Hope will send you links to adoptive family profiles online, or you can begin finding an adoptive family right here on our website. Each adoptive family’s profile includes pictures of the family and information about what they like to do. After you choose a couple of your favorite adoptive parents, we will arrange for you to speak with the family to learn more about them. If, after talking, you don’t think they’re the right parents for your child, you go back to the profiles and keep looking.
How the Transition Happens
The adoptive family you choose will travel to your town to spend time with you and your child or children in an open adoption. When everyone decides to move forward with an adoption, Cradle of Hope will help you create a transition plan for your child. For a very young toddler, this may be a short period of time. For an older child, it may last over a week or two, with guidance from a counselor.
Future Contact with Your Child
One of the biggest advantages of open adoption is choosing what kind of contact you would like to have with your child as they grow up. Open adoption allows you to stay connected to your child through emails, texts, or phone calls. Some birth mothers become very involved with their child and the adoptive family. Every open adoption looks different depending on what you and the adoptive family decide. The important thing is that having a certain level of openness will be beneficial for both you and your child.
Studies have found that birth mothers who had contact with their child and the adoptive family experienced less unresolved grief than those who had none. Having contact with your child and the adoptive family will help you in the days after your child goes to live with the adoptive family.
What is the Process for Putting a Toddler for Adoption?
Putting your toddler up for adoption gives you complete control and allows you to provide your child with the life you want them to have. Your Cradle of Hope social worker will support you
in any way she can with kindness and without judgment. She will make sure you know exactly what is going to happen so there won’t be any surprises or uncomfortable last-minute decisions, making this adoption process a little easier for you to walk through. Here’s how adoption works:
1. Reach out to Cradle of Hope: Call or text us so we can help answer your questions about the adoption process for a child already born. Our social worker will gather information about you and your child, like their age, development, health, interests, school progress, and general behavior.
2. Fill out paperwork: We’ll send some paperwork for you to complete, or you can complete the paperwork online. This paperwork gathers more information; it’s not the final legal paperwork. It includes a health history and medical releases.
3. Choose the best family for your child: After looking at adoptive family profiles, you’ll need to choose your favorites. You can speak with one or more families, which will help you decide and allow you to talk about what type of contact you would like in the future. All of the adoptive families that Cradle of Hope works with are open to keeping in touch with you through letters, photos, email, texting, phone calls, social media, and even getting together once or twice a year for a visit. If you prefer, you can start by emailing them.
4. Begin the Transition Period: Once you choose an adoptive family, they will spend time with you and your child or children. At first, you and your child will meet the adoptive family at a park or playground. If possible, you may want to allow your child to get to know them over several weeks. During this transition time, you may meet with the attorney to learn about your rights and begin to complete the paperwork for the legal aspect of adoption. You may also want to schedule a time to speak with the counselor or a peer counselor.
You may want to write a letter to your child and gather some of his or her favorite things, like blankets or stuffed animals. After you have signed the final adoption paperwork, your child and chosen family will go to their home. You will have the time you need to say goodbye, knowing that this is not goodbye forever, because you will stay in touch.
Cradle of Hope will be there for you throughout the adoption process, sending you free information and answering all your questions. You can reach your social worker by phone or text message for 24/7 counseling and a listening ear.
Helpful Resources When You Put a Toddler Up for Adoption
Here are some things you can do to cope with the many emotions you’ll experience after placing your toddler for adoption:
Get Counseling: Cradle of Hope can connect you with a licensed counselor to meet with. A counselor can help you deal with your grief and reassure you that what you’re feeling is normal. She can also help as you move through the transition process.
Find Support: Get support from your family, trusted friends, or a support group of other birth mothers.
Keep a Journal: Some birth mothers find writing out their feelings and thoughts in a journal can be helpful. Journaling can help you understand how you’re feeling and give you perspective as time goes on. In addition, this journal may be something you want to share with your child when they reach adulthood.
Give Yourself Time: Most of all, allow yourself time. After placing your toddler for adoption, dealing with all your feelings will take time. There isn’t an exact timetable for how long it takes to cope with your grief. Don’t minimize your feelings of grief and sadness. Over time, you’ll feel better and be able to move forward in your life. Being able to see your child and get updates on how they’re doing will be helpful and healing to you.
Cradle of Hope is Here to Help You: We have experience helping women place their baby or child for adoption at any age, from newborn to seven years old. With open adoption, you choose your child’s parents and stay in touch with your child in the future. As difficult as it can be to think about this, remember the choice is yours to make. Cradle of Hope is here to assist you in any way we can.
Just call or text Lifetime at 301-905-9999 to chat with a caring adoption professional.