And then there’s HIM…

Did you know that an individual’s fingerprints are formed and set around the halfway point in pregnancy? Those little ridges on the tips of your fingers are completely unique. No one has a set that looks like yours, and there will never be another set the same as your baby’s in the future.

Every person is unique—as we know from our fingerprints. Even identical twins do not share the same fingerprints! Not only is each person unique, each pregnancy is unique. Every situation, every aspect, every set of family members, every set of friends, every job, every home, well, pretty much EVERYTHING, is unique. This includes the father of the baby…who he is, how involved he is, what he thinks of the relationship he is in and what he hopes for the baby. Fatherhood can be a scary proposition, and talk of adoption only makes what is sometimes a tough situation more difficult.

Brittany, Taylor and Heather all chose to place their children for adoption. The relationships they share with the children’s fathers, however, are completely different. Just like their fingerprints, all three women had different answers to the question “What about the birth father?”

Brittany began considering adoption when her boyfriend, Tyler, left her and their other two children to move in with someone else. Taylor and her boyfriend, Lamar, were just out of high school and struggling to make their relationship work. Heather was not certain who the father was and was afraid people would judge her for the way she lived her life.

So what about the birth father? There is no “one size fits all” answer.

What about the birth father? There is a legal answer and there is an emotional answer. The best place to find answers to the legal question is through a lawyer. An adoption lawyer can help navigate the ins and outs of any particular situation.

What about the birth father? The relationship question — that one that involves all the emotions — deserves thorough deliberation. Sorting through the feelings about relationships during a confusing and tricky time with an impartial listener is an excellent place to start to gain clarity.

The Adoption Support Center talk with women like Heather, Brittany and Taylor as they sort through the questions and emotions that are a part of an unexpected pregnancy. They also talk with men like Tyler and Lamar. They approach every person who comes through the door or makes a phone call as uniquely and individually as their fingerprints. In adoption, there is no “one size fits all” answer. The ladies of the Adoption Support Center are ready to listen.


But What About Me? (Do grandparents count?)

“I know this is Taylor’s story, but I’m hurting too.”

Have you ever stopped to think that becoming a parent involves a series of “the first time…” events? One of the most exciting parts of becoming a mom or dad is experiencing all those “firsts”. It brings a feeling that the world is new and exciting. Do you remember the first deliberate smile from your baby? The first words, first steps, first time sleeping through the night? And then your baby starts becoming a little boy or little girl. The first day of school. The first sleepover. The first sports event. And then your little one is a teenager—and you experience the first dance. The first job. The first time driving a car.

There is a flip side to all those fun firsts. There are other firsts that aren’t so fun. The first fever. The first scraped knee. The first fight between best friends that has your darling crying herself to sleep. The first broken heart. And what if life doesn’t go as planned? You might learn that your daughter is having a first unexpected pregnancy and that your grandchild may become someone else’s grandbaby. These not-so-fun firsts may lead to personal feelings of sadness, regret and worry.

Taylor’s mom recalls that feeling well. When Taylor approached her with the news of both the pregnancy and her fears about raising a baby, it was time for some gut wrenching, heart breaking, soul searching. Taylor talked about adoption, and all her mom could think was “my baby is having a baby!” Her next thought was “What does she mean, adoption? This baby is part of us!” But as Taylor’s pregnancy progressed, and the adoption talk became more frequent and more certain, her mom wanted to become a part of the process. No one was going to take advantage of her daughter!

As Taylor looked at adoption, it became very clear there was no shortage of people wanting her baby. Taylor and her mom got phone calls from people who knew someone who had a cousin who was infertile, or who wanted a baby, or who knew someone who had adopted. All of them expressed interest in the baby…very few expressed interest in Taylor or her well-being. And Mom knew that handing over the baby to just anyone was not going to happen.

Being the mom of a woman experiencing an unexpected pregnancy is a tough role. Suddenly your voice becomes secondary. You can be an influence, but you can’t be the final decision maker. Taylor’s mom knew it, so she set about gathering information and learning what she could about Taylor’s options, rights, and responsibilities. Like any other major life choice, she sought the opinions of people she knew and trusted. She wanted to make certain that the adoption was done legally. She wanted to know that no one would be taking advantage of Taylor. She wanted to know that promises made would be promises kept.

The Adoption Support Center was there to answer the questions from Taylor’s mom and to help alleviate her fears. While they could not talk specifically about Taylor, they talked about what an adoption could look like—for Taylor, for herself, and for the baby. When Taylor contacted ASC herself, she found compassionate, listening women who were interested in her, not just her baby. Together Taylor and her mom found a family who wanted to adopt a baby, but also wanted to have a relationship with Taylor and her family. Taylor’s baby is growing up knowing that she is loved by many.

Taylor is one of the many “birthmomstrong” women who chose what she believed to be best for her child. Her mom also showed how strong women love their children through the tough things in life. The Adoption Support Center is honored to have been a part of their journey.


The Ties that Bind

“Your son would have brought much honor to your family.”

There’s something about a pregnant belly that invites commentary, advice, judgment, and opinion. Suddenly, everywhere you turn, there are people wanting to tell you their own pregnancy story, their friends’ pregnancy stories, and the latest rumor on the web about which celebrity is pregnant. And after the stories and rumors comes the questions. “When are you due?” “Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?” “Do you have names picked out?”

Taylor remembers having this conversation with the nail tech while getting a pedicure. The woman was thrilled to hear she was having a boy. She exclaimed, “Your son will bring much honor to your family.” And then in the interest of honesty, Taylor confided her adoption plans to this woman. As Taylor said, “It just felt like a lie to let her think I was bringing this baby home.” The woman’s response was less than thrilled. She became more quiet and then said “your son would have brought much honor to your family.”

Let’s face it. Adoption sounds wonderful from the adoptive parents’ point of view. All their friends and family members get to be excited about a new child coming into their lives. But from your side? You are much more likely to get “How can you do that? How can you give your baby away?” Taylor also heard such comments as “just give your baby to me!”, and “I know you. You won’t be able to actually go through with it”. She had family members tell her that her baby was her “blood” and she had no business “giving it away”.

So how do you respond? First of all, you are never under any obligation to talk about your pregnancy—big belly or not. Random nosy people at the store or park or nail salon may be well intentioned, but they do not have the right to know your story. Taylor says in looking back she wished she had simply answered the questions about boy or girl and due date, and then simply said “thank you” to the part of bringing honor to her family.

Of course, to have people in your life that you know and trust is a blessing. They may not understand or agree with your decision to place the baby. Family pressure to parent is often real and very strong. Taylor says her answer to the question “How could you do that?” became “How could I not?” She goes on to tell it like this: “Good parents put the needs of their children before their own needs and desires. My choice is no different. I am just in a different circumstance.” She adds, “I want the very best for my son, but I am not able to provide that for him at this point. I didn’t feel right about dragging my son along for the struggle.”

Whatever your circumstances, your reasons, or feelings, the choices you make for your child belong to you! Whether you become the every day mommy or the mommy who loves your child in a different way, there is no breaking the bond you have with your baby. The people who know and love you will come to understand your decision. Still struggling with how to tell and who to tell? The ladies of the Adoption Support Center are ready to help you find the words.


Where’s My Maybe Family?

“And then I found a couple who seemed like my favorite parts of myself in two people. If I wasn’t going to raise her, I knew they would be most similar to how I would have done it.”

How do you find the perfect family? How do you not open your heart to every story from every family that has wanted to have a baby and couldn’t? Who wanted to have a baby but health issues stood in the way? Who already have a baby but felt like their family was not complete and is looking to someone just like you who can make their dreams come true?

Taylor recalls this struggle. After meeting a maybe family on the advice of a “close, trusted friend”, she thought her choice had been made. She wrote in her journal, “I met this great family today. They are so sweet! I feel like we could be friends. We have so much in common.” After telling them her good news, Taylor said, “We are all so happy! I can finally take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be ok.”

Fast forward two weeks. Taylor’s journal tells a different story. “They called today. They are backing out. No reason. No explanation. Just no. What am I going to do? I thought my plan was in place. I am devastated. How could I have been so wrong?”

Taylor picked up the phone and called a friend who worked for the Adoption Support Center. Taylor began looking through profiles of families who were truly committed to adoption. She looked for a family who did not already have children, who had a strong sense of spirituality, and valued education. Those were the things important to Taylor. Eventually she found the family who jumped off the page and into her heart.

Taylor then continued her story by saying, “I am choosing to place my daughter through ASC because I know I will have constant, unwavering support. The rest of my life can’t offer that. I know that any of the women at ASC will hold me up if I struggle.”

The adoption of Taylor’s daughter went exactly as she hoped. Her “maybe family” became “my daughter’s family”. Taylor is confident she made the right decision and says her daughter’s family is “exactly who they said they were. They have never lied or left me in the cold.”

Taylor found a safe place with the women at the Adoption Support Center. Before her daughter was born, Taylor wrote, “I believe the women at ASC are who they say they are. They have had warm, kind words when the world seemed harsh.” After her daughter was born Taylor said of her daughter’s family and the women of ASC “They were exactly what I didn’t know I needed.“


This Is Kind of a Big Deal…I Need a Maybe Family!

“My mom’s mad, the father doesn’t believe the baby is his, and life is falling apart. Maybe I can do this, but maybe it’s time to look into adoption.”

Jessica remembers writing this in her journal. She remembers the feeling of being completely and totally overwhelmed. She called herself “dumb” (she’s not!) and wondered what to do.

Sometimes when you decide to look into adoption, a “maybe family” jumps into your mind. Or falls into your lap. Your second cousin once removed has a friend who knows of a family trying to adopt. You’ve talked to your second cousin once removed a few times and trust him up to a point. You agree to talk with the cousin’s friend who puts you in touch with the family trying to adopt. They tell you they have been trying to adopt for years, that birth mothers have scammed them and taken lots of money from them and they want you to sign something RIGHT NOW that will guarantee you will hand over your baby to them. Your heart goes out to them, and you WANT to help them.

But that feeling in the pit of your stomach is letting you know that this doesn’t feel quite right. There’s something about that signing anything RIGHT NOW that doesn’t sit well. So you start looking through Facebook. And Instagram. You google “adoption”. And you see countless pictures of smiling families from all over. Some have other kids. Some have dogs. Some are single. Some are paired up and seem cute and sweet. That overwhelming feeling starts to take over. They all promise to love your child. They all promise to provide your child an education, vacations, and holiday traditions. All those smiling people promise they will stay in touch with you long after the adoption is over. Letters. Pictures. Texts. Facebook posts. Visits. “But will they?” you wonder to yourself. And that feeling in the pit of your stomach is back.

Adoption does not have to be that way. You have control. You have the right to learn all you can about the maybe family that tells you they would love to adopt your baby. You can make choices for yourself and your baby. Now is the time to find an expert…someone who knows about adoption. Someone who knows about the laws that are about adoption. Someone who has completely checked out the maybe family, and knows that they are truly safe and stable. Think about letting a licensed, reputable adoption agency or an adoption attorney do some of the hard work of checking out the maybe family.

This is the time you are looking for an expert. To say an adoption attorney is an attorney who does adoptions sounds silly, but an adoption attorney is one who really has specialized in this field, and really gets how important this decision is for you and your baby. Now is not the time to use the lawyer who got your brother’s girlfriend out of her drunk driving charge. Licensed agencies know how to dig deep into the maybe parents’ world and check them out. This means the families they are working with are secure, safe and stable. A good agency also understands that adoption involves relationships—relationships between you and the maybe family, you and your baby, and the maybe family and the baby. That agency also knows that relationships change over the years, and they will be around for the long haul.

The Adoption Support Center is one of those licensed, reputable agencies that has done the hard work of checking out people who want to adopt. The women who work there passionately care about what happens to you and to your baby. Let the Adoption Support Center help you get rid of that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Contact them anytime—no question is too big or too small. Remember, you have options and you are in control!


I’m Telling!

The shock has worn off. You’ve taken a minute (or two or ten or a week!) to try to absorb what this will mean. You’ve decided there is no abortion in your future and this baby will someday be a part of this world.

Suddenly a world full of decisions presents itself. Who is going to help you navigate the next few months? Who should you tell? What are people going to say? Are they going to be happy for you or disappointed in you? Who should you tell first? The baby’s father? Your parents? Your best friend? Maybe it feels more comfortable sit with this a little while longer, and not tell anyone.

Some women find a sense of relief once they let others in. Sometimes the only way through a situation is just through it. Leah remembers telling her parents after holding on to the knowledge she was pregnant for just a few days. She says she was afraid to disappoint them, but it was worth the telling because she knew they were on her side.

Telling other people about your pregnancy is guaranteed to bring a wide variety of responses and reactions. Even though this is YOUR pregnancy, it’s likely everyone in your world will have an opinion—whether it is good or bad. Even people you don’t know are likely to have an opinion! The bottom line is this pregnancy is yours. Yours to experience, yours to talk about and yours to decide how things will go. And at the end of the pregnancy, the baby is yours—you are the mother. So the opinion that matters the most is your own.

This does not mean you have to go through the next few months alone. Tell the people who are going to stand by your side—even if they do not always agree with you and your decisions. Tell the people who love you, who know you and know your situation. Don’t be afraid to share your emotions. It often seems that things are not as scary or overwhelming when you have someone to help you through them.

If you would like to tell someone about your pregnancy and feelings about having a baby, but can’t quite bring yourself to tell your family or friends, reach out to a caring place that is familiar with unintended pregnancies and all the decisions that come with it. The Adoption Support Center has caring, compassionate women willing to listen and help navigate the relationships around you. Remember, you are definitely not alone!


Feeling let down again? Let the Adoption Support Center help pick you back up.

Promises, promises, promises. It seems anyone can make one, but it’s hard for people to keep them. You might have been thinking about adoption, even started planning to do an adoption. You might be an Indiana birth mom who had reached out to an agency, and then found the agency couldn’t deliver on their promises.

Earlier this week, the adoption agency called Independent Adoption Center (IAC) announced they were closing their doors, effective immediately. The women of the Adoption Support Center were saddened to hear this — because our passion is creating families and lasting relationships through adoption. We don’t know all that has happened with their program, but we know what we can offer.

The Adoption Support Center is an Indiana adoption agency, run by Indiana women with personal and deep commitments to adoption. We have been here for more than thirty years, and are determined to be here for years to come.

We may not have all the answers to every problem our birth moms have, but we do have compassion, empathy, and lots of insight into how adoption works. We understand Indiana laws about adoption. We get that birth moms want the world for their babies. And we get that trust can be hard, especially when it has been recently broken.

For any woman thinking about adoption, and wondering who to trust, we invite you to get to know the Adoption Support Center. We will be right here in Indiana, supporting women through that tough time in their lives, offering fresh starts, and creating families and relationships. We want to earn your trust.


Thinking the Unthinkable

So you’re pregnant. Not too far along…just a few weeks. But trying to think ahead is confusing, overwhelming…and let’s face it. The early physical parts of pregnancy may make you feel that you’ve got an alien inside you trying to completely take over your body.

At this point in time, you may not be able to picture a real baby. You might be caught in the now…just trying to get through the next few hours, days and weeks.

Early in the pregnancy, you might start to consider the possibility that you might not raise your baby yourself. It’s just a hint of an idea, but it sits in the back of your mind. But if you don’t raise this baby, what will happen? How does this just go away?

If you are still in your first trimester (up to twelve weeks pregnant), you can choose to end your pregnancy with an abortion. You can travel out of state if you are farther along to end your pregnancy. You may be thinking this is the best way to make the problem go away. You may not be thinking of what is going on inside you as a baby. And who is going to know if you don’t tell them?

Well, you will know. And while you may just feel a sense of relief, it’s likely you will always remember the experience. There is a good chance that you may regret it. And who can you talk to about it? If you don’t feel good about your decision, you may become depressed.

Once an abortion is done, it can’t be undone. There will be no baby.

So if abortion is not for you, yet down deep in your heart you believe that you are not ready to be a mom, what is for you? If you believe that you can’t give your baby the life you want for yourself or for another life, what do you do? Maybe this is where you can start to think about adoption.

In adoption, you can choose to give a baby a life, and give that baby the life you dream of. You have time…time to make a plan. Time to dream of the future. Time to get the basics of life in line…a place to live, a way to provide for yourself and the baby, and time to work on your relationships to others.

All this gets really confusing. But here is what a woman who placed her baby for adoption had to say about this difference between abortion and adoption.

“I would never be able to live with the guilt and grief of abortion. I know there is grief that comes with adoption as well, but I knew I would have peace knowing that I gave him life. I love my son and I know his adoptive parents do too and are glad that I chose life for him. Some people told me that I “could have gone the easy way out” and gotten an abortion but that never crossed my mind while I was pregnant.”

If you’re looking for someone to talk this through, just reach out. The Adoption Support Center is ready to talk about all of this…without judgment, pressure or expectation. We’re ready to listen.


I’m Pregnant—Now What?

What happens when the unthinkable happens? What happens when you pee on the stick, and that line appears? Maybe you want to have a baby and this is the best news you’ve seen in a long, long time.

But what happens if you don’t want to have a baby? What if this complicates your life and the life of your children in ways that are too hard to imagine?

An unplanned pregnancy can be scary, thrilling, sad, exhilarating, depressing, or breathtaking. From that first glimmer of suspicion to the confirmation from the pink lines on the pregnancy test, your emotions will probably shift and change from moment to moment. Guess what? This is normal!

When you take a few moments to let it sink in and to really think about it, you start to realize that life will never be the same. No matter what happens next, this has happened.

Perhaps your story is like that of Jessica’s. Here is what she wrote in her journal on the day she learned she was pregnant…again.

“I took a test today. It came out positive. I just got back in a relationship with my little girl’s dad. I had an appointment in a few days for birth control. How could I be so stupid to let this happen again? My daughter isn’t even three and he has never been around for her. How is this going to change anything?”

No matter what you are feeling, thinking, or doing, you are not alone! There are other women who have been there, felt that, and want to help you through the times that are scary and uncertain. You just have to reach out.  The Adoption Support Center is one place you can turn. No pressure, no judgment. Just compassion.

 

 


The Middle of the Adoption Process

Relinquishing a child for adoption is an emotional experience, with stages of grief that are experienced differently amongst birth mothers. It’s normal to have doubts in the middle of the process, and feelings stemming from your doubts are normal and shouldn’t be viewed negatively. Several organizations and support services exist to help birth mothers process and work through these emotions during the adoption process.

Coping with Grief

The process of grieving is never pretty, but working through emotions of grief and loss, both positive and negative, is the only way to progress past them in a healthy manner.1 Avoiding feelings of grief only serves to foster negative feelings, preventing you from living a productive life.

When these feelings arise, seek support from your adoption agency. Most adoption agencies have counselors on hand to help you process your feelings of grief in a healthy way. Consulting a counselor with your agency also allows them to become familiar with your needs, which they will balance with the needs of the adoptive parents and child to ensure all parties are receiving the care they require during this time.

The most important thing to realize is that you’re not alone in this experience, as millions of birthmothers are trying to process these same feelings.

Join a Birthmother Support Blog

It helps to share your experience, and joining a birthmother support blog not only allows you to work through the process, but can provide support and comfort to others just like you. Discussing and sharing adoption experiences can help you make formative choices during the adoption process and can prepare you for the moment you relinquish your parental rights to your child. Learning how other birthmothers coped with the process may be able to teach you lessons about dealing with your own grief. Remember, everyone experiences grief differently, but you may discover valuable strategies that may help you.

Sharing your own unique experiences on a support blog can help other new birthmothers going through the same experience. Your guidance can prove vital, and your story may be the key to getting them through it. If you’re looking for empathy and compassion, a support blog community may be a good source for inspiration and hope.

Support You Can Count On with Adoption Support Center

At Adoption Support Center you can get the help you need within a safe, friendly space where you can talk openly and honestly about whatever issues you’re facing during the adoption process. We have adoption coordination and support lines open 24/7 to answer your call the second you need us.

We provide coaching and counseling services regarding how to balance your living expenses, what your relationship options are with the adopting family and whether you want a closed or open adoption process. Contact Adoption Support Center today to get the answers and help you need when you need it.