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The Expectant/Already Birthed Parent Adoption Journey

When taking a pregnancy test most people are hoping for one result or the other. When that result comes up a thousand thoughts start filtering in. For some women it is disappointment of another negative test, and for some it is quite the opposite. No matter what, when that test turns positive there are decisions that have to be made. It can be an extremely confusing and hard time deciding what those decisions will be. Questions come up like: Am I ready to be a parent? What about my other children? Will the father and/or my family support me? Is this something I want right now? All of these questions are valid and universal.

This is the start to the adoption journey for some parents. The absolute confusion of where to begin is overwhelming at times. The adoption journey should always begin with a conversation. A conversation with a counselor or therapist and a conversation with a licensed adoption agency and attorney. Adoption agencies are not there to judge or push a choice, agencies are there to listen, counsel and ensure that what the parents want for their child is taken care of. Agencies should always make two plans with expectant parents. A plan to place and a plan to parent. This way the client feels as though they are ready no matter what they decide when the child comes. Additionally expectant parents should feel they have full say in how they want their adoption journey to look and feel. Adoption agencies are there to ensure that whatever type of adoption plan and family the expectant parent is looking for is made available to them. The connection between first and forever family is one that is too important to be taken lightly. Additionally all adoption agencies are able to provide a guarantee of openness that cannot be ensured in other types adoption.

Options that are available to expectant or already birthed families include:

  • Counseling during pregnancy and for life after placement
  • Providing access to good medical care
  • Confidentiality
  • Support System
  • Matching and Placing
  • Providing options of home study approved families to choose from
  • Updates and open adoption guidance
  • All legal services
  • Living expenses
  • Many more…

The agency will take care of all of these free of charge to the expectant or already birthed parents in order to ensure the smoothest adoption journey possible.


The agency will provide all legal services and will ensure the adoption is done ethically. Expectant or already birthed parents should never have to hire their own legal counsel unless they choose to do so. In the state of Texas no relinquishment paperwork can be signed until a minimum of 48 hours after the birth of the child. This is to ensure that parents have the time they need to decide if this is the right decision for them and the child. Interagency paperwork can be completed and a plan can be made, a family can be chosen and a relationship can be formed. However, no one is the parent of that child other than the birth parent until they make the decision for that to happen. 48 hours is the minimum, not the guarantee! As this decision is irrevocable once relinquishments are are completed, this should not be done until the birthparents have peace and confidence in their decision. 

Potential Adoptive Families

Agencies have a list of families called their Active Waiting Families. These families have been through about a 3-6 month process called a home study. This means that these families have been background checked, interviewed, had their home inspected, given records of their finances, medicals, vet records, insurance and employment records, and have completed many hours of training on adoption and child care. This process can only be ensured when working with licensed agencies. Not in private adoptions. Agencies cannot start the matching process or consider their clients “active” until all of these steps are completed. This means that all families are coming from the same place and matches can be made based off of personality match and connection.

After the expectant parents complete an intake and paperwork it is time for matching whenever ready. This means that the expectant parent will look through profile books and letters from families that match their preferences and personality in order to find the one they feel would be the best fit. They then get to know them, if they choose to do so, before or after the child is born. There can be zoom or telephone calls during this time or they can choose to delay meeting until after the child is born. If they choose to place the child with this family they will do so after relinquishments. If the child is already born of course this process is accelerated, but the time and consideration to make a meaningful match will always be the top priority.

After placement starts the relationship with the family and child. Relinquishment is not the end, but rather a beginning of a new relationship. Some agencies require families to have a semi or fully open relationship with their birthparents if the birthparents wish for that. It is a requirement at Cradle of Life.  In fact, there is a contract that is signed at placement that ensures this. This contract is not present in kinship or other types of private adoptions. Therefore if an expectant parent is hoping for openness, it is beneficial for them to work with an agency as this guarantee is only present due to this contract. Once this relationship is established it is mutual. Meaning both the birth and adoptive families can send pictures and updates on their lives. The birth parents can send little gifts or cards on birthdays and holidays. In-person visits can occur throughout the child's lifetime and the agency will always be there to support both sides. 

Additionally, after placement birthparents still have access to agency resources. This includes some living expenses and possibly GRE study guides or helps with job applications, but more importantly, this includes access to free counseling for the rest of their lives. This also includes reunion services should the families fall out of contact before the child becomes an adult. Most agencies prefer birth or first families to stay in contact as it is shown to be extremely beneficial emotionally, and medically, for all three sides of the adoption triad. However, that is a decision for that birth or first parent to make for themselves. They do not have to sign the same contracts adoptive families sign as they are going through a very different experience. Agencies are always present when needed. 

The process is not easy. It is not quick and it is not simple. It is emotionally draining, but it is also beautiful and can be made simpler when working with qualified professionals.  Agencies are only there to ensure that expectant parents get the resources and counseling they need to make the decision they feel is best for themselves and their children.

*The sentiments expressed in this blog represent Cradle of Life Staff and/or Clients and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or policies of all adoption agencies.