Due to the pandemic's impact on adoptions, our governing board and Executive Director have made the difficult decision to suspend our adoption program through 2021. We will continue to be available to past families to answer questions and provide support as we always have been, as well as acting as a conduit for connection for birth parents and adoptive families as needed.
It is our hope and desire that at some point as our world stabilizes, that we might be in a position once again to provide adoption services. If you would like to talk with someone about making an adoption plan we would be happy to connect you with other adoption agencies in the area. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
At Heaven Sent Children, we understand and take very seriously the issues birth parents must cope with when making decisions about the future of their child. Counseling is available, as well as help in finding the right adoptive family. Our birth parents are encouraged to make decisions that are most appropriate to their situation, with the best interest of their child placed above all considerations.
The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children can provide assistance to birth parents with future planning, employment readiness, housing referrals, clothing assistance, and other basic items needed for their families. All services provided to birth parents and their families are free of charge.
How Do I Know Adoption Is The Right Decision?
For a woman in a crisis pregnancy, there are three choices that she can make: to parent the child, abortion, or adoption. Each decision brings its own set of questions or concerns. For many women, abortion seems to be the choice that returns their life back to normal most quickly. However, abortion is something that can negatively affect a woman for the rest of her life. Parenting can be difficult for a woman whose circumstances prevent her from providing a stable, nurturing environment for her child.
Placing a child for adoption allows a woman to give her child life and the opportunity to thrive in a loving, stable family. Adoption allows the birth mother to pursue her dreams without the guilt of abortion or the hardship of parenting in a less than desirable circumstance. Your child will grow up knowing their biological parents loved them so much that they gave them an opportunity for a better life.
Birth mothers choose adoption for many different reasons.
- She might wish to provide her child with a loving and stable home with opportunities that she may be unable to give.
- It may be important that her child experience the love of a two-parent home.
- She may not yet be ready to become a parent and realizes that the demands of parenting are more than she can handle at that particular point in her life.
- She may have a desire to choose a couple that is ready and able to be involved and caring parents.
- She may realize that her current situation is not best for her child. The birth mother understands that she may struggle through her child’s life and not be able to provide the level of care, nurturing, stability, and support that the child deserves.
- She may choose adoption to spare her child from an abusive or negligent home life.
- She may want to avoid having her child go into state foster care and wish for her child to have the best start in life with a family of her choosing.
- She may be aware that the birth father will not be an active part in the child’s life and not assume responsibility in raising their child or provide financial support.
- She might acknowledge that their relationship with the birth father is very strained and chaotic. The birth mother wishes to give her child a better home with parents that want to be together and are excited about becoming a mother and father.
- Occasionally a birth mother chooses adoption because of alcohol and drug abuse by herself or the birth father. She may believe that her child deserves a life free of substance abuse and the impact it could have on every aspect of their life.
When a woman in crisis pregnancy chooses to place her child for adoption, it is a selfless, courageous act. And, adoption is an amazing gift to a family who is unable to have a child. Only you can decide if placing your child for adoption is the right one for you. But if you do choose to place your child for adoption, it is important to have support and help from people who can guide you in making a parenting plan for your child. The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children can help you navigate your feelings before and after your child is born. We do not want you to be alone during this time.
I Want to Know More about Adopted Children
Why do families choose to adopt?
The greatest myth is that adoption is a second choice. Families choose to adopt for many different reasons. The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children works with single women, couples dealing with infertility, and families who have felt the call to expand their family through adoption. Our families’ motivations may vary, but everyone’s end result is the same, the want of a child to call their own.
What will my child think of me?
Let’s start with a bit of positivity. First, the choice you are making is a selfless choice, and comes from a place of unconditional love of which only you can feel. Adoption is ever changing and today prides itself with openness and honesty. The more your child knows about you the more they will understand themselves and your decision. The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children encourages a healthy adoption process and works closely with our birth parents and adoptive parents to see that this is done. We educate our adoptive families to speak positively about their child’s birth parents, and empower their children to understand that it was a choice made out of love, done for them, and in no way could ever be construed as their fault.
Is an adopted child loved as much as a biological one?
Yes, whether you chose to grow your family biologically or through adoption the end result is the same, a child. Adoption like pregnancy is a growing process, during which you change and develop. Through this process you will learn a lot about yourself and your spouse (if applicable). Adoption is a choice, it’s an intentional way to achieve parenthood, and any who begin this journey will tell you that the love they have for their child adopted or biological is the same. It’s the unconditional love of a parent to their child.
How do adopted children feel about being adopted?
If you took a poll of adoptees children and adults you’d be given a slew of many different answers. Just because one person feels one way doesn’t mean someone else will feel the same. Every person and story is different.
From one adult adoptees’ prospective:
My adoption story starts with two wonderful parents wanting to expand their family. My parents’ adoption journey began in Korea and ended back in the United States. As an adult adoptee I feel blessed, special, loved, etc. etc, the same way every child deserves to feel. Being adopted to me meant I had four parents who selflessly loved me. It meant, I was able to celebrate two cultures, and it meant I was able to celebrate two special days my birthday and my Gotcha day! From this adoptees prospective, I didn’t live my life as the girl that was adopted, but as the girl who loved gymnastics, hanging with friends, and shopping at the mall. The girl who graduated college and is here today working in the field of her heart, adoption. Adoption is who you are, but it does not have to be how you define your life. In my case I am thankful beyond words to my parents and to my birth parents to be blessed with my wonderful life.
Making an Adoption Plan
Choosing What You Feel is Best for You and Your Child
Most pregnant women choose adoption because they feel that they are not in a position to parent their child. By choosing adoption they realize that they are giving their child a loving home with parents that are ready and eager to raise a child as their own. It is often felt that a child is given opportunities and stability that they may not have otherwise had. By meeting the adoptive family, birth mothers are able to feel comfortable with their decision and know that their child will be loved unconditionally.
Choosing an Adoptive Family
Your Adoption Counselor will guide you through the process of choosing an adoptive family. She will discuss with you the type of family you want to parent your child. Factors that may be important to you in choosing an adoptive family may be:
- Religious preferences
- Age of the parents
- How long they have been married
- Whether there are children already in the home
- Personality traits of the adoptive parents
- Their professions
- Whether one of the parents plans to stay at home with the child
- Where the family lives; on a farm, in a subdivision, in a large city
- Are they from a close-knit extended family
- Are they in a multi-cultural community
The Adoption Plan
The Adoption Plan is made around what you want, your needs, and what you feel is best for your child. You will be able to make the following decisions for your plan:
- Do you want to choose the adoptive family?
- Would you like to meet the adoptive family before the birth of your child?
- Would you prefer your Adoption Counselor choose a family for you?
- Do you want the adoptive family present for the birth of your child?
- Do you want to spend time alone with the baby after the birth?
- Would you like to receive updates on how your child is doing and how often would you like that?
- Would you prefer not to have contact with the adoptive family?
- Would you like to have an ongoing relationship with the adoptive family?
- What do you want or not want to happen at the hospital?
- Do you want any friends of family members involved in your adoption plan?
- Is the birth father going to be involved with you or not?
Birth of Your Child
At the time of your child’s birth, your Adoption Counselor will review your Adoption Plan with you. The goal is to ensure that your wishes are being met and that you are comfortable with your decisions. This can be a stressful time due to the many emotions experienced. If you wish, your Adoption Counselor will be present during your delivery to advocate for you and provide the support you need. She will ensure that the hospital staff are aware of your plans and guide you through your hospital stay.
Placement of the baby with the adoptive family typically occurs soon after birth. Your Adoption Counselor will discuss your Adoption Plans with you once more to ensure that you are confident of your plans and wish to proceed forward. She will be sensitive to the emotions you will experience and provide support and guidance for you. A few days after the birth of your child your Adoption Counselor will accompany you to visit a Judge to discuss the adoption plan and your relinquishment of your parental rights. This visit will occur in the Judge’s chamber to protect your privacy and provide a relaxed atmosphere for what can be a difficult day. The Judge will explain the relinquishment proceedings to you and make sure that you understand your rights. After court you will have 3 days to reconsider your adoption plans. After the 3 days your rights will be terminated and the adoptive family can proceed with their plans to adopt your child.
Post Adoption Services
After the birth of your child it is not unusual for you to experience many different emotions about your decision over the coming days and months. Your Adoption Counselor will continue to be there for you to provide counseling and support as you explore your feelings about the adoption. She will be a valuable resource for you as you come to terms with this life-long decision. It is important to request the support available to you and consider resources such as support groups with other birth mothers, receiving photos and letters from the adoptive family, and working on your long term goals toward the future you desire.
Sharing My Decision With Family and Friends
Once you have decided on adoption, you must make the decision about when to tell your family and friends about your plan. You can talk with your Adoption Counselor about your feelings and she can give you guidance on sharing this news with others or assist you in doing so. Birth mothers often worry about judgment and emotional reactions from others. It is best to talk with a family member you believe will be understanding and supportive of your feelings.
Sharing the news with parents is often the most difficult. They are often shocked and may react negatively to this unexpected news. They may feel that the best decision for you is to parent your child. Birth mothers often face pressure from family in choosing to make an adoption plan for their child. Family and friends can attempt to coerce the person they love to parent when they are not ready or equipped to do so. This can result in a decision that she later regrets. It is important that you feel comfortable with your choice and realize that it is ultimately your decision.
It is common for others to respond negatively to news of an adoption plan. However, keep in mind that often loved ones do not understand adoption and may have misconceptions about how adoption works. They may not realize or understand the gift you are giving your child through adoption. Their initial reaction may be unfavorable, but with time they may acknowledge that this is a loving decision and one that is made with careful consideration for what is best for you and your child.
Remember that adoption is a very personal decision. It is up to you to decide what who you wish to share your adoption plan with and how much you are comfortable in telling them. If you are concerned with how you will answer questions from family, friends, or even strangers about your pregnancy be sure and talk with your Adoption Counselor about this. She can help you develop answers for questions from others and allow you to feel prepared for these situations.
The Role of the Birth Father
What about my child’s father?
Relationships are fluid and even the announcement of a pregnancy cannot keep them together. Whether the father of your baby is active in your adoption plan or not, understand that you are not alone, and there are many women who have experienced all the emotions you are feeling.
In the best situation, you will find that the birth father is supportive of your child’s adoption plan. Embrace this, together The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children will help you review family profiles and open the opportunity to meet these families before making a final decision. Remember, your emotions will have its high points and hit its lows, it’s important to grieve your loss, and for you both to take time for yourselves. It’s seldom that a birth father will play such an active role in his child’s future plan, so it’s best to try and be appreciative of his strengths and the ideas that he brings.
In some circumstances you might find yourself separated from the father or unaware of his whereabouts. According to Tennessee law an adoption cannot be finalized until both parties’ rights have been terminated. The law is on your side, there is little a judge will do in favor of an unsupportive father. In Tennessee, if you are unsure of where your child’s birthfather is, The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children will work with you and an attorney to advertise for him. It is unlawful to terminate a father’s right, who is unaware of his child, therefore, an advertisement must run in the paper for up to six weeks, allowing the father to come forward and claim paternity.
While the birth mother has to appear before a judge to surrender you might feel that the birth father gets off easy, but the decision to place your child for adoption is never easy. The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children helps to counsel and support a father in his decisions. If he decides adoption is best, a waiver of interest is required to be signed in front of a notary claiming the understanding of being named the father of his child, and the rights and responsibilities that go along with parenting. It continues on by helping him understand that he is not claiming paternity of the child, but does revoke his parental and legal rights to parent the child. The wavier is an irrevocable document, and should be signed only after careful consideration.
What Happens During My Pregnancy?
It is important that you receive counseling when dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. Many birth mothers are facing financial concerns, pressure from family and friends regarding her future, and also confronting the mixed emotions about this unexpected pregnancy. Due to many factors that face a birth mother it is important that she feel certain of her decision and not feel that she is making a decision she will later regret. Adoption counseling explores the factors affecting a birth mother and the situation which is leading her to consider an adoption plan. Together they can make sure that she is making the right decision for her situation whether that is to parent her child or to place her child for adoption. Your Adoption Counselor will ensure that you:
- Understand the adoption process from beginning to end;
- Guide you in determining whether adoption is the best decision for you;
- Prepare you for the emotions you will experience in the adoption process before and after the birth of your child;
- Provide guidance and support throughout your pregnancy and childbirth;
- Assist you in discussing your adoption plans with friends and family if you desire;
- Guide you through the selection process for adoption families or choose an adoptive family for you if you wish;
- Introduce you to the adoptive family you have selected and advocate for you during the meeting;
- Help you consider how your life will be impacted with either choice: adoption or parenting;
- Provide parenting resources that are available to help you should you choose to parent;
- Provide ongoing support for you after the adoption placement.
What is the Difference Between Open and Closed Adoptions?
There are three different levels of contact between birth parents and adoptive families, and they are called Open, Semi-Open and Closed. They all vary depending on how much contact, if any, you will have with the adoptive family and/or your child throughout their life.
The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children understands that each birth mother has her own circumstances and wishes. Because of this, we work with each woman to form an adoption plan that meets her needs and desires. You will be able to view several families’ profiles and choose an adoptive family to raise your child. Many times, we arrange a dinner between you, the adoptive family, and one of our adoption counselors, so that you have a better sense of the family you have selected. You can also decide whether or not you want to continue contact with the family once your child is placed with them, but we have found that many decide they want more contact once they meet one another. Communication can include emails, letters, phone calls and at times yearly visits. We will work with you to find a family that is open to your preferences.
The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children prepares adoptive families with the reality that it is in the best interest of the child to know as much about their birth family as possible. We believe that the more a child knows about their story and origin helps them develop a healthy self-concept. All of our adoptive families are ready to send pictures and letters to the birth parents at least once a year, and many are open to more contact. You can also choose to have no contact with the adoptive family. The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children will help you with those decisions, honoring above all, your wishes.
Open adoption typically means that the birth parents and the adoptive family have direct contact prior to and even after the child is born. This may include phone calls and face-to-face visits. There are times when open adoptions mean the adoptive family and birth parents exchange contact information and agree to visits by the birth parents as the child grows. It is also common in open adoptions for the adoptive family to mail pictures and letters to the birth parents.
Semi-open adoptions have a varying range between open and closed adoptions. The adoptive family and birth parents know basic information about each other, like first names and state of residence. Contact information, such as phone numbers and addresses, are not shared. Though adoptive families and birth parents may have spoken to one another or even met prior to the birth of the child, last names, phone numbers, email addresses are withheld. After the child is placed with the adoptive family, the birth parents may still stay in contact with the family via The Center for Family Development/Heaven Sent Children. We handle all correspondence between our birth parents and adoptive families in a semi-open adoption in non-identifying packaging. We are also able to hold all correspondence for you at the agency if you are unsure of receiving it. We will forward it to you if and when you decide you are ready to receive it.
Closed adoption was a more popular form of adoption in past generations, and today these types of adoptions are rare. They occur when the adoptive family and birth parents remain confidential, with no contact prior to or after the placement of the child. Today it is common for there to be some contact between the birth parents and the adoptive family before and/or after the birth of the child. Our families’ profiles include the prospective parents’ first names, hobbies, etc. Waiting families will know your first name and any other information you wish to share with them. However, if you wish to pursue a purely closed adoption, and do not want to select an adoptive family or know any information about them, we will also honor this wish.