Let’s say you’re in the midst of the adoption process. You’re placing your baby for adoption, you’ve already chosen his or her adoptive parents, but then you suddenly realize that these aren’t the right parents, after all. Maybe you just aren’t “clicking” like you thought you would, or you’ve learned new information and have decided to choose different adoptive parents for your baby.
This may lead you to ask, “Can you change adoptive couples at this point, or is it too late?”
If you’ve already placed your baby with the family and you’ve issued your legal consent to the adoption, the answer is probably: No. However, if your baby hasn’t been born yet and/or you haven’t signed the legal adoption paperworkat this point in time, the answer is probably: Yes.
If you’re still in the process of creating an adoption plan for your baby, you can always choose a different family to adopt your child if that’s what you feel is best. In fact, throughout the adoption process, you are always 100% in charge. You can always make changes to that adoption plan, and you can even change your mind about adoption entirely. You need to do whatever you feel is best for your child.
This guide will help show you how to choose a new adoptive family for your child, when it’s an option for you and some signs that switching adoptive families may be the right choice:
Can I Change Adoptive Families?
Again, that depends, but the answer is usually “yes.” Here are some possible scenarios:
- Is your child already with the adoptive family, and you’ve already legally completed the adoption paperwork? Then in most cases, no; your choice of your baby’s parents is final. However, you can always reach out to your adoption agency or attorney to discuss your options in your specific circumstances.
- Are you still pregnant/haven’t given birth yet? The answer here is yes, you can change adoptive parents. Reach out to your adoption professional immediately to learn more, and to select a different adoptive couple.
- Have you given birth, but not signed the legal paperwork for the adoption yet? Then yes, you can still switch adoptive couples, or you can change your mind about adoption completely and raise the baby yourself. Again, contact your adoption professional immediately.
How to Change Adoptive Families (And When You Should Do It)
So, how do you change adoptive couples? That question is easy: Contact your adoption professional immediately. They’ll walk you through the next steps, and help you find an adoptive couple that you feel better about.
Remember: The sooner you do this, the more time you’ll have to find an adoptive family you feel is right! We encourage you to talk to your adoption professional about changing adoptive families as soon as possible before you give birth.
The next question is a little harder to answer. When should you switch adoptive couples, and when should you try to make things work?
Here are some signs that finding a different adoptive family for your baby might be the right choice:
- The adoptive couple is uninterested in communicating with you, or doesn’t want to get to know you.
- You and the adoptive couple aren’t on the same page about your post-adoption relationship, and you want very different things.
- The adoptive couple seems secretive, defensive, or something just feels “off.”
- You’re thinking about raising this baby yourself.
On the other hand, switching adoptive families isn’t going to be the right answer in every situation. Sometimes, it’s best to try to talk things out. You may be experiencing some early awkwardness, a miscommunication, or a temporary bump in the road. Placing a baby for adoption is full of complex, sometimes very difficult, feelings. It’s important to try to sort through and understand your current feelings, so you can clearly identify why you want to switch adoptive families before taking that step. This can also help you determine what you’re looking for in an adoptive family, whether that’s this family or a different one. Talking to your adoption professional can help.
Here are some signs that may mean you should continue with your current choice:
- Pre-placement contact has been a little awkward, but you think with a little time you’ll all get more comfortable and the relationship will become more natural.
- The adoptive couple is eager to have a more open post-adoption relationship with you, but you aren’t sure you’ll be ready for that right away. However, you think with some time and healing, staying in touch might be beneficial for you and for your child in the future.
- You keep missing each other’s phone calls, or you feel like there’s been a miscommunication or misunderstanding. Start by having an open, honest conversation about how you feel and what you need, and see if things improve.
- The adoptive couple seems hesitant to get involved in your pregnancy after you’ve invited them to doctor’s appointments or to be present at the birth. They may just be nervous, so talking to your adoption professional may help them understand where you’re coming from.
Nobody is perfect, including the adoptive family! Like any long-term relationship, you may find that you have some disagreements or things about each other you wish you could change. It’s important to know what your individual “deal-breakers” are and what you absolutely must have in an adoptive family, but there may also be minor things where you decide you’re open to more flexibility.
You’re in Charge of Your Adoption Plan
As a pregnant woman who is making an adoption plan for her baby, you are always in charge of that plan. That includes:
- Who you want to raise your baby
- How open or closed you want your adoption to be
- Whether or not you want to choose adoption at all
- And many more choices
So, if you’ve selected an adoptive couple but no longer feel that they’re the right choice for your baby, you can still choose a different family. Contact your adoption agency immediately to learn how to change adoptive couples, and to begin the process of choosing a different adoptive family for your unborn baby.
If you feel that you need to switch adoption agencies, too, start here.