If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and do not want to have an abortion or become a parent, you have the option of choosing adoption. Adoption is a legal process where you give someone else the permanent legal right and responsibility to raise and care for your child after you give birth.

There are many agencies that deal with adoption and can help walk you through the process.  Some agencies will lay out all your options and help you make the decision that is right for you, but others may try to pressure you into doing something that you might not want to.  Make sure you feel comfortable with anyone you will be working with on setting up an adoption. The following organizations are recommended because their only concern is helping you:

You can find a great deal of general information about adoption at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services information page for expectant parents considering adoption.

Adoptions maybe open or closed.  In an open adoption, you will have the chance to meet with a family and decide whether they are the right fit for the baby.  Many times you can maintain contact with the child or get updates on their lives, this will be worked out through the family and probably the family’s lawyer. family_with_babyIn a closed adoption, you will not meet with any families and the process will be done through a lawyer or adoption agency.  There are positives and negatives to both types, and you should consider them both before deciding.  The adoption agency, your family, and other people may be able to help you decide which is right for you.

Women may begin the process of adoption any time after they find out they are pregnant, including waiting until after birth.  NO adoption is finalized until after the child is born, and you are free to change your mind any time before that.  After signing the paperwork, you may have a short time to change your mind, but this will need to be discussed with a lawyer.

Depending on your situation, you may need to let the father know about your plans.  The adoption agency should review your situation and let you know whether you need to do so or not.

If you decide to carry your pregnancy to term and place your child for adoption, you will need to make sure you are eating right, staying healthy and getting plenty of rest . Take a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin with 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid every day, drink plenty of water, and stay away from dangerous chemicals like pesticides or lead. For more prenatal health tips, check out the U.S. Office on Women’s Health.

You may feel a wide range of emotions after an adoption – including happiness, anxiety, relief, or grief.  It is normal to feel this way, but make sure to ask for help if you need it. If your  feelings of regret or sadness last for a long time, you should talk to a doctor.

If you decide on adoption, your medical bills during pregnancy should be covered by the adoption agency or the adoptive family, even if you don’t have health insurance or Medicare.

You may also be eligible for state nutritional assistance during your pregnancy if you are low-income. Call toll-free 1-888-942-3663 or email for more information.

No agency or its employees should pressure you into making a decision you don’t want to.  If you think they are not respecting your right to make your own decisions, please contact NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia at or 202-530-4168.