If you find yourself pregnant and facing jail time, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, there’s been a huge growth in the number of women incarcerated in the U.S. over the past few decades. Most of these women are mothers of small children or pregnant. Perhaps you’ve prayed and now sense that God wants you to place your baby for adoption. Here are some things you can expect if you’re pregnant and facing a jail adoption.
Why Adoption is a Good Choice
As a Christian, you may never have thought you’d end up in this situation, but God can help you through it. One thing you need to know is that if you give birth in prison, you must find someone to care for your child. This may be challenging if you don’t feel comfortable with your family or friends taking care of your child. But, if you don’t make this decision, Child Protection Services will get involved and place your baby in foster care.
Adoption is a courageous choice to make for your child’s future. It’s a good choice for you, too, since it gives you control over what happens to your child. Your options for your child in a jail adoption include:
- You can meet with an adoption professional to tell them you want to place your child with a Christian family.
- You can look at many family profiles to make your choice about who adopts your baby.
- If you want, you can meet with different families until you find the family you feel should adopt your child.
- You get to make the final decision about which family will adopt your family.
- You can decide if you want to have an open adoption with this family through emails, letters, or visits when you finish serving your sentence.
How Does a Jail Adoption Work?
As you are facing jail time, remember God will see you through this process. You have the right to make decisions in your child’s best interest. Here are the steps you’ll need to take during your adoption process:
1. Contact an adoption professional: They can answer all your questions and help you come up with the best next steps. If you haven’t contacted an adoption professional, you can speak with the prison caseworker, who will help connect you with an adoption agency. They can also explain the policies for mothers giving birth while incarcerated.
2. Make an adoption plan: Create your adoption plan with the help of your adoption professional. If you’re already in jail, you can still create a plan, but it’s important to know that some prisons have policies, so you may not be able to follow all the things you want on your adoption plan. Your adoption professional or an adoption lawyer will be an advocate for your child and support you through the entire process.
3. Find an adoptive family: Your adoption professional will show you profiles of different adoptive families that fit the criteria you want. If you want a Christian family, they will show you only adoptive families who are Christians.
4. Decide if you want an open adoption: When choosing an adoptive family, you’ll want to decide if you would like an open adoption with this family. Open adoptions allow you to exchange letters, photos, and even visits once you’re free to do so. You can watch your child grow into an adult. Many birth mothers have developed wonderful relationships with their adopted children.
5. Give birth: When it’s time for you to deliver, you’ll be taken to a hospital. Depending upon your decision, you may be able to see the adoptive family at the hospital. It’s up to you how you want things to go at the hospital. You can decide how you want the delivery to take place and what role, if any, you want the adoptive parents to have.
6. Sign paperwork: In the next day or two, you’ll meet with an adoption attorney who will present you with the paperwork for the adoption. They’ll also tell you about your rights and help you understand the process. Then, the adoptive couple you’ve picked will go home with your baby.
7. Recovery: You will have a few days in the hospital to recover. Once you’ve signed the adoption paperwork and have been discharged from the hospital, you can receive counseling as you process the complicated emotions that many women face after placing a baby for adoption.
8. Take care of yourself: Once you’re back in jail, be sure to take care of yourself. You’ve been through a lot, both mentally and physically. Having a good adoption plan in place will ease your anxiety, knowing your baby is with a loving family. Plus, with open adoption, you will be able to stay connected to the adoptive family and your child through their entire life.
Making a Jail Adoption Plan
At the end of the day, you’re the only person who can make the best decision for you and your baby. As you pray and ask God to give you wisdom during this time, remember you don’t need to walk through this alone.
Lifetime Adoption has helped other women go through a jail adoption. Our experienced adoption professionals will answer your questions and give you any resources you need for the adoption. They will be there for you through the process, praying for you and supporting you.
As the Vice President (VP) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.