The bottom line: You may have more options that you know. Our goal is to help guide you toward the decision you’ll be able to live with for the rest of your life.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may be ready to begin exploring your options. The good news is that you have many choices, and most likely have some time to decide on the best choice for you and your baby. You may have considered adoption, but just don’t know where to start or what adoption is like. You may be afraid of what other people are going to think of you, or you may have heard confusing information about adoption. Like almost everyone, you may be afraid of the act of giving birth. Pregnancy brings with it many physical and emotional changes and when you are not sure of your decision, these changes can be even more overwhelming. We understand what a crazy time this is to make a big decision, so, where do you start?

Start by talking to a professional about adoption or parenting!

It is best to talk with a knowledgeable adoption professional who understands how adoption works and can also talk with you about what it might be like if you were to raise your child. The HIC Ka Makana team can explain the adoption process to you and help you explore your options. We welcome your call at 808-589-2367 (Monday – Thursday, 8am – 4pm) or 808-636-1398 (around the clock). Just ask to speak with a Ka Makana team member and you’ll receive immediate help. A member of the Ka Makana team can be reached by email at kamakana@adoptionhawaii.org. We enjoy our work and especially enjoy getting to know our clients. We’ll work to make you feel welcome and well supported.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I decide if adoption is right for me and my baby?

The decision to parent or choose adoption is a very difficult one. It is a decision that most likely will not look black and white to you — there are positives and negatives to both options. This is why you should feel encouraged to explore all of your options thoroughly. Many women find it helpful to list their reasons for considering adoption along with pros and cons to adoption and parenting. A good social worker/adoption professional can help you see all sides and point out possible options that you may not be aware of. Whether you choose adoption or parenting, it is a decision that should be made with great care and talking it through with people who understand what you are facing can prove very helpful.

Adoption professionals should help you:

  • Explore parenting and adoption options with you to help you make the best decision for you and your baby.
  • Learn about parenting resources that are available to you such as Medicaid, food stamps, etc.
  • Explore family support and friend support for parenting and adoption.
  • Understand the details of the adoption process.
  • Develop an adoption plan that fits your needs by exploring all your options with you.
  • Select an adoptive family and decide what type of contact you would like to have.
  • Get to know the family you have selected.
  • Help you find ways to talk with family members and friends who either do not understand your adoption decision or who do not support your adoption decision.
  • They generally should be your guide and support system during your pregnancy.

Do I have to know what I want before I call?

No, you do not have to make up your mind before speaking with a counselor or adoption professional — that’s what they’re there for! It is actually best to talk with someone prior to and throughout your decision-making process so you can gather information about all of your options in order to make the best decision for you and your baby. Exploring adoption is a personal process that varies from one individual to the next, and there is no set time in which you have to make your decision. At HIC, Ka Makana team members are very skilled at listening to what you need and helping you objectively explore adoption. Making that first contact with any adoption professional can be scary, but find comfort knowing that when you contact Ka Makana it is confidential and there are no obligations should you decide that you do not want to choose adoption. It is also important to understand that adoption counseling is free so it may be beneficial to explore the option of adoption.

Will the race of my baby affect the adoption plan?

Many women are fearful there may not be a family who wants to adopt their baby. Be assured that there is a family for every baby. The adoption process is the same for everyone and you can get assistance in finding a family who is looking forward to adopting your baby.

What kind of support can I expect during my adoption process?

Emotional Support: The Ka Makana team is available to you around the clock from the time you come to us for help. We can talk to you on the phone, can meet with you face to face, and can even go to doctor’s visits with you if you prefer. Our first priority is supporting you.

Adoption Support: Once you decide to place your child for adoption, we will support you in anyway we can as you go through the steps of planning your adoption. We will guide you through the process of selecting a family for your child, making a birth plan, and planning for what comes after the birth and adoption. You will have the option of having your own independent attorney who will advise you on your legal rights in adoption and will ensure that all paperwork is handled properly.

Financial Support: During your initial meetings with us, you’ll be asked whether you need financial support to get you through your final stages of pregnancy and into the post birth life. Adoptive families are occasionally willing to provide reasonable financial support for legitimate expenses (rent, food, transportation, clothing, and medical costs) a few months before birth and a few months after birth. The details of this will be laid out clearly for you by the Ka Makana team.

Are people right when they say that this is selfish of me? How should I respond when they say something like that?

Choosing adoption for your child may be the most loving and unselfish decision that you can make. When someone states that adoption is a selfish choice, they may not understand the sheer magnitude of what a woman sacrifices when she chooses adoption. Adoption reflects positively on everyone involved. Your situation and circumstances may make it too difficult for you to raise a child, but adoption allows you to make sure your child receives the type of life you want your child to have. There are families out there who are unable to have children, but are ready to raise a child and want nothing more than to become parents. The act of giving someone who could not otherwise experience the joy of parenthood the opportunity to be a parent is another way that adoption is a selfless act. It is important for you to surround yourself with people who are supportive of you and of adoption. Letting people know the reasons you are choosing adoption is a way to help others gain more knowledge about adoption and how truly special it is to everyone involved. Adoption is your decision and therefore you are the only one who can make the decision. Have pride in knowing it takes a very strong person to recognize that adoption may be the best option for her child. It is important to understand that most people do not understand adoption. When people don’t understand something, they can be very wrong and hurtful in their judgment. As your adoption support group, the HIC Ka Makana team can meet with your family and friends to help them understand your needs and feelings.

Adoption Then and Now

Adoption has had a broad history. Just as American society has evolved and changed through the generations, so has the process of adoption.

In the early 1930s, it was a widely held belief that adoption should be a discreet process, that secrecy should be maintained to protect not just the adoptive family, but also the birth parents. American society believed that a relationship between the child, the adoptive family and the birth parents would just cause undue stress and emotion for everyone involved. This was furthered by the societal view that being an unwed mother was shameful, and, as a result many women kept their pregnancy a secret and placed their baby for adoption.

However, by the early 1980s, society came to realize that this secrecy, guilt and shame only led to resentment and depression. Not only did adopted children not have a sense of where they came from, but women who had placed their babies for adoption were forced to live their lives never knowing what happened to their baby.

As a result, the face of adoption is very different today. Instead of being shrouded in secrecy, today’s adoptions are an open process in which birth parents, adoptive parents and the child embrace their relationship to one another. Today, birth mothers formulate their own adoption plan, tailored to their own wants and desires for the birth and the life of their child.

As a pregnant mother, you will have the option to hand-pick the adoptive family for your child. If you desire a family with no children, one of a specific religion or even one that lives in a specific state or region, the choice is yours. If you want to meet the family prior to the birth, you may specify that as part of your adoption plan. Likewise, if you want the adoptive family to be present – or not present – for the birth, the choice, again, is yours.

After the baby is born, birth mothers today can choose to see first-hand how their child grows up through pictures and letters. You may also send your child birthday presents, holiday wishes, etc. If you desire a more open adoption, which includes phone calls and even visits with your child, that is your choice. Establishing your own adoption plan will allow you to find an adoptive family that shares your same beliefs and will honor your wishes.

This open relationship between the birth parents and the adoptive family sets the framework for your child in understanding that you chose adoption because you loved them. Your child will grow up knowing exactly where they came from, just as you will know how happy and loved your child is.

What Are the Different Types of Adoption?

  1. Open Adoption (approximately 5-10 percent of adoptions): An Open Adoption is an adoption where some or all identifying information such as full names, addresses, and telephone numbers are exchanged between the adoptive family and the birth parents. An Open Adoption usually means that both parties will communicate directly with one another and continue future contact with each other. Remember – adoption is a human interaction, meaning the amount of openness may increase naturally once birth parents and adoptive parents get to know each other and more natural and caring relationships are formed. There are many factors to explore before committing to an Open Adoption so that pros and cons are identified. Open Adoption is not for everyone because there is a great amount of commitment involved to ensure the best interest of the child is met. While this type of adoption does not occur with great frequency, when it does occur it can be a very positive experience if everyone is on the same page.
  1. Semi-Open Adoption (85-90 percent of adoptions): Semi-Open adoption is the most popular type of adoption chosen by birth parents and adoptive families alike. In Semi-Open Adoption, there usually is limited or no identifying information exchanged between the adoptive family and the birth parents. First names and state of residence are exchanged, but last names, phone numbers and addresses are usually kept confidential. Just as with Open Adoptions, Semi-Open Adoptions can change depending on comfort levels of both parties. Semi-Open Adoption is designed to provide a secure, stable way for both families to get to know and trust each other. In Semi-Open Adoptions, the following most often occur: conference calls and/or e-mails during the pregnancy, meeting at the hospital at time of birth, and pictures and letters exchanged through the agency for up to 18 years. Semi-Open Adoptions can also sometimes include pre-placement visits during the pregnancy where the adoptive family travels to the birth parent’s state to meet and phone calls and/or e-mails directly after placement has occurred.
  1. Closed Adoption (Less than 5 percent of adoptions): While closed adoptions occur periodically, they do not occur as frequently as the other two types. This does not necessarily mean that this is a negative option to choose, it just means that it is not as popular with most birth parents. Typically birth mothers who select Closed Adoptions are not interested in meeting the adoptive family and may not want information about the child. A woman who wants a closed adoption can still select the family she wants to raise her baby or she can ask her agency to select the family for her.

Will I regret choosing adoption?

There are many emotions that come into play with adoption. Regret is an unpredictable emotion. For example, you may regret that you are not able to offer everything you want for your child. You may regret that you became pregnant and are in a place in life that you have to make this decision. Most women who choose adoption have good days and bad days. Most women will have some regrets and most will experience doubt as they choose adoption. In general, most people doubt decisions they make in their everyday life, so how can a woman not expect to feel some doubts about choosing adoption? However, if you work with adoption professionals who help you through the process, help you work through your emotions of grief and loss, help you create an adoption plan where you are in control, then you will be able to gain acceptance of your decision to provide your child a better life through adoption.

How does HIC screen the families who want to adopt my baby?

HIC has every prospective adoptive family complete an extensive process that includes background clearances, physicals, references, an inspection of their home, financial information, discussion of their beliefs about adoption and more, so we can gather information about their true character and ability to parent your child.

This screening process is extremely important to HIC. For example, if future religious beliefs of your child are important to you and you want a Christian family, we will find the best Christian families for you. Other examples include a birth parent’s wish that the adoptive family possess certain values, or that they do not yet have any other children. HIC is committed to helping you find a wonderful family for your baby.

How Do I Start the Adoption Process?

The best way to start the adoption process is to call and speak privately with a member of the Ka Makana team. You can call HIC when it is most convenient for you and a team member will gladly talk with you about your situation and answer any questions you may have. You do not have to have already chosen adoption to call and talk to someone at HIC.

For more information or to talk to a Ka Makana team member, call 808-589-2367 (Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) or 1-808-636-1398 (around the clock). You may also contact us by email at kamakana@adoptionhawaii.org.