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Consideration Three: Support Systems: If you have worked through consideration two, you know that we touched on some support system questions. In this part we are going to explore more detailed questions.
1. Who could you trust to be alone with your child?
2. Have you already talked to them about your pregnancy? If not, are you planning to seek their opinions and advice?
3. On a scale of 1-5 stars…
What is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan isn’t a specific form or method, it is a process to help you think objectively about what is needed to provide for a child.
First and foremost a parenting plan has a lot of questions. They are intended to provoke deeper thoughtfulness and exploration into what you think and feel is the best decision for you and your child. The goal is to help you organize your thoughts, ideas, and feelings that will allow you to actively make a decision.
Some of the following questions may appear to be geared specifically toward adoption. While we are an adoption agency, we don't want you to feel pressured and as though adoption is your only option. Most of the questions you find here are questions anyone planning to become parents should consider. We just wanted to make sure we provided a comprehensive tool to help those who we provide services to the most, women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy needing guidance to consider all of their options.
Your circumstances are different but the impact your answers and decisions will have on your child’s life are the same. So please don’t feel like you are alone in your struggle or being judged differently because your pregnancy wasn’t planned.
We understand that everyone processes complex information and hard decisions differently. Any woman who comes to us seeking to explore their options is treated as a unique individual with a unique story and unique needs. We will never put you in a box or see you as a stereotype or statistic.
As you work through this decision process, If you need more of anything, we would be honored if you allowed us to try and provide that for you.
Consideration 5: Questions, Questions everywhere but… Decisions Must Be Made: The decision is yours but not making one isn't an option.
1. What would happen to your child if you didn’t make a decision and just let events happen as they may?
2. Think about 3 big decisions in your life…
3. Who can you go to for advice?
4. Is there someone you would trust to make this decision for you and your baby?
5. When will you know you have made a decision?
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Here is a link to the “Contact Us” Form You can Complete and Submit.
24/7 Availability and Support Before and After: You will have access to your pregnancy counselor. You won’t be passed around to those who are available. The contact information you are given connects you directly via phone, email, text, and video with the counselor specifically assigned to your case.
A customized parenting plan that sets you up for success no matter what you decide.
Assistance designing your hospital and delivery plan.
Pregnancy related resources, community referrals, and financial assistance.
Consideration Four: Recognizing and Managing Expectations: Expectations are the manifestation of our hopes and dreams. However, if left unchecked they can be harmful to you and unfair to your child.
1. Do you expect your child to…
If you answered yes to any of these, check in and ask if this expectation realistic or fair.
2. What achievements do you want for your child?
3. How do you want them to see you and the sacrifices you made for them?
4. Do you want your child to be just like you?
5. What experiences did/didn’t you have that you want your child to have?
6. What opportunity did/didn’t you have that you want your child to have?
7. Are there any experiences and/or situations you had that you NEVER want your child to?
Creating a Parenting Plan
Consideration Six: Financial Strains: Money isn’t everything but everything costs money.
Hop on the internet or walk around your local baby supply store…. How much would it cost to support your baby through their first year?
1. Formula (Nursing is beautiful, but it isn’t guaranteed)
2. Bottles: How is your tap water or do you need to buy filtered water
3. Diapers and wipes: one use or if you think you will go cloth also consider the time, expense, and availability of laundering them?
4. Child Care: How many days per week for how long, do you need weekend child care, how flexible does your child care need to be, what if your child is sick and can’t go to a normal daycare)
5. Transportation: gas, auto insurance, maintenance, reliable car seat. If you share a car what would the plan be in an emergency?
6. Shelter: along with somewhere to live do you have reliable heat, electricity, and clean water?
7. Creams and Bathing: What if your baby has specific hair or skin needs?
8. Clothing: Proper attire for every season, They may be tiny humans but the laundry loads are not. What about laundry needs to wash your baby's clothes?
9. Toys and Furniture: Quality over quantity goes a long way. What are your basic wants and needs?
10. Health: Vitamins, special dietary needs, health insurance, transportation to doctor appointments, time off work to go to medical appointments, medical bills from giving birth, what if you experience postpartum depression, C Section recovery, over the counter medications, first aide, special needs like a hearing aid/helmet/foot or arm braces/glasses. ER visits, after hours care, 911 calls and first responder costs, etc.
11. Emergency Fund: What if you cant work for several months after giving birth? Do you have the reserves to afford basic needs?
Don't forget, these are just expenses for your baby. You also have needs like food, shelter, health care, etc.
Does your end number represent a financial possibility or imposibility at this percise moment in time?
Do You Need More?
Consideration One: Let's Talk About You: First answer the questions thinking only of your wants and needs.
1. What goals do you have for yourself?
Short (less than a year)
Mid-term (1-3 years)
Long-term (3+ years)
2. What do you need to meet these goals?
3. How old will you be at each of those stages?
4. What do you want to do for a living?
5. What are your current emotional and financial needs and/or wants?
6. When you are around kids, how do you feel about them?
7. How much time and space do you typically like to yourself?
8. Are there material items or services you wouldn’t want to go without?
9. Are their social situations or events you wouldn’t want to miss out on?
10. What methods do you use to destress, decompress, and deal with your anger?
*Now, examine your answers and ask yourself, “How would parenting change this?” and “How would placing change this?”
Here are some side-by-side comparison charts that can help you visualize your answers. Keep adding to them as you go through the other areas.
***Remember, you owe it to yourself and your child to be 100% open and honest with your answers. We ALL have thoughts and feelings we would NEVER admit to or say out loud.
Give yourself permission to think those thoughts, feel those feels, and own them. Nobody is judging you except for you, so be kind and cut yourself some slack. This is a difficult task with difficult questions and even more complicated answers
In an attempt to not overwhelm you we have broken the questions down into 6 bite sized areas of consideration. They are in no particular order so work through the different areas at your own pace and in your own way.
If you would prefer, use this Creating a Parenting Plan Link for a downloadable version of this page.
The only tools you will need are:
Consideration Two: Options and Outcomes: Think about all the different ways that raising or placing your child would look and feel like. Create your own system to rate them from realistic to ridiculous.
1. Your partner…
2. Your Support System:
3. Examples of Hypothetical Outcomes
4. If you decided to place your child, what kind of family would you choose?