Adoption, adoptive parents, Birth Fathers, birth mother, Birth Parents, considering adoption, Expecting Parents Considering Adoption

Emergency vs. Planned Placements

In the adoption world, there are two kinds of placements, emergency and planned. Many people who are new to the adoption world may not know the difference or what each entails. Adoptions From The Heart asked a couple of our social workers to break down both kinds of placements to make these options as straightforward as possible.

What is an emergency placement?

“It is when we have not heard from the expectant parent until she is already at the hospital – either in labor or already has had the baby.” Emergency placements happen with little to no prior planning. The decision to place the child is made in the hospital. The hospital connects the expectant parent with an adoption agency like AFTH. When an adoptive parent or family is selected, they rush to the hospital as soon as possible to meet the birth parent and child.

How is a planned placement different from an emergency placement?

“Time. Planned placements allow for more time for options counseling for the expectant parents. Planned situations allow for expectant and adoptive parents to begin to build their relationship. In an emergency placement, social workers are still able to provide options counseling, and there is still an opportunity for EP and AP to meet and spend time together.”

For some expectant parents, they feel more secure going through their options during their pregnancy. Planned placements allow more time to get to know the adoptive parents. For other expectant parents, planning might be difficult or impossible; therefore, an emergency placement is a better option. On average, about 40-50% of AFTH’s placements are emergency.

What are the benefits/drawbacks of emergency vs. planned?

“The major benefits of an emergency placement for the Adoptive parents is the quick pace of everything. There is not much time to worry as it is only three days (on average), so they don’t worry about mom’s attending prenatal appointments or not following through with the plan.”

For adoptive parents, waiting can last a long time. In an emergency placement, the process is much more fast-paced. They receive the call and rush to the hospital. There is a set plan in place when it’s a planned placement, but there is more anticipation, waiting for the child to be born.

Important Information to know about emergency placements

“Adoptive parents need to be prepared to get a call and need to be somewhere in a short time. Birth parents need to realize that there is never a time that is too late to call. They can call at the hospital or even after parenting for a while.”

Emergency placements are the opposite of planned placement, meaning adoptive parents don’t know when the hospital call will come. So, at all times, the adoptive parents must drop everything and arrive at the hospital.

Meanwhile, birth parents need to know help is only a call away. Deciding to place a child is one of the most challenging decisions in the world. Making that choice takes longer for some birth parents than others. Birth parents can do an emergency placement as soon as they get to the hospital. If they decided to parent but no longer want to or are capable of parenting, they can still call and do an emergency placement later.

Important Information to know about planned placements?

“For birth parents, making a plan for placing their child gives them time to consider things like how much openness do I want or gives them time to have pre-placement meetings with their chosen adoptive family so they can truly get to know them.

For APS, planned placements and being chosen by an EP can be stressful because their EP may indeed change their minds about placing.  It can sometimes be a roller coaster of emotions—happy at having been chosen but worry in not knowing if the EP might change their mind and decide to parent.”

Is one connected with more disruptions than the other?

“No – both situations have a risk of the birth parents changing their mind. Emotionally it is more difficult of a decision once the baby has arrived, so even if the plan is solid before delivery, there is always a chance that someone will change their mind after the birth – or after placement.”

Disruption is when a plan falls through, and the birth parent decides to parent their child rather than placing the child with the chosen adoptive parents. Having a plan in place does not seem to affect the likelihood of the placement going through and becoming official.

Any advice you can offer birth parents/ adoptive parents in either process?

“Birth parents should always follow what they feel is in the best decision for their child. Placing your child for adoption is a tough plan for anyone to make; however, it will be easier to make if they know that this is the right decision for their child. Ultimately, the only two people who can make this decision are the birth mother and the birth father. They are the ones that need to feel good about the decision.

For adoptive parents, remember that everything happens for a reason, and as long as they continue with the process, the result will be what they want, which is parenting. They need to be patient and lean on others for support during this process.”

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