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1 It takes love and courage to consider adoption. By choosing adoption, you give your child the gift of life, a loving family, and wonderful opportunities. Call us at or visit us at

2 Life doesn t always go as you planned it. Each year, hundreds of women facing unplanned pregnancies contact the Adoption Center for Family Building. We understand what you re going through and our experienced, caring counselors are ready to listen, discuss your options, and help you make a decision that s right for you and your baby. According to industry experts, half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned impacting the hopes and dreams of three million women each year. 1 Our services are free and confidential and offered to you at no obligation. We will help you get the support and resources you need throughout your pregnancy, create a personal adoption plan, and assist you in finding a family that meets your needs. The Adoption Center for Family Building is a private, non-profit adoption agency that s licensed in Illinois and Indiana. Since 1996, we have placed hundreds of children with loving adoptive families. We have vast experience working with expectant parents and will treat you with the compassion and respect you deserve. Sincerely, Making dreams come true. Tobi Ehrenpreis, M.A., MPH Executive Director Maggie Benz, LCSW Clinical Director To learn more about our adoption services call us at (365 days/year) or visit us at

3 Is adoption right for me? Placing a child for adoption can be a difficult decision, but it s an important one that will impact you and your child s lives forever. No matter what anyone tells you, adoption is a personal choice that only you can make. As you think about adoption, it might be helpful to consider the following questions: 1) Can I provide for my child s financial, emotional, and physical needs? 2) Will parenting this child deprive my other children of necessities? 3) Could I handle a child and job and/or school at the same time? 4) How does my family feel about this pregnancy and will they support my decision? 5) What are my hopes and dreams for my future? Women contact the Adoption Center for Family Building for a variety of reasons. A single mother may feel she can t support another child or wants her baby to be raised by two parents. An unmarried couple may feel the timing isn t right to start a family. A pregnant teen without adequate education and job skills worries about the risk of poverty for her child and herself. Regardless of what your situation looks like, we can help you explore your options and make a plan for you and your baby s future. Your decision will depend on many factors including where you are in your life right now, what your goals are for yourself, what you wish for your child, and whether you have the financial resources and support to raise this child. It s normal to experience a range of feelings before, during, and after your adoption even if you know it s the right choice. Placing a baby for adoption involves a loss and a sense of sorrow. However, knowing that your child is part of a stable, secure and loving family can give you peace of mind.

4 Our Adoption Process 1. Call us at Talk with an experienced adoption counselor 3. Create an adoption plan for you and your baby What can I expect throughout the adoption process? The Adoption Center for Family Building provides comprehensive adoption services and ongoing support to expectant parents, including: Professional counseling Talk one-on-one with an experienced adoption counselor who will help you plan for your future and that of your baby. 4. Select your baby s adoptive parents and meet them (if you want) 5. Sign documents which allow your baby to be adopted Personalized adoption plan Tell your counselor about your preferences for an adoptive family, such as race, siblings, age, and the type of relationship you would like with them before and after the placement. Choice of adoptive parents We work with a diverse pool of adoptive parents including married couples, same-sex couples, and single adults; all families have been prescreened and approved to adopt. You can review letters and pictures from waiting families and choose your baby s adoptive parents. Quality medical coverage We will help you apply for any public assistance and medical insurance to which you are entitled. If you have private medical insurance that does not cover 100 percent of your care, we can pay the difference. Help with expenses In accordance with your state s adoption laws, we are able to assist you with living expenses (e.g. rent, food, utilities, phone, maternity clothing, and other necessities), as needed before and for a period of time after the placement. Legal assistance Working with an experienced adoption attorney, we adhere to the laws in your state to ensure that the adoption plan you make for your baby is secure and that everyone s rights are protected. Open adoption You and your child s adoptive parents can determine the amount of openness and level of future contact you wish to maintain. Jointly, you may agree to stay in touch with letters and pictures, phone calls, social networking, and family visits.

5 How to choose a family for your child? If you have decided to move forward with an adoption plan, you may have a good idea about the kind of family or lifestyle you want for your child. If you need help, we can select a family for you. You are welcome to be as involved as you would like in choosing your baby s adoptive family. We begin by helping you identify what criteria are most important to you and providing you with profiles for families that meet your needs. The profiles give you a snapshot into the adoptive parent s lives and may include information about their relationships, other children, careers, hobbies, photos, and much more. You will have peace of mind knowing your child will be raised in a safe, secure, and loving home. All of our adoptive parents must meet strict state and agency adoption requirements, including a comprehensive examination of their personal relationships, physical and emotional health, finances, employment status, and home. Criminal background checks are also required. In addition, adoptive families prepare for parenthood by receiving professional counseling and educational training to prepare them for the unique aspects of adoptive parenting. Educational topics vary but may include an explanation of the adoption process and benefits of open adoption, racial or cultural diversity training, and how to talk to kids, extended family, or anyone else about adoption. For several months after the placement, a social worker from the Adoption Center for Family Building will monitor your child s development and how the adoptive family is adjusting. Families accepted by the Adoption Center for Family Building typically: Own their own home Have college or vocational degrees Have financial security Are unable to have children themselves Here are some things to consider when selecting parents for your child: Do you want your child raised in a city, a suburb, or in a small town? Do you want your child to be raised in a traditional home with mother and father, or would you consider a same-sex couple, or single parent? Is the age, religion, or race of the adoptive parents important to you? Do you have a strong preference for a dual income family or a family with a stay-at-home parent? Do you want your child to be an only child, or would you like him/her to have brothers or sisters? Does the family share your interests, for example, sports or music or pets? What kind of relationship would you like with your child s adoptive family? How far away does the family live from you?

6 As you explore your options, here are a few important things to know about the Adoption Center for Family Building and our commitment to you: You can contact us anytime during your pregnancy or after your baby is born. We will meet with you in person, and provide the personal care and attention you deserve. You will have access to free and confidential counseling, financial assistance, medical care, and post-adoption services. You can be as involved as you want in your child s adoption, including selecting your child s adoptive family, meeting them and getting to know them, and discussing the type of relationship you wish to have with them long term. You can feel secure in knowing that the family you choose is ready to provide a safe, loving, and stable environment all our adoptive families have been prescreened and are prepared to adopt. You can keep in touch with your child s family over the years through phone calls, social media, and family visits, or simply receive letters and pictures. You may choose to have a closed adoption, with limited or no contact at all. Why should I work with the Adoption Center for Family Building? Since 1996, we have placed hundreds of infants with loving adoptive families. Our experienced adoption counselors are highly skilled, caring professionals, dedicated to helping you get the support you need. All services are free, confidential, and offered to you at no obligation. You can expect to be treated with respect and compassion before, during, and after the placement. Our primary focus is to help you make the best plan possible for yourself and your baby. If you re pregnant and didn t plan to be, then you re probably asking yourself a lot of questions about your options. You may be scared or unsure of what to do. We can help you evaluate your options, sort through your feelings, and provide the information you need to make an informed decision. Your wishes for your baby are important to us and are always respected. We invite you to tell us about the kind of family you want for your baby. Perhaps you wish your child to be raised in an urban or rural environment, or with a family of a particular faith, or with adoptive parents who have similar backgrounds or shared interests. Whatever your desires, we will work with you to find the right family and create an adoption plan that meets your needs now and into the future. We are committed to helping you find the right adoptive family for your baby. We place babies of many different racial and ethnic backgrounds including Caucasian, African- American, Latino, Asian, biracial and multicultural. Some of our adoptive families are prepared to parent babies exposed to drugs and alcohol or infants born with certain physical challenges.

7 Cheri s Story When I learned of my pregnancy, I was devastated, depressed, and overwhelmed. I was trying to go back to school, raise my three-year-old daughter, and work part-time. With Medicaid, WIC, food stamps, and government-assisted housing, I was barely able to make ends meet. I was no longer seeing the baby s father. He was immature, not interested in parenthood, or helping me financially. My parents are divorced and both work, my siblings live out of town, and I didn t want to raise another child on my own. I met with my adoption counselor, Mary, at the Adoption Center for Family Building to discuss my options. Once I had made up my mind, I talked with family and friends. Some felt that adoption was a big mistake, but my mom and best friend were very supportive of my decision. When it came time to pick a family, I chose Julie, a single woman who wanted to build a family through adoption. She was well educated, had a great job, came from a large family, and enjoyed sports. We talked for hours on the phone and then eventually met. At the hospital, I wanted just my mom to be in the delivery room with me, and I wanted to spend some alone time with my baby. I invited Julie to the hospital so she could begin bonding with the baby. After Claire s birth, I talked with Julie about texting me pictures and sending occasional updates so that I would know how Claire was doing. I m not ready to visit Claire yet, but maybe in the future. Placing Claire for adoption was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I know adoption isn t for everyone, but in my situation it was the best choice. Susie s Story I was 19 years old and a college freshman when I met Steve. We had been dating a few months when I became pregnant. I have two younger sisters, and my mom struggles with health issues. I knew my family was unable to support me emotionally, physically, or financially. Plus, Steve and I were both in college at the time and neither of us had a job. I was unsure what I wanted to do. I talked with Steve and our families about placing the baby for adoption, and they were supportive. Steve and I met with Brooke, a counselor at the Adoption Center for Family Building, to develop an adoption plan. Our counselor explained the adoption process and gave us family profiles of adoptive parents who matched our needs. We fell in love with Elizabeth and Jeremy and couldn t wait to meet them. Our first meeting went well, and we had many shared interests. Our relationship with them grew. Steve and I felt we had chosen an awesome couple to raise our baby. When labor started, I called Elizabeth and Jeremy, and they met Steve and me at the hospital. Our son, Jacob, was born, and I was amazed at the miracle of life! They were thrilled to be there for his birth and honored us with an entrustment ceremony they had prepared. I was able to graduate, and I m now working toward my nursing degree. Steve and I are no longer in a relationship, but we visit with Jacob, Elizabeth, and Jeremy regularly. Every time I see Jacob s smiling face I am reassured that I made the right decision in choosing adoption.

8 Did you know? About 60 percent of Americans have a personal connection to adoption. 2 After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births in the United States are to single mothers under the age of The children of teenage parents often face severe health, economic, and social consequences. In fact, almost 80 percent of children born to unmarried teen mothers, who did not graduate from high school, live in poverty. 4 Transracial adoptions are on the rise. In America, 40 percent of adopted children are of a different race than their adoptive parent. 5 Two million children in the Unites States are being raised by gay and lesbian families and 30 years of social science research shows they are just as happy, healthy and well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents. 6,7 An unexpected pregnancy can leave you feeling confused, overwhelmed, and alone. No one should feel that way. We can help! Call us at Visit us at us at Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter 1 James B. Kelleher, Unplanned Pregnancies Rising Among Poor U.S. Women: Study. Reuters, August 24, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, Overview of Adoption in the United States Jason DeParle and Sabrina Tavernise, For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage. The New York Times, February 14, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., Fact Sheet. January Sharon Jayson, Adoption Increasingly Crosses Racial, Ethnic Lines. USA Today, April 12, Susan Donaldson James, 2 Million Kids Raised By Gay Couples Are At Risk, Study Says. ABC News, November 2, Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council, Center for American Progress, National Association of Social Workers, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, and COLLAGE, All Children Matter October 25, 2011.

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