Teen's Pregnancy 2: Adoption

The Adoption Process

"Brittney's decided, at this point, that she's putting the baby up for adoption, so I'm trying really hard not to have too many feelings right now," Kelly shares.

 

Kelly and Brittney meet with Anna Fields of Catholic Charities to discuss an open adoption, where the birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptee have an ongoing relationship. "Every open adoption looks totally different based on who you are, and what you're looking for and what your relationship turns out to be with the adoptive parents," Anna tells the mother and daughter. "A lot of adoptions don't start out as open, because, like with any relationship, you want that trust to develop before you are going to feel comfortable sharing your last name and sharing your phone number." Anna adds, "In almost every case, someone who chooses adoption, a birth parent, will feel some level of sadness or grief and a sense of loss for that decision."

Kelly wipes away tears.

[AD]Anna asks Brittney, "Is it hard for you to see your mom so emotional about this kind of stuff?"

"She cries, like, every time we talk about it," the teen replies.

After their meeting, Kelly shares her thoughts. "It was very hard on me, and my concern is for Brittney," she says. "She doesn't know if she's going to go with them, because she doesn't want to have to go through the whole counseling thing. I think, eventually, she's going to suffer with whatever decision, if she doesn't have somebody whom she can talk to."

Brittney and her mother meet with adoption Rita Meiser, who specializes in private and interstate adoptions, and who helped found the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. "You are not giving up your baby for adoption. You are making a plan for your child's future," Rita tells Brittney.

"I think I want to have an open adoption," Brittney tells Rita.

Rita informs her that there will be a window of 24-48 hours when the teen will not be legally allowed to sign the consent form for adoption.

 

[AD]Back in his studio, Dr. Phil asks Brittney if she's not acknowledging her feelings.

"I don't show people very well that I am thinking about my emotions," she says, noting that she talks with Jody more about her feelings than with her mom.

Brittney chose to place her baby through the adoption attorney, Rita Meiser. Dr. Phil asks Rita, "How's this one going?"

"We're really just at the beginning of the road of putting together Brittney's adoption plan, so counseling can be a very important component," she says.

Dr. Phil asks Brittney if she's declined to participate in counseling.

Brittney confirms. "I have everyone's information that I would need if I wanted to get counseling, so after the birth if I'm having a hard time, I could always go do that," she says. "But right now, I don't think it's necessary."

Rita suggests Brittney see a counselor before the birth. "The hardest time to reach out for help is to a stranger and when you're upset," she says. "If you can form a bond with somebody pre-birth, even if it's one session " if you're resistant to it " so that you know it's a nice person whom you can relate to, it's going to be a lot easier after the birth of the child to then pick up the phone."

Turning to Brittney, Dr. Phil says, "She sounds to me like she way knows what she's doing." He asks the teen if she will reconsider meeting with a counselor.

"I've done the counseling thing before we did this," she says. "It just didn't work out very well."

 

[AD]Dr. Phil notes that he, Brittney's parents and Rita all believe it's a good idea for her to receive therapy before the baby is born. "You may not have liked the counselor you had before, but sometimes you've got to kiss a few frogs along the way," Dr. Phil tells Brittney. "There are a lot of unknowns ahead of you." He asks her to consider seeing a therapist.

"I'm not comfortable sitting down with someone I don't know," she says.

"You didn't know Jody when you met her," Dr. Phil points out.

Dr. Phil asks Brittney, "Where is the baby's father in all of this?"

[AD]"We're still together, and our relationship is actually really good right now," the teen says. "He is really involved in a lot of this. All of the decisions that I've made, we've made together."