Giving up a child for adoption can be an emotionally difficult process. If you're pregnant and thinking about giving your baby up for adoption, you have likely thought long and hard about your options, weighed the consequences of each, and decided that this is the best route for you to take.

You also know that it might not be easy to say goodbye to your biological child, even if you are not prepared to be a parent. That's why it's important to have a plan in place, with your actions for the birth, the period immediately following the birth -- and, quite honestly, the rest of your life -- organized and written down.

Here are five steps to take when giving up a child for adoption.

Create an Adoption Plan

Once you're comfortable with the idea that adoption is the best choice for you to make, it's time to create an adoption plan. This will help you determine such things as whether or not you want to have an open adoption -- in which you will have some level of contact with your child throughout their life -- as well as what information you will share with the adoptive family.

An adoption plan will also cover the ideal type of adoptive family. Some people have preferences as to whether their child is raised in a religious home, by a single parent, by a gay or lesbian couple, whether the child will grow up in the city or in a rural location, and so on.

Decide on an Adoptive Family

Plan in place? Next, it's time to find the adoptive family. As you can imagine, families who are ready to adopt a child are extremely enthusiastic about becoming parents, and therefore they will be eager to meet you.

When you work with an adoption agency, all potential adoptive parents will have been fully vetted before you even consider them, let alone meet them. You'll likely view a video they have made, page through a scrapbook, or see other materials they have compiled. These materials will help you get a sense of who the potential adoptive parents are: what their values are, what their lifestyle is like, the type of home they live in, if there are other children and/or pets in the home, and the parents' reasons for adopting.

Meet the Family

All experts in the adoption field agree that pre-adoption contact between the family and the birth mother is an important step in the process. You may meet the family in person, but you may also have contact with them through social media, telephone calls, emails, etc.

Prepare for the Birth

Having a plan in place can alleviate some of the anxiety you'll feel when it's time to give birth. Would you like the adoptive family present during the birth? Will you be the one to hold the baby first? How much contact will you have with the baby? These questions are important to consider beforehand.

In most states, you will need to wait -- up to 72 hours after the birth -- before you can legally sign adoption paperwork.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Harper Harmon and I am a freelance writer and blogger who focuses on business, health and other various topics. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in communication from UCLA and currently reside in Santa Cruz with my dog, Sassy.