Adoption is not “giving up your baby.” Adoption is a parenting choice.
Facing an unintended pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster.
Getting pregnant with an unintended pregnancy will result in a wide range of emotions. The fact that your body is being flooded with high levels of all kinds of hormones won’t help matters either. After the initial shock subsides, most women facing an unintended pregnancy will experience a mixture of fear of the unknown, fear of the reactions of friends, family, and the father, embarrassment, and often confusion. On a happier note, you may also feel excited—after all, there’s an actual life inside you! If you’re considering placing your child for adoption as an unintended pregnancy option, feelings of guilt may also creep in. Many women feel guilty for thinking about “giving up” their baby for adoption or for considering abortion as an option.
Your Three Pregnancy Options
The fact is, while there are all kinds of emotions that come with unintended pregnancy, there are obviously only three options to consider: 1. Keeping, that is, parenting your baby; 2. Aborting or terminating your baby; or 3. Placing your baby up for adoption. In making your decision, It’s incredibly important that you receive neutral, unbiased help to thoroughly consider your options—we call that options education— visit our resources page to find an options counselor in your area. If you’re seriously thinking about adoption for your baby, it’s very important to fully consider your reasons for adoption. While adoption is a painful choice, sometimes it is the best one. As difficult as it can be, there are, in fact, good reasons to choose adoption. Usually, it’s not just one of these reasons that leads a woman to choose adoption, but a combination of factors. Every woman and child is unique, special, and worthy of help making a plan that is truly best for each. If you refuse to let fear and guilt motivate you, you can openly and honestly consider your options.
Making an Informed Choice About Your Pregnancy
For some women the choice between adoption or abortion is adoption because, for whatever reason, abortion is not an option for them (maybe they believe it is morally wrong, maybe they already recognize their baby as a child whom they love, or maybe they are too far along in their pregnancy to abort safely). For many women thinking about the adoption process, their previous experience with abortion has convinced them that they could never endure the experience of having an abortion again. Similarly, sometimes parenting is simply not a viable option. Health issues or addiction can make parenting unsafe or unrealistic. When there is a strong possibility that a social worker with Child Protective Services will become involved, it can be a very smart decision (and one that protects your other children) to make an adoption plan before the baby is born and the hospital involves CPS. Birth parents have the right to make a private adoption plan for giving baby to adoption specialists and avoid having the child placed into the foster care system. Women in prison, likewise, also have the right to make a private adoption plan without involving CPS. An experienced adoption law attorney is probably necessary to help you navigate this—an AdoptMatch professional in your state is a good place to start.
Adoption when Parenting is an Option
Most women facing an unplanned pregnancy, are fully capable of parenting yet some still choose to start the adoption process. One of the most compelling reasons that women who are capable of parenting but ultimately choose adoption cite for their decision is their desire to give their biological child a life that they cannot give them themselves. Lots of single parents desire their child to be raised by both a loving mom and dad and just don’t see that happening for themselves anytime soon. Providing opportunities for their child that they are not in a position to give can also be a factor. A woman choosing adoption should be given her options of the type of adoption and a wide range of adoptive families looking to adopt to choose from. So choosing adoptive parents that can provide her child with the kind of life that she cannot can be easier. Any agency or attorney, or facilitator that pushes you towards a particular adoptive family that you aren’t sure about should be avoided. It’s okay to say no. It’s even okay to hurt someone’s feelings on this issue. If you are choosing adoption specifically because you are envisioning a certain kind of life and family for your child, then by all means, finding adoptive parents from the many waiting families prepared for an adoption home study that can provide that. Remember, though, that most kids would prefer to be with their birth parents, if possible, then to live by the beach or have private ballet lessons. Giving your child a “better” life isn’t all about the stuff that you can or cannot buy them. It may be about stability, two adoptive parents, or a healthier environment though. Only you know your personal situation and only you can fully evaluate if the benefits of adoption will truly be the best choice for your child.
Adoption as a Way to Protect Yourself and Your Child
Often, single pregnant mothers point to their lack of nearby friends and family to help them to parent or a bad (or absent) relationship with the baby’s father as reasons for making an adoption plan for their unborn child. The desire to help a child avoid an ongoing relationship with an abusive birth father is a frequent reason for adoption. Victims of sexual assault or domestic violence may find protection for themselves and their child through the adoption process. Even in less severe circumstances, mistakes and bad choices sometimes happen, and adoption can be an option when the birth father is not the person that you are in a relationship with now. Choose an adoption agency that encourages talking through biological father issues and other potential adoption barriers. Discussing these and other related issues with an experienced adoption professional can really help clarify if certain adoption opportunities are right for you. When you do, be honest and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Other Reasons for Adoption
It’s so important to know that placing your baby up for adoption does not mean that you are not capable of parenting or that you are a bad person. It’s very common for birth mothers to express the feeling that they are just not ready for a child at this point in their life. Sometimes that is because they are young or in school, sometimes it’s because they know they have personal stuff they need to deal with to be a physically and emotionally healthy person, sometimes it may be a relationship that they are in (or not in), and sometimes it’s just because they know that they aren’t ready to parent yet. While it should not be a driving factor in your adoption decision, you may really also like the idea of helping a married couple struggling with infertility by giving your baby to them. All of these reasons for choosing adoption are valid and are anything but “giving your child up.” These reasons come from a thoughtful heart and a desire to choose what’s best for you and your child.
Money Should Never Be the Only Reason to Place Your Baby for Adoption
Sometimes, women cite reasons like lack of financial assistance or no money to support themselves during pregnancy or when the baby is small as reasons for choosing the adoption process. Money alone should never be the motivation for adoption. While it may be a legitimate factor in your decision, it shouldn’t be the only factor. A pregnancy resource clinic in your area can certainly help you find the support you need to carry, deliver, and parent your baby successfully. Money is most often a factor when a mom already has other children she is caring for and feels that another child would just be too much with living expenses, both financially and emotionally. A good open adoption plan that includes the siblings can be a positive option for her.
Any birth mother who chooses adoption needs to know that no matter how strong her reasons for placing her baby up for adoption are, it is emotionally excruciating. Open adoption can help alleviate some of the pain, giving you an opportunity to watch your child grow and develop, albeit from afar, but it does not take eliminate your feelings of grief and loss. However, knowing that you have carefully weighed your options and made a fully informed decision that you believe is in your baby’s best interests, will give you peace in the difficult days ahead. The AdoptMatch team is happy to help you refer you to professionals who can assist you as you process your options and guide you on the road ahead.