You took an at-home pregnancy test and it came back positive. So, you made an appointment with your OB-GYN to have a blood test done to confirm your pregnancy. The results are in and you are, in fact, pregnant. Now you’re grappling with some tough decisions because this is an unplanned pregnancy. You may be wondering, “Should I have an abortion?” “Am I ready to be a parent?” or “Should I give my child up for adoption?”
Making such a life-altering decision is incredibly tough. You want to do what is best not only for yourself but for your baby as well. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether you want to place your baby for adoption.
Positive Adoption Language
Before we look at questions you should ask yourself when making this decision, I’d like to address the language we use in the adoption community. You may have heard phrases like, “Should I give my child up for adoption?” or, “Should I keep my child?” These phrases refer to children as possessions. It is more positive and correct to ask, “Should I place my child for adoption?”
When you ask, “Should I give my child up for adoption?” you are not honoring or respecting yourself as a birth mother. You are considering whether or not to place your child for adoption because you love your baby and want to do what is best for him or her. Don’t disrespect yourself by asking, “Should I give my child up for adoption?”
Additionally, when you ask yourself, “Should I give my child up for adoption?,” you may inadvertently be bringing feelings of shame or guilt upon yourself unnecessarily. When you ask yourself, “Should I place my child for adoption?” instead, you can focus on making a loving decision for your child. Now that you understand the importance of positive adoption language, let’s look at some of the considerations you can take into account when deciding whether or not to place your child for adoption.
11 Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding Whether to Place Your Child for Adoption
When making a decision regarding whether to place your baby for adoption, ask yourself these questions.
Do I want to be a parent?
Some women want to be parents; others do not. If you do not want to be a mother, it is perfectly okay. One reason women place children for adoption is that they simply do not want to be parents. In this case, placing your child for adoption can help you feel a sense of surety in knowing that your baby has a chance at a happy life. It also gives someone the chance to be a parent who desperately wants to be.
Am I ready to be a parent?
You may want to be a parent, but you may not be ready to be a parent. For instance, women who want to finish their education or start their careers may not be ready to be responsible for a child.
If you choose to place your child for adoption, you can continue to go to school or pursue your career while you are pregnant. You may even qualify for adoption scholarships to help you get a college education.
Can I provide a two-parent household? If not, am I ready to be a single parent?
There are benefits for children who are raised in two-parent families. For instance, children raised in two-parent households are more likely to complete their high school and college educations. Children in two-parent homes are less likely to face poverty. Children raised in single-parent families are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors, such as using drugs, smoking, and drinking alcohol.
While children in two-parent households tend to fare better than those in single-parent households, this only holds when the two parents have a good relationship. It is actually better for children to be raised in a single-parent household than to be raised in a volatile, tense home with two parents.
Keep in mind that everyone’s situation is unique. If you don’t have a healthy relationship with a partner right now, you can certainly raise a child as a single parent successfully. Moreover, if the child’s father is not in the picture, you can include good male role models in your child’s life as he or she grows up.
While being a single mother is incredibly challenging, it is certainly not impossible. If you decide to parent, look into resources available for single mothers such as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), TANF) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child care assistance programs. These programs can help with the costs of raising a child. If you decide to parent as a single mother, you may also qualify for single mother grants and scholarships for single moms.
In addition to federally-funded programs, local organizations may have resources to offer as well. These resources may include reduced-cost child care, food pantries, and housing assistance. You may be able to find support by finding a local support group for single parents. You can also find support for single parents through numerous online forums.
Can I provide my child with a safe and stable home?
Sometimes, babies are placed for adoption when a birth mother is unable to provide a positive, stable, and safe household for him or her. Do you live with your family or the birth father? If so, what is your relationship like with your family or the birth father? If your relationships are strained, tumultuous, or abusive, you cannot provide your baby with a safe and stable home. Homelessness is another situation in which it may be better to place a baby for adoption.
Am I facing any personal challenges that would impair my ability to parent a child?
We all face challenges in our lives, but some challenges may impede one’s ability to parent a child. For instance, if you have an addiction, this is an issue you need to deal with in order to be a healthy parent for your child. Likewise, if you have a mental illness that isn’t currently being managed well, you should think about your ability to effectively care for your baby.
Physical disabilities and health conditions may also make parenting a child very challenging. Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, scleroderma, cystic fibrosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are just a few examples of health conditions that may make it challenging or even impossible to parent a child.
Remember that your situation is unique. If you have an unstable mental illness or a debilitating health condition, it may be helpful to discuss your options with a therapist or physician in making a decision about placing your child for adoption.
Can I provide for my child financially?
Raising a child is an expensive endeavor. Food, shelter, clothing, medical care, extracurricular activities, toys, diapers, and other necessities all cost money. It’s important to be realistic about whether or not you can afford to provide for your child’s needs. Resources such as food pantries, clothing pantries, and Medicaid can help ease the financial burden if you decide to parent.
Do I have a strong support system?
Are your family and friends supportive of your decision to be a parent? Do you have family that will help watch your child if you need to run important errands, go to appointments, or tend to unexpected work commitments? Your family can not only provide childcare when needed, they can offer other types of support as well. Your family could help you with household chores, cooking, or offering emotional support.
Can I provide my child with childcare?
Childcare is one of the biggest expenses associated with raising a child. It can be very challenging to find quality childcare that’s also affordable. Look into local childcare resources to decide if you can reasonably provide childcare for your baby. Inquire about childcare subsidies – subsidies provided by the federal government to help with childcare expenses for low-income families. Each state has different eligibility requirements for qualifying for childcare subsidies.
What are my goals and ambitions?
What are your goals and ambitions in life? Do you want to finish your education? Do you want to climb the corporate ladder before starting a family? Can you achieve your goals while raising a child? Will you have enough time and energy to devote to raising a child? These are important questions to consider when deciding whether you want to become a parent or place your child for adoption. If you know that you will not have the time or energy to devote to raising your child, placing your child with a family who has more time and energy to devote to a child may be a better option than becoming a parent at this time.
Does my baby have needs I will not be able to provide for?
Sometimes, doctors can tell a baby has special needs in utero. Special needs children often require more financial, medical, and practical support. If you cannot provide this support for your baby, you may want to consider placing your child for adoption. There are adoption agencies that will help you find the perfect home for your special needs baby if you choose to place him or her for adoption.
Will my baby bring up bad memories?
If your pregnancy is the result of a sexual assault, it may simply be too painful to raise him or her. A baby who is conceived in such a traumatic way may be a constant reminder of the assault. It may be best to place your child for adoption if you harbor feelings of resentment toward him or her. It is important for you to take care of yourself after a trauma. By placing your child for adoption, you will be giving someone else who desperately wants to be a parent the chance to do so.
Who can I talk to when deciding what to do about my unplanned pregnancy?
Family and friends are often great sources of advice and support. However, they may be too close to your situation to help you make an objective decision about what to do regarding your unplanned pregnancy.
Talking with a therapist or counselor can be very beneficial. A therapist can offer objective, nonjudgmental information regarding unplanned pregnancy options. A therapist can help you examine your options and help you make the decision that’s right for you and your baby by asking you insightful, open-ended questions and offer objective advice and referrals to resources.
There are many hotlines you can call to talk with a nonjudgmental options counselor. A good pregnancy options counselor will not try to sway your decision but will help you determine what the best decision is for yourself and your baby.
If you decide to parent, a pregnancy options counselor may be able to point you to resources within your community that may be helpful in your situation. If you decide to place your child for adoption, the counselor should be able to refer you to adoption agencies in your area that can help you through the adoption process.
If you choose to place your child for adoption, you will work with an adoption counselor. He or she will help you through the adoption process including creating an adoption plan and selecting an adoptive family for your baby.
Do What’s Best for You and Your Baby
It’s important that you are comfortable with whatever decision you make regarding your unplanned pregnancy. In the end, you need to do what is best for both yourself and your baby. Do not let others pressure you into doing something–you are the only one who knows what is best for yourself and your child.
Making a decision regarding your unplanned pregnancy will be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. The questions in this article are important ones to ask yourself during your decision-making process. Talking to a trusted family member, friend, or therapist can also help you in your decision-making process. Once you’ve made a decision regarding your unplanned pregnancy, you can move forward making plans and putting the necessary resources into place to ensure your baby is taken care of.