You might feel scared, lost, and overwhelmed. But none of that is bigger than God. Lean on Him and He will guide your path.
I remember standing in front of my church clutching my now husband’s hand. I was seventeen, finishing up my senior year of high school. He was eighteen, working an 8-5 job just starting his adult life. Both of us had grown up in the church. But there we stood, tears in our eyes, as we announced that we were pregnant and in need of prayer. We were lucky enough to have a support system and means to keep our child, but that is not the case for all parents in this situation.
You might not have planned for this to happen. You might be a young teenager like I was, now terrified of how your life will be forever changed. You might be an adult, married or not, but having a baby just was not in your plan at the moment. No matter what the situation you are in right now, remember, God is in control and can use this pregnancy to bless you or even someone else. It might feel like your life is full of chaos and fears right now, but take a deep breath and allow God to guide your way. You have a lot of things to consider but this event in your life does not need to define who you are.
1. Unplanned Pregnancy Christian: You’re not alone.
I understand the feeling of guilt and shame you might be feeling right now. I remember feeling like I was walking around with a huge neon sign that read “she had premarital sex” or even “sinner.” It didn’t matter what I did, that feeling followed me everywhere I went. Now, remember, I was just a teenager and I hide my pregnancy for almost six months. Because of this, I felt alone and isolated from everyone I loved. So much of that pregnancy is filled with bad memories and I think if I would have done things differently, I might have been able to enjoy it more. This does not need to be the case for you.
Setting up your support group right away is the best thing you can do for yourself. A close friend, a family member, or even your pastor will help you process your emotions. Many churches offer free counseling services or can help you get in touch with a counselor. Also, connecting with other birth mothers who have been in your shoes helps as well. Support groups are available online and in person. Being able to connect with someone who knows exactly what you are going through will help you work through these emotions. From there make sure you connect with a health care provider. Your body will be going through a lot of changes and making sure your healthy enough for the pregnancy is vital. Many organizations offer free healthcare services for struggling women.
Lastly, lean on God during this time. He does not see this as a mistake. He knows your child; He has a plan for this child and He will stand by you throughout the whole process. If adoption is something you are considering, He will help guide this child to a family who will love and cherish him or her. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God knows exactly what will happen and if you allow Him, He will show you your path.
2. Unplanned Pregnancy Christian: Know your Options.
This might have never been in your path. You might be like me, a teenager, barely able to take care of yourself. Or you are an adult, working towards your future and a child just simply does not fit. Or you might be terrified and have no clue how you are going to do it, but you intend to keep your child. Whatever your situation, you really do have a lot of options to consider. First of all, if you are planning on keeping your child, there are plenty of programs to help with financial burdens. Your dreams do not have to be forgotten. Many women raise a child, complete their education, and work in careers that they have been dreaming about.
If adoption seems like a better fit for you, understand that adoption is part of God’s plan. In the bible, there are stories of adoption like Moses and Jesus. But God also reminds us that we are all adopted into His family and heirs to His throne. If adoption is your path, remember that God will bless you for the deep sacrifice you will be making. But before you get to that, make sure you understand the adoption process. You can speak to an adoption professional to go over your options.
Finding an agency to work with can feel complicated. However, there are plenty of Christian adoption agencies that will walk with you throughout this entire process. Many of them even offer lifetime counseling services. Working with a Christian agency ensures that your unborn child will be placed with a stable, healthy family who loves God.
Even if you choose adoption, there are things you need to consider. For example, what type of adoption feels right for you. A closed adoption means you cut ties with the child and the adoptive family. Some families create a plan to meet when the child reaches legal age, but mostly there is no contact at all. Some women prefer this option because they feel like it is easier to keep a distance. Semi-Open adoption means the birth family receives updates throughout the years and possibly a yearly in-person meet-up is arranged. Semi-open adoption looks different for every set of families. You would work with the agency as a mediator to help establish a plan that feels right for both sides. Finally, open adoption means you have a full relationship with the child and the family. Some families who choose open adoption are open about who the birth parent is and they are a major part of the child’s life. This is a beautiful option for a birth family who still wants to have a relationship with the child, but trust a loving family to raise him or her.
Whatever type of adoption you choose, know that God has a plan and purpose for your child’s life. He will protect both you and this child as you continue on with your life. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
3. Unplanned Pregnancy Christian: What is the adoption process?
The agency you choose will help you search through Parent Profiles. To find the perfect family for you. You will be able to meet with prospective families face to face and hopefully find one that is the right fit for you. You will be able to specify what type of family you are looking for. Do you want your child to have siblings? Animals in the home? Both parents who work or a mom who stays home? This is the time for you to pick and be specific of the dream you have for your child. There are millions of families waiting to adopt and one of them could be the perfect match for you.
Once you find the family, remember they went through a lot of preparation to meet you. They had to do background checks, physicals, attend training, and complete a home study. The agency will make sure every prospective adoptive family is safe and secure to raise a child.
As far as delivery, some birth parents like to include adoptive parents in labor. Where both the adoptive mother and father would be part of your support team during your labor. Other birth parents prefer to leave this time as their time with the child in order to say good-bye. The hospital and agency will work with you to make sure you are secure in your decision and ready to hand over placement. It is a highly emotional time for both the birth family and the adoptive family.
Once the child is born the agency will have some legal forms for you to sign. They should go over all of them prior to delivery to make sure you understand exactly what you are signing. You will then have 30 days to change your mind about the adoption. After that legal time, the judge will terminate your rights as a parent and the adoptive parents will be signed over full guardianship.
As a birth parent, your work is complete at that point. Depending on what arrangements and agreements were made, you can now start to move on and begin your healing. Adoption is trusting your child in God’s hands. The bible reminds us that He knew us before we were born. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”
4. Unplanned Pregnancy Christian: Rely on God through this process.
Adoption is not an easy choice. It means putting your child’s needs above all your wants and desires. For anyone at any stage in life, this will be difficult. Life after placement looks different for everyone. The important thing to remember is to focus on yourself and make sure you stabilize yourself after such a big life-changing event. You will need to take time to grieve this loss. It is normal to feel a range of emotions. Anger, sadness, depression, and yes even relief. Allow yourself time to process all of them.
So many people think the church turns away women in this situation but that isn’t true. Yes, there might be some and if you come across that, I apologize. Many churches will help be your support system and help you heal. Society is changing and the stigma that once was on birth parents that placed a child up for adoption is fading. Stand proud if adoption is your path. It is a loving, selfless act and you should be honored that you are giving such a wonderful gift to an awaiting family.
God will heal your heart and use your story for His good. Join a small group at your church. Become involved with a charity. Do something to work on you physically, mentally, and spiritually. No matter what you are feeling, none of it is bigger than God. Rely on Him and he will give you the strength you need. Isaiah 41:10 tells us “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I am grateful to the love and support our church gave up after we announced our pregnancy. Being a teen parent was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through. But my son is a true blessing in my life. Yes, he was unplanned, yes it was bad timing, but God has truly worked in his life. I’ve been able to help so many other women through their unplanned pregnancies because I was once there. I’ve often struggled with the same shame and guilt that I carried way back then. But I try to remember that God sees me for who I am. He looks past our sins, our brokenness, and our mistakes. He sees us and His beautiful creations, set apart to do His will. Do not allow this one event in your life to pull you away for the savior who loves you unconditionally. Remember the verse from Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for your God is with you wherever you go.”