I cannot even fathom how scary it would be to find out you are pregnant and not knowing what to do about it. There are a lot of expectant mothers, especially young ones, who have been there. So, what decision do you make? Do you keep the baby? Do you abort them? Are you considering adoption? This will more than likely be the most difficult decision you will ever have to make.
If you decide to parent your baby, you want to weigh the pros and cons, especially if you are in high school or even college, as babies are not only expensive to raise but they will take up a lot of your waking hours. Babies are fed every one to two hours as newborns and even into their first year, and they do not sleep through the night, sometimes for years. You are responsible for their every need, which leaves you little time for schoolwork, homework, work (if you need to to provide for the baby), nor a social life that you may have become accustomed to. There are rewards to raising your baby, however. Watching them grow and hit every milestone is a major bonus, and then as they become adults, you have a friend as well. However, if none of these things sound good to you, there are other options to consider.
Abortion is an option many women consider. What does abortion mean? Abortion means terminating a pregnancy instead of choosing to give that child life. In this day and age, it is okay to abort a baby even close to delivery. As an expectant mother, you might think this is your only option because you are young and are not prepared to be a parent. It is not. Adoption is always an alternative to abortion.
What is Adoption?
As stated in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, adoption means, “Raising a child/baby that is not biologically yours.” When you have an unplanned pregnancy and are overwhelmed at the thought of it, much less what you will do about it, this might not even be a blip on your radar. Some teenagers who find themselves here do not want to tell anyone, especially their parents, as they do not want to feel like a disappointment. They do not tell their friends for fear of being cast out.
Reasons to Consider Adoption
- If you are a teenager and know that you do not have the skills to raise a baby.
- If you are a college student who knows your classes, homework, studying, and job, do not allow the time and attention that babies demand.
- If you have finished college but want to get your career off the ground before starting a family.
- If you do not have the support of family and friends needed in a time such as this.
What does Considering Adoption Entail?
- Do your research. The first thing you want to do is complete as much research as you can on the subject, especially if you do not know how it works. This will aid you in the next several steps you must take when you are considering adoption. Read everything you can find and talk to people you might know who have either placed their child or adopted children. They are not as uncommon as you might think.
- The second step when you are pregnant and considering adoption is to make the choice. This may be the most difficult decision you will ever make. Still, it is also the most selfless and sometimes rewarding arrangement you will make, both for yourself and the child you carry. Listen to your gut when thinking this through. You can never go wrong when you listen to your instincts.
- Next, you want to find an adoption agency. One particular agency based in Texas that assists expectant parents worldwide is the Gladney Center for Adoption. They are a great resource when you are pregnant and considering adoption. However, if they are not a good fit for you on your adoption journey, they will help you find an agency that is better suited to you.
- Generating your adoption plan is the fourth item on your adoption journey. This allows you to choose the type of adoption you want as the birth mother and speak with the prospective adoptive parents once you make that decision. There are three types of adoption you can choose from.
- Closed adoption: If you think it would be easier to have no contact with the prospective adoptive parents once the baby is born, this is the type you want. This was the only type for many, many years. It was a good option when young ladies would get pregnant, and their parents did not want anyone to know, so they were sent to a “home for pregnant girls” and could return home once their baby was placed. No one was the wiser. The issue with closed adoption is the records are sealed and unavailable to the birth parents, adoptive parents, and child unless a judge unseals them. This does not help the child learn anything about themself unless it was given to the adoptive parents.
- Open adoption: Right around the 1970s, open adoption began to take root, but it was not until the 1990s that it was no longer nearly unheard of. People began to realize it was better for an adopted child, in most cases, to know they were adopted. Knowing allowed them to ask questions, learn about where they came from and why they were placed for adoption. Open adoption allows the birth parents to have regular correspondence with the adoptive parents and child through letters, photos, and visitation set by the judge during the finalization of the adoption.
- Semi-open adoption: Semi-open adoption is relatively new and began gaining speed in the 1990s when open adoption was more recognized. So, what is the difference? Unlike open adoption, semi-open means the birth parents only receive information about the child whenever the adoptive parents deem it necessary or want to. There is usually a set amount of contact or updates with a semi-open adoption, such as updates every year instead of visitation.
- Choosing and meeting prospective adoptive parents might be even harder than deciding to place your child for adoption. Years ago, you were required to wade through many files about prospective adoptive parents to find your baby’s forever home. However, now there is a photo listing, which allows you to go through files on a computer; technology makes the process less daunting and faster.
Once you have chosen your baby’s forever family comes the terrifying task of meeting the prospective adoptive parents. Luckily, unless you are doing a private adoption– one without an adoption agency involved–your caseworker will be with you. The first contact is usually by phone, and then if things work out there, you will set up an in-person meeting. To make it easier to talk to these virtual strangers, coming up with some fun questions to help break the ice and start communicating is great. Some communication starters could be:
- How did the two of you meet?
- What did you do on your first date? What was your favorite date?
- When you are not working, what do you like to do for fun?
- When you were younger, if you had a favorite book, what was it and why?
- Where is someplace you have always wanted to visit?
- What is your favorite television show or movie?
- What was your first job, and how old were you when you started working?
- Do you use emojis much? What is your favorite?
- Would you rather text or talk on the phone?
- Do you like social media, and if so, do you use it much?
These types of questions will help you get to know the prospective adoptive parents on a lighter scale than the deep questions that are bound to come later. They are fun, laughable and you may find that you enjoy their company and get to know more about them this way than just by reading their profile.
- Developing your hospital plan is completely what you want on the day that you give birth. The hospital plan allows you to decide who you have in the delivery room when the baby comes. When the birth father is involved, most birth mothers want him in the room to share the few moments they have left with the baby they created. Some birth mothers want their mothers in the room when they give birth. This, for some, adds added comfort because that is what moms do–they support their children. Still, others want to allow the adoptive mother, at least, to have the experience of watching her child come into the world. Most adoptive mothers understand that, even though she is excited to take her new baby home, the birth mother needs time to memorize as much of her baby as she can and talk to them as if they know what their birth mother is saying. In the end, it is what you, the birth mother, think is best for you and what little time you have left with the baby before you have to say “goodbye.”
- When you are pregnant and considering adoption, the last step is learning how to handle the new life you will live. Many birth mothers started therapy once they decided to place their baby for adoption. The adoption agency usually aids in the cost of this. If you have already been in therapy, continue going. If you have not started yet, you want to, as you will face a myriad of emotions even after your adoption is finalized. You may find yourself going through the five steps of the grieving process, which are:
- Denial: You know you were pregnant but are still having a hard time coming to terms with it and placing your baby. You may be denying that any of it happened as if it were a dream. Denying you were even pregnant, and could not raise your baby, could be a coping mechanism you use to get through daily life.
- Anger: You may find yourself going in and out of this one because it is easier to deal with than the hurt masked by that anger. Anger at yourself, the birth father, or just the entire situation is normal but needs to be dealt with so it does not get out of hand.
- Bargaining: Making a deal with a higher power, or God, promising anything to make the pain and heartache go away is something people try, but it is not realistic.
- Depression/Isolation: You might have some postpartum depression, which is common, but you may also have clinical depression due to the changes in your life. You might find that you want to be alone and cut people off to not deal with the happy-go-lucky attitude you may not be feeling.
- Acceptance: You might think you reached this stage before giving birth, but, more than likely, you were not prepared for the onslaught of emotions and feelings after your baby is placed. Coming to this one is difficult but doable.
Are you pregnant and Considering Adoption? Hopefully, this article gives you a place to start. Remember, when making your decisions, to listen to your intuition. Do what you, the birth mother, feel is best because it is your life and the life of your baby.
DISCLAIMER: Although this is a guide to assist pregnant women who are considering adoption, please contact an adoption agency or adoption attorney for assistance.Are you ready to take the next steps on your adoption journey? Visit The Gladney Center for Adoption to learn more.
Jenn Martin-Wright is a cowboy, jean-wearing, country music and rock-loving cowgirl who loves books and jewelry. She was born three months too early with a disability that should have taken any semblance of a normal life from her. Her mom made sure Jenn did everything she was capable of. Coming from a big family, it was either keep up or get left in the dust. Jenn graduated high school, then went on to getting married, having kids, and receiving a BS in Social Work. Jenn lives in Idaho with her kids and a Maltese named Oakley who has become her writing helper as she writes novels under an alias of different genres.