Choosing a plan of action when you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy can be scary. There are so many things to consider and so many unknowns. However, the scariest part can be permanency of any decision you make. Of course, if abortion is the choice you make, there is no getting that life back. If you choose to parent, there are bonds that form that will make it feel impossible to let go, even if circumstances are dire. And if you decide to place your child, you legally give up your rights as that child’s parent.

A question that many potential birth parents have is whether they can take their child back if they change their mind about placement after adoption. The answer, in short, is no. After adoption papers are signed, they are legally binding and cannot be rescinded unless there are very rare, extenuating circumstance that prove the potential parents no longer meet minimum essential requirement to be foster, and eventually adoptive, parents. Even then, depending on those circumstances, the child may become a ward of the state.

This is one of those topics where I feel it is my obligation to be very blunt. If you think you want to place your child, but also think there is a good chance you will regret your decision and want your child back, adoption may not be the right answer. I do not want to say whether it is the right answer for you or your child. Those can be two very different things. So if you don’t think you can maintain confidence in your decision to place and will want to take your child back, please don’t put yourself, your child, and a hopeful family through that pain. Please be considerate of all parties.

Trust me, I get it. As a birth mother, placing my son is still the hardest thing I have ever done. There are definitely times when I go to that dark place of ‘what if this’ and ‘what if that,’ but I would never try to take him back. Not only would it disappoint me, but it would most likely damage the relationship I have with my child and his family. There is so much heartache involved with the prospect of trying to take a child back that I would suggest you consider parenting. I am a huge advocate of adoption, but I am also an advocate of looking at all your options and doing what is best for your child.

Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of people who plan to place their child and after the delivery change their minds; it’s part of the risk adoptive families take in the adoption process. Though, that happens before signing the papers. Once you’ve completed those legal documents, there is no going back. I don’t mean to make it sound scarier than it already is, but it is a huge, life-changing, legally-binding, irreversible decision. If you’re considering adoption you must prepare. I’ve said it tons of time, but I’ll never change my mind: always do what is best for your child, and do what’s necessary to learn from the consequences of your actions.