Teen pregnancy is like no other kind of pregnancy, as there are many different players involved in the decision making process. The teenage parents may have many different voices telling them what they can and cannot do in regards to parenting or placing their child for adoption. Teenagers are in the unique position of often not being in the situation to make adult decisions without the permission of their own parents or guardians. While the questions remains, “What should I do?” it often becomes a question of, “What can I do?”
If you are in a position where parenting your child is an option, there are many parents who have successfully raised their children as teenagers. It will be a matter of remaining realistic, being mature, and making many sacrifices. You will need to have a plan on how you are going to continue school with your child in childcare. How will you pay for their needs? It will be a huge lesson in managing time and money. This lesson is not unique to teen parenting, but parenting in general. However, it can be hard to afford childcare while having to continue school and having to find time to work. Can you depend on your family or the father/mother’s family for support? This is not necessarily a deal breaker, but can make parenting so much easier.
Placing your child for adoption may feel like the only choice as a teenager due to circumstance or because of parental pressure. However, adoption does not have to be the devastating separation portrayed in the media. Open adoption is growing more popular by the day and can be a good option if parenting is not realistic for you. One option within adoption is to explore if you have any family members who might be willing to adopt your child so that you have constant and ongoing access to your child. If this is not an option, you can absolutely express to an agency your hope for an ongoing relationship with your child. While you may not have the choice to parent, you still have rights to decide what adoption will look like for you going forward.
While your situation may allow you to parent, you may find adoption to be a better fit. On the flip side, while adoption may seem to be the more realistic option, you may find that parenting is doable in your situation and something that you can pursue to success.
It is important to remember that an adoption decision or a decision to parent can often be molded based on what you want and what you can accomplish. There is no hard-and-fast rule about whether a teenager should parent or place their child for adoption. The decision will be unique to your situation and will take a lot of mature decision-making based in reality and love for your child. Both choosing to parent and choosing to place your child can be the most loving and realistic option for your situation.
Considering adoption? Choose a family to adopt your child. Visit Parent Profiles on Adoption.com or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five, she has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on Facebook.