If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you are probably overwhelmed with emotions and questions. One of the biggest questions you likely have is what you will do regarding your pregnancy. Your options are parenting, placing your child for adoption, and terminating the pregnancy. Examining each option thoroughly and making a decision about what you will ultimately do should not be taken lightly. You are making a huge decision for yourself and your baby.  In this article, I will help you consider the question, “Should I put my baby up for adoption?” However, I’d like to take a minute to talk to you about the importance of positive adoption language first. 

Using Positive Adoption Language 

Asking, “Should I give my baby up for adoption?” sends the wrong message to yourself and others. This phrase also implies that adoption is an easy thing to do, which is the furthest thing from the truth. Placing your baby for adoption is one of the most difficult things you will ever do if you decide adoption is the right choice for you and your child. Phrases such as, “Should I place my baby for adoption?” or, “Is placing my baby for adoption the best choice for me and my child?” are more positive and accurate. 

When you place your child for adoption, you are making a very loving choice for your baby, giving them a life you may not be able to give your child at this time. Instead of considering the question, “Should I give my baby up for adoption?” in this article, I’ll help you consider the question, “Should I place my baby for adoption?” 

There are many factors to consider when deciding if placing your child for adoption is the best option for you. Here are some questions to consider when making your decision.

Am I Ready to Be a Parent?

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when making your decision is whether or not you are ready to be a parent at this point in your life. Do you have the time and energy to devote to your child? Are you emotionally, physically, and financially ready to be a parent? 

Infants, especially newborns, need round the clock care. Newborns need to be fed every two to four hours and do not sleep through the night. Caring for a child throughout his or her life takes an enormous amount of physical and emotional energy. Of course, parenthood isn’t all work– parenthood is rewarding as well. It’s important to be realistic about your limitations, though. 

In considering whether or not you are ready to be a parent, take your current physical and mental health into account. There is no shame in admitting that your health prohibits you from giving your child the care he or she needs and placing him or her for adoption. 

Do I Want to Be a Parent Right Now?

Wanting to be a parent is just as important as whether you are ready to be a parent at this point in your life. For instance, perhaps you are ready to be a parent but you would really like to finish your higher education or advance your career before you raise a child. Perhaps you already have children and don’t want to add to your family right now. Maybe you never wanted to have children. In these cases, placing your child for adoption is a valid option. 

Can I Provide for My Baby Financially?

Diapers, clothes, bedding, bottles, food, wet wipes, and bibs are just a few of the things you’ll need to purchase for a baby if you decide to parent. As your child gets older, he or she will need toys, clothes, food, medical care, and books among other things. Some things, such as participating in extracurricular activities with fees, and the latest technology aren’t necessities, but they may be things you would like to provide your child with. There’s no doubt that raising a child is costly. 

Programs like the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help you provide your child with nutritious food as they grow up. Food banks, clothing banks, and local charitable organizations and churches are also great resources for providing for some of your child’s needs. Subsidized childcare can help you cover the cost of childcare if you decide to parent while programs like Medicaid can help you provide your child the medical care he or she needs. However, even with all the resources available to low-income parents, raising a child is costly and is especially challenging for low-income parents. 

Do I Have a Safe and Stable Home to Provide My Baby?

Do you currently have a stable and safe living situation? Do you live with the baby’s father? If so, how is your relationship? Do you respect one another, communicate well, and express yourselves in healthy and productive ways? If your relationship is volatile or abusive, it may not be the best option to parent your baby. 

Am I Ready to Be a Single Parent?

Some women choose to place their children for adoption because they cannot provide a two-parent home for their baby. Fathers serve an important role in a child’s upbringing. Children with involved fathers are more likely to be successful academically and go to college and are much less likely to have a teen birth, get suspended or expelled from school, or go to jail. Fathers also impact a child’s emotional and social development in positive ways.

Fathers play differently with their children than mothers do for example they generally play more vigorously and physically with their children, which helps children develop coordination. Children who have involved fathers are also less likely to have mental health issues, such as depression, self-harm, suicide, and other mental health issues. They also tend to be more confident and resilient when they have involved fathers. Children can also learn a great deal about relationships by watching how their mothers and fathers interact with each other.

With all this being said, it is still possible to be a single parent. Many people have been able to do it and if you believe that this is a possibility not feel discouraged. Just be prepared for the extra work that will come and keep a positive attitude.  

Do I Want to Parent Another Child?

It might surprise you to hear that many women in their 20s and 30s choose to place their babies for adoption when they get pregnant after deciding that their families are already complete. Sometimes, a woman chooses to place her baby for adoption when she does not have the energy, time, and resources to raise another child in addition to providing her current child or children with the best opportunities she can. Think about your situation and how you feel. It’s okay if you feel that you can’t parent another child. 

Will My Baby Have Needs I Cannot Meet?

Some conditions can be detected while a baby is still inutero, such as Down syndrome. Down syndrome occurs when a baby is born with an extra 21st chromosome, which causes delays in mental and physical development. Children with Down syndrome typically take longer to learn self-care skills, such as feeding themselves, dressing, and bathing. They also usually have mild to moderate intellectual impairment. 

Kids with Down syndrome may have other medical problems that need attention. For instance, approximately half of children with Down syndrome have vision or hearing impairments. Hearing and vision impairments require special accommodations. 

The child may also have other special needs that may make parenting even more difficult. Think about your situation and ask yourself if you can overcome these challenges. In cases where your choice affects others, it is important to be honest with yourself. Though there are resources to help parents caring for a special needs child can lead to financial strain. It also requires more physical and emotional energy. It’s important to evaluate your resources and limitations when deciding whether you want to parent or place your child with special needs. 

Do I Feel a Connection to My Baby?

Sometimes women choose to place their baby when they do not feel a strong connection to them during pregnancy. This may be especially true when pregnancy occurs as the result of a sexual assault. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly three million women in the United States experience a rape-related pregnancy during their lifetime. A baby who was conceived as a result of sexual assault could be a constant reminder of the traumatic event. It is certainly possible to heal from sexual assault, but the baby may just be too painful of a reminder for some survivors. 

There is no shame in placing your child for adoption if you do not feel a connection to him or her. By placing your baby for adoption, you will be giving others the chance to be parents, something that all prospective adoptive parents deeply desire. 

What Do My Religious Beliefs Dictate?

Sometimes women place their babies for adoption when being a single mother or terminating the pregnancy are not acceptable options according to one’s religious beliefs. For instance, if an Amish woman becomes pregnant out of wedlock, the community can have a variety of reactions to her from simply frowning upon her situation to shunning her. 

If you belong to a community with similar beliefs you do not need to follow them if you do not want to. It’s important that you do what you choose. Think about your beliefs not those of others. If you choose to parent or if you choose adoption, know that both options are okay. 

What Do I Want for My Baby?

Can you provide the type of opportunities you would like for your baby? Do you want him or her to have things you cannot provide? If so, placing your baby for adoption may give your baby the kind of opportunities you wish you could provide him or her. 

When you choose to place your baby for adoption, you are in control from start to finish. You get to choose the adoptive family you will place your child with. You can also decide how much and what types of contact you will have with your child throughout his or her upbringing. An open adoption allows you to have direct contact with the adoptive family and your child throughout his or her childhood. An open adoption allows you to see firsthand how your child is doing as he or she grows. 

What is Best for Me and My Baby?

What do you want for your life? Are you currently working on finishing your education? Have you just begun your career and want to advance it? Where do you want to be in five years? Is parenting compatible with your goals? Will you have the time and energy to devote to a child if you are finishing your education or working toward advancing your career? 

Making a Decision

Remember that your situation is unique and ultimately what you decide needs to be the best decision for yourself and your baby. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a decision. If you need help making a decision, you can talk to a trusted family member or friend. You can also seek the advice and support of an adoption counselor. An adoption counselor will be able to educate you about the process of adoption and refer you to legal, financial, and medical resources. 

If you decide that adoption is the right choice for you and your baby, your adoption counselor will be able to help you find an adoptive family for your child. Your counselor can also help facilitate a relationship between you and your baby’s adoptive family. 

Placing your child for adoption will bring up many emotions. You may feel joy, relief, sadness, loss, and grief during and after the placement. Your adoption counselor will be able to help you process all of your emotions during and after the placement. 

Deciding what to do about your unplanned pregnancy will truly be one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make. Take all of your options into account, think about each option carefully, and talk to someone you trust to help you with your decision-making process. Make the decision that’s best for you and your baby. 

Sierra Koester is an award-winning freelance writer and professional blogger. She earned her BA in Psychology in 2004 and has worked with several nonprofit agencies. She began her writing career in 2006 and has written extensively in the areas of health, psychology, and pets. Sierra advocates for the adoption of children as well as homeless animals. When she isn’t writing, you can find Sierra with her nose in a book or hanging out with her two kitties, Carmine, a wise old orange tabby Sierra adopted when he was a kitten, and Tylan, a cat whom Sierra adopted after he was rescued from a hoarding situation in Thailand. You can learn more about Sierra by visiting //www.sierrakoester.blogspot.com.