When you become pregnant unexpectedly, you do have a choice to make. It isn’t like it was back in the days when I was a young woman. I was a teenager through the 70s. It was a wonderful time of exploration, new discoveries, new technologies. However, it was very backward when it came to unplanned pregnancies. Roe v. Wade made things even more complicated. Girls and unmarried women who found themselves pregnant were ostracized, hidden, and expected to make one of two choices: either marry the father or place the baby for adoption. Back then, the unwed mothers did not have a choice who the parents of their unborn baby would be. For the most part, the pregnancies were kept secret in a home for unwed mothers, and the babies were immediately taken from the birth mothers and placed in the arms of strangers. I remember countless girls who left high school under unnamed circumstances. Some came back; some moved on to different schools, but for the most part, all were a year behind in school when they came back. These circumstances gave adoption an awfully bad name. It also gave the girls in question a terrible reputation, which I know now was a horrendous thing to do. But we didn’t know any better.
Now we are in the 21st Century. The stigma of an unmarried mother is gone. But the problems of raising a child by yourself remain. It’s hard to finish school, go on to college, have a good job, a decent place to live, and good childcare when you are negotiating everything by yourself. Because it has become so much the norm in society for unwed mothers to raise their children, some may feel it is expected and don’t even think about the choice of placing their child for adoption.
One thing you really need to keep in mind in making your decision is monetary. I know that this seems to be a cold, calculated way to make this decision, but it is the realistic way to look at it. Statistics say that to raise a child in today’s world to age 17 it will cost you $233,610. That’s $13,742 a year. This doesn’t take into consideration the cost of college after age 17, the cost of taking vacations, or the cost of any extracurricular activities your child may want to take advantage of. This also doesn’t take into consideration the cost of childcare for your children before they enter elementary school, nor the costs of after school care until they are old enough to be home by themselves. A full-time job at $15.00 per hour is $28,800 per year. This is before taxes. You can see that it would not be much of a life trying to live on your own without having a very high-paying job. To get a high-paying job, you need to have the education in whatever field you are interested in pursuing. Sometimes—not all the time—but sometimes it really may come down to dollars and cents to provide the best life possible for you and your unborn child. But you have to be the one to make that decision or not. And even if you may not have the finances you wish to be able to raise a child, perhaps you have other resources or support systems that could help you parent your child. If you truly want to make it work, you can find a way.
Adoption is so different now than it was in the past. There are open, semi-open, and closed adoptions. You can have the option to visit your child and certainly be provided pictures and updates to see your child grow up. As the birth parent, you also get to choose who will parent your unborn child and make sure that your child is in a family that you feel comfortable with raising your child. If you choose to work with an adoption agency, you will be provided with an entire biography of both parents. Adoptive parents who work with adoption agencies must undergo extensive training, background checks, a home study, and more to ensure they are mentally, physically, and financially able to parent a child. You have the option to choose a same-sex couple, a single parent who can provide for your child, and parents of different ethnicities. It is your choice. No expectant parent should feel any shame for placing her child in a good home if that expectant parent feels it is best for the child. Placing a child for adoption is truly one of the most courageous things a parent can do. It is not selfish. Rather, it is incredibly selfless. Expectant parents put the needs of their child above their own wants and needs. It is really one of the bravest things a parent could ever do.
Statistics say that one in ten couples will have fertility issues. This is a huge number of people who would do anything in their power to have a child to call their own. Adoption opens the door for hopeful adoptive parents to become parents.
Placing a baby into the arms of a couple who are unable to have their own child is a gift beyond compare. I know this from personal experience. If it were not for two loving young women who made this brave choice, my husband and I would not have had two beautiful children to raise, nor would we have our grandchildren. We struggled for years trying to achieve a pregnancy. We did the GIFT (Gamete intrafallopian tube) and ended up with an ectopic pregnancy. We went on to try in vitro three times with no success. I became pregnant without assistance and suffered a miscarriage. We were contemplating and saving money for one last try when we got the call that a young woman who was eight months pregnant would like to meet us. She had heard of our story through a friend of my mother. Our daughter was born two weeks early, so we heard about the pregnancy, met with the birth mother and her mother, and became parents in less than a month. What a whirlwind, but what a wonderful ride it has been!
Our son came to us three and a half years later through an adoption agency. His brave birth mother intended to raise him by herself, but only a week into it, she realized she wasn’t ready to do this on her own. The father of the baby abandoned her when he learned she was pregnant and gave no assistance in any form other than to sign the adoption papers. Our son’s birth mother had not completed high school and did not have a job or any job prospects. Her parents tried to help, but they had financial and marital concerns of their own to work through. Her mother also had serious health issues. It just wasn’t possible to continue, so she contacted the adoption agency we were working with and chose us to be the parents of her baby boy.
Ours were semi-open and closed adoptions. With our daughter, her birth mother knew our names, and we knew hers. We agreed to send photos and give written updates periodically. We chose to do this every six months. The updates were discontinued at her request when she married and started a family of her own. Our son’s adoption through the adoption agency was closed at the request of both sides. We were not provided any identifying information on the birth mother or birth father, and likewise they didn’t have information on us. However, we still provided photos and updates every six months until we moved out of the state. We have since connected our adult children with their birth mothers, but that is another story.
I think my husband and I have done a good job raising these two amazing people. We had the financial means for me to be a stay-at-home mom when they were small, only returning to work for a short time when they were entering middle school. We then moved to a different state and made the decision that I would again be a stay-at-home mom. This turned out to be a great decision as they entered high school and needed mom’s taxi to get to all their extracurricular activities. We also made sure to save for a college fund for both. They both completed college, and our daughter is married with one of her own and another on the way. Our son will be married in this season of COVID on October 10, 2020. The plans have been in the works for 1 ½ years, and they decided not to postpone the wedding.
We come from a family background of Christianity and have passed that on to our adopted children as well. We took the usual family vacations to Disneyland, Legoland, SeaWorld, and many camping trips. They were able to explore many extracurricular activities like dance, gymnastics, Taekwondo, and music.
After we adopted our daughter, we had a new home built and chose a lot in a cul-de-sac. Of the six homes in that cul-de-sac, three of the families had fertility issues and had adopted their children. In our little bubble, it was 50 percent of couples that were infertile. Each of us had a different fertility issue.
We were all remarkably close in age as were the children. We were able to witness firsthand our family and two others bond with the children and provide wonderful childhoods. There were many weekend family parties in the middle of the cul-de-sac with hours of playtime for the children. It was easy and natural to introduce our son when we adopted him a few years later.
Our beautiful daughter is an accomplished pianist, song writer, singer, and recording artist. No, she’s not famous. Her work is for the Lord with her Lutheran Pastor husband. She shared with me that she wrote a song shortly after she married her husband. She had already met her half-sister and had been in communication with her birth mother. Her song was a heartfelt letter to her birth mother. She wanted her to know that placing her for adoption was the best choice she could have made. There was no animosity, anger, or disappointment with how her life turned out. Our daughter had a wonderful childhood, completed college, and married her high school sweetheart. It could not have turned out any better than how it did. It was her intention to make sure her birth mother knew that the choice she made back in 1991 was the correct one. From her communication with her half-sister, our daughter knew the struggles her birth mother went through trying to raise her half-sister, the pain of her divorces, and her struggles with addiction. Our daughter is forever grateful she was placed in our family.
So, if you are an expectant parent who knows that the best thing for your unborn child is to place her or him in the home of another, don’t hesitate to take that step if you feel it is what’s best for you and your child. You are in control of who adopts your child, and you can get updates to watch your child grow up and see your plan work in action. The rest of your future is up to you. Don’t waste it. Take advantage of the chance you have been given. Complete your education, become an asset to society, and fulfill your dreams. Don’t be afraid to move on and have your own family when you are ready. Additionally, depending on the type of adoption plan you created—whether open, closed, or semi-open—be ready to possibly meet your child when he or she has become an adult.
The decision to place a child for adoption is a brave decision and absolutely nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. You will give a childless couple the family they always dreamed they would have. Adoption can be a beautiful thing.
Deborah Ann Rang, mother of a beautiful adopted daughter, Nyssa, age 28 and handsome adopted son, Dustin, age 25. A wife to John for 32 years and full-time domestic engineer since 2005. Mother-in-Law to Nyssaâ€™s husband and Grandmother of one perfect 2-year-old girl with her sibling to arrive in December. Exciting life event for Dustin coming up with a wedding in October. Dog mom to 2 feisty Border Collies and one not so feisty older Shetland Sheep dog. Former employee of St. Paul Travelers Insurance company, Senior Liability Claim Representative working in Phoenix, AZ for 15 years. Passionate about books, writing and adoption. Currently a resident of Grand Rapids, MI and looking forward to retirement for John in 2022.