Is adoption right for me?

Some people choose adoption when faced with a pregnancy. Information and support  is important, but the decision is personal and only you know what’s best for you.

Why do people decide to place their babies for adoption?

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you’re not alone. About half of all women in the U.S. have an unplanned pregnancy at some point in their lives, and some decide to give birth and place their baby for adoption. The process of adoption is when you give birth and then choose someone else to parent your child. It’s a permanent, legal agreement where you agree to place your child in the care of another person or family permanently.

You are in charge of your choice.  There are many families throughout the country that are hoping to build their families through adoption. There are laws in every state guiding adoptive families and protecting you, so it’s important that you speak with an adoption agency or attorney. The decision to place a child for adoption is personal, and you’re the only one who can make it.

Everyone has their own unique and valid reasons for choosing adoption. Some of the many different reasons people decide to place a child for adoption include:

  • They’re not ready to be a parent.

  • They can’t afford to raise a child.

  • They don’t want to be a single parent.

  • They want to be the best parent possible to the kids they already have.

  • It’s not a good time in their life to raise a child.

  • They want to finish school, focus on work, or achieve other goals before parenting a child.

  • They’re not in a relationship with someone they want to parent a child with.

  • They believe adoption is the best chance for their child to be well-cared for.

  • They’re in an abusive relationship or were sexually assaulted.

  • They just don’t want to be a parent right now.

What can I think about to help me decide?

Family, relationships, money, school, work, life goals, personal beliefs, and the well-being of your future child — most people think carefully about all of these things before choosing adoption. But every person’s situation is different, and only you can decide what’s best in your case.

Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Do I feel comfortable letting someone else parent my child?

  • Do I believe my child will be treated well by the adoptive parent(s)?

  • Do I feel I can’t care for a child now?

  • Would I consider abortion or parenting?

  • Is someone pressuring me to choose adoption?

  • Am I ready to go through pregnancy and childbirth?

  • Am I prepared to cope with the feelings of loss I may have?

  • Will I feel okay if I visit my child and their family 2 or 3 times a year, or possibly never see them again?

  • Do I have people in my life who will support me through my pregnancy, birth, and adoption process?

There can be lots of stuff to consider, and it’s totally normal to have many different feelings and thoughts when making your decision. That’s why it’s important to get factual, non-judgmental information about your pregnancy options. Support from other people you trust can also help you figure out if adoption is right for you.

Who can I talk to about adoption?

Talking with your partner, someone in your family, a friend, a religious advisor, or a counselor can be helpful when you’re making a choice about an unplanned pregnancy. Lots of people lean on others to help them with their decision. It’s good to choose people who you know are supportive of you and won’t be judgmental.

An adoption agency can give you information and help you think through your decision. Many family planning clinics (including your local Planned Parenthood health center) have specially trained staff that can give you accurate information about all your options and other resources. The staff at your local Planned Parenthood can also refer you to adoption agencies or other resources in your area.

No one should pressure you into making any decision about your pregnancy, no matter what. At the end of the day, only you know what’s right for you.

You might be wondering how to start the adoption process. Here are some things to look for when you check out adoption agencies:

  • They have an authentic, transparent, unbiased website.

  • They listen to you.

  • You’re treated with dignity and respect.

  • They don’t judge you.

  • They have fact-based answers to your questions and support you no matter what you choose to do.

  • When you make your choice — no matter what it is — they’ll help connect you with the resources you need.

If you’re having a hard time finding someone in your life to talk with, check out Backline or The National Pro-Choice Adoption Collaborative. Both offer free hotlines that give you a confidential space to talk about your feelings about your pregnancy. They’ll give you judgement-free support no matter what you decide to do.   

How does it feel to place a baby for adoption?

It’s really normal to have a lot of different feelings after placing your child for adoption. Lots of people who choose adoption are happy knowing that their child is living with a family who loves and cares for them. They may feel empowered as birth parents, because the decision they made helped give their child a good life.

Some people find that the sense of loss is deeper than they expected. It’s totally normal to feel grief after the adoption is complete. You might also feel reassured and relieved. Having many different feelings is very common, and your feelings might be complicated for a while.

Talking with a counselor who’s experienced with adoption and talking with other people who’ve been through adoption can give you support and help you work through your emotions, both during and after the adoption process. If you work with an adoption agency, they may provide counseling. If you have an independent adoption, you can request counseling through a local adoption agency.

No matter which type of adoption you decide on, it’s important to find people who will support you during and after your pregnancy and the adoption. You can also call Backline and The National Pro-Choice Adoption Collaborative for judgement-free support anytime.

When do I have to decide about adoption?

It’s important to take the time you need to make the best decision for you. Some people start planning their child’s adoption early in their pregnancy, and others begin later in pregnancy. A few even start the adoption process at the hospital after the baby is born. Your timeline for making an adoption plan depends on you and your needs and situation.

It’s a good idea to talk to a nurse or doctor as soon as you can so you can get the best medical care possible. The staff at your local Planned Parenthood health center is always here to provide expert medical care and support, no matter what decision you make.

 

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