#1 It would make me feel too sad.
That emotion is so normal for the circumstances. Carrying a baby for nine months involves bonding, so separation is obviously going to be painful. Adoption can truly be heart breaking on many levels. But, it also holds hope. It offers a future for your child which you can feel good about for the rest of your life. You can be proud of the power you have to make the dreams of the adoptive couple come true.
In fact, you should know that adoption in general does not cause long-term grief for the birth mother. Studies show that teenage mothers who place their children for adoption have overall greater satisfaction in their lives – in their work, finances and relationships. They are also more optimistic about the future and less likely to suffer from depression.
So, while sadness is a real issue, it will become less intense as time goes on, especially when you are confident your baby is well cared for.
#2 I should take responsibility for my own actions.
It is admirable to have the attitude that you should accept the consequences of your own behavior. But, placing a baby in a loving adoptive home is not avoiding responsibility. Honestly evaluating the factors in your situation that would impact a child would be smart on your part. This includes things like your financial picture, educational possibilities, stability in relationships, commitment to and from the baby’s father and your long-term chances for successful parenting. Choosing a family that will be able to give your child the ideal upbringing you want for her is totally caring on your part. What could be more responsible?
#3 I would rather have an abortion.
Do you think you will be “done” with this situation if you choose abortion? Think again. The effects of abortion, both physical and emotional, will be long lasting. (Of those who have had abortions, 94% regret their decision for a variety of reasons.) You cannot pretend a baby never existed; an abortion will not accomplish that. You will still have to accept that you were pregnant, you will still have to deal with your separation from the child you conceived and you will still experience loss. Abortion may seem like a quick and logical solution, but the outcome for you will not be that easy. And as for the baby, he will have to go through the pain of losing his life just so you can try to avoid some pain in your own.
#4 The baby’s father doesn’t like the idea of adoption.
Certainly the father’s feelings should be considered. His fears and concerns should be addressed. But more than ten thousand studies show that a loving, two-parent home is best for a baby. If he is not prepared to provide this, he should know that adoption is an excellent choice. There is no shame in a father placing his daughter in a loving home that is not his own if he is not in the best position to offer the necessary financial, emotional and spiritual stability for his child. The father’s legal rights will vary from state to state and can be checked out through any adoption agency. But, he can always step up to the plate by supporting the birth mother in whatever decision she makes, whether it be parenting or adoption.
#5 I hate the foster care system.
Although some kids do very well in foster care, there can be problems with the system. Maybe you personally can attest to some of them and, of course, would never want your child to suffer in the same way. But, it is not fair to compare adoption to foster care. Adoption is permanent and the adoptive family is thoroughly investigated before placement is made. The family’s commitment is at a much deeper level. Statistically, adopted kids are likely to have higher self-esteem, a more positive outlook and better health than children living with either unmarried mothers or with their grandparents. It is important to realize that permanent adoption is totally different from the foster care system as you consider the future of your baby.
#6 I have no guarantee that my baby will be happy.
Life does not come with guarantees for anyone, but God does have a special plan just for your baby. And you can make decisions that are most likely to offer your child the best life experience. You can choose from hundreds of potential parents!
Agencies will help you find the families closest to your own ideal. Prospective parents will tell you all about themselves and they will describe what adopting your child would mean to them. The vast majority are going to do their very best to give your baby a wonderful life in their home. And they will have the financial means and social resources to do this.
You can meet each other and agree on whatever adoption terms you want. What feels, in some ways, like a problem pregnancy to you will feel like the greatest gift in the world to them.
#7 In my family, if you get pregnant you keep the baby.
Family traditions can be important. But all of them get altered somewhat through different times and circumstances. It might take courage to break from the expectations of those people who are important to you. But if they truly care about you, they will want what is best for you and your baby. It has been determined that children have undeniable needs, including ongoing nurturing, safety, the setting of limits and structure, experiences that fit their stage of development, and a stable, supportive group of people around them. If you feel that adoption would give these things to your child, then go with it. It is your decision to make. The way it has always been done in your family may not be the right way for you.
#8 I’m afraid my baby will be abused.
If you read the newspaper, you will soon see it is not typically the adoptive parents who abuse children. More often, it is the boyfriend of the child’s mother. (Most reported abuse involves an adult man with an underage girl.) If you are open to new relationships with men in your life, you may want to consider the safety provided to your child in a home with two committed parents. They will have had home visits from an adoption agency to make sure they will be suitable parents. This is not to say a baby will always live a storybook life in an adoptive home or that you wouldn’t do a great job as a single mom. Only you can determine what you think will be the best environment for your child, but at least think about all the factors before you place your bet.
#9 My friends think I should keep the baby.
It’s wonderful to have good friends, isn’t it? And they are certainly sincere when they pressure you to keep the baby, thinking that is what’s best for you. But, the question here is really, “What’s best for the baby?” Your well-meaning friends are not going to make your baby their number one priority throughout their lives. They most likely will not share their paychecks with you, will not promise to always live nearby and will not give up a date with a boyfriend to baby-sit so you can go out. The emotional support of friends is great. But, realistically, input from friends should not be very influential as you consider this important decision. They simply are not educated about adoption and are not committed to helping you raise your child.
#10 I want someone to love me.
Everyone wants to be loved. Of course it is tempting to see a baby as someone who could fulfill that genuine need in you. But, you have it backwards. Parenting is about self-sacrifice, focusing on the child’s needs and giving freely without expectation of receiving anything back. Yes, children often love in return. Yet, their role in life is not to make their mothers feel special, as any two-year-old having a tantrum will show you.
There is someone who loves you unconditionally and longs for an ongoing relationship with you: the Creator of both you and your baby. God’s son Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him (her), and he (she) with me.” Revelation 3:20 (NIV). Talk to God and tell Him you want to feel His love. Ask Him to help you make the hard decisions that come with an unintended pregnancy – and He will!
David, in the Bible, talks about the mystery of conception. He says to God, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm139:13 (NIV). A baby is obviously a precious gift that should be valued. A good mother will want to honor that gift. She will want to place her baby in the arms that will best carry her son when he needs help, comfort her daughter when she is hurt and hug her child through both the challenging and rewarding times in life. Perhaps those arms will be your own or maybe they will belong to a woman who is longing to hold your baby in her adoptive arms. Either way, your careful, thoughtful choice will show that you truly do want what is best for your baby.
- ^ Pearila Brichner Namerow et al., “The Consequences of Placing versus Parenting Among Unmarried Women,” Marriage and Family Review 25 (1997): pp. 175-197.
- ^ Post Abortion Review, Fall 1994.
- ^ Dr. James Dobson, Marriage Under Fire, Multnomah Publishers, 2004, p. 54.
- ^ Peter L. Benson et al., “Growing Up Adopted: A Portrait of Adolescents and Their Families,” Search Institute, Minneapolis, June 1994, pp. 32-33,47; Dr. Nicholas Zill, “Adopted Children in the United States: A Profile Based on a National Survey of Child Health,” Testimony before the House of Representatives, May 10, 1995.
- ^ T. Terry Brazelton, M.D. and Stanley Greenspan, M.D., The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish, (Cambridge, MA, Perseus 2000): pp. 10-11.
- ^ Child Abuse and Neglect, Ohio Department of Human Service/Office of Compliance and Review, June 1993, p. 8.