Deciding about Adoption

by Focus on the Family

“I don’t want my baby raised by strangers. What if weird, horrible people get my baby?”

Stop for a moment and consider this truth: In most states, the only people who have to jump through any hoops to “qualify” for parenthood are adoptive parents! In fact, the screening procedures for prospective adoptive parents are so tough that they usually include extensive interviews, paperwork, home visits, criminal background checks and psychological screening.

With approximately 40 qualified couples waiting for every baby available, you can be quite selective about the parents you pick for your child; and you can get to know them personally before making a decision. Also, in many cases, adoption plans include financial assistance with your pre-natal and childbirth expenses. Secondly, most adoptive parents come from a middle-class to upper-middle-class socioeconomic background and, therefore, can provide your baby with the security and advantages that children raised by single mothers often lack.

As an unmarried mother in the 21st century, you have a great advantage over women who released babies for adoption in previous eras. Now, with the prevalence of open adoptions (if that’s what you desire), you not only can choose your baby’s adoptive parents, you can get to know them and stay informed about where (and how) your baby is. Depending on the specific arrangement that you and the adoptive parents agree to, you can have varying degrees of news and contact as your baby grows up. In the meantime, you can be getting on with your life without the major commitment of time and money required to responsibly raise a child to adulthood.

“My parents disapprove of adoption. They say they’ll help me raise the baby.”

As wonderful as your parents may be (or not be), they’re not the ones who will pay the ultimate price for rearing your baby. They undoubtedly have their own parenting flaws and may actually be relieved if you make a decision that “gives you back your life” while preserving the life of your baby. Moreover, there aren’t very many middle-aged parents who want to go through the entire process of child-rearing again! Ultimately, however, remember this: You are the mother of this baby, and it is you – not your parents, friends or the baby’s father – who should make the final decision.

“If I keep my baby, maybe my baby’s father will … (marry me, stay with me, come back).”

Sorry, but babies RARELY have that effect on guys … especially guys who have sex with you before saying “I do.”  Moreover, it’s not a baby’s job to turn some guy who’s possibly self-centered, immature and irresponsible into your ideal partner. Statistically, you’re much more likely to meet and marry Mr. Right later on (and avoid another out-of-wedlock pregnancy) if you release your baby to loving adoptive parents than you are if you choose single motherhood.

“I could never give up my baby.”

The majority of young women in your situation feel the same way initially. However, rarely does an unmarried pregnant woman stop to consider the tremendous cost and responsibility of choosing single motherhood. Successful child-rearing, while greatly rewarding, is also very demanding, even for two-parent families. It requires a great deal of time, self-sacrifice and financial expense. Almost without exception, birth mothers who choose an adoptive family for their baby later say it was the right decision. Yes, you will experience some grief temporarily, but you will be supported by caring counsellors and the knowledge that you made the best decision for your baby.

“Neither option sounds easy. Abortion would be easier.”

You’re right about one thing: There are no “easy outs” in this situation. However, one of the biggest lies ever is that abortion is an “easy solution.” It’s anything but easy for your baby, and you will suffer emotional consequences; research shows that post-abortive women are much more likely to experience infertility, future pregnancy complications and various kinds of cancer later in life.   

An act of heroism

In most cases, adoption is the most loving and unselfish decision an unmarried, expectant mother can make. You see, love is not primarily an emotion (even though most of us have picked up a different message). Love is taking action in the best interests of another person or persons, regardless of one’s emotional feelings. As one birth mother said of her choice to make an adoption plan for her baby daughter, “I knew that my decision would be the hardest thing in the world for me. It was about her. It was about what I could give her: a family, stability, a chance for a future.”  

In your current situation, you not only have the opportunity to do the same thing for your baby, but you can fulfill the dreams of a carefully chosen couple who have been longing for a child. “Adoption is not a breaking of trust but a keeping of faith, not an abdication of responsibility but an act of redemption, not the abandonment of a baby but an abandonment of self for a baby’s sake.”

Copyright © 2001 Focus on the Family.