Many hopeful adoptive parents wonder what birth mothers are like. They worry about speaking with a birth mother on the phone because they don’t know what to expect. Is there such a thing as a “typical birth mother?” How many teenage mothers put their babies up for adoption? Why are they choosing adoption?
There are a lot of adoption myths out there about birth moms. The stereotypical birth mother is in her teens and dropped out of school once she found out she was pregnant. She has no job skills, and since her parents have kicked her out. So, she has to go on welfare. But the reality is, most birth mothers don’t fit into this mold.
What Are Birth Mothers Like?
Birth parents come from all age ranges, socio-economic backgrounds, and family situations. At Lifetime, we have worked with birth mothers whose ages range from around 11 to late forties. From teens to women who thought they were finished raising children, every birth mother is unique and has her own special story. However, most birth mothers are in their twenties and already have a child or children.
While most birth mothers are single, we have helped some who are married. Many birth mothers live under challenging circumstances, and some are pursuing college or career goals that make parenting a less than ideal option for them. Many birth mothers have other children and feel it would be a disservice to their current children to bring an additional child into the family at this time. These women may have financial issues or is currently caring for a child with special needs that requires all of their time and resources.
Kara’s Story of Choosing Adoption
Kara was 28 years old and raising her son, who had been diagnosed with severe autism. As a single mom, she didn’t have much support but devoted herself to caring for her son. When Kara discovered she was pregnant, all she felt was despair. How could she care for a newborn and her son on her own? Kara had limited resources, which were stretched thin as it was. She felt it would not be fair to spend less time with her son and how could she give a newborn the time and attention needed. She saw one of Lifetime Adoption’s brochures about adoption at her doctor’s office and gave us a call.
Kara found what she believes was the answer to her prayers. She was able to find adoptive parents for her soon-to-be-born daughter. Kara was thrilled to know that she could receive pictures and updates on her daughter and even have visits where she could introduce her son to his sister.
How Many Teenage Mothers Put Their Babies Up for Adoption?
Let’s get back to the question, “how many teenage mothers put their babies up for adoption?” This is a question currently doesn’t have an answer as those statistics are not currently gathered.
What we do know are statistics about unplanned pregnancy in the US. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 45% of pregnancies in the US are unintended. The highest amount unintended pregnancies are by those between the ages of 18 and 24. However, we do not know how many teens facing those unintended pregnancies end up choosing adoption.
Building a Healthy Relationship With Your Child’s Birth Mother
We encourage you to keep an open mind and an open heart when you meet your child’s birth mother. There are so many different reasons that birth parents choose to place their child for adoption. The number one reason, no matter what the circumstances, is unconditional love for their baby. Birth mothers want to make sure their child has the best life possible and are willing to take on the pain of being without their child to provide their child the best life possible.
No matter the personal circumstances that bring women to choose adoption, they deserve our respect and support. So listen to their story without judgment and with a loving heart. Placing a child for adoption is not an easy journey.
Once you have a Post-Adoption Contact Agreement in place, be sure to hold up your end of the arrangement. Mutual respect and care can lead to amazing relationships between birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child. A healthy relationship will benefit everyone, especially the child.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.