If you’re in an unexpected pregnancy, you may wonder, “Is adoption right for me?” It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and scared right now as you think about what you should do. Let us assure you that you’re not alone. While you may feel like you’re the only one in the world facing an unplanned pregnancy, you’re not.
But you’re not the first or the last to walk this path. That can be comforting to hear because it means that there are resources, support, and information available to help you right now. Knowing your options and becoming well-informed can help you feel more confident about whichever decision you make.
If you don’t think abortion is the path you want to take, you have two other options: parenting or choosing to place your baby for adoption. Both decisions will affect your life and your child’s life. So, here are some things to keep in mind and questions to ask yourself as you think about your options:
Choosing to Parent Your Child
Are you ready to be a mother? Having a baby will undoubtedly change your life. When that bundle of joy takes his first breath, you’ll move into a brand-new role—an unpaid, 24/7/365 one that only begins to let up after 18 years. If this makes you stop and think, you’ll want to seriously consider your answer to the life-changing question: “Am I ready for a baby?”
If you’re already a parent, having another child might seem physically and financially impossible. When Madelynn discovered she was pregnant, she was already a single mother to a young son. “It was really, really scary,” Madelynn shared in an interview with NBC News. “I didn’t have a job. I wasn’t in a good position to be expecting another child.”
Here are some things to consider if you’re wondering what life would look like as a new mom.
Your life will change
When you become a mom, life will change. Your social life will be almost non-existent for a while. You may need to get another job or move to save money. Don’t underestimate how hard it’s going to be.
People may not like your decision
Your family and your baby’s father may have been hoping you’d get an abortion. When you tell them you’re going to parent your child, be ready for them to react. Even though they love you, they probably don’t understand your decision. That’s okay because you need to make the best decision for you and your child.
If you’re going to be a single parent, be sure to find a community where you can get support and encouragement along the way. Your community could be members of your congregation or a group of other single moms. These people will be helpful and keep you anchored.
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself if you choose to parent your child:
- Do I have a support system in place? Will my baby’s father or my family be able to help?
- Can I handle caring for my other child(ren) as well as this baby?
- Who will watch my baby while I’m at school?
- Who will watch my baby while I’m at work?
- Can I get all the things needed to care for a baby, like a crib, diapers, bassinet, car seat, baby clothes, and formula?
- Do I have a stable place to live?
- Can I support myself and my baby long-term?
Choosing Adoption for Your Baby
If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy and aren’t sure whether parenting or having another child will work, you might be asking yourself, “Is adoption right for me?” Not only could adoption be right for you, but it’s also a loving and selfless choice that positively affects everyone involved. If you choose adoption, you can keep working toward your goals in life while also doing what’s best for you and your baby.
You might wonder where to start if you’re considering adoption. By calling or texting Lifetime Adoption at 1-800-923-6784, you can get support and answers anytime, day or night, even right now! To help you learn about modern adoption, we’re sharing five of the most common questions that birth parents who are considering adoption ask adoption agencies:
Can I choose my baby’s parents?
Yes! In today’s adoptions, you can select your baby’s adoptive parents, interview them, and get to know them before your baby is born. Your baby will grow up in a loving and nurturing home that provides everything you’d want for them.
Lifetime’s website has profiles about prospective adoptive parents to look at to help you decide which is best for your child. You can interview them and get to know them before your baby is born. Besides choosing your baby’s parents, you have many other adoption options, including:
- Who do you want at the hospital with you during the birth?
- When do you want the parents adopting your baby to arrive at the hospital?
- Do you want counseling before and after the birth?
- How would you like to stay in contact with your child throughout the years?
“In today’s adoptions, you can select your baby’s adoptive parents, interview them, and get to know them before your baby is born.”
Will I be able to know how my child is doing as they grow up?
There are varying types of open adoption. Depending upon what you and the adoptive family decide, you can receive updates via emails, FaceTime calls, social media posts, or visits with your child. You can send your child pictures of their extended birth family, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.
“Just seeing [my son] with his adoptive parents has helped me come up with a lot of clarity. Just seeing how happy he is, how taken care of he is, how amazing his life’s going to be,” says Madelynn, a birth mother. She has since made a series of TikTok videos to help other birth mothers know they’re not alone.
Will my baby be safe with the adoptive family?
All Lifetime’s adoptive families have had background checks, screenings, home studies by a social worker, and physical exams by a doctor. Before they can adopt a baby, their lives and backgrounds are investigated before they can adopt to make sure they’re fit to be parents.
What rights would I have?
Biological parents still hold all of the parental rights to their baby and can make decisions about him or her until they sign the legal adoption paperwork. Once you sign paperwork releasing your parental rights, the adoptive parents will receive rights and responsibilities to your baby.
If I choose adoption, when is my decision final?
Each state has different laws about when you sign adoption paperwork and when those papers become final. In most states, you have a period of time when you can change your mind. Part of Lifetime’s adoption services is to connect you with an adoption attorney in your state to help you understand your rights.
Is Adoption Right for Me?
Placing your baby for adoption is a major decision to make, and it will affect the rest of both of your lives. How do you know if adoption is right for you?
At the end of the day, you’re the only one who can answer this question. Regardless of your situation or where you might be in your adoption plan, you always remain in charge. You always have the ability to decide if you want to go through with adoption at any time.
If becoming a mom or raising another child isn’t the best option for you, adoption can be a rewarding decision that creates a better life for everyone concerned. You will probably have lots of questions, and Lifetime’s caring coordinators are here to help with those. The important thing to remember is that you are in complete control of your adoption plan.
Do you have any questions about adoption? Please pick up the phone and text or call us at 1-800-923-6784. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 16, 2018, and has since been updated.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.