If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy and have found yourself choosing between adoption vs. parenting, know that each path has its own pros and cons.
Many women have been in your situation before, and many will be in the future. So, you are not alone. And while no one can make this decision for you, Lifetime has many resources dedicated to helping you choose between parenting your baby or making an adoption plan.
You have the opportunity to provide your baby with a fantastic life — whether you do it yourself through parenting or by placing them with loving and ready adoptive parents.
How to Decide If Adoption vs Parenting is Right for You
Have you been going back and forth between parenting and making an adoption plan? You might be wondering, “How can I figure out whether adoption vs keeping the baby is the right choice?”
Unfortunately, there’s no road map or quick answer to tell you whether adoption vs parenting is going to be the best route to take. As a result, the decision of whether to parent or do adoption might just be the most challenging decision you’ll ever make in your entire life.
It takes a lot of sleepless nights, prayer, and thought for many birth parents before they decide that adoption is the best choice for themselves and their baby, given their situation.
What’s important to us is that you make a choice you feel is right for you and your baby. Of course, parenting is not for everyone, in every case, at every time in their life, but neither is adoption. Here are four tips on how to put yourself in the best position so you can make this decision:
1. Take Your Time
You shouldn’t make a decision about your pregnancy as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. You’re under lots of stress right now, and deciding while you’re emotional could result in regret later. By taking the time to breathe before moving forward, you’ll be able to view your situation more rationally and objectively.
It’s normal if you want your unplanned pregnancy to go away as soon as possible, but we encourage you to take the time to. We understand that an upcoming due date can make you feel rushed, but you don’t have to decide one way or another by the time you deliver.
Some women look into adoption while they are considering their pregnancy options, but ultimately decide to become a single parent. Others struggle with parenting and choose adoption after their baby is born.
It’s never too late to choose adoption, so please don’t let an impending due date push you into making a hasty decision.
2. Research & Ask Questions
Look into all your options and seek out others who have been in your position. By reading this, it’s pretty obvious that you’re doing some research but also searching for and talking to others will help.
For example, if you’d be a young mom juggling college courses and a baby, find others who have done the same. When you have a lot of other things currently going on in your life, like finishing college, beginning your career, or raising your children, you might be wondering, “Do I really have time for a child right now?” or “Should my baby hold priority over my responsibilities at school or work?” Adding a baby into your already-busy life will take time and attention away from your other goals and responsibilities.
It’s a good idea to speak with a birth mother too. If you’d like, Lifetime Adoption can connect you with peer support, a birth mother who created an adoption plan for her child in the past. Just call or text Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784 if you want to schedule a chat with a peer counselor.
Ask these women about the positives and negatives about the path they chose, what’s worked for them, and what hasn’t. While no two lives will end up the same, speaking with these women will give you a glimpse into what your life could look like on each possible path.
3. Write Out Your Plans
Put pen to paper and write out both a parenting plan and an adoption plan. What will each look like?
For your parenting plan, include how you will afford everything a baby needs, and who will watch your child while you go to school or work. A lack of financial support is often one of the main reasons women with an unplanned pregnancy aren’t sure if they are ready to parent or add another baby to their family.
The average cost for a single mother to raise a child to age 17 is $233,610, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is a lot of money, especially if you haven’t been preparing financially for parenthood or are already caring for other children.
Next, when you think about your adoption plan, write down the type of parents you would like for your baby. You can browse waiting families and search for just the right one for your baby. Modern, open adoption allows you to stay in touch with the adoptive family, through emails, phone calls, texts, social media posts, and even in-person visits. Some questions to ask yourself as you write out your adoption plan include:
- How much contact would you like to have with the adoptive family as your child grows up?
- Will you need financial assistance with your living expenses and pregnancy-related medical bills?
- How would you like things to be handled at the hospital when it comes time for you to deliver?
- What kind of support do you need while you move through the adoption process?
Get all this down on paper so you can see what both plans look like. Often, when you can see what path is wrong for you, the right one becomes obvious.
4. Seek out your support system
Being a single mother can be challenging! And it’s incredibly challenging if you are parenting with little help from family or friends. You can still surround your child with positive male role models if your baby’s father isn’t in the picture. Someday, you might find yourself with a new partner who would love to become a dad to your child.
A common reason that many women choose to place their child for adoption is to provide the child with a stable, loving two-parent home. There are many benefits to being raised in a two-parent home. Not only is having a father important to a child’s development, but it also provides a second income and a partner in raising a child.
Making an Informed Decision
We recognize that it’s not easy to choose between parenting and adoption, but it’s a decision only you have the power to make. Don’t let other people push you one way or another or rush you into a decision. Instead, try to give the decision-making process the time and attention it deserves. Know that whatever you decide, adoption agencies like Lifetime have resources and support available to you.
While we cannot tell you how which pregnancy choice to make, we are an adoption professional that can give you the guidance, information, and support you need to make an informed decision.
Deciding between adoption vs parenting isn’t easy, but Lifetime Adoption is here to give you personalized, unbiased support. Just text or call us at 1-800-923-6784 to talk through your situation, ask questions, and get the information and resources you need.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 19, 2019, and has since been updated.
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.