You’ve just found out you’re pregnant, and you’re wondering what you should do. Maybe you’re thinking about giving the baby up for adoption, and that’s a very loving decision to make. It is important to remember that the language we use is important. We like to choose the right words to describe what we are doing. This is really true when it comes to phrases like “giving baby up for adoption at birth.” You might wonder what it is like to do this, and you’re not alone.
At Lifetime Adoption, we’ve been helping women just like you find adoptive parents for their children since 1986. And in that time, we’ve seen the language of adoption change as much as the adoption process itself. One of the many things we’ve learned over all those years: You are not “giving up!”
For example, we don’t really like to use the phrase “giving up the baby for adoption” anymore. The words “giving up” sound negative, even if they don’t really mean that the birth mother has given up.
In fact, they are not “giving up.” When you choose adoption, you have chosen to make a new life for your baby — and for yourself!
So instead of saying “giving the baby up for adoption,” we might say “placing a baby for adoption.” Why? Because language matters. It shapes our worldview. It sounds more proactive and more positive. (More on this below.)
Still, many people continue to use the old-fashioned phrase. You may have heard people using it from time to time. “Oh, I heard so-and-so gave their baby up for adoption!”
It’s just as important to understand what we’re talking about, regardless of the particular phrase that we’re using. And as long as we understand each other, we can go through the adoption process together.
So now to the real question at hand: What is it like to place a baby for adoption?
Placing a Baby for Adoption
There are as many answers to this question as there are people asking it. It depends on each birth mother and what brought her to the decision to place her baby for adoption.
We can get an idea of what it’s like by asking women who have placed their babies for adoption. We can also listen to experts like adoption professionals, adoption attorneys, and, of course, birth mothers who made the difficult but loving choice to find adoptive parents for their child.
So let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
Taking Responsibility for Yourself and Your Baby
In an honest, heartfelt, and powerful piece written for the HuffPost, Faylita Hicks writes about her decision to put her child up for adoption.
“The prospect of caring for a young life was overwhelming, mentally and emotionally,” Hicks says. “The responsibility of parenthood extends far beyond just feeding and clothing a tiny being.”
Hicks continues: “As a parent, you become a moral guide for a future member of society, setting expectations and standards to live by. Your every action and inaction has an influence on the child’s future and contributes to their character development. It determines what kind of life they’re going live, who they’re going to love, what kind of career they’ll have.”
For many women who have unplanned pregnancies, these are some of the first things they realize as they begin the adoption process.
“It’s a big choice,” Hicks concludes. “The decision to have children should never be made lightly, and I had known for most of my adulthood that I never wanted to take on the task.”
Hicks also imagines what placing a baby for adoption must be like for others.
“For women who want children but are unable to have them, the decision to give my child up can seem like a slap in the face,” she writes. “For men — like the father of my child — it can make them feel helpless. For parents like mine, who had me when they were far younger than I was when I got pregnant, it can seem selfish.”
Ultimately, though, Hicks realizes a fundamental truth that many women who place their children for adoption encounter.
“Why would I want to make anybody feel any of these things?” she asks. “I didn’t want anyone to be hurt, but I knew that if I kept this child, it wouldn’t be any of them who would suffer. It would be me and the baby.”
Does Fatylita Hicks’ story sound familiar? At Lifetime Adoption, we’ve heard many stories like hers. But as we mentioned, there are many different stories out there.
In story after story, women tell a similar tale: There is heartbreak, and there is uncertainty in the decision to place their baby for adoption. Many women feel selfish — as if they are thinking only about themselves and their lives and future. Many women truly feel that they are “giving up.” However, there is also pride in the decision, which is how Hicks feels about it. Many women say it was the best thing they could have done.
We encourage you to read about some of Lifetime’s birth mother stories. You can begin your exploration here. And remember: As part of our services, you can speak directly to a mom who placed their child for adoption with Lifetime. We call it peer support, and it’s available to birth mothers at no charge.
A Plan For Your Baby
As we mentioned above, choosing adoption and making an adoption plan are positive and selfless decisions. This is especially true when both birth parents (in other words, both birth mom and birth father) and other family members are involved in the discussion.
Plus, an open adoption plan, in which the baby is born with the adoptive family already chosen and often waiting at the hospital, is a beautiful and precious thing.
When you participate in Lifetime’s adoption services — whether you’re a birth mother who’s a few months pregnant or a family waiting to adopt a baby — we’ll help you set up an adoption plan.
We’ll also help you in choosing a family to put your baby up for adoption after birth. All our adoptive parents are prequalified; they have had background checks and have undergone a home study.
Lifetime Adoption’s dedicated and caring staff works nationwide to connect birth mothers with loving adoptive families. If you have any questions about open adoption or the adoption process itself, please get in touch with us today.
There will never be any costs for you, the expectant mother. You will not be pressured to make a decision one way or the other. We provide these resources to help you make the best decision.
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) 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.