“Am I a bad person if I put my baby up for adoption?”
This question is one that many birth mothers ask themselves over and over again when they look into adoption. This question would keep me up at night when I found myself unexpectedly pregnant. And to be honest, years later, this question can still sneak into my thoughts from time to time.
However, as I have seen the beauty out of my child’s adoption and the life his parents have given him, I know I made the best decision for both of us.
Birth mothers feel a wide range of emotions as they walk through the steps of choosing what is best for their child. If you’re considering adoption, you already know that. You’re weighing your options and what that will mean for your life and the life of your unborn child. You find important questions filling every moment of your thoughts, and it can all start to feel overwhelming.
I was 19 years old when I discovered I was pregnant. I had chosen to take a year off between graduating high school and starting college and was beginning to dream about my future and what I wanted to do. And then, in a moment, everything changed when I found out I was pregnant. I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom. I didn’t have the support or means to raise a child, and quite honestly, I couldn’t imagine myself as a mom…just yet.
I was in denial and wanted to wish the situation away. But at the same time, I knew I couldn’t change what was going on. I was, indeed, now a mom, whether I planned to be one or not. There was life growing inside of me, and although I knew I couldn’t give my child everything I wanted, I knew someone out there could.
And so I began to take what felt like small steps of courage to look into adoption. My fears went away when I realized all of the options that I had and the options for my child. I discovered something called open adoption, as well. Meaning I could choose the adoptive parents who would raise my child, and what life they could offer him. And as I did this, I realized I was not a bad person…at all. I was simply doing what I knew to be best for both my child and myself.
If you find yourself in a similar situation to mine, please remember that dealing with an unplanned pregnancy takes courage. It wasn’t easy to put my emotions and fears aside and really think of what was best for my baby, even if I had a hard time accepting it.
Many outsiders view the act of putting a child into a loving home to be one of strength and bravery. However, mothers often feel guilt and despair when they start to take steps into their decision. However, I learned that I wasn’t “giving my child up.” I was helping another family that was yearning to have a child of their own. I was choosing a life for my child that I knew I couldn’t provide for him. I was able to look over families and see who I thought would be the best fit to adopt my baby. I suddenly saw the limitless potential for my child and knew he could have a beautiful life ahead of him. And so could I.
Secondly, I remind myself that I chose life for my child. The very essence of that decision did not make me a bad person… at all. If I’m honest, when I have moments of wondering, “am I a bad person?” I remind myself that I chose life. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Although I knew I was not ready for motherhood, I still honored the life that was created and growing inside of me. I chose to protect my child and the story his life would tell, even if I wasn’t the one walking that journey with him. I took a challenging experience, one that was plagued with guilt and shame at the moment, and it is now one that I am proud of.
Finally, I realized that it’s okay to not always feel okay. That does not mean that I regret my decision. But it does mean that this situation forever changed me. I will always be a mom to my son. I was the one that protected him for those nine months and gave birth to him. You never forget something like that.
However, choosing adoption and seeing the life my child now has and how much his parents love him has allowed so much healing to take place in my own life. I have walked my own healing journey when I thought I could never move on. And I have been able to see so much beauty come out of such a difficult decision and experience.
Some days are harder than others, but I hold on to the truth that my son is loved and living a beautiful life, and I made the very best decision that I could for him. With open adoption, I can see the life my child has as he grows up, and seeing this shows me that this was the best decision.
So, am I a bad person if I put my baby up for adoption? Absolutely not. Choosing life and what I believed to be best for my child was not a selfish decision, it was a selfless one. Even if I am not raising my child, I know with all I am that he is in the loving arms of another family.
Whether you’ve just found out you’re pregnant or have been thinking about adoption for a while, you’re not alone.
Take time to consider your pregnancy choices so you’ll make the best plan for you, your child, and your situation. You can call us anytime at 1-800-923-6784 to speak with a professional adoption coordinator.
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.