Adoption is Not for Everyone – Thoughts from a Birth Mother
I am an advocate for adoption when it is the right decision. However, an unplanned pregnancy for a young woman does not automatically mean that adoption is the best decision. When adoption is the right decision, it can truly be an incredible journey. Watching your child grow up in a happy and healthy home is incredibly rewarding. There is no greater joy in my life than seeing my son have opportunity after opportunity that I would have never been able to provide for him. Adoption is a blessing. There are situations in which adoption may seem like a good option, but it is truly not the best option for mother and baby. Here are some things to consider when determining if adoption is the right choice for you and baby:
Financial SupportI have chosen to put this first on the list because it is one of the greatest factors in determining whether keeping a baby is an option. Many women who end up with unplanned pregnancies who are considering adoption are already living in poverty. Of course, this situation grows a bit more complicated when you have another mouth to feed. Government assistance is an option in the form of cash, food and medical assistance. However, government assistance will only take you so far on the poverty spectrum. Such assistance is granted for those in poverty, but the amount of assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis.Finances are likely a consideration in the choice for keeping a baby or placing him or her for adoption. There are so many costs included when it comes to being a parent. Not only are there basic expenses like food, shelter, clothing, utilities, etc., but there are also planned and unplanned expenses. For example, diapers and bottles are a must, while emergencies may arise that need to be addressed as well. Some women are blessed in the regard that they will not have to worry about finances for their unborn baby due to support from family, friends, or a partner. However, many young women who face an unplanned pregnancy will need to find a way to overcome this hurdle if they decide to keep their baby instead of choosing adoption.
Mental HealthMental health issues and disorders are now becoming acknowledged in our society. We have a better understanding of depression, including post-partum, now more than ever. Medication for different mental disorders is more available as understanding increases. It is possible to be pregnant and to breastfeed and be on certain medications that treat the symptoms of depression. It is amazing what modern-day science can and does offer us in terms of treating mental illness. It is also a relief to see that organizations like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) exist to help increase understanding of such mental disorders and how many people who suffer from mental illness can function within society. While a woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy may have the option of being treated for mental illness while raising her baby, some women may find it harder than others. Struggling with mental illness, and learning how to cope, may take many years. A woman suffering from mental illness may be in one of many stages in the progression of treatment, and she may not be ready yet to care for another life while she is learning how to care for her own.
Spiritual LifeFaith is the foundation of life. No matter what you believe, there is some sort of faith that guides you and your choices. Whether it’s a moral compass, Jesus or Mother Earth, you have a guiding force within yourself that helps you make everyday decisions, whether they are small choices or big decisions. It is important to remember that everyone is in a different place on their spiritual journey. While some people are firm in their convictions, others may be at a point where they are exploring who they are and what is important to them. Respecting someone’s spiritual walk means understanding that everyone is on a different path to get to the same place: peace. Some women facing an unplanned pregnancy may find peace in choosing adoption for their child, while others may not. Some women are so secure in who they are that they feel prepared to guide the life of a child. However, some women truly just need to live a bit more life before they will be prepared and feel prepared to parent.
Support ResourcesFriends and family may or may not surround a woman who finds herself in a tough situation like an unplanned pregnancy. In my opinion, babies are a blessing no matter what their circumstances are. Some do feel, though, that babies can be a burden. While it’s unfortunate, it is true that friends and family may not be so keen on supporting a young woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy. A woman may lose friends or family members depending on their level of agreement, judgment or support. However, it is in times of trouble that we learn who our real friends and family are. Regardless of how many people may not be supportive, there are those people who will stick by you matter what. Also, there are plenty of support resources available to women via pregnancy counseling, support groups, and hotlines and online forums. Keep close to these resources regardless of whether the decision made is to keep baby or place baby for adoption. Remember that it takes a village to raise a child.