Facing an unplanned pregnancy brings with it the choice to parent, choose abortion, or place your baby for adoption. How do you even begin to make such a life-changing decision? No matter what your situation is, a pregnancy brings with it a timer. The baby will grow in the womb, whether you are ready for it or not. Deciding whether to parent is not something that seems like it should be rushed, however an unexpected pregnancy makes it so. A woman who is facing these choices may find it beneficial to do some soul-searching rather quickly to determine what choice she will make. Here are some tips to help a woman who is facing a decision to place her baby for adoption:
1. List the Pros and Cons of Adoption
While this may seem silly for as simple as it sounds, there is a lot of validity in just sitting down and writing out a list of the pros and cons of an adoption decision. On the pro side, write out all the benefits of adoption for you and for your baby. On the con side, write out all cons to not parenting your child. Obviously, this list will not be exhaustive. There is no way to see the future and have knowledge of exactly what pros and cons you will end up facing. However, it is a great idea to get prepared and the lists will ultimately help you make your decision. When looking at the list, weigh out which side holds the most value to you. Ask yourself some important questions about the list:
- Do the pros adoption outweigh the cons?
- Can I handle the cons if I choose adoption, or is this something that I cannot commit to?
- Do I believe that my list is accurate to the best of my ability?
2. Assess Your Support Resources
Look at the friends and family you have around you. Evaluate your relationships and determine which relationships are healthy and which ones may be unhealthy. Then consider what type of support you will have when making an adoption decision. If you find that you have plenty of support to raise a baby, and you feel more inclined to parent your baby, then this exercise will help you with that decision. If you find that you don’t have the support you would need to raise a child, it might indicate that adoption is the right decision for you. You may need more support or less support depending on the relationship you have with your child’s birth father as well. Make sure that you realistically assess your relationships. Here are a few guiding questions to aid you in assessing the relationships you have in your life:
- Is this someone who keeps their promises and their word?
- Is this someone who I have been able to trust in the past?
- Is this someone who has experience with the support that I need for me and my baby?
- Is this someone who encourages me to do my best in life?
- Is this someone who is constantly making me question my own self-worth?
3. Consider Your Long-Term Goals
Goals are important in life. They fuel us to wake up every day and tackle our tasks with our best effort. Upon coming to fruition, a goal met can bring us a great feeling of victory and encouragement to meet another goal next. We all have a bucket list full of the experiences and accomplishments we want for our lives. So, what’s on your bucket list? Think about all the things you want for your life and ask yourself, are there things on that list you are willing to sacrifice for a child right now?
Raising a child is serious business and it requires full-time hours with overtime and no pay. There are so many rewards to parenting, but parenting after an unexpected pregnancy isn’t right for everyone. Make a list of all your goals, and evaluate how you are going to achieve them with the decision in front of you regarding adoption. If you find that you will be unable to meet your goals due to having a child, then there is nothing wrong with admitting that there are certain sacrifices you are just not ready to make.
For example, I wanted to continue my higher education, and facing my unplanned pregnancy made me re-evaluate the importance of that goal and the objectives I would need to adjust to reach that goal. Don’t be afraid to re-assess your goals and adjust your objectives accordingly. Also, don’t feel guilty for making yourself a priority in certain areas of your life. Ultimately, the best parents are the ones who take care of themselves at least enough to be able to take care of their children.
4. Ask Questions About Choosing Adoption
These are just a few tips for you when it comes to making your adoption decision while facing an unplanned pregnancy. While emotions may be jumbled, and feelings of fear may be gripping you, you still have all the resources you need to help you make your decision. American Adoptions has a 24-7 adoption hotline you can call and ask them any questions you have regarding adoption. Write out a list of questions that you have and call 1-800-ADOPTION to get your questions answered. There will be different answers for each unexpected pregnancy, but the general guidelines for the adoption process will be similar.
The above tips should help you make your adoption decision when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Regardless of whether you choose to parent or whether you choose adoption, make sure that you find peace with your decision.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.