Adoption and Divorce: Your Options when Pregnant and Getting a Divorce
Getting divorced can be one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life. However, if you are pregnant and getting a divorce, you often have several other concerns as well. In this circumstance, there is more on the line than just your relationship. Getting divorced while pregnant adds a new layer of complications to an already messy situation.
So, what can you do?
It’s important to know that, like any other pregnant woman, you do have options in this situation. Your first thought might be that you have to parent this baby or end the pregnancy. Or, you might be asking: “Can you put a baby up for adoption while in a divorce?”
The answer is yes. Adoption is always an option for an expectant mother, even if you are going through a divorce while pregnant. This is a complex situation, and there are plenty of things to consider. Only you can know what is best for you, and you should keep your best interests, and the best interests of your baby, as priorities.
If you decide you want to “give up” your baby for adoption while going through a divorce, you will need to understand your rights and the father’s rights in this process. Because state laws regarding a father’s rights in adoption vary, we encourage you to contact an adoption professional to learn more. An adoption specialist can explain what the legal requirements are in your situation and, if you decide adoption is right for you and your baby, help you move forward with an adoption plan that is best for you.
You are never obligated to choose adoption, even if you contact an adoption agency while you are pregnant and going through a divorce. Before you make this life-changing decision, we encourage you to think hard about your situation and what is best for your unborn child. Adoption and divorce certainly aren’t what you had pictured, but it may be the option to help you make the best of this difficult situation.
Should I Keep My Baby While Divorcing?
There are many ways a woman can find herself pregnant and divorcing. Often, when a woman is getting a divorce while pregnant, she is unaware of her pregnancy when the divorce process begins. Other times, she may become pregnant by another man during the divorce, while she is separated from her spouse. Whatever her circumstances, when she discovers that she is pregnant during the middle of her divorce proceedings, it can add another emotional complication to an already stressful process.
There are many questions she may have at this point:
Should I keep my baby and try to save our marriage?
How should I tell the father about the baby?
Do I want to forever have a connection to this man by having and raising a baby together — even if our divorce continues?
What if my husband is not the father of the baby?
What is Best for Your Baby?
While you are the only one who can make this decision, we encourage you to think about one important thing — what is best for your baby. A baby should never be used as a fix for a failing marriage. While a child may seem like the sort of bonding experience needed to repair the relational damage that has led to this divorce while pregnant, this is not a healthy way to approach things. The relationship between you and your partner is hard enough already; adding a child to the mix will only complicate things further.
Are You Ready to Be a Single Parent?
If you’re asking, “Should I keep my baby while divorcing?” you should also consider the realities of single parenting. If your husband is the father of your baby, he may be obligated to pay child support after your divorce — but you will still need to consider the financial aspects of raising a child on your own, as well as things like childcare and a support system for you as a single parent. While you are coping with divorce while pregnant, you may see your unborn child as a “replacement” for the loved one you are losing, but remember this — a child should not have the pressure of being there to make you feel better. Your responsibility as their parent will be to make them feel loved and supported, despite your own feelings.
Choosing Adoption When You Are Pregnant and Divorcing
Single parenting is possible, but difficult. If this path may not be the answer for you, remember that you have another option: adoption. Yes, a woman can choose adoption while in a divorce. The process may be a bit more complex if the situation with the baby’s birth father is complicated, but that should never stop you from exploring this option. In fact, adoption may offer the best chance at a good life for your baby. There are many hopeful adoptive parents who would be overjoyed to provide a stable, two-parent household with parents who are committed to loving and supporting your child. Choosing adoption is not “giving away” or “giving up” your baby, but it is giving him or her the chance at a life you may not be able to provide yourself.
You will have the same rights as any prospective birth mother if you choose adoption while pregnant and divorcing. You have the right to create an adoption plan that is best for you, including choosing adoptive parents for your baby and having an open adoption relationship with them and your child after the adoption. But, because birth father rights in adoption can be especially complicated during a divorce process, you will need to work with an experienced adoption specialist to learn what laws apply in your situation.
An adoption professional is always available to talk you through your options if you are going through a divorce while pregnant, including the steps of the process if you want to give a baby up for adoption while going through a divorce, your rights, and the birth father’s rights in this process.
“Giving Up” Your Baby for Adoption to Save Your Marriage — and Vice Versa
If you are pregnant and getting a divorce, you likely have a complicated history with your spouse, especially if he is your baby’s father. There is a good chance he will have an opinion about whether or not you should place your child for adoption. Depending on your situation, he may be able to interrupt your adoption plan if he asserts his parental rights. This is one of the reasons why adoption and divorce can be so complex. You should always speak with your attorney about how the birth father’s rights could impact your adoption plans.
There is also a chance your spouse could use your unplanned pregnancy to manipulate your divorce proceedings and make promises about the future of your marriage. A child should never be used as a manipulative tool in a relationship. As wonderful as a child is, they are also a major new responsibility, and life-changing responsibilities rarely heal relationships. If you know that you need to get a divorce while pregnant, any attempt by your spouse to use the pregnancy should be approached skeptically.
Think about what will be best for you and the baby moving forward. Do you want to sustain your relationship, even if you know your marriage won’t provide a loving environment for your child? While you may need to involve your spouse in the adoption plans, using a child to “save” a marriage is never the right answer.
If you are feeling the pressure of getting divorced with a baby on the way, remember that you always have the right to seek support and explore your unplanned pregnancy options. For more information about putting a baby up for adoption and divorce, please contact an adoption professional for free and with no obligation.