If you have been considering parenting vs. adoption, know that you have an opportunity to give your child an amazing life with parents who are prepared to love them beyond measure. Adoption is a brave, selfless and heroic decision made out of deep, unconditional love for your baby.
There are hundreds of waiting families across the U.S. that want to adopt your baby. Adoption is always an option for you.
Some women choose to raise their baby after an unplanned pregnancy because parenting has been a goal, no matter when the baby arrives into their lives. For other women, parenting would be a struggle due to life situations and financial instability, or they want to achieve more in their own lives and know that it would be difficult to continue their education or advance their career with a baby. Whatever your reasons for debating adoption vs. “keeping” the baby, you are in the right place.
How can you choose between adoption and parenting? You can learn the facts and statistics about parenting vs. adoption to help you make your decision.
Remember, no one can force you to raise your baby or “give your baby up” for adoption. If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, you have the final say in what is best for you and your baby’s future.
Are you ready to learn more about parenting vs. adoption? You can continue reading the information below, or you can contact an adoption professional online at any time.
Adoption Facts and Statistics
It may help you in your decision of adoption vs. parenting to know some of the facts behind adoptions in the United States.
- Adoption is always free for prospective birth parents in the United States — you never have to pay adoption agencies or hopeful parents when you choose to place your baby for adoption, and you can even get help with covering certain expenses during your pregnancy, like rent, groceries, and more.
- Today, 95% of adoptions are open or semi-open adoptions. This means you can get to know the prospective adoptive parents during the adoption and have ongoing contact with your baby afterward. You’ll be able to see all of the love, joy and opportunities your child has because of your choice.
- 100% of birth mothers have the right to choose the hopeful parents. This means that you can decide who your baby’s parents could be.
When Can I Choose Adoption?
Adoption is an option for you at any time and at any stage of your pregnancy. This is good news if you are struggling to decide between raising a child vs. “giving a child up” for adoption, because you have plenty of time to think about what you want to do.
- If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, and you know you want to choose adoption, you can contact an adoption agency at any time to learn your next steps.
- You can choose adoption in the hospital while you’re in labor.
- Even if you have been caring for your baby at home for weeks or months and you realize that parenting is not for you, you can contact an adoption agency to place your child with a waiting family.
It’s never too early or too late to choose adoption.
What is the Adoption Process?
When you choose to place your baby for adoption (vs. “keeping” the baby), there are five main steps in the adoption process. This quick guide can be your checklist for your adoption journey.
Step1: Know that adoption is right for you and your baby.
Step 2: Contact an adoption agency that provides 24/7 support, a national scope, and includes staff with personal and professional adoption experience.
Step 4: Create your hospital plan for labor and delivery.
Step 5: Give birth and complete your adoption paperwork.
Now, let’s answer the most important question about parenting vs. adoption: are you ready to become a parent?
Your Step-by-Step Guide to Decide Between Parenting vs. Adoption
Step 1: Ask yourself whether you want to parent [and if now is the right time].
This is the most important question to ask yourself. If you know you want to be a parent, and you feel that now is a good time for you to have a baby, you can start searching for the resources you need to raise your child.
If you do not want to be a parent, or if you feel that right now is not the best time to have a baby, then it is important to consider your baby’s welfare. Just because you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, this does not mean that you are obligated to raise your child. Your decision of parenting or adoption will directly impact the rest of your child’s life.
“I just came to the point where I didn’t want their life to consist of their mom working really hard at two jobs just to get by, and then I’m barely home,” said Casey, a birth mother who placed her twins for adoption when she realized she wanted them to have more than she could provide at the time. “Some people are a product of their environment… I didn’t want the streets to raise them because I’m so busy trying to provide for them, and I wanted them to have a father figure.”
All children deserve to have the best life possible.
Step 2: Picture how your future plans and goals could be affected if you are raising a child.
If your job requires long hours or frequent travel, do you have a childcare plan for while you’re away? If you are currently in school or have plans to continue your education, can you care for a child while taking classes and doing homework? When you debate whether to choose adoption or “keep” the baby, you can factor in the availability of childcare and whether you will have free time. Your baby will need your time and attention.
Step 3: Determine what you want for your baby and if you can provide those things.
Do you want your child to go to a private school? Do you want your child to travel and explore fun locations? Every parent wants the best possible life for their child, but do you have the means to give your child the best possible life?
Brittnee chose adoption to give her daughter the opportunities she wanted her to have.
“I knew that she would have everything I knew she deserved,” Brittnee said. “She would have amazing opportunities for education, she would have a loving and devoted family and be able to travel and see this amazing world we live in. I would be able to be a part of her life in a small and distant way, which made it bearable.”
Read more of Brittnee’s adoption story here.
Step 4: Know your financial situation.
Parenting can be extremely expensive. Are you working at a job that provides a stable income? If you will be a stay-at-home parent, can your family income support a child? Reviewing your budget or getting a financial assessment can help you see how extra expenses that come with raising a child can fit into your budget.
Janelle, a birth mother who placed her child for adoption, talks about how finances played a role in her adoption decision.
“Four months rolls around, and my husband and I were like, ‘Alright, this is real,’” she says. “We were having trouble paying our bills and our rent and affording food, and that was when we made the decision to look into adoption.”
Costs are an important factor for many women when deciding between adoption vs. parenting. If you do choose to raise your child under financial hardship, remember, you can get help.
Step 5: Determine if your baby’s father will be supportive in parenting.
Have you and your baby’s father agreed to share parenting responsibilities? Is your baby’s father available to be in your child’s life? It is important to know whether you are OK with being a single parent if your relationship with your baby’s father is less than ideal.
While you’re considering the steps to decide between parenting vs. adoption, let’s look at some parenting facts and statistics.
Parenting Facts and Statistics
- According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, raising a child from birth to age 17 in 2015 cost parents about $233,610. (You can also click here to see other costs associated with raising a child in America.)
- Over 25% of the children in the U.S. are being raised by a single parent.
- About 40% of pregnant teens finish high school after choosing to raise their baby.
- 90% of women who choose to parent in college will earn their degree; however, a woman’s salary decreases by 4% for each child she has.
When Can I Choose Parenting?
You can choose parenting at any point in your pregnancy. From the moment of conception, you have parental rights over your child.
Even if you chose adoption, you can decide to parent at any time before signing adoption paperwork. Many women have chosen to parent their child after a personal turning point while waiting in an abortion clinic.
No one can tell you that you cannot raise your baby. However, there are circumstances in which the court must decide if you can raise your baby, such as being in prison, and the state can remove your children from your care due to an unhealthy living situation that could be dangerous for you and your baby.
What is Parenting Like?
Parenting can be “the best of times” and “the worst of times”, but most parents have learned to take the bad with the good. You may know family and friends who are parents, or you may have witnessed parents interact with their children. Observation and questions are a good way to get tips for parenting, but the experience of parenting is always unique.
If you are currently raising other children, then you know just how challenging parenting can be. Many first-time moms don’t realize these challenges when they think about keeping a baby or adoption. But mothers like Lindsey, who was already raising a daughter with special needs when she learned of her unplanned pregnancy, know just what it would take to parent another baby.
“You have this idea of how it is to raise a baby, and you don’t really know what it’s like until you have one. It’s just a lot harder than what you think it’s going to be,” she said. “And then, on top of that, when you add a child that has some special needs, it’s even harder… I said to myself, ‘You know what? Adoption is going to be the best thing for [my oldest daughter] Trinity, because she needs my full attention — and it’s going to be the best thing for Charlotte, too.”
Read and watch more of Lindsey’s story here
Here are a few experiences to consider as you think about parenting:
- Feeding a baby: formula or breast-feeding, and food allergies.
- Sleep schedules: baby’s sleep versus your sleep.
- Bonding: holding your baby, tummy-time and play time.
- Hygiene: changing diapers, bathing your baby and finding time for your personal hygiene.
- Health and safety: going to check-ups and knowing when your baby is sick or injured.
- School: getting your child to daycare or school, and possibly continuing your education.
- Work: affording daycare while you work, or staying home with your baby.
Parenting is not easy, but resilience and commitment are the keys to successful parenting.
Reasons Women Consider Choosing Adoption or Parenting
“If I had it my way, I would have kept [my baby] and struggled through this parenting thing. It wouldn’t have been fair to [my baby] to not be able to take care of her the way that I wanted to take care of her.” –Lindsey, a birth mother who placed her baby for adoption.
It is important to know that parents love their child regardless of whether they choose to raise their child or place their child for adoption. Thoughts, feelings and circumstances can change at any point during an unplanned pregnancy.
Here is a comparison list of the top five reasons that women choose parenting or adoption.
“I want to be a parent.”
“I want more financial stability and opportunities for my baby than I can currently provide.”
“I have a partner/support system who will help me parent.”
“My family is already complete.”
“I am in a place in my life that I am able to raise my child.”
“I am dealing with personal struggles that may prevent me from parenting.”
“I don’t want anyone else to raise my child.”
“I want to create a positive out of my unplanned pregnancy by helping hopeful parents start or grow their family.”
“My living situation and relationship have recently changed to allow me to raise my child.”
“I want my child to have opportunities and experiences that I know I cannot give to him or her right now.”
Adoption vs. Parenting [Pros and Cons]
When you consider your unplanned pregnancy, it may be easy to think of the negative implications. But, there can also be positive aspects of an unplanned pregnancy. You may feel like your world has come crashing down around you, but it doesn’t have to. Once you make your decision of adoption or parenting, you will be OK. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned – you are not alone. An unplanned pregnancy can help you discover what is truly important to you and your future.
Here are a few pros and cons of adoption vs. parenting:
|Peace of mind in knowing you chose the best family for your baby||A period of loss and grief after placing your baby for adoption|
|Open adoption allows you to see your child grow up||Legal rights to your child are terminated after adoption consent|
|Knowing that your child is in a safe and loving home||If you choose a closed adoption, you may not get to see your child grow or get to know their adoptive family.|
|Financial freedom to focus on yourself and your future||Potential conflict if the father or your family and friends don’t support your decision|
Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of pros and cons for adoption. Every adoption experience is different and unique.
An adoption agency with a national scope can provide hundreds of adoptive family profiles for you to choose the perfect family for your baby. When the adoption agency staff includes birth mothers, adoptees and adoptive parents, then you can be confident that you have access to specialists who know the ins and outs of adoption from both perspectives. These two features in an adoption agency can help you have a fulfilling and positive adoption experience.
Let’s continue with the pros and cons of parenting:
|You are the active figure raising your child||Responsibility for your child’s well-being over your own|
|You choose how to raise your child||Possible challenges and obstacles for your life plan|
|You learn more about yourself through raising a child||You may have less time and less money for yourself|
|You experience giving love to your child and receiving love from your child.||Parenting can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting if you do not have a partner or support system to help you|
Steps for Choosing Parenting vs. Adoption
It is important to have the resources and information that you need when you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and choosing between adoption or parenting. When considering adoption, you can benefit from reaching out to an adoption professional — contact a professional online for free. It is important to have a support group if you are considering parenting, and for you to know where to go for help if you need it.
You can follow these steps when deciding to raise your child or place your child for adoption:
- Step 1: Know the facts about parenting and adoption.
- Step 2: Create and maintain a support system while you decide on adoption or parenting.
- Step 3: Don’t let anyone else make your adoption vs. parenting decision for you.
While this is a decision only you can make, you don’t have to make it alone. Contact us today to get free support, information and guidance if you are considering parenting vs. adoption.