When you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant as a teen, it may feel like your life is over. You may be used to your parents or guardians being responsible for you and telling you what to do. But now, you’re facing the possibility that you could become the parent.
How are you going to raise a child when you’re not legally an adult?
You should know that you always have the right to choose what is best for you and your baby, regardless of your status as a minor— and that includes adoption for teenage pregnancy. You have three options for your future and your pregnancy: parenting, adoption or abortion.
Let’s talk about your adoption options as a teenager. If you would like to speak with an adoption professional at any time, you can contact a professional online.
Your 3 Teenage Unplanned Pregnancy Options
Consider your future in the following scenarios:
Parenting as a Teen
As a teen, can you afford to pay for what your child needs and give them the attention that they deserve? Is your family willing to help you raise your child? Will your baby’s father be involved in parenting or supportive in any way? These are tough questions to answer, and most teens are not ready to become parents.
Are you familiar with the teenage adoption process? How will you find parents to adopt your baby? Is it legal for you to place your child for adoption as a teenager? These are questions we’re going to answer in this guide. The bottom line: you can choose adoption for teenage pregnancy, giving yourself and your baby the hope for a bright future.
Abortion as a Teen
Does abortion require parental consent for teenagers in the state where you live? Can you afford to have an abortion? Do your religious beliefs and values eliminate abortion from your list of options? Depending on your answers, this may or may not be an unplanned pregnancy option for you.
There’s no right or wrong choice in response to an unexpected pregnancy as a teenager. There’s only the right choice for you.
Why Do Teens Give Their Baby Up for Adoption?
There are many reasons that pregnant teens choose to place their baby for adoption. Those who have never faced an unplanned pregnancy may not understand the personal life situations and emotions that led to the decision of adoption. The bottom line is that teens choose adoption because they believe it is what’s best for them and their baby.
Teens that choose adoption are brave and selfless, regardless of why they chose adoption. Here is a list of common reasons that teens choose adoption for their baby:
- They aren’t physically, mentally, emotionally or financially ready to be a parent.
- They don’t feel comfortable with abortion, or abortion is not a viable option in their situation.
- They don’t want to end their education or career goals in order to raise a child.
- They aren’t in a physically, mentally, emotionally or financially stable place in their lives as a teenager, so they’re unable to provide for a child.
- They want to provide their baby with a loving family who is ready and waiting for a child
Legal Facts about Teenage Adoption
When you give birth to a baby, that baby belongs to you unless you consent to sign adoption paperwork as a teenage mother. If an adoption takes place due to coercion or under duress, the court can decide to nullify the adoption.
On the other hand, if you freely choose adoption for your baby as a teenager, you must know the parental consent for adoption laws in your state regarding minors’ rights. Here’s a rundown of state legal rulings for teenager adoption:
- 28 states and D.C. allow minors to consent to place their baby for adoption.
- 12 states make no distinction between minor and adult parents, which means any woman regardless of age can choose adoption for her baby.
- 5 states require minors to be represented by legal counsel in adoption hearings.
- 4 states require a minor’s parents to consent to adoption.
- 1 state requires that parents be notified when a minor chooses to place a child for adoption.
This goes to show that many states support you and your decision as a pregnant teen to choose adoption for your baby.
Pros and Cons of Adoption for Pregnant Teens
The pros and cons of adoption are different for each teen. You may find it helpful to view a list of common teenage pregnancy adoption pros and cons.
|Teenage Adoption Pros||Teenage Adoption Cons|
|Continue education and career goals after baby is born||Being physically pregnant and carrying a child to term|
|Not responsible for the physical, emotional and mental well-being of a child||Giving birth to a child|
|Knowing your baby is with a loving and safe family||Possible judgement from family, friends and peers for choosing adoption for your baby|
|Knowing that your baby’s adoptive parents can provide many opportunities for your child||Unsupportive and/or unhealthy relationship with the baby’s father|
|Being able to contact your child’s family and possibly communicate with your child through open adoption||Changes in relationships with family and friends who disagree with your adoption decision|
An adoption decision can be more complex than the pros and cons listed here, depending on your situation. It is important to remember that adoption may not be an easy decision to make, especially if you are a teen, but adoption is always worth it.
How to Put a Baby Up for Adoption if You Are a Teen
Now that you know a pregnant woman of any age can choose adoption for her baby, you may want to know what the adoption process looks like. The process is the same for all women who choose adoption, regardless of age.
Here are the seven basic steps of the adoption process:
Step 1: Know that adoption is right for you and your baby. This step asks you to think about your future and your baby’s future and how both will be affected by your decision to place your baby for adoption as a teen. Make sure that you are committed to adoption from the start by understanding the benefits and believing it will be the best thing for you.
Step 2: Contact an adoption agency to create your adoption plan. Once you contact an adoption agency as a pregnant teenager, your assigned adoption specialist can help you create a guide for your specific adoption process with all your options and decisions outlined. This plan is flexible and can change when you receive new information or if your teenage adoption situation changes.
Step 3: Find the perfect family for your baby. Your adoption specialist can provide you with profiles of families waiting to adopt a baby. Through these profiles, you can learn what hopeful parents do for fun, what they do for work and where they live. There are several types of agencies you can choose to work with. Generally, larger, national adoption agencies will give you a lot more profiles to look through, which can increase your chance of finding the right family for your baby. You always have the option to choose your baby’s adoptive parents as a teen at any time during your pregnancy.
Step 4: Communicate with the prospective adoptive family of your choice. Most teenager adoptions in the U.S. today are open adoptions, which means you can choose to talk to your baby’s prospective parents as often as you would like before, during and after the adoption process.
Step 5: Create a hospital plan for labor and delivery. Your adoption specialist can help you determine how involved you want your baby’s prospective parents to be in your child’s birth, as well as your birth options for pain management and natural versus surgical birth. As a pregnant teen, this may be your first pregnancy and you can have your questions about childbirth and prenatal care answered by the people in your adoption support team.
Step 6: Give birth and complete the adoption paperwork. Many states require a waiting period after your baby is born before you sign adoption paperwork. This allows you to spend time with your baby and your chosen prospective parents while you heal physically and come to terms emotionally with your adoption decision as a teen birth mother.
Step 7: Establish a post-placement plan with the adoptive family. This plan focuses on how much contact you and your baby’s parents would like as far as updates and visits.
If you are ready to begin your adoption process, you can contact an adoption professional online at any time.
Teen Adoption by Age
When you’re a teenager, you’re likely receiving most of your support from your parents or legal guardians. Experiencing an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager can affect your physical, emotional and day-to-day life as well as the emotions and finances of your parents or guardians.
Choosing to place a baby for adoption when you’re 14 is different than when you’re 19. You have different needs at different ages and your situation likely changes at different stages of your life. But, adoption is never more or less difficult when you’re a teen or an adult. Here are some things to considering as you think about adoption, based on your current age:
“Giving Your Child Up” for Adoption at the Age of 14
At 14, you’re likely transitioning from junior high to high school, which could be a huge life change for you. Your body is also changing from childhood to adulthood, which can be a difficult and confusing time. This point in your life can be more stressful and uncomfortable when you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.
You do have the same options for your unexpected pregnancy when you’re 14 as all adult women have — parenting, adoption or abortion. Having a trusted adult by your side can help you navigate this experience, provide the support that you need and guide you to resources and professionals that can help you, regardless of which option you choose.
Some of your options may require that your parents be notified or give parental consent for adoption, depending on the state in which you live. In the U.S., many states allow minors to consent to place their baby for adoption, or make no distinction between minor and adult prospective birth parents.
Your most valuable resource can be the help and support of an adoption specialist at a teenage adoption agency. Your adoption specialist can help you with everything from telling your family about your unplanned pregnancy and choice for adoption as a 14 year old, to scheduling prenatal care appointments and getting transportation. You can contact an adoption professional online at any time, no matter what stage you are in your pregnancy.
If your pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, it is in your best interest to talk to a trusted adult or contact the authorities as soon as possible.
I’m 15, Should I Keep My Baby?
If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy at age 15, you don’t have to keep your baby.
At 15, you’re in the middle of your teenage years and navigating the experiences of high school. An unplanned pregnancy can make you feel like an outcast, but you’re not. In 2017, a total of 194, 377 babies were born to teenagers between the ages of 15 to 19, and this does not account for instances of unplanned pregnancies that did not result in birth.
Taking charge of your pregnancy at age 15 is the first step. Your three options are parenting, adoption or abortion and these are the same options that all pregnant women have, regardless of age. Even though you’re likely still dependent on your family for most things, your decision for your pregnancy at 15 is yours to make.
If you choose adoption for your baby at age 15, you should know the parental consent for adoption laws in your state. You can always contact an adoption professional online, at any time, to ask questions about placing your baby for adoption.
If your pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, it is in your best interest to talk to a trusted adult and/or contact the authorities as soon as possible.
Pregnant at 16, What Do I Do?
At age 16, you may have begun experiencing a few freedoms associated with adulthood, like driving and getting a job. If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant at 16, this freedom can seem to be taken away from you. But, as a prospective teen birth mother, you have the freedom to choose what is best for you and your baby.
Here are your three options if you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy at age 16:
Parenting at age 16
Do you want to raise a child at the age of 16, or at all? Are you willing to put your life on hold in order to be a parent to your child? Many teenagers have chosen to raise their child at age 16, even after an unplanned pregnancy at 16, and they have been successful because it was the right option for them.
Adoption at age 16
It is legal for you, at age 16, to place your baby for adoption in all 50 states. Some states have parental consent for adoption laws. You can contact an adoption professional online at any time to learn how you can place your baby for adoption at 16 in your state. Adoption is always an option for you, at any stage of your pregnancy, and even after the baby is born. In the U.S., it will never cost you any money to place your child for adoption at 16, or at any age.
Abortion at 16
Abortion is only legally available to you in the early stages of pregnancy at 16, and costs will vary based on medical versus surgical abortion, stage of pregnancy, and other health factors. Parental consent for abortion at 16 also varies by state.
It is important to have support for your unplanned pregnancy decision at age 16, especially when you are a teenager. You can have access to resources that you need when your family, friends or trusted adults know that you need help. Once you make your decision for parenting, abortion or adoption at age 16, you will be okay. Your path will be clearer and you can move forward into your best possible future.
If your pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, it is in your best interest to talk to a trusted adult and/or contact the authorities as soon as possible.
Can I Give My Baby Up for Adoption If I am 17?
Adoption is always an option for all women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, regardless of age. The process of adoption is also the same for all pregnant women who choose adoption at 17. There are ten states in the U.S. that do require parental consent for adoption involving a teen birth mother.
No one can choose adoption for you at age 17, not even your parent or guardian.
It is important to know that adoption is right for you, even at age 17. No adoption story is the same, and every woman has her own reasons for choosing adoption. Here are a few common pros and cons of choosing adoption for your baby.
|Adoption at age 17|
|Peace of mind in knowing you chose the best family for your baby.||Loss and grief – while you will have access to free adoption counseling, it takes time to heal and move forward from the adoption grief process.|
|Open adoption allows you to see your child grow up.||Legal parental 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.||Unsupportive father, family and friends|
You can contact an adoption professional online at any time to ask questions, get support for your pregnancy at age 17, or to begin your adoption process.
Why Should I Keep My Baby When I’m 18 Years Old?
At 18 years old you’re at the doorstep of adulthood. You may be entering college or you may have your first full-time job. This is a time for you to grow and get to know who you are, but when you’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy at 18, you may feel pressured to raise your child.
Yes, you’re legally an adult, but that doesn’t mean that you’re ready, willing or able to become a parent right now. You always have three options for an unplanned pregnancy — parenting, adoption or abortion.
No one can tell you which option to choose for your unplanned pregnancy at age 18.
At 18, there are no parental consent or notification laws in the U.S. for choosing abortion or adoption at 18. You can benefit from creating a support team of family, friends and even your baby’s father to help you weigh the pros and cons of your unplanned pregnancy options at age 18. Your adult life is just beginning, and you don’t have to put it on hold to raise a child if you’re not ready for parenting right now.
An adoption professional is always available to speak with you at any time and can be a great source of support and information. Click here to connect with an adoption professional online, when you’re ready.
I’m 19, Should I Keep My Baby?
At 19, you’re probably still learning about yourself through school, work and/or travel. This is a time when many teens begin forging a path for their lives. An unplanned pregnancy at 19 can feel like a huge obstacle in your life, but you are not alone. In 2017, a total of 194, 377 babies were born to teenagers between the ages of 15 to 19, and this does not account for instances of unplanned pregnancies that did not result in birth.
Only you know what is best for yourself and for your baby. No one can make your decision of parenting, abortion or adoption for you at 19. Choosing to either become a parent or to pursue your educational and career goals at 19 is one of the hardest decisions you’ve likely faced. You are not bound by parental consent and notification laws for either adoption or abortion.
There are always families waiting to bring a child into their homes through adoption. You can give the gift of love to hopeful parents and the best possible future for your baby.
You can contact an adoption professional online at any time to learn more about adoption and to begin your adoption process.
Adoption is Always an Option for Teenage Pregnancy
Your unplanned pregnancy does not mean the end of your future plans. If you are a teen and you don’t want your baby, you can choose your baby’s parents and give your baby the best possible future while continuing with your best possible future as well.
Remember these key takeaways to help you make the right teen pregnancy choice for you with confidence.
- No one else can make your decision for you to raise your child, place your child for adoption as a teen, or terminate your pregnancy.
- There is always an adoption professional available to speak with you and provide the support that you need for your adoption decision.
- Your state may have parental consent and notification laws for abortion and adoption for a minor, but you can still make the decision that is best for you.
- Adoption for teens and adult women is always free.