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What is an Unwanted Child? [The Truth You Need to Know] 

There’s a lot people get wrong about adoption. One of the biggest misconceptions that you’ve likely already heard is that any baby placed for adoption is an “unwanted child.”  

For a woman who is considering adoption for her baby, this can be downright hurtful to think about. You’re not thinking about adoption because you don’t want your child, but because you do want to do everything you can to provide a better future for them.  

To help clear up the misunderstanding that adoption equals unwanted or unloved babies, this article is going to talk about: 

  • What happens to unwanted babies in America. 
  • Why thoughts of not wanting your child are more common than you think and what your options are.   
  • And — perhaps most importantly — why there is no such thing as an unwanted child. 

Before we get into the rest of the article, you should know right off the bat that any child placed for adoption is cherished by their adoptive family and their birth parents. But, you don’t have to just take our word for it. To learn more about why there is no such thing as an unwanted child, please fill out our contact form to get an adoption specialist’s take and more information about how the adoption process really works. 

In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about what happens when you have an “unwanted child.” 

Why You Shouldn’t Use the Term “Unwanted Child” 

When a woman decides to place her baby for adoption, picturing them as an unwanted child is the last thing on her mind.  

In reality, women who choose adoption for their babies, spend countless hours of heartache and grief imagining a future without their child. They don’t do it because it’s easy or simple or because their child is “unwanted,” but because they know that this decision will give their child a life full of opportunities that they can’t provide right now.  

An expectant mother might be in a situation where she’s choosing adoption because:  

  • She is not financially prepared to raise a child 
  • She doesn’t have the support of the child’s birth father or she’s not in contact with him 
  • She is in an unstable period of her life 
  • She’s already raising children at home 
  • She’s not ready to be a mom yet 

When Julia found out that she was pregnant, she knew that she still wanted to further her education goals. For her, having an “unwanted” child just wasn’t in the cards at that time in her life: 

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s really hard,” Julia said. “There were plenty of times when I felt like I was scared… but I felt like it was the right decision for me — and I still feel like that today.” 

With the help of a supportive agency and a loving adoptive family, she could rest easier knowing that everything was going to work out for her and her “unwanted” baby — who was actually very wanted and very loved by her birth mother and her adoptive family: 

“I knew it was the right decision when they [the adoptive family] told me they had always wanted a girl and had always planned to name her Julianna,” she remembers. “They told me the story about how they were at Thanksgiving and they were praying, and they got the call from me. It’s just a blessing all around.” 

The simple reason that you shouldn’t use the term “unwanted child” is because that’s nothing but a fallacy. You don’t really know what’s going on for a mother and her “unwanted” child. And to imply that the only reason she decided that adoption was right is because she didn’t “want” them isn’t only cruel to her, but to the adoptee and adoptive family as well. A child placed for adoption will be surrounded by love, and most importantly, they will feel wanted and cherished by every person in their lives.  

Is it Normal to Feel Like You Have an Unwanted Baby? 

If you’re having thoughts of not wanting your baby, you’re not alone. Recurring thoughts of not wanting or being ready for a baby are one of the driving forces for prospective birth mothers to seek out help or resources to change their situation.  

Before you contact an adoption agency, one of the first things you should do is sit down and assess where these feelings are coming from. Do you just need a break? Would a friend or family member be willing to take over for you? In some situations, this is less a case of an “unwanted baby” and more of a cry for help.  

In extreme cases, this could be a symptom of postpartum depression. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, we encourage you to reach out to your doctor as soon as possible: 

  • Chronic anxiety 
  • Mood swings 
  • Irritability 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Insomnia and lack of energy 
  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Frequent crying 

Your doctor can evaluate your feelings and help you determine what the next steps should be. But if you are still looking for information about what happens to unwanted newborn babies, then adoption might be the best option for you. 

What Happens to Babies that are Unwanted After Birth? 

Women who are struggling with feelings of not wanting their baby after birth still have options. There are plenty of families who are eager to meet them and their child and are grateful for the opportunity to adopt a child.  

If a woman decides that she really doesn’t want to raise her “unwanted” child, she always has the option of contacting an adoption agency. There, she’ll go through the process of: 

  • Getting ready for the hospital stay (if she hasn’t had the baby) 
  • Continuing post-placement contact 

Alternatively, a woman might decide to place her baby at a safe haven. These are locations where a parent or a guardian can surrender an infant at a designated location — typically a hospital, police station or fire station — and they will not be harmed for leaving them. “Safe Haven” options are usually appealing for women who are looking for anonymity or are afraid of “getting in trouble.”  

However, it’s important to note that adoption can also be completed confidentially, and you can choose adoption regardless of your circumstances. No matter your age, medical history, citizenship status, living situation, criminal background or history of substance use — adoption is always an option for you, and an adoption specialist will not judge you or “get you in trouble” for doing what’s best for your baby.  

There are many benefits of choosing adoption over Safe Haven, as well. Adoption gives you control over your situation and a say in where your baby ends up. When you choose adoption, you get to choose the perfect adoptive family and can have an ongoing relationship with them and your child.  

It’s also important to research your state’s Safe Haven laws to ensure you are following all of the rules to safely and legally surrender your baby. For example, your baby will need to be within a certain age range, you will need to make sure you take them to an approved location, and there may be specific steps you need to take or information you need to provide when leaving your child. 

While women who choose Safe Haven want to do what’s best for their baby they might not have the resources or know that there are better options available. But even in this scenario, her child will not be considered an unwanted child.  

There is No Such Thing as an Unwanted Child 

The phrase “unwanted child” has been thrown around several times in this article. But no matter what your circumstances look like, that will never be further from the truth. There will always be an adoptive family ready and excited to become parents because of the gracious gift you have given them, and there will always be a child surrounded by a loving, supportive community because of your selfless decision. If you’re ready to learn more about placing a child for adoption, please contact us today to get more information.