An unplanned baby is an unexpected blessing that may or may not be meant for you.
When you find out you’re having an unplanned baby, the normal reaction is surprise. You may not have been even trying to get pregnant. Or you may have been trying not to get pregnant. Either way, an unplanned baby can seem like a shocking diagnosis.
Babies don’t just come at “the right time,” after all. The majority of pregnancies across the globe are unplanned, some experts say. And any medical diagnosis that has the power to change life forever takes some getting used to.
Unplanned babies aren’t just delivered by doctors, though. Sometimes, an unplanned baby comes into someone’s life on short notice. Maybe you got the news from a neighbor, a relative, an agency or someone else about a baby in need.
The first thing to do is to sit down and think very seriously about the child involved. What will that child need most, short-term and long-term? And are you the best person qualified to meet those needs?
If You’re Having an Unplanned Baby
If you’re pregnant, you don’t have to tell anyone right away. Starting prenatal care is important, though. And do let the baby’s father know, if he should be involved. If this is your first pregnancy, you shouldn’t begin showing until you’re five months along or so.
Avoid any hasty decisions. Take time to consider all your alternatives. A lot can change in nine months, of course. Even if you’re not sure you’re ready for parenting (or parenting another,) be sure to look into all available resources.
Your heart may be telling you that adoption is the best choice for the unplanned baby. Remember, though: the law doesn’t let you “promise” your baby to anyone before birth. Most ethical adoption professionals encourage expectant moms not to consider the adoption option too early on. You can call Abrazo anytime. But you still have the right until after birth to decide, since Texas placements can’t happen until a baby is at least two days old.
If you didn’t find out about the unplanned baby until the birth, that’s okay. Abrazo can still come to the hospital or to your home to counsel with you about all your choices. Abrazo has loving, homestudy-ready families available at a moment’s notice, if adoption is your final decision.
If You’re Caring for an Unplanned Baby
Whether you’re going to babysit, foster or parent an unplanned baby, you’ll need medical authorization to provide for that child’s care. Be sure you have adequate medical coverage, whether through the child’s existing insurance/Medicaid, or your own.
When providing care for a child not legally your own, you’ll probably need a social service agency or a family law attorney, to make sure you have a legal right to shelter that unplanned baby. You have liability for any child you take in, so anyone in your home will also valid background checks and updated immunizations.
Foster homes must be foster-care licensed. Prospective adoptive parents must have a current homestudy. Either way, a licensed social worker will need to be doing post-placement supervisory visits, from the time the child enters your home until removal or finalization occurs.
Sometimes, Abrazo gets calls from folks wondering how to adopt children who have already been left with them. This is called a designated adoption. Abrazo can definitely help make that placement official, so the arrangement is legally safe for you and for that child.
If You Were the Unplanned Baby
Finally, if you were an unplanned baby, take heart. Even if the pregnancy was unintended, you are a miracle. Sometimes, the greatest of surprises turn out to become the biggest blessings. (And that surely means you!) A problem pregnancy is an event in time; a person is a wonder in the making.
What you make of your life is your masterpiece in the world. Just remember: some of the world’s greatest minds were borne of some of the least optimal circumstances.
Hopefully, you grew up in a home where you knew you were loved and adored, even if the timing of your birth was unexpected. If you weren’t, you may be carrying around the effects of feeling you were unwanted/. Getting counseling may help you relieve some of that burden.
Whatever the circumstance, Abrazo is an agency where there are no unplanned children, because every child who comes into our care is wanted and welcomed and loved and needed.
After all, an unplanned baby isn’t the end of the world… in truth, it’s a beautiful new beginning.