When you’re thinking of giving up a baby for adoption or placing a child for adoption, it’s hard to know what to expect. Pregnancy is such a noticeable condition, yet adoption is such a private decision. It can feel very lonely, especially if you’re doing it all by yourself, with no support from family, friends nor the baby’s father.
Most women considering adoption start out not even knowing it’s not called “giving a baby up for adoption” or “putting a child up for adoption” anymore. A more positive way to refer to it is “making an adoption plan” or “placing a baby for adoption.” (And afterwards, moms who place are currently called “birthmothers” or “first moms.” Whatever words get used, however, adoption is never an easy choice. (Nor should it be. Any adoption that feels like a business deal is probably wrong to begin with.)
Who Does This? And Why?
In Texas, even adolescents can place a child for adoption without their parents’ consent, but most teenagers don’t really get what good parenting actually requires. Most teens try to parent (or let their parents take over). They then turn to adoption options when their second or third child comes along, which is usually way sooner than expected.
The majority of expectant mothers and placing moms nowadays are not teenagers. Most are women in their twenties to thirties, and over half are raising other kids already. (Surprised? Most folks are. But the truth is that it takes a good mom to make a good adoption decision.)
Why do people decide on adoption, anyway? Parents choose adoption for a variety of reasons. Some women became pregnant as a result of sexual assault or a hookup with a stranger, and they don’t want to be reminded of it. Sometimes, adoption is the best option after a bad breakup with an abusive partner. Or placing can be a way to start over after someone had an affair and got pregnant, but later decided to reconcile with their partner.
Some moms place because they want their baby or child to grow up in a more stable, two-parent home. Dads sometimes place a baby who got left with them because they feel strongly that children need a mother. Couples often place because they have too many kids already and fear one more will take away from the ones they’re already struggling to raise. Other women may make adoption plans because they don’t feel any desire to parent a child or don’t want to parent before they feel ready.
In Texas, the law says that unless you’re married or the baby’s father has already been given parental rights in a court of law, the mother (or mother-to-be) has the right to make an adoption decision without anybody else’s permission, provided it’s done properly.
To do an adoption properly, always use an ethical and licensed nonprofit adoption agency like Abrazo. Only work with an agency that has been in business for more than a decade (10 years). Every agency should offer unbiased counseling and fully-open adoption options with free post-adoption support. Walk away from anyone who pressures you in any way. (Coercion is illegal in every state.)
What You Need to Know Before You Place
Before giving up a baby for adoption, these are some things you need to know:
- Adoption can’t guarantee a better life for your child, only a different one.
- Never entrust your child to anyone who won’t trust you with their full names and address.
- Nobody can buy or sell a child, so any financial support the law permits is given as charity.
- Until legal papers are signed, you have every right to change your mind.
- You’ll wonder afterwards if you did the right thing– whatever you choose.
- Financial hardship should never be anyone’s only reason for placing.
- Choosing adoption for your child will change your life. It may also change your other relationships.
- No adoptive parents are perfect, even if their lives seem that way to you.
- Spend as much time alone with your baby in the hospital as you choose.
- Loss and grief are normal feelings after placing a child for adoption.
- Open adoption is based on trust, but promises can still get broken.
- Any child you place will still need to know you and/or know about you in the future. Nobody can promise you privacy forever.
- In a closed adoption, “out of sight” still won’t guarantee “out of mind.”
- Knowing how and where your child is will never be harder than not knowing.
- Open adoption takes work. It isn’t like co-parenting or joint custody. And it doesn’t make adoption easier… even when it makes it better.
There’s more you need to know, of course, so consider this a starter pack. To further explore what it means to give a baby up for adoption and to figure out what’s right for you, take time to learn all your options and alternatives first.
And if Abrazo can help, call us anytime, day or night: 1-800-454-5683. We can’t tell you if giving a baby up for adoption is right for you, but we will help you weigh all your pros and cons, and support you in whatever decision you do decide is best.