Recently I was talking with an expectant mother considering adoption. She was nearly 7 months pregnant and had been going back and forth between parenting and making an adoption plan. She was reaching out to both single mothers and birthmothers trying to find out what it’s really like.
“Be totally real with me and tell me everything I need to know as I try to make this decision,” she said. “How did you figure out what was the right decision?”
It seems like an easy enough question to answer, right? But unfortunately, there is no road map on how to make this decision, and though I tried to answer it on the spot as best I could, I’m sure I forgot things.
The decision of whether to parent or place my child for adoption is without a doubt the toughest decision I have ever made in my entire life. It is likely the toughest decision that anyone in this situation will ever make. Not only will this decision affect you for the rest of your life, it also affects your unborn baby, any present or future children you may have, and your extended family. It took a lot of sleepless nights, prayer, and thought before I finally concluded that adoption was the best decision for myself and my baby given my circumstances. Here is my advice on how to best make this tough decision.
The first thing I always encourage expectant mothers to do is to take their time while making this decision. I know an upcoming due date can make you feel rushed, but this decision does not have to be made by the time you deliver. Ideally, most expectant mothers want to have the decision made by the time they go into labor, that’s what I wanted too. But don’t let that impending due date force you into making a hasty decision.
Secondly, research all your options and seek out individuals like you. Just by reading this post, it’s pretty evident that you are doing some research, but also seek out at talk to others like you. For example, if you’ll be a young Mom juggling a baby and college courses, find others who have done the same as well as birthmothers. Ask them both the positives and negatives about their path, what has worked for them and what hasn’t. While no two lives will end up exactly the same, this will give you a little insight as to what your life could look like on each possible path.
As someone who likes to write things down and make lists, my third suggestion is to put pen to paper and make both a parenting plan and an adoption plan. What will each look like? For a parenting plan think about things like your finances, who will watch your child while you work or go to school, etc. And for an adoption plan, think about the type of adoption you’d like as well as who you want to be involved. Get all this down on paper and see what both plans look like. Often, when you figure out what path is wrong for you, the right one becomes obvious.
Fourth, keep in mind that the adoption decision is one Moms typically must make twice (there, of course, are some exceptions to this theory). Generally speaking, an expectant Mom will make this decision once during her pregnancy and then reaffirm that decision, making it a second time, once her baby is born.
Choosing between parenting and adoption is not an easy decision, but it is one only you can make based on your circumstances. Don’t let others pressure you one way or the other or rush you into a decision. Try and give the decision-making process the time and attention it deserves.