You’ve just discovered you are pregnant and for reasons that only you can understand, the question of whether to ‘keep’ the baby or not is heavy on your heart. Don’t worry, you are NOT alone!
If you have found yourself facing an unplanned pregnancy, choosing between adoption vs. parenting can feel overwhelming if not impossible. There are so many things to consider, to decide, to fear, to worry regarding whether to keep a baby. It isn’t easy, and it’s likely that you’ve never been faced with a decision like this before. First, know that you are not alone. Many women have been in your situation before, and many will be in the future. Second, know that, while no one can make this decision for you, there is a multitude of resources dedicated to help you choose between “giving your child up” for adoption or “keeping” it. At Adoption Choices of Texas, we consider ourselves to be one of those valuable resources.
When it comes to choosing between parenting your unborn child or pursuing adoption, it is important to make the choice you believe is right for you and your child. Parenting is not for everyone, and neither is adoption. There are pros and cons, for you, to each. If you are unsure whether you should pursue adoption instead of keeping the baby, or vice versa, below are four questions you can ask yourself to help you better understand your choice and ultimately your decision.
Before moving forward, there’s one important thing we want you to understand as you consider your choices: adoption is not “giving up” nor “giving away” your child. This type of negative adoption language is common in resources about parenting vs. adoption, and we use these phrases throughout our website materials, to make sure that women like you, who are trying to make this decision, can easily find the information they need.
However, when you are wondering, “Should I keep my baby or give up my baby for adoption”, think about what your words are saying; using the phrase “keep” implies that parenting is the positive option, while your other option, adoption, is a negative one by using terms like “giving away” or “giving up.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Adoption is a loving, incredibly selfless, and brave decision! Please do not let negative adoption language influence you as you consider your choices.
That being said, here are a few points to consider if you are wondering how to decide to “keep” a baby or not:
1 – Consider your own readiness
When you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, the most important question of all: “Am I ready to be a parent?”
If you have aspirations to attend college, pursue a career, or simply just want to maintain your current lifestyle, you may find that you are not ready to raise a child, or another child, and that’s okay! Sometimes the father is not around or refuses to take responsibility. Perhaps you are struggling to make ends meet or struggling with an addiction or homelessness. Maybe DCS is undesirably involved in your decisions and you fear losing your child to the foster care system. No matter the circumstance, if you decide that adoption is what is best for you and your baby, there is a family available who is ready to adopt and give a child the greatest life imaginable.
However, if you are ready and committed to motherhood, you can overcome any of these challenges, whether it is financial instability, no father figure in your child’s life, addiction, or any other obstacle in your way. If you feel that you are ready and committed to being a mother, that may be the only answer you need, and seeking help for your predicament is highly advised.
2 – Consider your financial situation
Financial instability is often one of the primary reasons women facing an unplanned pregnancy are unsure if they are ready to parent. It’s understandable; having children isn’t cheap. The latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture states the average cost for a single mother to raise a child to age 17 is $233,610. This is a large sum of money to anyone, particularly someone who hasn’t been financially preparing for it.
This does not, however, automatically mean that you should choose adoption over parenting the baby. Fortunately, there are many financial resources for you to use, such as Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Medicaid that can help relieve some of the financial strain for food and healthcare. Also remember, your financial situation may be temporary and can change quickly; so financial concerns should not be the only determining factor in your choice of adoption instead of parenting.
If you believe that raising this baby will be a financial struggle for you, your child, or perhaps even for your other children, adoption will ensure your child has the financial stability and endless opportunities every mother wants for her child. Also, if you choose to make an adoption plan, all of your legal, medical, adoption planning, and counseling services will be provided at no cost to you. It is very important that you are safe, stable, and healthy during your pregnancy and after you give birth. Adoption Choices will make sure that your needs for rent, groceries, transportation, phone service, and maternity clothing are all met. Your adoption counselor will make a budget with you and make sure you have what you need to avoid financial stress throughout your pregnancy.
When it comes to cost, the benefits of adoption vs. parenting are obvious: when a woman chooses adoption, the costs, including the medical costs of pregnancy and delivery, are covered for her. Without that financial support, affording pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting may be much more of a financial struggle.
3 – Consider the time commitment
When you have a lot of other things currently happening in your life, like finishing high school or college, or beginning or continuing your career, it is common to wonder: “Should I keep my baby on top of my responsibilities at school or work? Do I really have time for a child right now?” Adding a baby into your busy life would undoubtedly take precedent over those goals.
At the end of the day, you will need to determine whether you can balance life as a new mother with these other responsibilities and interests. Ask yourself:
- Will I have time and energy to be the attachment figure my baby needs during the most influential time in his or her life?
- Will my child be my top priority?
- Should I keep my baby, even if it means putting my own plans on hold?
These important questions must be considered before taking the next step. Parenthood is not temporary, it is a lifelong decision.
4 – Consider your support system
Another reason many women consider adoption is to provide their child with a stable home environment. The benefits of being raised in a loving home are obvious.
If you are single, being a mother can be challenging, especially with little help from family members or friends.
However, with enough love and effort, it can be done, and is currently being done by countless single mothers across the country. Not having your child’s father around does not have to be the main factor when deciding whether to keep a baby.
If you are in another undesirable circumstance such as addiction, homelessness, or financially struggling, understand that these concerns can multiply with another life to consider. Again, you are capable of overcoming any obstacle if you are committed to parenting.
Remember, this is your baby and your decision. If you are asking, “Should I keep my baby or pursue adoption?” know that YOU are the only person who can answer that question. No one can tell you what is best for you and your child, nor should anyone ever try to convince you to choose adoption instead of keeping the baby (or vice versa). Whatever you decide, there are resources and support available to you. Adoption Choices of Texas can provide unbiased information, guidance, and support. To learn more about your choices, please contact us at 855-304-4673 (HOPE) or send us an email with your questions.