Texas has the highest rate of repeat teen pregnancies in the country. Across the state, hundreds of school kids will be affected this year by teen pregnancy & adoption needs to be one of the alternatives they are presented, for the welfare of these teens, as well as their babies.
For some pregnant teens, becoming a mother, even a very young one, seems like a badge of honor or a rite of maturation. They think the baby will be somebody who will always love them; although they forget that children’s needs have to come first, before those of the parents. Some young moms hope that a baby will forever bond them with the baby-daddy, despite statistics showing that only 2 out of 10 ever actually marry the baby’s father. Sadly, the world is full of fathers who all too easily abandoned their babies and their mothers, teen moms or not.
Many pregnant teens were themselves the children of teen moms, who now see their child’s baby as a cosmic do-over, given the mistakes they felt they made the first go-round. Yet while some teen parents and their offspring are able to succeed, many do not. According to The National Campaign To End Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy, sons of teen moms are twice as likely to serve time in prison, and daughter of teenage mothers are three times as likely to become teen moms themselves. Only 38% of girls who become moms before the age of 18 graduate from high school, and of them, just 2% have college degrees by the age of 30.
Under existing Texas laws, a pregnant teenager in Texas cannot get an abortion without parental consent. Alternately any unmarried teen parent in Texas can legally place a baby for adoption without her parents or the baby’s alleged father (if he hasn’t established paternity or registered with the Voluntary Paternity Registry).
Still, pregnant teens in Texas are less likely to consider adoption than any other option.
Some teens subscribe to age-old myths that placing or “giving up a baby for adoption” makes them a bad mother, despite the fact that birthmothers are some of the most loving and selfless parents out there. Some are pressured to parent by their friends or even their own relatives, who promise to help but don’t, while others end up dumping their babies on their own parents for better or worse or losing custody to Child Protective Services.
Many never even think about adoption because they have no idea how it works or what it means.
Teenagers who make adoption plans through licensed adoption agencies like Adoption Choices of Texas find they are treated with empathy and respected like adults. Teens are welcome to involve their parents, if they wish, but all of the important choices, from healthcare to placement options, are the teen moms’ decisions to make. Pregnant teens who come to Adoption Choices of Texas receive free counseling, medical referrals, care and/or coverage, living assistance and maternity transportation as needed. They get to choose their baby’s future family and spend the pregnancy getting to know them personally, before making any final decisions. They decide who they want with them in Labor & Delivery, how much time they wish to spend with their baby in the hospital, whether or not they want the adoptive parents there, and what name they want the baby to have on the original birth certificate. They decide, with the adoptive couple, how much contact they feel they will want after placement, and if they opt to not stay in touch, they know the adoptive family understand the importance of “keeping the door open” in case they do want to reunite down the road.
Sometimes, teen parents opt to place a child for adoption after trying to raise the baby on their own for weeks or months or even years. This is the kind of case in which an open adoption program can be especially helpful, since it enables the child being adopted to continue to benefit from contact with their birth parent/s yet gain the security and stability of an adoptive home. The teen mother is then able to enjoy the freedoms of youth but retains the joy of staying connected with her child and the child’s new family, while going on to complete her education and build her own future. In these instances, teen pregnancy & adoption make for a better choice for a brighter future for everyone involved.
Pregnant teens and teen parents can always contact Adoption Choices of Texas confidentially, day or night. Adoption may not be the “right” choice for every pregnant teen or teen parent, but when it comes to teen pregnancy & adoption, nobody cares more about helping parents and parents-to-be make good decisions than Adoption Choices of Texas.