Earlier this week I wrote about the timing of placing a baby for adoption — whether there was a better time for a pregnant woman to start considering a plan and about the choices that other expectant mothers had made in creating a plan of their own.
I mentioned that placing a baby for adoption was a complicated process with no easy answers.
Each expecting mother had to make her own decision based on her own needs and wants as well as on her own unique set of circumstances.
Today, I wanted to explore the topic in more depth and talk not about when to create an adoption plan, but about why. Are some reasons to place better than others?
Again, it’s a big question with no simple answer. That said, here are some reasons that may lead you to think twice about your adoption plan.
The hurdles you’re facing are temporary
Expectant mothers come to adoption for all kinds of reasons. Often as a result of an unplanned pregnancy. They may not be ready to parent or they may lack the resources and support, financial or familial, to raise a child on their own.
What you need to know is that unlike fostering, which is a temporary arrangement, adoption is permanent. Once you relinquish your parental rights, there’s no going back.
That’s why it’s important to weigh your reasons carefully and determine whether the setbacks you’re facing now are temporary or long-term in nature.
If, for instance, the only thing that’s holding you back from keeping your baby is getting a good job or help from your family, you might want to explore the options that are available to you in more detail before closing the door and making a decision you could later regret.
You feel the adoptive parents have more to offer your child financially
Reading about all of the resources that a hopeful adoptive couple have at their disposal may leave you feeling impressed about their accomplishments and what they can offer your child.
But it may also make you question your own abilities to provide for her and lead you to believe that your child would be better off with them.
But good parenting isn’t about how much money you have in the bank. There’s so much more to raising a child right than having a big home or being able to go on regular vacations.
So don’t shortchange yourself — literally! — and let your balance sheet alone dictate your decision. Yes, more money can lead to more opportunities.
But there’s more than one way to be well off. When raising a child, your emotional resources will always count for more than your financial ones.
You feel the adoptive parents are more deserving than you are
It’s hard not to hear about an adoptive couple’s struggle to start a family and not want to reach out and help them.
Especially if you have doubts about your own parenting abilities and whether you can provide your child with the future you want her to have. But that’s not what adoption is about.
Adoption isn’t about finding children for families or making a childless couple’s life complete by giving them the gift of a child. Yes, guilt and shame are often part of the process.
But they shouldn’t be your only reasons for going through with your adoption plan. If so, you need to reconsider your motivations. Just think ahead 20 years from now when your child asks you why she was placed her for adoption — what will you tell her? How will she feel when she learns that all you were trying to do was make another couple happy?
You feel your baby would be better off in a two-parent family
Many studies suggest that children raised in a two-parent family have a higher standard of living and fewer behavioral and emotional problems. Having an engaged father as well as an engaged mother has many benefits, no question about it.
But once again, should that alone sway your decision-making? As with so much about open adoption, the choice is yours. Only you will know whether it’s the right reason for you.
Just be aware that although it isn’t easy, there are many single parents out there who are doing a great job raising a child on their own.
Unlike in the past, single parenthood no longer has a stigma nor does it mean sentencing a child to a lifetime of hardship and deprivation.
There are many success stories about children who have thrived in a single-parent family, especially when they’ve been surrounded by a strong support network of family and friends.
Plus, in adoption, just as in life, people and circumstances change. Relationships end and individuals move on. So even if you do opt for a two-parent family, there’s no guarantee the couple you choose will always be together.
You want to get back at your baby’s father
Placing your baby for adoption because you’re angry at her father is no reason to go ahead with your plan. In fact, when creating it, you should make every effort possible to inform your baby’s father of your decision and get him involved in the process.
If you don’t, you could face serious problems and complications down the road. He could come back and oppose your decision or, as we’ve seen in recent cases, he could even try to get the placement overturned and win custody himself.
Placing a baby for adoption is a life-changing decision that will affect not only your future but also your baby’s. As a result, the key is to get all the information you can and to think through your motivations carefully.
Only then will you be able to make an informed choice — one that will not only serve your baby’s interests, but that you can look back on with pride. What do you think are the right (or wrong) reasons to create an open adoption plan? Share your comments in the space below.
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