The other day we were contacted by a woman with an unplanned pregnancy who was looking at creating an open adoption plan for her baby.
Like a lot of women in her situation, she had considered parenting but didn’t think it was the best decision for her child at this stage in her life. However, she still wanted to be involved in his life, which is why she was weighing the pros and cons of open adoption.
From hearing her story, it was clear that she had done her homework and was carefully exploring all of her options.
Sadly, not every expectant mother can say that. Some jump into the process without any research at all, only to change their mind prior to placement or regret their decision down the road.
If you’re pregnant and considering open adoption, you may find yourself at a crossroads, wondering whether there’s a “right” reason to go ahead with your plan.
That said, here are three reasons why you probably shouldn’t consider open adoption for your baby—and one reason why you should.
1. Someone else is making the decision for you.
Is open adoption your decision? If it isn’t, it’s time to rethink it.
Placing a baby for adoption is a life-changing choice, one that needs to be yours and yours alone. Of course, other people—the baby’s father, your family and friends or your adoption worker—can help you make it. But you’re the one who ultimately has to live with it.
In the past, a woman with an unplanned pregnancy had little say or involvement in the adoption process or what happened to her baby. Not so today.
In today’s era of open adoptions, you can be involved in all aspects of the pre-placement process, from making the initial decision to finding adoptive parents to creating the hospital plan.
Adoption is a loving option that leaves the door open to having an ongoing relationship with your child. But it also involves loss and has long-lasting repercussions.
As your baby’s mother, it’s important that you evaluate all of your options and feel at peace with your choice. And that means taking control of your decision-making and making sure that someone isn’t forcing you into doing something against your will.
2. You believe an infertile couple is more deserving of your child than you are.
There are many infertile couples out there who would love nothing more than to be the parents of your child. By placing your baby with them, you can help make their dream come true.
But as kind and generous a gesture as that might be, that shouldn’t be your prime motivation for making the placement. Remember, it’s your child and you and only can decide what’s best for him. Think of your child’s needs first and don’t let anyone else’s influence your decision.
When it comes to dealing with prospective adoptive parents, it’s important to treat them with honesty and compassion. But you should never feel like you’re responsible for their happiness or that they’re more deserving of your child than you are.
3. You’re looking for a break from parenting.
Some expectant parents view open adoption as co-parenting—an opportunity to have the adoptive parents care for their children in the short-term while they pursue other opportunities like continuing your education or focusing on their career.
But adoption isn’t temporary. It’s a permanent decision. Once you sign the adoption papers, you will relinquish your rights to your child for good and the adoptive parents will be responsible for all of your child’s day-to-day decisions and well-being.
You’ll have to option to keep in touch with your child, but you’ll need to work it out with the adoptive parents in regards to what your future relationship will look like. That’s why it’s important to think about your life could be like 5, 10 and 15 years down the road and how you’ll feel about your decision.
So if these are three wrong reasons to place, is there a right reason?
Women create an adoption plan for all kinds of reasons. For some, it’s because they aren’t ready to parent. Or because the baby’s father is out of the picture and they want their child to be raised in a two-parent family. Or because they feel they’re too young to parent or don’t have the resources or the support that they believe their child needs.
The specific reasons are as different as the individuals making them. And yet, they all come down to one thing:
Putting your child’s interests first
Contrary to what many people think, placing a baby for adoption doesn’t mean “giving him up” or “giving him away,” Pregnant woman who create an open adoption plan today think long and hard about their decision.
They don’t chose adoption out of a lack of love for their baby. In fact, the opposite is true. Which is why many people characterize placing a baby for adoption as the most selfless, courageous and difficult decision a woman can make.
At the heart of it is a birthmother’s desire to put her child’s interests before their own—to do what’s best for him, even if it means breaking her own heart and having her child raised by someone else.
Placing a baby for adoption is a painful yet personal decision that varies from one individual to the next. Although there are several wrong reasons to do it, there is at least one very good reason that you should make after weighing all of your options: Doing what’s best for your child.
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