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Adoption

Are You Pregnant and Thinking About Adoption?

Pregnancies, especially unplanned ones, can be emotionally trying for any woman. The process and decisions to be made during this time can be confusing and stressful for someone who is not prepared for pregnancy. Making decisions should be based on an individual’s own beliefs and is unique to each person, but here are a few ideas on where to start.

Who Can I Talk to About My Options?

If considering adoption of the baby, consult a counselor and explore various social service agencies. Counseling is often free and there are a variety of different services to meet all of your needs. These places include family planning clinics, adoption agencies, the local health department, your college health clinic and/or family service agencies. A crisis pregnancy center is also an option for pregnant women where they sometimes offer a home for the mother until the baby is delivered. Many crisis pregnancy centers and maternity shelters are affiliated with religious organizations.

It is also beneficial to ask yourself some questions before deciding on the future of your pregnancy, such as:

 
  • What are my hopes and plans for the future?
  • How would I feel about achieving those plans if I became a parent or put the baby up for adoption?
  • What are the most important things in my life right now?
  • What will I lose or give up if I become a parent or put my child up for adoption?
  • And most importantly, considering my own values and beliefs, how would I feel if I became a parent or place the baby up for adoption? 

All of these questions can be a guide to lead you to a decision while speaking with a counselor. The decision is ultimately yours, and must be best suited for you and your future plans1.

Should I Place My Child Up for Adoption?

The decision to place a child up for adoption can be difficult and is an act of great courage, love and compassion. Pregnancy can affect your feelings and emotions, especially if you are considering placing the baby up for adoption. Remember, adoption is permanent; the adoptive parents will raise the child and have legal authority over his or her welfare. It is important to consider the different issues associated with adoption when determining if it is the right decision for you. Prospective adoptive parents are carefully screened and have to give a great deal of information about themselves. They are visited in their home several times by a social worker and must provide personal references. They are taught about the special nature of adoptive parenting before an adoption takes place. However, the decision must be your own, and should not be influenced by other cases or stories. Each woman is unique and decisions should be made to fit a specific person, not the general population3.

Why Do Some Women Choose Adoption?

There are many different reasons a woman may choose to put a child up for adoption, and that decision is personal to each individual. Each woman is in a different and unique situation, so it is important to analyze your own situation before making a decision, and not relying on the reasoning of others.

Some of the common reasons why women choose adoption are:.

  • Absence of the father of the baby. Single parenting is difficult and can often be an overwhelming realization for single mothers. If the father of the baby is no longer in the picture, single parenting can be a challenge2.
  • The financial burden that comes with being a parent. If a pregnancy is unplanned, an individual may not be in a stage of their life where they are financially ready to properly care for a child2.
  • The woman may not be ready to become a parent due to many personal factors (need to finish school, has no support system, is financially dependent on parents or others, and also emotionally unprepared). Raising a child is an important responsibility and some women are not ready for parenthood depending on the timing in their life2.

Will I be Able to Have Contact with My Child after Adoption?

There are two different types of adoption available: open and closed adoption. Recently, the adoption process has become much more open, meaning that the birth parent may have more access and contact with the child and their adoptive parents.

If an open adoption is one that is important to you, there are plenty of families waiting to adopt a child who are amenable to this arrangement. Another option would be to have a semi-open adoption, which would still allow contact with the child, but through emails, pictures, letters, and conference calls with an adoption-specialist mediating the call2. Closed adoption does not allow any contact with the child, nor does the child have the ability to contact the birth parents.

How Do I Arrange an Adoption Through an Agency?

It is possible to arrange an adoption through a variety of sources, but the safest and often the most used way is through an adoption agency. Private adoption agencies arrange most infant adoptions but it is possible to work directly with an adopting family through an attorney. Adoption agencies can be for profit or non-profit, with some having religious affiliations.

Adoption agencies are often recommended because of their reliability and recognition. They tend to have a greater selection of families so that the birth mother can choose a family who wants an open adoption, and the agencies will go through more steps to ensure that the families are fitting for the child. Adoption agencies also offer services for after the adoption has taken place, often for little or no cost. These agencies can be held accountable and they must meet the minimum standards from the state in which they reside3.

If I Place My Child Up for Adoption, Will I Regret It?

The process of adoption can be full of intense emotions and hard decisions. It is difficult to say whether the decision will be regretted in the future, because of varying circumstances and personality characteristics of the mother. If there are regrets, it is crucial to remember that you did what you felt would be the best for your child; providing them with a loving family who is ready and willing to care for them.

Knowing that you made these decisions for the best interest of your child will hopefully help you through any regrets or worries about the decision you made.2 Counseling may be available through many adoption agencies if there are lingering problems due to the adoption process.

References:

BPAs. (2010) Unplanned Pregnancy: Your Options.  Retrieved from

http://www.bpas.org/bpaswoman.php?page=123

American Adoptions. (2011) Unplanned Pregnancy: Where Should I Start? Retrieved from http://www.americanadoptions.com/pregnant/where_should_i_start

Open Adoption. (2006) Recommendations for Parents Considering Placement of a Child.  Retrieved from http://www.openadoption.org/

Last Updated 08/2012