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How could someone put her baby up for adoption? (I could never do that!)

By Gayle Fidanzo, Executive Director at Choice Adoptions

I visited a Pregnancy and Parenting class at a high school a few years back. I was invited by the teacher of the class to explain to the 14 to 17 year old girls (and one boy) the option they had to place their baby for adoption. In fact, we were in the middle of a discussion about all the options available to a young woman with an unplanned pregnancy when one of the students, named Brianna, blurted out, “I could never give my baby up for adoption.” Needless to say, a deafening silence ensued with everyone in the room feeling sorry for the poor adoption lady who had come to visit.

I asked Brianna, “Do you think anyone should ever place their baby for adoption?” She thought for a moment, and said, “Well, yeah, I guess if they were raped or something.” What followed was a discussion of circumstances when a young woman might choose adoption over parenting or abortion.

Here are some of the ideas the group came up with:

If her boyfriend wanted her to, or if he was going to break up with her if she kept the baby.

If her parents were going to kick her out of the house and she would end up homeless if she kept the baby.

If she had been hiding her pregnancy and it was too late to get an abortion.

If she didn’t believe in abortion.

If she would lose her scholarship to college.

If she wants her child to grow up in a two-parent household.

If she and the baby would end up on welfare.

If she had no one to help her or babysit for her.

If she would lose her job.

If she would lose her relationships and she would be all alone.

If she was very immature -- just not ready to be a good parent.

If she had a drug problem.

If she was a foster child herself and her baby would go directly into the foster care system.

If she never wanted to be a mother.

If she had been sex trafficked and got pregnant.

“So,” I asked Brianna, “is it possible that one of the students in this class are in one of these situations, where parenting their baby seems impossible for them under their particular circumstances?”

“Well, yeah,” she said.

“How do you think it makes that person feel when you say you could never place your baby for adoption?”

“I don’t know. Maybe ashamed to speak up. Sorry.”

The thing is, we all say things without thinking that might affect others around us in a negative way. It’s difficult to remember that each of us has a unique history, and that our present circumstances are not like anyone else’s. We were born with a right to choose our own destiny -- to an extent. But what if we find ourselves oppressed by others? Limited in our power because someone else has all that power? What if our baby will be taken away from us because no one ever showed us what it is like to form a safe, loving, stable home? What if they still won’t show us? What if we are believing a lie that only bad people place their babies for adoption and that public opinion matters more than doing what is right?

The tragedy of children growing up unprotected hit home again this month when nearly 40 missing children were rescued in Georgia from kidnappers who had tried to take away everything from them: their innocence, their dignity, their choices. The FBI reports that there are more than 421,000 missing children in the United States, with a large number likely to become the victim of sex trafficking.

How do we break the systemic cycles that have failed women and children in our culture? Let’s start by paying attention to our conversations and lace them with grace and understanding. Let's lift women up and stop projecting shame on them, even when we don’t mean to do so. If girls and women are empowered to consider all options when facing an unplanned pregnancy, what could be the result?

>Fewer children might end up in the nightmare of foster care.

>More children might grow up in stable and healthy homes and establish safe and loving homes when it’s their turn.

>More women facing unexpected pregnancies might feel empowered to reach out for help and support to realize their purpose and to live their best story.

>More biological parents could stay in relationship with their children and their child’s adoptive parents after placing them for adoption.

>Our world might just be a safer place for children to grow up in.

What motivates a woman to choose adoption for her baby or child? A desire to see her child flourish, along with a desire to be the best person she can be -- an opportunity that may not have previously been available to her. With the support of an ally who comes alongside her, she may find that she can parent after all, or she may find that the best way to give her child the opportunity to grow and dream and develop normally is to give her little one a life with another family who loves them both.


If you are pregnant and in need of support, here are some pregnancy resources:

Unexpected Pregnancy: What To Do Now

If I Work With An Adoption Agency Am I Obligated to Place My Baby?

Pregnancy Options During the Coronavirus Pandemic


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