By Taryn O'Flynn, MA | Director of Advocacy and Outreach
I'm pregnant?! Now what?
This is an all too common reaction when a woman finds herself unexpectedly pregnant.
We want everyone to know there isn't a "right or wrong" way to react. We're all at different places in our lives and you're allowed to feel however you feel.
Here are some of the questions we hear all the time.
"I'm not sure I'm ready to parent...what about my job, family, college or my future plans?"
"I'm already parenting two children... will trying to raise another put me over the edge?"
"The father is no longer in the picture...can I do this alone?"
"I never pictured myself as a mother... has that changed now that I'm pregnant?"
When you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant, you have choices. You can figure out a way to raise the child yourself (either alone or with help), you can terminate the pregnancy, you can allow the state to intervene and have your child go into foster care, or you can make a private adoption plan.
If you've considered placing your child for adoption, you probably have a million questions. We are here to help answer those. We understand that adoption isn't the most common solution to an unplanned pregnancy, but for some, it's the very best option. Here's why:
When you make an adoption plan, you are in control. You choose how you want your adoption plan to go and you hand-select the adoptive family you want to raise your baby. You decide how much contact you want after the baby is born. You won't have a social worker telling you what your life may look like or who is going to be taking care of your baby. You get to continue living your life knowing you made the best decision for you and your baby.
Here are 6 questions you may be asking yourself right about now:
Will it cost me money to make an adoption plan? Nope. Actually, if you choose adoption, we can help you with pregnancy related expenses such as medical bills, medication costs, legal costs, living expenses such as rent and utilities, transportation, food, clothing and even your phone and data plan. We realize that growing a baby and making big decisions are a really big deal, and we want to help elevate the added stress. We're here to help.
What if the birth father is no longer in the picture or isn't on the same page as me? Every state has different laws about birth father rights, but we know about them all. In some cases we can make an adoption plan with only your consent (the expectant mother). We work closely with skilled adoption attorneys who walk us through every possible situation so that you, your baby and your adoption plan are protected. We got you, boo.
Should I just abort instead? This option may seem like an easier option if you're not ready to parent. However, no one can tell you how you'll feel after terminating a pregnancy. We work with women who think they cannot possibly carry a baby for nine months and then "give their baby" to someone else to raise. No one said that making an adoption plan was easy... it's not. It's the opposite actually. But knowing that you gave your baby a chance at life and placed him/her with a loving, stable family who can give him/her everything they need promotes a feeling of worth and success. You may have heard the term "giving a baby up for adoption." We don't think making an adoption plan for your baby is giving up; we think termination is.
What if I'm on the fence or keep changing my mind? It's pretty rare that an expectant parent comes to us with full certainty they want to make an adoption plan without ever second guessing their decision. We'd probably be more worried if you weren't expressing some fears, guilt, uncertainty. However our birth parent advocates are trained to help you through all of those feelings and can even help you dual plan for both parenting and adoption if you just aren't ready to make up your mind.
How long do I have to make an adoption plan? You can decide at any time during your pregnancy or any time after you deliver. That's right. You have time. Some moms have said they'd like to try and give parenting a shot... but some realize quickly they still aren't ready. That's completely fine. Remember when we said you are in control? We mean it. Generally expectant parents decide during their pregnancy they want to place for adoption, pick their adoptive family and have some time to plan things out before the baby arrives... but again, this is YOUR adoption plan and we roll with the punches.
I think maybe I can parent, but I'll need some help. If we can help point you in the right direction to where you feel empowered and supported to parent your child, that's a win for us! We have no agenda and aren't trying to talk you into a decision one way or the other. We partner with a ton of amazing pregnancy resource centers who can help set you up for successful parenting. Depending on where you live, we can refer you to a free pregnancy resource center who can help with baby clothes, parenting classes, food, support and much more.
At the end of the day, if you’re here Googling, you’re trying to gain some knowledge, right? Because if you have some knowledge of what an adoption looks like, you might be able to decide if this plan is right for you and your child.
Again, this is:
For the record, we will support whatever decision you make. If we can help you parent... great! If we can help you avoid the state foster care system, hooray! If we can help match you with an amazing adoptive couple, we will! We believe that all women should be empowered to make the best decision for themselves.
Make that choice YOURS. And OWN it.