When faced with an unplanned pregnancy, choosing between adoption and parenting will likely be the toughest decision you ever make. You are the only one who can decide your path. You have the final say when deciding what is best for you and your baby. Lifetime is not here to pressure you into choosing adoption, but to provide information.
Asking yourself these 7 questions will help give you some clarity, so you can choose the life that is best for you and your baby.
1. Do I have a support system?
Raising a child is fulfilling and rewarding, but it’s also exhausting and demanding. All parents need help. Who will be there to help you? Will your baby’s father be a part of your child’s life? Sharing the emotional and financial responsibilities with a partner is a different journey than raising a child as a single parent. There are plenty of single parents across the country who provide their children with safe, loving homes, but there is no doubt that this path has its challenges.
Dependable family and friends can also be part of a reliable support system. Are there other people in your life who are willing and able to help you meet the demands of child-rearing?
Women may turn to adoption if they find themselves alone with these responsibilities.
2. Can I afford to raise a child?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising a child to age 17 is $233,610, and that does not even include college tuition.
What is your financial situation? Do you make enough money to provide a comfortable life for you and your child? Money does not need to be a deciding factor between adoption and parenting. There are services such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Medicaid that can provide women with financial relief. However, taking a hard look at your finances can help you gauge the kind of life you will be able to provide for your child.
If you decide to pursue adoption, you can take comfort in knowing that your child will be raised by a financially stable family. Additionally, you may be able to get help with your expenses during the adoption process. This includes medical fees, counseling services, and living expenses.
3. Do I have the time to devote to a child?
Children require constant time and attention. If you are working two jobs or trying to finish school, you may not be able to make a child your top priority. Decide if you will have the time and energy to put toward your child first while balancing your other responsibilities.
4. Am I ready to be a parent?
Becoming a parent changes your routine, your lifestyle, and your priorities. Are you ready to embrace this change? You may be accustomed to a certain lifestyle, or have aspirations to finish college or pursue a career.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing adoption because you’re not ready for a different life. There is a Christian couple out there who yearns for a life with a baby.
5. What resources are available to me?
There are financial and mental health resources available to women in need, whether they choose the path of adoption or parenting.
There is no fee for you to choose adoption. In addition to financial assistance for medical and living expenses, birth mothers also have access to counseling throughout the adoption process. Lifetime is available 24/7 to offer you support and guide you every step of the way.
If you decide to parent, government, non-profit, and faith-based organizations can provide financial and mental health resources for families in need. For single parents, organizations like Single Parent Advocate work to empower single parents with resources, emotional support, and social networking.
6. Will I regret my decision?
Regret is a complicated emotion. Even if you are confident that adoption is the best choice for you and your baby, you will still have a loss to grieve. Do you worry that if you choose adoption, you won’t know if your child is safe and happy? That you will never know your child? These concerns are completely normal.
The opportunity to pursue an open adoption may help alleviate these fears and doubts about adoption. In an open adoption, the birth mother chooses the adoptive parents and decides how much contact she would like to maintain. You won’t have to regret missing out on your child’s future.
7. Can I provide the life I want for my child?
The decision to adopt or to parent comes down to this question. Once you have assessed your finances, support system, time, and resources, what future do you see? Is it the life you want for your child?
Whether you choose adoption or parenting, you are making that decision based on the life you wish for your child. It is a selfless decision, made from love.