Shattering the Stigma of Giving Up a Baby for Adoption

By: Shaina Santagata

There is no debate that women are resilient and powerful. They can persevere through all the challenges that life presents. One of those times is when she is facing an unplanned pregnancy. It is a scary and uncertain time to decide what she believes suits her life and her baby’s. A birth mother experiences many emotions on this journey and is weighing out the options on a daily, hourly, or even minute basis. From the moment she saw a positive pregnancy test, she found herself torn between what others wanted her to do and what she wanted to do for herself.

Adoption Choices of Colorado is here to support all women who have given their child up for adoption. We are ready to guide you every step of the way as you now consider the adoption process for yourself and your baby. There are many reasons why a birth mother chooses adoption. If you find yourself in the same position as hundreds of other women, let us help take the weight off your shoulders and be the shoulder you need to lean on now. You don’t have to do this alone.

Common Misconceptions of Adoption:

1. “The birth mother gave up on her child”

This statement could not be further from the truth. In adoption agencies, we emphasize that a birth mother is not giving up on her child by giving them up for adoption. To consider your well-being and that of your baby while having the strength to acknowledge that the child would thrive with an adoptive family is one of the most selfless acts. A birth mother still experiences grief and a sense of loss after her child is adopted. No matter what her circumstances are, it is a difficult decision to make and one that will weigh on her heart for some time after the process has concluded. 

2. “Adoptive parents aren’t as good as birth parents” 

The family who adopts a child can be chosen directly by the birth mother. In doing so, she can take the time to think about what her values and desires are for her child with their new family. Every detail, from whether or not they have pets, if her child will be the only child in the house or if there will be siblings, to the area where the family lives, can be part of the birth mother’s decision. While she may not be raising her baby directly, she can still ensure the best life possible for their future. Being blood-related does not make the perfect family. Unconditional love does!

3. “The child never sees their birth mother again after adoption”

One of the great things about working with adoption agencies in Colorado is that the birth mother chooses between the options of open, closed, or semi-open adoption. An open adoption means that the birth mother can still be a part of her child’s life, even after they are adopted. An agreement between her and the adoptive family decides the appropriate communication methods for all involved. A closed adoption is when the information about the birth mother (or parents) is left unknown to the adoptees and the child. Lastly, a semi-open adoption is a combination of open and closed. The adoption agency will mainly handle the interaction, as they will assume the role of the mediator.

4. “Birth mothers are usually young and got pregnant on accident”

Not necessarily. An unplanned pregnancy can happen to a woman at various stages in her life. Being a young or the stereotyped “teen mom” is not always the case. Adoption agencies have helped women who have already had children, graduated high school, dropped out of high school, have careers, or might just be figuring out what they want to do with their lives. They could be single, married, or only dating. A birth mother who chooses the adoption process does not have to fit specific criteria before it’s accepted and understood as to why she wants to provide her child with another life that differs from the one she could give them.

How Do Birth Mothers Feel throughout the Adoption Process?

From the time a woman finds out she is pregnant, she goes through a rollercoaster of emotions. For some, this is a moment they have waited years for, and are delighted at the news. Meanwhile, others are left in turmoil, knowing that now is not the best time for a child to come into the picture. There might be an unhealthy birth father or no birth father around at all. A birth mother might be struggling financially and know that she doesn’t have the support or the means to provide the child with the life she would want for them.

It is a difficult decision that she must make and requires incredible courage to see through. Counseling and groups are incredibly beneficial to aiding birth mothers through the grieving process once the child is officially adopted. While she might be glad that her baby will be in a loving home and a safe environment, it does not mean she stops caring. She will continue to care and must take the time to embrace her emotions, knowing that she did what was best for her and her child. It is beautiful, but it requires empathy and a great deal of support from those who can understand what she is experiencing.

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