The decision you make with regard to your unwanted or untimely pregnancy could be the biggest decision of your life. Whatever you do, whether you parent, abort or adopt, this decision will stay with you like no other.
The decision to adopt can raise many other questions. Here are just a few that professional counselors working with birth mothers have experienced.
1. Fear of "not knowing"
Women will express the fear of "not knowing" where their child is. This fear is often perpetuated by movies and dramatic stories of children ripped away from their mothers never to be seen again.
The terms of adoption are drawn up by you and the adoptive parents you have chosen for your child. These terms will give you as much or as little contact with your child as you both agree upon. Knowing where your child is will depend upon how open or closed you want your adoption to be.
Placing your child does mean that after finalizing the adoption, you cannot, by law, turn around and demand your child back. It does not mean, however, that you will never have contact again.
Reading the real-life stories of women who have actually placed their children in modern-day open adoption agreements will alleviate, to a great extent, this fear.
To read these stories, click here.
2. Fear of Child Abuse
Consider that children living with their own biological parents have not had them screened for suitability. Most couples who have their own children will never go through the grueling quality controls and screening that couples seeking adoption will have to go through. Nor will they pay the huge legal fees that adoptive parents will have to come up with. Adoptive parents cover the entire cost of the adoption process, even if the birthmother changes her mind at the end of the process and decides to keep her baby.
The demand for newborn babies and the risk of legal liability is so great in Canada today, that fear of abuse doesn't need to be a concern in your decision to adopt.
3. Fear of Rejection
Many women fear that their child will be angry at them for "giving them up" to adoption. Today, however, birth mothers have the opportunity to explain their decisions to their child, either in a letter or in person.
When given detailed reasons why adoption was chosen, a child can come to an understanding that all parties involved in the process acted out of love and the desire for the child's happiness.
This kind of openness and dialogue is extremely important in the child's development and often leaves them with a profound sense of being loved.
Testimonials from adopted children show not only their depth of understanding about why they were placed for adoption, but they demonstrate an immense gratitude for the sacrifice that their birthmother made on their behalf.
To read some of these testimonials click here.
4. Fear of Unbearable Loss
Many women express the fear of suffering unbearable pain and loss after the long nine-month journey with their child. One cannot deny the fact that there will be pain and that the mother will grieve for the loss of her child. But there is loss with parenting and abortion as well.
A young mother who chooses to parent will also suffer loss. She will lose her ability to live without the responsibilities of parenthood. There are many sacrifices that a single mother will have to make, including financial sacrifices. She may lose the friends who do not have parenting responsibilities, and who can live a more carefree existence than herself. She may suffer the inability to spend her money and her time as she chooses. There are many losses and joys to consider with parenting a child.
Abortion also brings about a deep sense of loss, that is often unanticipated by the birth mother. Many women suffer for years following an abortion. They may suffer from feelings of guilt, anxiety, anniversary grief, reoccurring thoughts of their child, or of the abortion procedure itself. Many women feel a deep sadness that their child is not alive and wonder what the child might have grown up to become.
So with each choice comes a closing of the door to other possibilities. Again, reading the stories of birth mothers who have placed for adoption might help to alleviate the concern about pain and loss.
Experience shows that women who have made a carefully thought out decision to adopt, who have acted for the right reasons and who have received good counseling will not regret their decisions. In fact, in cases involving successful adoptions, many women see their situations as incredibly enlightening and are extremely grateful and humbled by the experience of having made such a difference to so many lives.
Check out the stories from these women yourself.
5. Fear of Painful Pregnancy
Many women fear having to go through nine months of pregnancy. How will the pregnancy change their bodies? Will they gain weight that they will be unable to shed? Will they have stretch marks or other medical problems resulting from birth and delivery?
And then there is the gossip factor that can be paralyzing. What will people say when they find out about the pregnancy? These fears are a reality, but they can be worked through with the help of a skilled counselor and with peer support from other women in a similar situation.
It is true that pregnancy will affect the woman's body. It is true that people might whisper and talk about an unplanned pregnancy, especially if the woman is still in high school.
This is where good counseling becomes crucial. Finding a pregnancy care center with programs and an active support group is essential. Counselors can help a young woman through all of the stages of the adoption process and give her the tools she needs to deal with the possibility of gossip and the fear of pregnancy and birth.