There will be times when a mother facing an unplanned pregnancy feels completely unequipped to parent her child. She may even feel like her only option is to have an abortion, BUT there is hope through adoption. Adoption agencies touch lives by helping women place their child with an adoptive family. It is important to show women in your community that adoption can be the answer to her fears.
As Vice President Mike Pence pointed out at the 2019 National Adoption Month Celebration, “[…] the number of families that struggle with unexplained infertility is roughly equal to the number of abortions.” Giving these children loving homes with families who desperately want babies is a win for everyone.
Today, 30% of abortions are committed on women aged 20-24 (1), which means that women on campuses across the country are facing unplanned pregnancies and need to hear the message of adoption. We want to help address some misconceptions regarding adoption so that you are better prepared to help someone explore this option with an open heart.
Please note the deliberate use of certain terms and phrases. “Placed with an adoptive family” is today’s preferred term. “Given up for adoption” regards children as unwanted and discarded, which is simply not the case. Parents and children who have experienced adoption are the ones leading the charge to use this more positive phrase, and we encourage pro-life advocates to follow their lead.
7 Frequently Asked Questions about Adoption
What is adoption?
Adoption is the legal process by which parental rights and responsibilities are transferred from one parent or set of parent(s) to another, ensuring that a child has the benefits of a permanent, stable, and loving adoptive family.
How can I be certain that my child’s adoptive parents will take good care of him/her?
Parents who pursue infant adoption are required to meet with an adoption agency representative, social worker, or other approved agent and complete a number of requirements, including a home study, to guarantee that they are emotionally and financially ready to parent. Prospective adoptive parents have to meet all criteria set by their home state as well as the agency in order to adopt. Also, if parents choose an open adoption with contact between birthparents and the adoptive family, the birth parent(s) will be able to receive updates, pictures, and letters from the adoptive parents as the child grows up.
What is the difference between an “open” and “closed” adoption?
If a birth parent chooses to have contact with the child and his or her family after the adoption takes place, this is called an “open adoption.” Contact may include letters and photographs, phone calls, or visits – whatever the birth parent and the adoptive family are comfortable with. In a closed adoption, contact is more limited; letters and photos may still be exchanged, but anonymity is an option, or sending information back and forth through another party. Some birth parents choose to have no contact at all after the adoption has taken place. The level of openness in the adoption is up to the birth and adoptive parents.
After a birth mother signs legal documents, can she still change her mind about the adoption?
Throughout the adoption process, the birth mother has the opportunity to receive counseling, weigh all of her options, and reevaluate her decision. She can always choose to make another plan up until the legal time as defined by the state in which the legal relinquishments were executed.
What if the child’s father does not agree to the adoption?
A responsible, ethical adoption agency or attorney will try their best to locate the birth father and inform him of his rights, though state law may require him to take action within a given time frame if he wishes to protect his rights. If the child’s father wishes to be involved in the adoption process and the birth mother agrees, he should receive the same counseling and support as the birth mother.
I cannot pay for my pregnancy expenses. Is there help?
If you do not already have health insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid, and your agency should also be able to help you secure coverage. Many adoption agencies will provide free legal services to help you plan for your adoption, and most agencies will also provide financial support for additional medical and living expenses, either directly or through referrals to local organizations that can help meet your needs, depending on what is allowed by state law. If you select an adoptive family for your child before you deliver, that family may also agree to help pay for your prenatal and maternity care.
Is there anyone I can talk to who has been in a situation similar to mine?
If you do contact an adoption agency, counselors should be able to connect you with other birth parents that have been in your situation, including facing an unplanned pregnancy. They can tell you how they felt, explain what was most helpful to them, and provide additional support and encouragement as you consider your options. In the meantime, you can also read birthmother testimonials to hear stories and gain perspective.
Find Support and Resources
If you or someone you know is considering adoption, check out the Adoption Resources section of this page for more information and support.
(1) Jatlaoui TC, Eckhaus L, Mandel MG, et al. Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2016. MMWR Surveill Summ 2019;68(No. SS-11):1–41. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss6811a1external icon.