Why “Giving Up My Baby for Adoption” vs. “Placing My Baby for Adoption” is Important to Birth Mothers
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy in Kansas and are considering your options, you may find yourself thinking about adoption. As you carefully weigh all the pros and cons, one idea nags you. Were you to choose adoption, would you be “giving up” your child?
Many women who find themselves in the same position also struggle with this thought. It’s one that was brought on from how adoptions used to operate and does not reflect how adoption has evolved in a more positive direction. This narrow conceptualization of adoption is counterproductive and can lead some expectant mothers to believe that they have to completely cut contact with their child. Understandably, this would, then, make them reluctant to choose adoption.
Why do people say “give up my baby for adoption”?
Before we let you know the more positive mindset, we want you to understand why “giving up my baby for adoption” is used and where it originated.
Sadly, this phrase accurately reflected the reality of adoption for most women a few decades ago. It was common practice to separate a birth mother from her child as soon as he or she was born and not give the mother any time with them. The baby would then be placed with a family that the birth mother had never met, and she had to return to everyday life and pretend like nothing happened. She wasn’t able to talk about it or learn about what happened to her child.
Given the history of the typical adoption experience for the birth mother, it’s understandable that you may feel apprehensive about pursuing adoption. However, things are very different now. As a birth mother, you have full control over your adoption process and are able to handpick and meet your child’s adoptive parents. This does not, in any way, mean that you are “giving up” your child. Quite the opposite. Your selfless and brave choice shows how much you love for your child, and that you want the very best for him or her.
Better Words, Better Outlook When Choosing Adoption
In more recent times, the adoption world has started implementing a more positive phrase that better captures the birth mother’s involvement in the adoption process, and the true motivations behind her decision. If you are new to adoption, you may have run across it a time or three. It’s “placing your child for adoption.”
Right away, this phrase gives you a sense of ease. Empowerment. Comfort. That’s exactly what it should be, and why it’s replacing the idea of “giving up.” When you choose to place your child for adoption, you are taking control over your life and putting the needs of your child before your own. You are willingly making the decision to provide him or her with a better, brighter future. As aforementioned, this includes choosing who will raise your child and selecting how much contact you want with your child and their adoptive parents after the adoption has been finalized.
By normalizing this positive phrase, the negative connotations and emphasis on loss are dropped and you are renewed with a sense of hope for the future. Adoption is a beautiful option, and not one that you should feel ashamed, judged or guilty about. Rather, you should feel assured that both you and your child will be well taken care of, and that you are helping adoptive parents’ dreams of family become realized. Through adoption, you are becoming part of an amazing and life changing journey.
You are Not “Giving Up” when You Choose Adoption
By updating this mindset of “giving up my baby for adoption” to “placing my baby for adoption” in our broader society, we are taking a simple but effective step toward reducing our misconceptions about adoption. Know that adoption is completely different than how it was before, and that you are not “giving up.” You are making a loving choice, giving your child their best chance at life, and placing them in the caring arms of an adoptive family. You play an active role in your adoption journey. Everything happens on your terms.
When you work with Adoption Choices of Kansas, be assured that the adoption process won’t be some scary black box in which you simply place your child, hope for the best and walk away with your concerns unaddressed and unresolved. While it’s not easy to confront an unplanned pregnancy and place your baby with another family, you have so much more control over the situation than you may think. Moreover, adoption does not have to mark the end of your presence in your child’s life. It can, instead, mark the beginning of an incredible lifelong adventure.
Meet the Author: Mary DeStefano is an Ohio native currently living in northern Virginia and works in the litigation consulting industry where she has experience in antitrust, product liability, and mass torts matters. She holds a B.A. in Economics (‘15) and an M.A. in Applied Economics (‘16) from the University of Cincinnati.
Mary finds great meaning in wielding the written word to develop impactful narratives and to help people stay informed. In her spare time, Mary can be found beachcombing and going on other adventures with her dog along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. She also has an affinity for antiquing and loves a good 80’s movie marathon.