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What I didn’t know about adoption

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What I didn’t know about adoption

People make a lot of assumptions about adoption. About why mothers (families) voluntarily place babies for adoption, and why individuals and/or couples look to adoption to grow their family. A lot of clichés are often thrown into the mix about love, bravery and joy. The clichés don’t help us as a society to have real conversations about adoption, but rather mask the difficulties that adoption brings.

Adoption is never a mother’s first choice. I have yet to meet the women or even read the story of a mother who was happy to experience a pregnancy because it meant she would be able to place the child for adoption. Rather, adoption is often a pragmatic answer to the question of what to do with an unplanned pregnancy that is also unwelcome. or in situations where parenting is not an option.

In the adoption world, mothers who place children are usually referred to as “birth mothers” and so that is the term that I will use her. Birth mothers experience great trauma and experience grief when they place their babies for adoption. In an ideal world, most birth mothers would parent their children. Adoption exists because the world is not an ideal place. The world often hands parents the impossible choice between work and parenting; of having a future full of hope or having a future tied to struggle. The reality is that 23% of families headed by a single parent are in poverty in the United States. Through reflection, a birth mother reaches the conclusion that they do not want the life they can provide for their child and that adoption is the best option for their child. Hopeful Beginnings believes that it is the mother’s right to make this decision, and only she knows what is best for herself and her child.

Studies have consistently shown that open adoption, when birth mothers/parents have continued communication with their children, is what is best for children. When possible, Hopeful Beginnings works with adoptive parents and birth parents to form a relationship through the mutual love of the child. It is hard work and can be uncomfortable at times. Sometimes, for many, many reasons, it is impossible. Situations where open adoption relationships do not flourish are not the fault of the birth mother or lack of love of the child. It is because the world is imperfect and full of impossible choices.

I cannot speak on behalf of other agencies, but Hopeful Beginnings will continue its adoption work because it believes in mothers and their ability to make choices for themselves and their children. Adoption is not an easy choice, but it is often the best choice made in a seemingly impossible situation.

Adoption Process for Expectant Mothers

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