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When Birthparents Choose Adoption

Real Life Snapshots

Diane, a woman in her late twenties, learned she was pregnant even though she had used birth control. Because she decided against abortion, her co-workers assumed she'd become a single mom. But Diane assured them that adoption was her plan.

They didn't believe her. Diane was nice, smart, and had a great job! Of course she would raise the baby. Her co-workers threw a surprise baby shower and gave her many beautiful gifts for the child. They meant well, but they broke her heart. Diane went through with her adoption plan and gave the gifts to the adoptive parents.

It's not easy to be a pregnant woman choosing adoption today. Birthparents who choose adoption often have to endure many offensive comments from people who should know better. Here are some of the most common:

  • How can you do that? That's your own flesh and blood!
  • Why didn't you (or the pregnant woman) get an abortion?
  • I could never give my baby to strangers!
  • What if you can't ever have another child?
  • Are you doing it for money? Selling your baby? That's disgusting!
  • Why don't you at least try raising it? You could always have the kid adopted later.
  • Why? Don't you care at all about your baby?
  • You made your bed, now you should lie in it.

Birthparents deal with these comments in different ways. Some hide their adoption plan, while others don't talk about it much. Some argue with the people who make such comments, by asking whether they are willing to support the baby.

Birthparents who are married (or even divorced) and who choose adoption face even more vitriol, which can be very painful for them and divisive within their family. And yet they are nearly always trying to make a plan that they feel is best for their child.

What about after the baby is placed with the adopters? How does the birthmother feel then?

Most experts agree that birthmothers do grieve this loss. Although counseling can help them deal with the issues involved, it cannot make the grief disappear altogether, nor does an open adoption (in which the pregnant woman usually meets the prospective adoptive parents and may have a continuing relationship with them and her child) alleviate all the pain. Feelings of grief usually abate as time passes; however, birthmothers often feel sad on the child's birthday. The grief and sadness are usually mitigated by the birthmother's belief that adoption was the right choice for the child. Studies indicate that the birthmothers who are the most satisfied with the adoption decision are those who didn't feel that they were pressured into it but made the choice for adoption on their own.

Adoption Slanguage

Aside from direct criticism and questioning, birthparents who consider adoption often have to face implicit, unconscious put-downs in some of the terms used to describe adoption. You should avoid words that offend or annoy birthparents who are considering adoption. Consult the following for examples:

No Yes

Gave up a baby Placed a baby
Gave away a baby Made an adoption plan
Put up for adoption Chose adoption
Real parent Birthparent
Real mother Birthmother
Real father Birthfather
Relinquished for adoption Consented to adoption

More on: Adoption

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Adoption © 2004 by Christine Adamec. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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