When you’re in college and facing an unplanned pregnancy, making the choice to place your child for adoption can be a difficult one. You are not alone in this decision, though. There are companies and websites, such as Lifetime Adoption, that are more than willing to help and support you as you make this choice. They can give you information, offer you advice, or just sit and listen to what you need to say. Everyone needs support when faced with a decision like this, and these groups have people who have gone through similar situations and are willing to help.
No matter who you turn to for support, do not let them rush you into making any decisions. This is YOUR decision – accept their advice, accept their information, but do not let them bully you into a decision that you do not think is right. This is your pregnancy and your baby. Here are steps you can use to help you decide what you want to do:
List all the choices you have. Even if you do not think it could happen, put it down. As you gather information, you can eliminate what will not work.
Ask yourself some hard questions. You need to ask questions that not only deal with the present, but also your future. Write them down and answer them honestly. Here are a few to get you started:
- What do I want to do with my life?
- Is there someone willing to support me? If not, how will I support me and my baby?
- Do I feel comfortable being on public assistance?
- What are my views on abortion? How will an abortion make me feel years from now?
- What kind of people do I think would make good parents?
- Am I ready for the responsibility of being a parent? A single parent?
- Can I share my decision with my parents and friends?
- If someone I know does not like the decision, how will I deal with it?
- Is the father of the baby willing to help me through the pregnancy and after it?
Learn everything possible about each available option. Ask people you trust what things they would consider if they were experiencing this. Remember, this is your decision. Do not let anyone force you to make a decision you are uncomfortable with.
Look at the pros and cons of each option and write them down. Put them in a list of most favorable to least. This can help you see the whole picture.
Look inside yourself. Explore all your feelings. This decision is an extremely personal one. Only you know how you feel about what is happening.
A number of years ago, we worked with Beth, who was in her sophomore year of college. Beth called to get adoption information only because her mother encouraged her to at least look into it. She wasn’t truly interested. She wanted to be a mom to her baby.
As we talked, College Pregnancy Help staffer Julie asked her some of these hard questions. This exercise made her really think about her situation.
Julie: “Is the father of your baby ready to support you, your baby, and be a dad?”
Beth: “Well, he isn’t around right now but I know he’ll be when the baby is here.”
Julie: “How do you know he’ll be?”
Beth: “Well, I guess I don’t really know but I just kind of hope he will.”
Julie: “And what if he doesn’t? What if he doesn’t come back and doesn’t pay child support?”
Beth: “I don’t want to think about that.”
Julie: “Do you have someone else then who will support you?”
Beth: “My mom said I can live with her for three months.”
Julie: “Then what?”
Beth: “I want to get my own place.”
Julie: “Great! How will you pay for it? And diapers, clothes, gas, a car, and other stuff?”
Beth: “Ummm… Maybe child support for some. But I don’t know. I don’t have to know that now do I? Can’t I figure it out when the baby’s here.”
Julie: “How will you figure it out when you have to get up with baby every three to four hours in the night and have a little one to care for all day.”
Beth: “I don’t know.”
Through the exercise, Beth realized that she needed a plan. She realized that she was unprepared for life as a single mom. She hadn’t planned this out fully. It wasn’t the life she had expected. When her man didn’t come around, she started to open up more to adoption, learning about the opportunities.
No matter what your decision is, be sure to see your doctor as soon as possible and schedule all necessary appointments. And remember, there are people ready to help and support you.