Pregnancy is an exciting time for expecting mothers. However, during the tender teen years it can be overwhelming. You may feel unprepared for the situation and pressured to take many important decisions in a short span of time.
It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with conceiving at an early age, and it is not uncommon either. Around 550,000 teenage girls get pregnant every year in the US.
Even though your body is ready to conceive once you reach puberty, it doesn't always mean that you also have the emotional, physical or financial strength to raise a child.
Know your options
The news that you're pregnant can be frightening because you didn't think it would happen so soon. According to statistics, only 50% of teen mothers are able to receive a diploma by the time they are 22 years of age.
All expecting mothers have three options available to them. They can choose to keep their baby, get an abortion or choose a loving family to look after their child via adoption. The decision you take should be made after considering all factors including your religious and moral beliefs, education level and the support available to you from your family and partner.
Parenting a child during your teen years will require you to undertake a lot of responsibility, not to mention a chance of skipping or shortening your education. This can have a direct impact on your ability to provide for your child, and therefore, it is important to carefully evaluate whether you will be able to offer your child a good life if you choose to keep your baby.
Moreover, as a teen parent you might have to put your personal goals aside and devote your time and energy by keeping your baby above your own needs. Abortion is legal in the US, however this decision should only be made if you're completely certain that it is what you want.
If you feel that you don't possess the financial resources or support required from family and friends to care for your baby, it may be in you’re his/her best interest to live with a loving family.
Adoption is by no means similar to abandoning your baby. It is, in fact, a huge sacrifice you make in order to secure your child's future. A growing number of couples in the US are eagerly seeking to welcome a child into their homes, and therefore you can take your time to pick a secure and nurturing home for your precious unborn.
Society stigmatizes the birth parents as inconsiderate, and even selfish, for giving up their child. In reality, however, the very opposite is true.
By letting a loving couple adopt your child, you will be giving your child the life that he/she deserves. Moreover, teen mothers tend to face feelings of tremendous guilt as they feel they are unequipped to emotionally and financially look after their child.
Due to lack of awareness, many teen mothers do not seek prenatal care during their first trimester. It is because of these reasons, and many others that children of teen parents are known to be at a higher risk of developing health problems, dropping out of school, and showing little or no interest in school. Therefore, allowing your child to be adopted may just be the best decision you can make under the circumstances.
Types of adoption:
There are different types of adoptions that you should explore in detail to identify the one that you are comfortable with. The various types of adoptions have different levels of interaction between birth parents and adoptive parents.
- Open adoptions:
If you opt for an open adoption, you can remain a part of your child's life even after the adoption has taken place. The exact extent of interaction and frequency can be decided by all parties involved, however, the final decision will depend on the adoptive parents.
- Semi-open adoptions:
In the case of semi-open adoptions, you will have non-identifying contact with the adoptive parents. You will be able to communicate with them via a third-party such as an attorney or an adoption agency.
The mode of contact is usually letters or emails. You may also have an adoption professional visit the adoptive parents to see their setup and check up on your baby. During such an adoption, you may also receive updates about your child's well-being from the adoptive parents via letters and pictures, etc.
- Closed adoptions:
In closed adoptions, the birth parents never meet the adoptive parents and the information about both parties is kept confidential.
Arranging for the adoption:
There as several ways that you can start the adoption process. These include:
- Independent adoption:
In an independent adoption, you will able to pick the adoptive parents and the adoption usually remains either open or semi-open. This type of adoption is usually arranged via a lawyer.
- Adoption agency:
In this type of adoption, you will hand over the identification of the adopting parents to a licensed agency. Typically, this type of adoption is closed in nature.
- Adoption by relatives:
In this type of adoption, your child will be adopted by your relatives. This will allow you to remain in touch with your child. This is a popular option for birth parents who wish to gather sufficient resources and mature slightly to eventually resume their role as parents in a few years' time.
As you make a decision, it is important to get in touch with an adoption agency that understands the complexity of your situation and is able to help and guide you throughout the process.