How Can You Give Your Baby Up For Adoption?
My Personal Experience with Debunking Birth Mother Stigmas
by Amanda Miah
I sat there, tears rolling down my cheeks, my hands resting on my swollen belly. I was sixteen and six months pregnant.
I’d never expected to find myself in this situation, and from the moment I found out I knew I wasn’t ready to raise a baby. A close friend, someone I thought I could depend on for support, had questioned me about my plans to pursue adoption for the baby I was carrying.
“How can you just give your baby up for adoption? Don’t you love your child?”
The words cut me at the core. She couldn’t understand the predicament I faced. To her the term adoption meant abandoning your child. For me, the word meant giving my daughter a better life. Adoption was the hope that would enable my firstborn to be raised in an wholesome, healthy atmosphere with two responsible, mature adults who could provide a stable upbringing.
While adoption is becoming a more common method for building a family, there is still a shroud of mystery around the process that takes place. It often starts with an unplanned pregnancy. A woman who finds herself in this situation has a few options: She can choose to abort; she can choose to parent; or she can choose adoption. A woman who decides she is not able to parent is faced with the difficult choice of abortion or adoption. Currently aborting is the route most widely chosen. Last year Planned Parenthood reported that for every 275 abortions performed, they made only one adoption referral. When it comes to adoption, birth mothers aren’t going for a quick fix; they are choosing to see their pregnancies through.
So if birth mothers are choosing the road less taken, why is there such a stigma surrounding them? Historically, birth mothers have been stereotyped as drug addicts or self-centered teens who could care less for their offspring, but this is a tragic misrepresentation.
Often it is the case that a young woman falls pregnant and ultimately realizes she is not able to provide the best circumstances for her child. Out of concern and care for the baby’s well being, she seeks a suitable family who can provide for all her child’s needs. Choosing adoption doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her baby, it is quite the opposite actually. It is a choice of sacrifice and requires great love and tremendous strength of character.
When I was faced with the choice of parenting, abortion or adoption, I knew right away what I needed to do. It would be difficult, no doubt, allowing someone else to raise my baby. I would have to live with the pain of my choice. But I was willing to sacrifice my happiness so my daughter could have more than what I was able to offer her. Eleven years later, it gives me great satisfaction in my decision, knowing that she is thriving in life. I am confident I made the right choice.
If I had the chance to go back in time and speak to sixteen-year-old me on that day I sat crying silently while the burden of negativity encompassed me, I would tell me, “You’re doing a remarkable thing. One day you’ll be so proud of the gift of life you’re bringing into this world.” And as for being unfairly labeled — I am a birthmother, not a stereotype. It is time that we do away with the stigma and start celebrating the women who help others build their families through adoption.