Being faced with a teenage pregnancy is certainly a serious test. What is important to keep in mind throughout the process is that the main focus should always be the best interests of the child. There are a lot of factors at play here, including finances, housing situation, relationships, emotional state and others, but they all should have the same general focus—making sure that the child has a safe and stable home where he or she is loved, cared for, and provided for.
How does one choose between putting the child up for adoption and raising the child? These are extremely difficult and personal choices, but the important point is to remember that you don’t have to go through this alone. Professionals are available throughout the country to help you cope with the situation, analyze it in the detail that it deserves, and make the right decisions.
Finances and Housing
One of the questions, or rather a series of questions, you need to ask yourself is whether you are financially able to support yourself as well as the child. Look at your financial commitments, your work situation, and consider any financial assistance you can ask for or receive. In this day and age, financial hardship in itself should not be the only reason you opt against motherhood, as there are numerous groups and organizations that assist single parents. However, depending on your circumstances, this aspect should not be ignored.
Your living situation, and the ability to have a separate area for your child to sleep in and play in, are additionally important. The safety and well-being of the child and having the ability to give him or her every opportunity to learn and grow and develop—this should be at the forefront of your mind. Toys, childproofing your home, and making it comfortable are just some things to think about. Consider the fact that you will not be working for some time before and after giving birth. Then, you will need to take care of childcare arrangements. How much can the child’s father contribute in terms of parenting time and finances?
Since we have touched upon the question of the other parent, certainly your relationship with him is an important factor. Are you together? Have you spoken about your future steps? Is he open to continuing the relationship? What are his opinions on parenting or adoption? Of course, many of these questions disappear if you no longer communicate, but perhaps having a child together is something that can change that around? All of this gives plenty of food for thought. Single parenting and adoption are both options, but they would both look very different if there were a possibility of a strong and loving relationship. If you have any contact with the other parent, it is necessary for you to make sure he is as involved in this decision making process as he wishes to be.
Perhaps one of the most crucial elements of the puzzle to consider is your emotional state. How are you coping with the situation? Are you aware of the support network available to you at times when you feel overwhelmed? Are there people in your life who can be near you at such times? One of the types of professionals you can turn to would be the specialists working at adoption agencies. You should know that they will not be pushy or pre-determined to make you choose adoption. On the contrary, if they see that you have other options that would work better for you and the child, adoption agency counsellors will do their best to help you go down those paths.
Know the options
Feeling lost and disoriented is normal in such a testing and stressful situation as this. The fastest and most efficient cure for such feelings is researching your options and not feeling like you are in a dead end when there is, in fact, a way out. Adoption and motherhood are both sensible and reasonable options. The analysis of the many factors above, searching for answers to the important questions mentioned here and other questions on your mind—this will help you clarify where you are at in life and how you would like to move on.
Keeping your child’s interests at heart, and relying on the help and advice of professionals and people that care about you, you will find the answers to the questions that bother you today. In the end, you as a parent will make sure that your child has a loving and caring home, which starts them out on the great adventure of life.
This article was written by Shin McAllister, who believes that parents who want children should consider adoption and focus on a non-judgmental, supportive method for both birth parents and adoptive families.