Why There's No Such Thing as an Unwanted Child
How Adoption is a Sign of Love on Both Sides
Today, when people think about adoption, they may not know the whole story behind the process. Many people have only learned about adoption through pop culture and media. Unfortunately, a lot of what they think they know couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of the most common — and saddest — aspects of the adoption narrative is the idea that an adopted child is an “unwanted baby.” Here at American Adoptions, we know that every adoptee is loved and cherished by all members of their family — biological and adoptive — and we’re here to set the record straight.
Below, we’ve gathered some important things that everyone should know about the reality of “unwanted babies” in adoption. To learn more about the truth of adoption, you can always contact our agency at 1-800-ADOPTION.
A Prospective Birth Mother’s Feelings
There has always been and continues to be a great deal of misunderstanding about the women who choose to place their children for adoption. People who don’t know much about adoption assume that a child placed for adoption is an unwanted child — that a prospective birth mother doesn’t want him or her and finds a new family instead.
This is often not at all true. In a great deal of adoption situations, a prospective birth mother wants nothing more than to keep her child and raise them herself — but she knows that it wouldn’t be the best choice for her child.
In most cases, “unwanted babies for adoption” are not placed for adoption because of a mother’s lack of love. Instead, she may be choosing adoption because:
She is not financially prepared to raise a child.
She does not have the support of the child’s birth father.
She is in an unstable period in her life.
She wishes to meet certain career and educational goals before raising a child.
She already has several children at home and cannot provide for another.
Whether they choose to create an adoption plan with an adoption agency, or use an “unwanted baby drop-off” like a safe haven adoption, the women who choose adoption make this decision out of endless love for their child. What you may think of as selfish is actually the most selfless choice a woman can make; she is choosing to give the best life and opportunities to her child, no matter how much it grieves her to do so.
Before you assume that a woman is choosing adoption because she is pregnant with an unwanted baby, we encourage you to think about the possibilities for what she is facing in her life. Do some research and learn more about who prospective birth mothers are and why they choose adoption for their babies. You may be surprised at what you find.
An Adoptive Parent’s Feelings
On the other hand, people often view adoptive parents through an uncomfortably savior-like lens. Often, adoptive parents get told they are so wonderful for “saving unwanted children” — when the reality is they don’t see it that way at all. If anything, they see a prospective birth mother’s decision to place her child with them as a gift they will never be able to repay.
Before a parent can start the adoption process, they have to understand the realities of private domestic infant adoption — which means relearning what they may think about “unwanted children” and adoption. In order to build a strong relationship with a prospective birth mother before and after placement, adoptive parents have to respect her decision. They will learn why she is choosing adoption and likely see the full extent of her overwhelming love for her child. It can be emotionally difficult for all parties, but being open and honest with each other is necessary to providing the support both sides need during this lifelong partnership.
Therefore, if you ever have the opportunity to speak to an adoptive parent, stay away from comments indicating that they adopted an “unwanted baby.” Odds are, their child’s birth parents loved (and still love) their child more than anything in the world. The adoptive parents know this, and it’s a knowledge they carry around with them every day of their lives.
An Adoptee’s Feelings
The idea of an “unwanted child” in adoption is perhaps the most harmful to the child at the center of the adoption. When narratives about how people adopt an “unwanted” baby persist, the adoptees growing up hear those statements — and, unfortunately, internalize them to a certain degree. Although it’s likely their adoptive parents have taken steps to encourage pride in and celebrate their adoption story, hearing about how adoptees are “unwanted children” can take a toll on a child’s self-esteem.
However a child is brought into a parent’s life — through private domestic infant adoption, foster care adoption, international adoption, relative adoption or another route — it is through a path inspired by love and care, from all sides of that child’s family. Rarely is a child “unwanted”; all parents love their children to some degree, but many situations prevent them from providing the life they want for their sons and daughters. Many adoptees know the details of their adoption story, including exactly why they were placed for adoption. Explaining away a decision as important as this because a child is “unwanted” does an injustice to the beauty of the adoption process.
Whenever you hear or talk about adoption in your own life, keep these things in mind. Take the opportunities you have to educate people about the realities of adoption and the incredible, selfless journey it is for so many people.
To learn more about placing a baby for adoption, or to adopt a baby yourself, please call 1-800-ADOPTION or contact our agency online.
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