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30 Reasons Why Women "Give a Child Up" for Adoption

Common Reasons to Make an Adoption Plan

When you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you know that you have three options: to parent your child, to terminate your pregnancy or to place your child for adoption. The decision of what to do will always be up to you — and you alone. However, there are many options counselors available to walk you through each of these processes to help you determine what’s best for you and your pregnancy.

At American Adoptions, a common question we get is, “What are the reasons to give your child up for adoption?” There are actually many reasons to place a baby for adoption, many of them based on a pregnant woman’s individual situation and desires for her future. It’s hard to say exactly what those reasons could be for you, which is why we encourage you to speak to one of our trained counselors at 1-800-ADOPTION to discuss those potential reasons in more detail. Remember, you are never obligated to choose adoption unless you’re sure it’s right for you and you’re ready to proceed with the process.

Whether you’re a pregnant woman researching your unplanned pregnancy options, or a prospective adoptive parent wanting to learn more about who exactly birth parents are, we encourage you to consider some of the reasons to place a baby for adoption that other prospective birth mothers have had:

1. She isn’t ready to be a mother.

When a woman finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, it may be at a time in her life when she’s simply not ready for all of the responsibilities of parenthood. She may be completing her education or focusing on her career, or she may feel that she is too young or unprepared at this point in her life to offer everything that she wants her child to have. Her reason for putting a child up for adoption may be to find a family who is truly prepared to raise a child.

2. She doesn’t want to be a mother.

In other cases, a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy has no desire to be a mother and simply doesn’t see herself ever becoming a parent — and that’s completely okay. This can absolutely be a good reason for placing a child for adoption. In this instance, a woman chooses adoption to give her child a happy life with someone who desperately wants to be a parent.

3. She can’t afford to raise the baby.

Raising a child is expensive; recent estimates put the average cost to raise a child to age 18 at more than $230,000. To raise a child, a person must be prepared to pay for all the expected costs — like clothing, food and childcare — as well as unexpected costs like medical emergencies. Many women who choose adoption know they would struggle to make financial ends meet and instead place their children with adoptive parents who are more prepared for these costs.

4. She can’t currently provide a positive, stable and safe home environment for her baby.

In some cases, a prospective birth mother cannot provide the kind of home environment she wants her baby to have, whether it’s because of complicated family and birth father relationships, financial strain or other reasons. Knowing they can’t change those situations in time to raise their child in a positive environment can be one of the reasons parents put their child up for adoption.

5. She’s too young to raise a baby.

Teenagers and young mothers who become unexpectedly pregnant may choose adoption because they know they’re not ready to become parents. They want to focus on finishing their high school career, get a college education and be able to support themselves independently before having a baby. Young women who choose this option can continue attending school while pregnant and can even be eligible for adoption scholarships to continue their education after their baby’s placement.

6. She needs help with the medical costs of pregnancy.

Pregnancy is an expensive process, and it can seem impossible to carry a pregnancy to term if a prospective birth mother can’t afford the associated medical costs. However, one of her reasons to give a baby up for adoption may be that she’ll receive financial assistance for the costs associated with prenatal care and her hospital stay. This assistance from an adoption agency allows her to experience pregnancy, give birth to a healthy baby and make an adoption plan for him or her.

7. Her family is already complete.

Did you know that most birth mothers are women in their 20s and 30s who are already raising at least one child? Many women who decide to place their children for adoption do so because they become pregnant after they’ve decided that their family is complete. They may not have the time, energy or resources to meet the needs of a new baby while also providing the best possible opportunities for the children they’re already raising. They decide to pursue adoption to give their baby a family while continuing to care for their other children.

8. She doesn’t feel a strong connection with the baby.

One of the reasons to give your baby up for adoption is that you may simply not feel strongly connected to the pregnancy you’re carrying — and that’s okay. You still care about your unborn baby and want to give him or her a happy, healthy start to life. You can carry the pregnancy to term and then place the baby for adoption with parents who will love him or her unconditionally.

9. She is facing personal challenges that will impact her ability to parent.

Some prospective birth mothers know that one of the reasons to choose adoption is because they cannot be the kind of parent they want for their child because of personal situations they can’t change quickly. For example, a prospective birth mother may be recovering from addiction or another mental or physical health issue. She may be giving birth to her baby in prison or trying to regain custody of previous children who are in the foster system. No matter what it is, these kinds of issues can impact her ability to properly parent and cause her to consider adoption for her baby instead.

10. She doesn’t want her baby to enter foster care.

In cases where a prospective birth mother is involved with her state’s department of child protection services, she may have the option to make her own adoption plan, rather than having the baby removed and placed in foster care. This reason for putting a child up for adoption is a critical one; it allows her to make the plan that she feels is best for her baby. This includes choosing the perfect adoptive parents, developing an open adoption relationship with them and more. Foster care does not give her the same control, so she may make an adoption plan to avoid her baby entering the foster system.

11. Her baby has needs she feels she cannot meet.

Thanks to medical advances, doctors can detect a baby’s medical and special needs in utero more quickly than ever before. Finding out her baby has these special needs is hard for any pregnant woman, but if a woman knows that she cannot provide the extra financial and practical support that her baby’s special needs require, she may pursue adoption in order to find parents for her baby that can. There are many adoption agencies that specifically work with prospective birth mothers in this situation; there is always the perfect family out there for every baby. Special needs adoption lets a prospective birth mother know that her child is receiving the care and support he or she needs to live a happy, healthy life of success.

12. She wants her baby to be raised in a two-parent home.

One of the reasons women give children up for adoption is because they’re not in a stable relationship with their baby’s father or don’t know who their baby’s father is. Instead of raising her baby on her own as a single mother, an expectant mother knows that she wants him or her to have a stable, two-parent home full of support.

13. She doesn’t have a good relationship with her baby’s father and doesn’t want to be forever connected to him.

Choosing to raise a child is not just a commitment to becoming a parent; in many cases, it’s also a commitment to a relationship and connection with a baby’s father. Unless a woman wants to and is prepared to be a single mother to her baby, she will need the help of her baby’s father, either practically or financially. Women who don’t have a good relationship with their baby’s father likely don’t want this permanent connection to keep him in their lives — or even the emotional connection of raising his child. So, instead, they may choose adoption.

14. She does have a good relationship with her baby’s father, and they decide together that adoption is the right choice.

On the other hand, some prospective birth mothers’ reasons to place a baby for adoption have nothing to do with their baby’s birth father being unsupportive. In fact, there are many couples that choose to place an unborn child for adoption together as a team. Usually, they know they’re not ready to raise a child and they have other goals they want to accomplish before doing that. Our adoption specialists are happy to involve both prospective birth mothers and fathers equally in this kind of adoption decision.

15. She is in a relationship with someone other than her baby’s father.

Sometimes, a prospective birth mother considers adoption because the baby she is carrying was conceived outside of the relationship she’s currently in. Whether she became pregnant before entering her current relationship, during a break with her partner or under other circumstances, she may decide that this is a reason to give a baby up for adoption.

16. She doesn’t have a strong support system of friends and family members to help her parent.

The phrase “It takes a village” is certainly accurate when it comes to raising a child. But, if a pregnant woman doesn’t have the support from friends and family that she deserves while she prepares to raise her child, she likely won’t have that support through her baby’s childhood — making the parenthood journey even more difficult. Knowing that she won’t have help raising her child on her own, she may choose adoption to give her child the supportive family and community they deserve as they grow up.

17. She wants her baby to have a different upbringing than she had.

Some prospective birth mothers grew up watching their own parents struggle, and this is a very strong “why” to consider adoption. They may know firsthand the challenges of being raised in a home that wasn’t fully prepared for a child, and they want to provide a brighter future for their own baby. Whether a prospective birth mother is struggling financially, is not in a stable relationship, is involved with child protective services or is otherwise facing the same challenges she was raised with, she may choose adoption to give her baby a different experience.

18. She doesn’t want certain people in her life to know about her pregnancy.

Similarly, some women are in situations where their friends and family would not approve of their unplanned pregnancies. Carrying a pregnancy to term and raising a child can be difficult for them in these circumstances, and they may look for another option. Fortunately, an adoption decision can be kept as confidential as it needs to be to protect a pregnant woman’s safety.

19. Her pregnancy was the result of sexual assault.

Tragically, some women who are sexually assaulted find themselves pregnant afterward, putting them in a difficult situation — do they raise the child of their assaulter, terminate the pregnancy or place the child for adoption? While some women cannot handle the emotional trauma of raising a baby that’s a reminder of assault, they do want to give their baby a chance at life and choose adoption. If this is the case for someone who is wondering why to consider adoption, American Adoptions’ adoption specialists can provide support and assist these women with seeking the local services they may need to move forward from their sexual assault.

20. She doesn’t feel like abortion or being a parent are the right choices for her.

Women facing an unplanned pregnancy always have the right to choose what’s best for them and their baby, and they are the only ones who can make the decision. As a woman is considering these options, she may decide that abortion and parenting are simply not right for her — motivating her to choose adoption as her solution.

21. She has religious or moral reasons for choosing adoption over abortion or becoming a single mother.

Similarly, some women have certain convictions about abortion and being a single mother that prevent them from choosing these options as a solution for their unplanned pregnancy. For these women, adoption is the best choice.

22. She wants to take control of her situation.

When a woman finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, it can seem like her life is out of control. She’s facing a challenge she never dreamed she would, and she may not know what to do. She’s probably thinking about a lot of options and wondering why people consider adoption. However, the adoption process allows a woman to take control of her situation in a way that her other unplanned pregnancy options may not. With adoption, a prospective birth mother is in charge all the way through — from choosing a family for her baby to deciding what kind of contact she wants with them to what her hospital stay will look like. This way, women can shape their own future.

23. She wants to see her child grow up through open adoption.

Many women choose adoption because they want to give their baby the best possible chance at life, and adoption gives them the chance to watch their baby grow up happy and healthy. When you choose adoption, you can choose varying levels of openness in the process, from receiving letters and photos of your child growing up to having a direct, personal relationship with your baby’s adoptive parents. For many women, this ability to see their child grow up and know that they are safe is one of the major reasons to place a baby for adoption. It also prevents the child from having to wonder, “Why do people get given up for adoption?” In an open adoption, the birth mother always has the chance to explain her decision to her child.

24. She doesn’t want to put her future plans on hold.

Unplanned pregnancies come at a time when they’re not scheduled in someone’s life. Some prospective birth mothers have plans like furthering their education, advancing in their careers and even getting married. Raising a child would financially and practically delay many of these future plans, which is why some women choose adoption instead.

25. She tries to parent but ultimately decides adoption is the best option for her.

Sometimes, adoption is not the first decision that a pregnant woman makes. It’s not uncommon for women to plan on raising their child after giving birth, only to find that they are not quite ready for the responsibilities and demands of parenthood. Fortunately, adoption is always an option, as it’s never too late to choose to place your child for adoption. Even if a baby is weeks or months old, a mother can make an adoption plan to give her baby the best opportunities in life.

26. She already knows how amazing adoption can be.

One reason to give a baby up for adoption is that many prospective birth mothers already have a personal connection to adoption before choosing this option for their baby. Whether she was adopted herself or knows friends or family members who have completed the adoption process, she might decide that she wants her baby to have the same amazing adoption experience.

27. She wants to help someone else create their family.

There are many hopeful parents out there waiting to add a child to their life through adoption. For women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant and unable to raise their children, they can make parenthood dreams come true in a way no one else can. While placing a child for adoption is certainly a huge sacrifice, it’s also an incredibly selfless move that can bring happiness and joy in helping someone else’s dream of being a parent come true.

28. She wants to create something positive out of her unplanned pregnancy.

One reason to place a baby for adoption is that it can be a way for prospective birth mothers to find something positive in a situation they may initially view as negative. Placing a baby with people who desperately want to become parents and making their dream come true gives many women a sense of pride and happiness. A woman who lovingly chooses adoption for her baby can look back on her adoption story with self-fulfillment knowing she made a choice that impacted so many people’s lives.

29. She wants her baby to have opportunities she cannot provide.

This is among the most commons reasons to “give” your baby up for adoption — to give a baby the best opportunities in life, even if it’s with different parents. Many prospective birth mothers know they cannot provide all they want their child to have (for example, a two-parent household or eventual higher education), so they instead choose to give their child those opportunities with other parents. For many babies placed, adoption is the first step toward a brighter future.

30. She loves her baby unconditionally and wants the best for him or her.

Finally, most prospective birth mothers have one similar reason for choosing adoption for their baby: unconditional love. As much as it hurts to make this sacrifice, they know that adoption is the best choice for themselves and their baby. It’s their love for their child that motivates them to make this decision — and their desire for their baby to have a happy, healthy life. Adopted children know they are loved in their birth mother’s decision, as it’s one of the most selfless things a woman could choose to do.


If you’re asking, “Should I put my baby up for adoption?” the adoption specialists at American Adoptions are always available to counsel you through this decision. You are never obligated to choose adoption unless you’re sure that it’s right for you, and we will help walk you through your reasons to “give a child up” for adoption, offering you objective information and advice. To talk to an adoption specialist today, please call 1-800-ADOPTION.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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