close menu

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 request free information online.

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:

Whether they choose to create an adoption plan with an adoption agency, or place an “unwanted” child through 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 and no matter how late she makes that decision.

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.

If you are a woman facing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, there are many reasons you may not want to raise your child. Maybe you’re not financially ready, the baby’s father won’t be involved, or motherhood simply isn’t one of your goals. That’s totally okay — but, even if you think of your unborn baby as an “unwanted child,” you can give him or her a life of love and opportunity with a waiting couple who desperately want to be parents. In this way, your baby is not an “unwanted baby” at all!

Placing your child for adoption does not make you a bad parent, and neither do any complicated feelings you have toward your baby at this time. Our trained specialists are always here to answer your questions and help you decide what’s best for your situation. Our counselors are available for free 24/7 at 1-800-ADOPTION to talk with you, or you can contact us online to learn more.

An Adoptive Parent’s Feelings

On the other hand, people often view adoptive parents through an uncomfortably savior-like lens. In fact, many start their search by wondering “how to adopt unwanted babies.

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 infants” 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.

On the other hand, maybe you’re a hopeful adoptive parent who’s considering this family-building path. Know that, if you choose adoption, you won’t be adopting an “unwanted baby” — but instead connecting with a prospective birth mother who wants to give her child the best opportunities possible. You’ll likely see just how much a prospective birth mother loves her child, and you’ll play an important role in helping her make her dreams for her child come true.

If this sounds like the right path for you, American Adoptions can help you with every step of the journey. Contact us online to learn more or get started today.

An Adoptee’s Feelings

The idea of an “unwanted kid” 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 prospective birth parents love their children, 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About “Unwanted Babies”

While adoption is certainly increasing in popularity, there’s still a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to this process. Below, we’ve answered a few of the biggest questions we get from prospective birth and adoptive parents.

Remember, if you have more questions, you can always contact us anytime.

1. What happens to unwanted babies?

Even if a woman gives birth to an unwanted child, she often makes a plan ahead of time to care for her son or daughter’s well-being. The “made-for-TV” image of a woman dropping a child off at a fire station doorstep is hardly the reality; women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy will research their options and have the information they need to make the best decision for their situation.

While that decision may not be made until after the baby is born, a mother who is thinking about adoption has access to the resources needed to place her child with a safe family as soon as she’s ready to do so.

2. Where do unwanted babies go?

Many people have images in their head of “unwanted babies” sitting in crowded orphanages — but the truth is very different. These children are actually so desperately wanted by the 2 million waiting couples out there that adoptive parents wait for months or years before being chosen for the opportunity to adopt one. Even then, these children are not randomly placed with adoptive parents; a prospective birth mother makes a careful loving, proactive plan to place her son or daughter into the adoptive family’s arms, often at the hospital soon after birth.

“Unwanted children” never languish in orphanages in the U.S.; in fact, orphanages no longer exist here. Instead, private domestic infant adoption agencies like American Adoptions provide the resources and support needed to help these children find the best homes as soon as possible — based on the preferences of their birth parent(s).

3. How can I adopt an unwanted baby?

This is often the first question a prospective adoptive parent asks during their family-building journey. But, as explained above, there’s a lot more to private infant adoption than the placement of “unwanted” children into waiting adoptive parents’ arms. Infant adoption is a beautiful process with genuine relationships between birth and adoptive parents, so adoptive parents must be fully educated before deciding this path is right for them.

For more information about this process with our agency, please contact us online anytime.


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 adopting a baby, please contact our agency online.

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

Request Free Information