5 Questions You Have About Giving a Baby Up for Adoption at 16
If you have found yourself pregnant at 16, you will have a lot of decisions to make. Choosing the right path for you and your baby may not be easy but, with the right information and resources, you can move forward with the life-changing decision you are proud of.
But, until then, being a pregnant 16-year-old is a difficult situation to be in. You may be scared of where you are now, not sure what to do next, and nervous about sharing your news with your parents. You may feel all alone — but know that this is not the case. The unplanned pregnancy counselors at American Adoptions are always here for you.
When you contact our adoption agency at 1-800-ADOPTION, you will not be obligated to place your child for adoption. Instead, you will get objective unplanned pregnancy counseling to help you make the best decision for you. If you are 16 and pregnant, help and advice is just a phone call away. You will never be judged for the situation you are in — just supported and assisted in whatever unplanned pregnancy choice you decide to make.
Young women in your situation often have many questions — especially if they are considering putting a child up for adoption at 16 or thinking, “I’m 16 and I don’t want to be pregnant.” You can find answers to some of these common questions below.
1. I’m 16 and don’t want to be pregnant. What are my options?
Often, young women facing this kind of situation ask, “I’m pregnant at 16 — what do I do?” The fact is, no one can tell you what you should do with your pregnancy. This is a decision that will affect the rest of your life, which is why you are ultimately the only one who can make this choice.
If you are 16 and pregnant, adoption is certainly one of your options. However, you also have the choice of parenting and abortion. Here’s what you should know about each option:
- Adoption: When you choose adoption, you choose to place your child with a family (that you pick!) who can provide the kind of life you can’t as a 16-year-old. You are in charge of the entire process, and you can even have an open adoption relationship as your child grows up. This means you can stay in touch with the adoptive parents and have a relationship with your son or daughter — which can help heal some of the emotions of grief and loss that you may feel.
- Parenting: If you choose to become a teen mom, your life will change dramatically. Your baby’s interests will come first, which means you will need to make certain sacrifices to give him or her the best life possible. You may need to postpone goals like college in order to afford caring for a growing child, and you should be ready for missing out on some teenage experiences because you will need to be a parent 24/7.
- Abortion: If you are thinking, “I’m 16 and don’t want to be pregnant,” abortion is the only unplanned pregnancy option that prevents you from carrying a baby to term. The procedure, while safe, can be expensive, and you may need your parents’ permission before obtaining one. Contact a local family planning center like Planned Parenthood to learn more about your abortion options as a pregnant 16-year-old.
You should do diligent research and talk with a trusted adult in your life before deciding on an unplanned pregnancy option. While you are the only one who can make the best decision for you, a supportive adult can help you carry out the unplanned pregnancy plan that you set for yourself.
2. Should I keep my baby at 16?
Many young women who are pregnant at 16 consider becoming a parent when they learn about their pregnancy. Becoming a teen mom may seem easy on television, but the reality is much more complex — and will require a lot more from you than you may expect.
If you are 16 and pregnant, adoption may not always be the best choice for you. However, before you choose to raise your child as a teenage parent, ask yourself these questions:
- Can I afford to raise a baby? Raising a child to age 18 is expensive; the most recent estimates place this cost at more than $230,000. If you raise your child as a teenager, there will be additional struggles — you may not be old enough to have a full-time job yet and, by working instead of continuing your education, you will often have a salary ceiling for whatever job you do end up at.
- Will the father be involved? It can be a romantic idea to raise your child with their father, but the reality is often not as perfect. Many teen fathers abandon their duties when faced with this responsibility. Even if your baby’s father is supportive, raising a child will bond you together forever — even if this person isn’t who you wish to spend the rest of your life with. Remember, you never have to marry this man just because you are pregnant. If your pregnancy is a result of rape, incest or statutory rape, please call the authorities right away.
- Do I have my parents’ support? In being 16 and pregnant, you will have to rely upon your parents for a great deal of support. It’s likely that they are still supporting you with food, shelter and other necessities. If you choose to become a teen mom, your parents will need to provide the same support for your child, should you continue to live with them. However, don’t think that your parents will take care of your child for you; choosing to have a baby at 16 means becoming a full-time parent, no matter how much support your parents may give you.
- What are my plans for continuing my education? Raising a child and continuing your education at the same time will be difficult. You will likely need to miss class for certain appointments and when you recover from childbirth. Who will take care of your baby when you have to go to school? Consider alternative schooling opportunities, such as night school or a school with a daycare program. Don’t just assume that you will be able to return to your high school after delivery as if nothing has happened.
3. Can I give my baby up for adoption? I’m only 16.
If you are pregnant at 16 and asking, “What do I do?” consider placing your child for adoption. In doing so, you can give another family the child they have dreamed about for so long and allow yourself to continue working toward your educational goals at your young age.
If you are considering this path, you may wonder, “Can you put a baby up for adoption as a 16-year-old?” The answer is yes. In the majority of states, you can choose to place your child with another family all on your own; you will not need your parents’ permission to do so. A minor like you can choose adoption, in contrast to needing parental permission to obtain an abortion.
For more information about the legality of putting a child up for adoption at 16, please contact a local adoption attorney.
4. What is the process of putting a baby up for adoption at 16?
If you’re wondering, “Can I give my baby up for adoption? I’m only 16,” know that American Adoptions is here to help. Our adoption specialists can walk you through every step of the adoption process to help you make the best choice for yourself and your baby.
Every adoption process is different. In general, if you are thinking, “I’m 16, and I don’t want my baby,” here is what your adoption process will look like:
Step 1: Call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION. If you are 16 and pregnant, help and advice is always available to you for free. Our counselors will answer your questions about adoption and your other unplanned pregnancy options to help you decide which path is right for you.
Step 2: Make an adoption plan. If adoption is the right choice for you, your adoption specialist will help you create an adoption plan. This will detail every aspect of your adoption, from the family you choose to adopt your child to the kind of relationship you want to have with them after your baby is born.
Step 3: Find a family. Using your preferences, your adoption specialist will present profiles of waiting families for you to choose from. You will always have the final choice of which family is best for your baby.
Step 4: Prepare for placement. You will have the chance to get to know the adoptive family, if you desire, and you will work with your adoption specialist to create a hospital plan for your delivery process.
Step 5: Place your child for adoption. Once your baby is born and any necessary waiting periods have been met, you can sign your adoption consent to place your son or daughter with their new family. From there, you will begin post-placement contact that you are comfortable with, whether that’s pictures, letters, phone calls or even in-person visits as your child grows up!
You will always be in complete control of your adoption process, and you will always retain the right to change your mind about your adoption decision until you sign your adoption consent.
5. When giving your baby up for adoption at the age of 16, who needs to be there with you?
If you are pregnant and 16 and thinking about adoption, you may wonder if you can keep your decision a secret. While we always recommend confiding in a trusted adult like your parents, we know that sometimes a confidential, anonymous adoption can be best to keep a young woman safe from an unsupportive home environment.
That’s why, when you sign your adoption consent, you are the only one who needs to be there. Your adoption attorney will guide you through the process and explain your rights, and a witness from the hospital will often attend this signing, too. The birth father usually does not need to be present; his rights can be terminated ahead of time, and your adoption specialist will help you navigate any complexities with this situation. However, it can be helpful to have a supportive, trusted family member or friend there during this emotional time — and as someone you can lean on during and after the adoption process.
If you are a pregnant 16-year-old, remember there is always help available to you. To speak with our unplanned pregnancy counselors (with no obligation to choose adoption), please call 1-800-ADOPTION today.
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