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Pregnant and Divorcing: Is Adoption an Option for You?

Getting divorced can be one of the most stressful moments in a person’s life. However, if you are getting a divorce while pregnant, you often have several other concerns, as well. What if the baby is your husband’s? What if the baby is not your husband’s? Can you raise a child on your own after your divorce? What should you do next?

You may also be asking: Can you put a baby up for adoption while in a divorce?

Adoption is always an option for an expectant mother, even if you are going through a divorce while pregnant. While there are several aspects to consider during this time, including the possibility of becoming a single parent, what’s most important is the best interest of your unborn baby.

If you decide you want to “give up” your baby for adoption while going through a divorce, you will need to understand your rights and the father’s rights in this process. Because state laws regarding a father’s rights in adoption vary, we encourage you to contact an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more. Our specialists can explain what the legal requirements are in your situation and, if you decide adoption is right for you and your baby, help you move forward with an adoption plan that is best for you.

Remember, you are never obligated to choose adoption, even if you contact American Adoptions while you are pregnant and going through a divorce. Before you make this life-changing decision, we encourage you to think hard about your situation and what is best for your unborn child.

Should I Keep My Baby While Divorcing?

Often, when a woman is undergoing a divorce while pregnant, she was unaware of her pregnancy when the divorce process began. If she discovers that she is pregnant during the middle of her divorce proceedings, it can add another emotional complication to the already stressful process.

There are many questions she may have at this point:

Should I keep my baby and try to save our marriage?

Should I even tell the father about the baby?

Do I want to forever have a connection to this man by having and raising a baby together — even if our divorce continues?

What if my husband is not the father of the baby?

While you are the only one who can make this decision, we encourage you to think about one important thing — what is best for your baby. A baby should never be used as a pawn in a failing marriage. Just as couples should never get pregnant in an effort to save a relationship, you should not use your pregnancy as a way to get your baby’s father to stay with you. The relationship between the two of you is hard enough already; adding a child to the mix will only complicate things further, and you will forever be bonded with a man with whom you may have previously been comfortable ending things.

If you’re asking, “Should I keep my baby while divorcing?” you should also be thinking about the realities of single parenting. If your husband is the father of your baby, he may be obligated to pay child support after your divorce — but you will still need to consider the financial aspects of raising a child on your own, as well as things like childcare and a support system for you as a single parent. While you are coping with divorce while pregnant, you may see your unborn child as a “replacement” for the loved one you are losing, but remember this — a child should not have the pressure of being there to make you feel better. Your responsibility as their parent will be to make them feel loved and supported, despite your own feelings.

Single parenting is difficult. If this path may not be the answer for you, remember that you have another option: adoption. Yes, you can put a baby up for adoption while in a divorce, even considering the situation with the baby’s birth father. In fact, adoption may offer a life for your baby that you cannot provide, including a stable, two-parent household with parents who are committed to loving and supporting your child forever. Choosing adoption is not “giving away” your baby but giving them the chance at a life you may not be able to provide yourself.

You will have the same rights as any prospective birth mother if you choose adoption while pregnant and divorcing. You have the right to create an adoption plan that is best for you, including choosing adoptive parents for your baby and having an open adoption relationship with them and your child after the adoption. But, because birth father rights in adoption can be especially complicated during a divorce process, you will need to work with an experienced adoption specialist to learn what laws apply in your situation.

Our specialists are always available to talk you through your options if you are going through a divorce while pregnant, including the steps if you want to give a baby up for adoption while going through a divorce, your rights, and the birth father’s rights in this process.

“Giving Up” Your Baby for Adoption to Save Your Marriage — and Vice Versa

If you are pregnant and divorcing your husband, you likely have a complicated history with him, especially if he is your baby’s father. If he knows about your pregnancy, he may have an opinion about whether or not you should place your child for adoption. He may even use this newfound knowledge to manipulate your divorce proceedings and make promises about the future of your marriage.

Remember, a child should never be used as a manipulative tool in a relationship. What’s best for your child may not be what is best for your relationship. Rather than get caught up in promises your husband may or may not be making, think about what you really want for your child. Do you want to sustain your relationship even if you know your marriage won’t provide a welcoming environment for your unborn child? If your husband wants you to place your baby for adoption (against your wishes) in order to have a “fresh start” for your marriage — is he really the right one for you after all?

Whatever your situation, if your husband knows about your pregnancy, you should consider involving him in your adoption decision. Marriage is difficult — especially marriages on the verge of divorce — and so is your conversation about adoption. For you two, an important part of still being married may be coming together to make the best decision for your baby, even if it ends up being adoption.

If you are feeling coerced into a certain pregnancy decision, remember that you always have the right to make the best choice for your baby. For more information about putting a baby up for adoption while in a divorce process or crisis pregnancy center, please call our adoption specialists for free at 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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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

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