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"I'm 20 and Pregnant and I Don't Want the Baby" - What Now?

6 Questions to Ask When Considering Adoption in Your 20s

If you, as a woman in your 20s, are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s normal to feel stressed. This is a life-changing experience, and it may be one that you weren’t quite ready for. If you are 20 years old, pregnant, scared and unsure of what to do, it’s okay that you are feeling these things. The first thing to know, though, is that you aren’t alone. Sometimes feelings of shame accompany an unplanned pregnancy, but we hope you’ll leave those at the door as you read this article. You aren’t the first woman to feel unsure about an unplanned pregnancy, and you won’t be the last.

The second thing to know is that there are many resources out there dedicated to helping you in various ways. If you’re unsure of how to proceed with your pregnancy, what you may need at this point is a better understanding of your options. That’s where we come in. Please know that while we are an adoption agency, this article isn’t mean to sway you toward any one unplanned pregnancy option, but simply to educate you about what those options are.

Those options, of course, are parenting, abortion or adoption. If you aren’t sure which avenue to take with your unplanned pregnancy, consider asking yourself these questions:

1. Am I ready to be a parent?

“I’m 20. Should I keep my baby?”

If the answer to this question is yes, you may not need to consider adoption as an option. No one should ever try to convince you not to parent if you feel that you are ready to do so, even if you are only in your 20s. This is your decision and your decision alone. However, if you aren’t sure that you’re ready to be a mother, then there are some additional questions you may want to consider.

2. Am I financially prepared to raise a child?

In 2013, raising a child until the age of 18 costs an average of $245,340. Given our modern economic trends, that’s a number that will continue to increase as time passes. You don’t have to be rich to be a parent — plenty of amazing parents aren’t wealthy. However, as a woman in your 20s, you may not have had a chance to build up your savings accounts to the point that raising a child is something you feel you can take on financially. Many individuals in their 20s are still relying on their parents for some form of financial support, or they have just recently become independent from their parents. Parenting may be financially infeasible for women in these situations. For many young women, this is determining factor when asking, “I’m 20 years old and pregnant; what should I do?”

Adoption, on the other hand, is completely free to prospective birth mothers like you, and you may even be eligible for financial assistance with pregnancy-related expenses.

3. What kind of support system will I have if I raise a baby?

They say it takes a village, and this isn’t entirely an exaggeration. What is your relationship with the baby’s father? Will he be around, and is he ready to take on the responsibilities that come with parenthood? Of course, it’s entirely possible to give your child an amazing life as a single mother, but in that instance, it’s important that you have people in your corner for help. Are your friends likely to be supportive of your decision to parent, and will they be responsible enough to help should you need a favor or simply someone to talk to? Are your parents or other family members supportive of you having a child at this point in your life? A strong support network can go a long way when raising a child.

4. Will raising a child affect my goals for the future?

Many women in their 20s are pursuing education or working at the beginning stages of a career, such as completing internships or fellowships. While not impossible, it’s undeniable that reaching these goals will be more difficult while raising a baby.

5. Do I want to become a mother at this point?

Not all women want to raise children, and that’s completely okay. Even if you want to raise children at some point, though, it’s also okay to feel that you don’t wish to do so quite yet. Your 20s are a very formative point in your life, and if you don’t wish to spend those years as a mother, that’s okay to realize. Remember, you don’t have to become a parent until you are ready.

6. Is abortion an option for me?

If you are 20, pregnant and don’t want the baby, you can consider abortion as an unplanned pregnancy option. Some women are strongly against this unplanned pregnancy option, but if this is something you would consider, it’s important to know your state’s laws about the procedure.  Naturally, this is an unplanned pregnancy option that has a time limit, while you can always choose between adoption or parenting at any point during or after your pregnancy.

These questions can be answered by you and you alone. If, however, you don’t wish to choose abortion and aren’t sure you’re ready to parent, it’s important that you know the benefits of choosing adoption for your child:

  • Choosing an open adoption means you get to watch your child grow up with their adoptive family and live the life they deserve.
  • Adopted children are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities or pursue secondary education, since they are raised in a home that was financially prepared for them.
  • Adopted kids are raised in a home with parents who were ready for them in every sense, in addition to knowing they have two sets of parents who loved them enough to put their interests above everything else.

For more information about what adoption could look like for you and your baby, please feel free to call American Adoptions at 1-800-ADOPTION at any time.

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

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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