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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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What it's Like Giving a Baby up for Adoption in Your 40s

When people think about women who place their babies for adoption, it’s not uncommon for women in their teens or early 20s to come to mind. The assumption is that unplanned pregnancies happen only to young women, but that’s not necessarily the case. Women in their 30s and 40s experience unplanned pregnancies as well. If you are a woman in your 40s who isn’t sure what to do about an unexpected pregnancy, you aren’t alone.

Becoming pregnant later in life doesn’t automatically mean that parenting is your only option. Like any other woman who unexpectedly becomes pregnant, you have three choices: parenting, abortion or adoption.

If you aren’t sure what to do, the first question to ask yourself is whether or not you’re ready to parent this baby. Women in their 40s may choose not to parent their children for any of the following reasons:

You have other children and feel that your family is already complete.

Contrary to popular misconception, many women who choose adoption actually already have other children. It’s not always a question of feeling ready to become a mother, but feeling prepared to become a mother again. Many women ultimately choose adoption when experiencing an unplanned pregnancy because they know there’s not enough attention or resources to stretch to another child in the family. If this is the case for you, you already know how expensive raising a baby can be. To raise a child until the age of 18 can cost an average of $245,340, and that was in 2013. Adoption is a wonderful way to make sure all of your children — both your new baby and the ones you’re already raising — get the best lives imaginable. 

You have more responsibility at work.

Gone are the days when you could skate in and out of work without anyone taking much notice. Internships are over, as is school, and it’s likely that you have some responsibility at your job at this point. Of course, it’s absolutely possible to have a baby and continue to succeed at the office, but it’s also true that having a baby means time off as well as a less flexible schedule.

You don’t wish to have a child at this time.

Maybe you have the resources to have another child, but you simply don’t want to. It’s okay to feel that your family planning phase is over and you don’t wish to enter back into that era. Many women don’t wish to have babies in their 40s simply because they know they’ll be entering their senior years earlier in their child’s lifetime than other parents. Maybe you’d rather just relax instead of taking care of a newborn. It’s completely okay to acknowledge those feelings if that’s the case.

You’ve never felt that motherhood was for you.

Not all women wish to be mothers. If you don’t have any children yet and wish to keep it that way, that is completely okay. Never let anyone guilt trip you for not finding parenthood appealing, whatever your reasons are.

If any of the above bullet points describe you, that’s completely okay. Like any other woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy who doesn’t wish to parent her child, you have two other options: abortion or adoption. Many women already have a firm stance on whether or not they’d have an abortion, and that is completely up to you. If, however, adoption is something you are considering, it’s important to know some of its biggest benefits:

  • Adopted children are more likely to participate in extracurricular activities or pursue secondary education. Since they are raised in homes that are both emotionally and financially prepared for them, adopted kids have access to endless opportunities.

  • Choosing open adoption allows you to watch your child grow into a happy, healthy and successful young man or woman. Your relationship with your child doesn’t have to end as soon as he or she is born.

  • A child who is adopted gets not one but two sets of parents who love them more than anything and put their interests first.

No matter which option you choose for you and your baby, it’s important that you make healthy choices as you go through your pregnancy. As a woman in her 40s, it’s crucial that you maintain frequent contact with your doctor to make sure everything progresses smoothly. If you find that you might be interested in adoption for your baby, please feel free to call 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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