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I'm 18 - Should I Keep My Baby from an Unplanned Pregnancy?

Deciding Between Adoption and Parenting

Just like any other women in her teen years, if you are unexpectedly pregnant at 18, you will have an important decision to make. However, because you are a legal adult, you may assume that you’re more capable of raising a child than a woman who is younger than you. While this may be the case, remember this — you do not have to become a parent after an unexpected pregnancy just because you are a certain age. You should only become a parent when you’re ready.

Still, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may wonder what having a baby at 18 would be like. You may even ask, “I’m 18 — should I keep my baby?”

This decision will always be entirely up to you. However, if you’re thinking about having a baby at 18, advice and support is always available to you in the form of unplanned pregnancy counseling. Whether you’re curious about becoming a parent, or you still want to learn about all of your unplanned pregnancy options, know that our counselors are here to help.

While American Adoptions is an adoption agency, you will never be pressured into choosing adoption when you call our counselors at 1-800-ADOPTION. Instead, they will talk to you at length about your options for having a baby at 18 and provide the information you need to make the best decision for you — whatever it ends up being.

When you talk to our counselors, they will discuss the pros and cons of each of your unplanned pregnancy options in detail. In the meantime, you can learn more about the considerations for keeping a baby at your young age below.

Why Should I Keep My Baby When I’m 18 Years Old?

While you are a legal adult when you are unexpectedly pregnant at 18, you may not yet have the financial and practical support system that a woman a few years older than you may have. Even if you have your own place at college, you may still depend upon your own parents to pay for your rent, supplies and education. They may not be keen on paying for the expenses of a baby on top of that.

Even if you are living on your own, you are likely in the beginning stages of your career. You may not make enough to afford the extra expenses of a baby, and you may not have the childcare system in place to allow you to continue to work in order to afford your new addition. While having baby at 18 and raising them is certainly possible, these circumstances can make your journey a bit difficult.

Ultimately, no one else can tell you what you “should” do when it comes to your unplanned pregnancy. However, there are usually a few reasons why you may decide to keep your baby from an unplanned teenage pregnancy:

  • You have your parents’ support. Raising a child is a big responsibility, and it is an incredibly difficult path as a single parent. If a young woman decides to be a mother, it is likely because she has financial, practical and emotional support from her parents along the way — for things like childcare, baby expenses, medical bills and more.
  • You are comfortable postponing your personal dreams. If you are considering having a baby at 18, your life will need to revolve around that new child. This means any dreams you have of a “traditional” college experience will need to be postponed or canceled, as well as any goals you may have in regards to starting your career uninhibited or getting married before having a child. It’s a good idea to speak with other teenage parents to understand exactly what you will give up if you choose to have a baby at 18.
  • You are ready for the ups and downs of motherhood. Becoming a parent is more work than it may initially seem. It is a 24/7 job that you cannot ignore, even if you wish you were doing something different. If you are thinking about having a baby at 18, think hard about all the aspects of motherhood — not just the Kodak moments of first steps and first words but also the late nights up with a crying baby, changing diapers and more.

If you do decide to become a teen parent, you can look for local resources to help you in this journey: local family planning clinics, WIC programs and other organizations.

Why Should I Place My Child for Adoption When I’m 18 Years Old?

If you’re asking at 18, “Should I keep my baby?” it’s a good idea to consider the option you have should you change your mind: adoption. There is absolutely no shame in carrying a pregnancy to term intending to parent and then changing your mind. In fact, in doing so, you can give life to your child at the same time that you give happiness to someone desperately wanting to be a parent.

Choosing to place your child for adoption is a decision that you can change at any time during your pregnancy or after you deliver your child. So, if you’re on the fence about becoming a parent, know that you will have a back-up option if you decide against becoming a teen parent after you give birth.

So, what are the reasons you may consider placing your baby for adoption as a pregnant 18-year-old?

  • You want to give your child the best life possible. While there are many successful teen moms out there, it will be a lot of hard work if you choose that path. On the other hand, you may choose to place your child for adoption with people who are financially and emotionally prepared for the challenges of parenthood. The people who are interested in adoption are thoroughly screened by their adoption agency and are excited at the opportunity to have a relationship with you before and after your child is born. In no way is this path “giving up on” or “giving away” your baby; it’s choosing to give them the best opportunities possible.
  • You want to have a relationship with your child as he or she grows up. It’s normal to have maternal feelings toward a child you are carrying, but those maternal feelings aren’t always enough to provide the best childhood possible. If you choose adoption, you will not say “goodbye”; you will have the opportunity for a direct relationship with your child and their parents through letters, pictures, phone calls and even in-person visits during the years to come.
  • You need financial assistance for your pregnancy expenses. Pregnancy is expensive, and it can be difficult to find the funds for your prenatal care and delivery if you are only 18 years old. When you choose adoption, your entire journey will be free of charge — which means you will not bear the financial burden of pregnancy on your own. You may even be eligible for additional financial assistance, based on your personal situation.

If you are interested in placing your child for adoption, know that you will be in charge of the process every step of the way. You will get to choose the family you want to adopt your baby and the kind of open adoption relationship you want to have for the years to come. You will never be obligated to choose adoption when you contact an agency, and you will always retain the right to change your mind about your decision before you sign your legal adoption documents after your baby is born.

Still torn between having a baby at 18 and placing your baby for adoption? Don’t worry — our adoption specialists are here to help. Receive free unplanned pregnancy advice today by calling 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

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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