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I'm 15 and Pregnant, What Do I Do Next? [How Adoption Can Change Lives]

Your Unplanned Pregnancy Options

Finding out you’re pregnant at 15 years old can feel like your world is crumbling. We can help. Call 1-800-ADOPTION now to get basic information.

  • Adoption for your pregnancy at 15 years old not only gives your child a chance at having a life but helps you stay on track with your dreams and goals. 
  • We protect your privacy when choosing adoption.  
  • Adoption changes the lives of a hopeful adoptive couple dreaming of building their family. 
  • You're in control of every choice in the adoption process, including choosing the family, how much post-adoption contact you want to maintain, and more.

If you’re 15, you’re probably in high school, dreaming about upcoming dances and worried about all the normal challenges of being a teenager — getting your first job, dealing with your first loves and working through changing friendships. 

If you’ve come to this article, you may be scared about what your future holds. Having a baby at 15 probably wasn’t part of the plan, and it may feel like your life is over with this surprise.  But, know this: You are not the first pregnant 15-year-old, and you will not be the last. At this point, it’s all about figuring out what your options are and deciding which one is best for you. 

There are probably a few thoughts running through your head right now: “Should I get an abortion? Should I give up my baby? Should I keep my baby? I’m 15 — how am I supposed to make this decision?” 

First, take a deep breath. You’ve come to the right place. At American Adoptions, many of our specialists are adoptees, adoptive parents and birth mothers. We have first-hand experience with adoption and how it can improve the lives of everyone involved. We want to help you not only make the best possible unplanned pregnancy choice for you but help guide you to allowing your child the opportunity to have an amazing life with a special adoptive family. 

For guidance in your situation, please call 1-800-ADOPTION.

Our counselors can support you through the steps ahead, including advice on how to tell your parents about your pregnancy. You can also reach us online. Adoptive families wanting to adopt can fill out our online contact form to get more information. 

Let’s first discuss some of your unplanned pregnancy options for a 15-year-old

5 Things to Know About Having a Baby at 15 Years Old 

When you first discover that you are pregnant at 15, you may automatically consider parenting your child. Being a parent can seem like fun; raising a child who looks like you and loves you unconditionally can be the most rewarding thing in the world. 

If you’re considering becoming a teen parent or just asking, “Should I keep my baby? I’m 15; what will this be like?” there are a few things you should think about first

1. Parenting may not be what you think. 

When young women think of parenthood, they often think of the Kodak moments: dressing up their little ones, showing their daughter or son off to their friends, and having a playmate to teach the world about. However, parenting is much more than that.

Are you ready to get up in the middle of the night during the first few months of your baby’s life? Are you prepared to change dirty diapers and be there to clean up your baby when they get sick or make a mess on themselves? Are you okay with sitting up with them while they cry for hours on end? That would be your job as a parent. 

2. You will have to take full responsibility. 

If you become a parent, it is a full-time job. Do not expect your parents to do the hard work for you; you will need to figure out the logistics of childcare, potty training and more on your own.

Many women your age have a romanticized view of parenting, but it is a lifetime commitment that you cannot back out of. 

3. You will need your parents’ support. 

That said, your parents’ support would be instrumental during the first few years of your child’s life. They would have to be comfortable supporting you and the baby financially, especially if you are not old enough to have a job right now.

Before deciding to keep your baby, talk with them at length about what responsibilities they expect from you and what kind of support they are willing to give. 

4. You do not have to marry the baby’s father. 

If you decide to become a parent, the baby’s father should play a role in your child’s life. However, you do not have to marry him for this to happen.

Teenage marriage has proven to be more harmful than beneficial, and you do not have to be forced into this lifelong commitment at your young age — especially if the father is significantly older than you. If the father of your baby is an adult, or your pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, please contact local authorities right away. 

5. You will have to make certain sacrifices. 

Becoming a teen parent is hard work. You may need to attend an alternative school that provides care for your baby during class, and you may not be able to attend college as you have planned.

Your teenage years would not be full of what you expected; instead, they would be full of potty training, childcare and putting your baby’s interests first.  

5 Things to Know About Having an Abortion at 15 Years Old 

Another option you may be considering if you are pregnant at 15 is terminating your pregnancy.

For some young women, abortion is the right decision; it prevents them from having to carry a pregnancy to term (with potential for added risks at a young age) and allows them to continue working toward their education and life goals with no long-term effects. 

Before you decide that abortion is or is not right for you as a pregnant 15-year-old, there are a few things to consider: 

1. Abortion can be expensive. 

An abortion procedure can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars, especially if you are not using your parents’ insurance.

This can be cost-prohibitive for those who are pregnant at 15, so talk with a local family planning clinic such as Planned Parenthood for information on fees. 

2. You may need parental permission for the procedure. 

Depending on your state’s laws, you may need parental permission or need to give your parents notice before you can proceed with an abortion.

Again, a local family planning clinic can tell you more about the abortion requirements in your state. 

3. You may experience feelings of grief and loss. 

Deciding to end your pregnancy is not a decision to take lightly, and it’s normal to have complicated emotions and questions if you choose to obtain an abortion.

That’s why it’s so important that you learn all you can about this option before choosing it and are aware of all its pros and cons. 

4. You are the only one who can make this irrevocable decision. 

Sometimes, young women like you make an appointment at an abortion clinic only to change their mind on the way or once they have arrived. You will never be obligated to follow through with an abortion if you change your mind, no matter what anyone may tell you.

You always have the option of choosing to parent your child or place them for adoption after birth. 

5 Things to Know About Placing a Baby for Adoption at 15 Years Old 

One of the least-talked-about unplanned pregnancy options for a pregnancy at 15 is choosing to place their baby for adoption.

Often, young women automatically think of abortion and parenting when they discover they are pregnant — but adoption is still a path that has many benefits for your unplanned pregnancy. 

If you are not sure you are ready for the challenges of being a teen mom but you’re not sure that terminating your pregnancy is right for you, you may consider adoption.

Here’s what you should know:

1. Adoption is free to you. 

Unlike raising a child or getting an abortion, adoption is the only unplanned pregnancy option that is completely free.

 Your pregnancy expenses will be covered by your adoption professional, and you may even be eligible for additional financial assistance, depending upon your circumstances. 

2. You will have to carry your pregnancy to term. 

To place a child for adoption, you must deliver him or her first. This means you will need to carry your pregnancy to term, which can be emotionally and physically complicated.

An adoption specialist can arrange for alternative schooling during your pregnancy to make these challenges a little easier. 

3. You are in charge of the process every step of the way. 

Even though you will be having a baby at 15 years old, you are the only one in charge of the adoption process.

You can make the choices that are best for you and your baby, even if others disagree. Your adoption specialist will be there to support you, not sway you one way or another. 

4. You can choose the family and post-placement relationship you want. 

Adoption is not “goodbye”; you can have a relationship with your child after you place them with an adoptive family of your choosing. This can include letters and pictures or even in-person visits!

You will start creating a relationship with your baby’s adoptive parents from the moment you pick them — another decision that will be entirely up to you. 

5. You do not need your parents’ permission to place a baby. 

Unlike obtaining an abortion, placing a child for adoption is a decision that is yours alone.

While some states may require your parents have notice of your adoption plans if you are a minor, in most states, you do not need their permission to place your child for adoption. Remember, your adoption specialist will be here to provide any support you need along the way. 

We know that being pregnant at 15 can be overwhelming, which is why we are here to help. If you are interested in placing your child for adoption or simply want to learn more about all of your unplanned pregnancy options as a pregnant 15-year-old, please call 1-800-ADOPTION today.  

Michelle, a birth parent specialist and a birth parent herself, is ready to answer any questions you have about putting a baby up for adoption at 15.          

“I am available to answer any questions that arise, particularly from birth moms, as I have been in your shoes and know how you are feeling,” Michelle said. “It was most helpful to me when I had someone to talk to who would just listen to me without making any judgments or conclusions about who I was as a person.”         

You can ask Michelle questions about the adoption process online. You can also call us at 1-800-ADOPTION, or get free information with our online contact form for prospective birth mothers considering adoption here. Adoptive families wanting more information on adopting a child can click here to get more information. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions 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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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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