Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.

One moment your life seems set and stable, almost to the point of being boring. And the next thing you know something comes along and changes everything.

An unplanned pregnancy is like that. The good news is there are options for you and your baby. And one of them is adoption.

Adoption is a choice. The question is, is it the right one for you? Different people choose adoption for different reasons.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Generally speaking, expectant parents turn to it because they want to give their child the best future they can. That’s because

  • They lack the financial or emotional resources to raise a child
  • They want their child to be raised in a two parent family
  • They want to continue with their school or work and being a parent would interrupt that
  • Your particular set of circumstances and reasons may differ from these, and that’s alright too. There’s really no right or wrong reason.

At the end of the day, placing your baby for adoption is a deeply personal decision. One that you–-and only you-–can make.

That said, it’s advisable to include your baby’s father and/or a family member in the decision-making process as much as possible. They can give you a second opinion and ease the weight on your shoulders.

Depending on your circumstances, that may not be possible. The truth is, many expectant mothers choose adoption for this very reason–because they lack the support to raise a child. So if you’re feeling alone or confused or overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

As an expectant parent, you can have as much or as little input in finding a home for your baby as you want. For example, if you choose a closed adoption, you don’t have to share information about yourself or have contact with your child’s family.

In open adoption, on the other hand, you have the option of playing an active role both before and after your baby is born. For instance, you can

  • Choose a family for your baby
  • Create an adoption plan for your baby with them
  • Have an ongoing relationship with them and your baby after the adoption is finalized

In other words, open adoption doesn’t mean goodbye. It doesn’t mean you’ll never see your baby again. And it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that your baby will grow up hating you. Before you make any decision, you’ll need to

  • Get information, counselling and support
  • Find out what your rights are
  • Not let anyone push or pressure you into making a choice before you’re ready

In addition to reading up on everything you can, be sure to connect with other birth parents who have gone through the process. Because they’ve been in your shoes, they can tell you what’s involved and what to expect. You can find them online through blogs, websites or discussion groups or through an agency.

As an expectant parent who is considering adoption, the process is free for you, whether go through with your plan or not. In some states, you can even get financial assistance for some of your living and medical expenses.

So be sure to find out what’s covered and what isn’t. Open adoption isn’t without its challenges. By finding out how the process works now, you’ll have a better chance of making it work for you and your baby in the years to come.