Support Circle has been fortunate to work with women in an unintended pregnancy who choose adoption as their final pregnancy decision. We have found this population of women to be courageous, selfless and extremely contemplative about their decision. As I reflect upon several women who chose to place their child for adoption, and the complexity of issues that they addressed during their pregnancies and the level of support they received throughout the decision-making process. I am also struck by the various profiles and personal histories of the women and men who chose adoption for their pregnancy option.
Consider Jennifer and Mike, a young couple from the mid-west who traveled to the west coast seeking greater employment opportunities after graduating high school. They discovered the pregnancy six months into their journey to California and came to our clinic to confirm how far along the pregnancy was by ultrasound and to discuss their pregnancy options. At ages 19 and 20, Jennifer and Mike were honest and transparent about their life in California, their limited support system (in the mid-west and the Bay Area) and their prospects for college education and an apprenticeship program in California. They had no family and very few friends in California and while the lack of support from friends was very bleak for them, returning to the mid-west was less appealing.
And then there was Jane, a 40-year-old, single mother of one child who came to our clinic at seven months and chose adoption because her physical and financial health could not sustain another child. Jane wrestled with her decision and expressed feelings of guilt, resentment, anger and depression because her eight-year-old daughter was old enough to understand “where babies come from” but could not figure out why her mother was going to deny her an opportunity to have a little brother or little sister. Our partnership with various adoption agencies, attorneys, and services in the Bay Area assisted Jane and her daughter with a healthy adoption plan and family counseling to help them for the remaining weeks of the pregnancy and during the transition and placement.
Lastly, there was Remi, a 28-year-old single mother and active leader in her church. Remi was devastated to learn of her pregnancy after living an abstinent life since the birth of her 6-year-old son. She met Dave, a relatively new member of their church and they dated about one year before discovering the pregnancy. They were on the path toward a committed relationship but they did not feel they were ready for marriage or co-parenting and abortion was not an option for them. Remi discussed the deep feeling of regret and sorrow about the pregnancy until the idea of a kinship adoption was introduced. Remi was aware of a family member who wanted to begin a family but had experienced multiple miscarriages. Remi (and later Dave) became open to exploring the idea of placing their child for adoption with another member of their family. And again, our partnership with local adoption agencies and specialists assisted Remi and Dave with their adoption plan and placement.
What we have discovered during our work with women in unplanned pregnancies who desire to consider an adoption placement is their need for extra support. Their profiles are different, their reasons for an adoption placement is different, but their need for women to advocate and promote the importance of their decision is the same. And it is vital! The common struggle of pregnant women considering adoption is respect for their choice from family, friends, religious communities and, most importantly, from women who chose to birth and rear their children, as well as, from women who wanted to terminate their pregnancy.
It is important for society to make every effort to support and recognize the thought provoking period associated with a pregnant women’s decision to place their child for adoption. Having support through the process is critical because of the level of grief experienced once the child is relinquished. Studies report women who chose to place their child for adoption experience a complicated form of grief because they “suffer the loss of a child although they are experiencing the psychological trauma and awareness that the child is alive.”
Adoption can be a loving choice. Most women who make the difficult choice to place their children for adoption do so because they love their child so much, they are willing to live apart to provide their child with a life they cannot provide at the present time.
The professional counselors and nurses at Support Circle are prepared to walk with an expectant woman considering adoption. We have relationships with Bay Area adoption agencies, specialist, and community organizations to assist women with their medical, emotional and psychological needs. We welcome the opportunity to serve you in one of our State licensed, medical clinics in the Bay Area. We also support the choice to place a child for adoption. It’s a selfless and courageous decision.