Knowing how to decide to give a baby up for adoption is not simple, nor is it a one-size-fits-all answer. There’s a lot to consider, and you and you alone are capable of making this decision for you and your child. However, it can be helpful to understand some of the reasons parents give their babies up for adoption in similar situations to yours.

Before we go into the top reasons for giving a child up for adoption, there’s something we need to address. It’s common for people to search things like “the reasons children are given up for adoption,” but in no way is placing your child for adoption “giving up.” This is vernacular that we continue to use because those unfamiliar with this process typically use it to search for adoption information, but it’s important to understand that it can be hurtful. Choosing adoption for your child is providing your child with the best life imaginable at a great cost to yourself; in no way are you abandoning him or her, “giving them away” or taking the easy way out.

We’d also like to address some of the benefits women who weigh the pros and cons of adoption and ultimately choose adoption tend to experience. Although no one has a crystal ball, relevant statistics can predict how members of a certain group may behave. The National Committee for Adoption (NCFA) conducted a research study of young women who created adoption plans for their children. Here are some of the trends they found.

Young women who create adoption plans:

  • tend to delay marriage longer.
  • do not get pregnant as quickly again.
  • finish high school more often.
  • generally complete some kind of vocational training.
  • have higher educational goals.
  • seldom rely on welfare.
  • are less likely to live in poverty.
  • tend to live in higher-income households in the years are the adoption was finalized.
  • are more likely to be employed, and at better paying jobs.

Though statistics don’t represent all birth mothers who create adoption plans, it is encouraging to note that of the women involved in this research study, those who chose to adoption for their child were more likely to follow these positive trends.

Now, let’s dive into potential reasons to give up children for adoption.

  1. You aren’t ready to be a mom. Whether you aren’t ready to be a parent at this time in your life or you don’t have the desire to ever become a mother, these are two common reasons women give children up for adoption. Maybe you feel too young and unprepared, or maybe parenthood just doesn’t factor into your plan right now. Whatever the reason, it’s completely okay to admit that you aren’t ready to become a mom.
  2. You can’t financially provide for a child yet. The Department of Agriculture estimated in 2015 that it cost $233,610 to raise a child until the age of 17, and this is a figure that will only continue to rise as time passes. It’s an intimidating number, especially if you haven’t been budgeting in preparation of an additional family member.
  3. You aren’t sure that you can provide a healthy, stable environment for a baby. If your living situation is currently less than ideal — or is temporary at best — then you may feel that this in itself is a reason for putting a child up for adoption.
  4. You have already completed your family. You may assume that all women who choose adoption for their children do so only for their first pregnancies, but this isn’t at all the case. Many women choose adoption for their second or third child, because they know that their family is already complete.
  5. You are going through personal struggles that might hinder your ability to parent. Everyone walks a different path, and it’s hard to predict what you might be experiencing in your life when you become unexpectedly pregnant. However, one of the common reasons to choose adoption is that you may be experiencing some troubles you need to conquer before becoming a parent.
  6. You don’t want to risk the possibility of your child entering foster care. You can choose adoption for your child at any time, both before and after he or she is born. However, if your child is old enough, he or she may go into the foster care system if you cannot provide a proper home. If you find after giving birth that you aren’t ready to parent, it’s possible that custody of your child may be temporarily (or permanently) taken away from you by the state. To many women, a good reason for placing a child for adoption is that it eliminates the possibility of him or her experiencing turbulence and confusion later on in the foster care system.
  7. You don’t have a healthy relationship with your baby’s father. If you’re asking to yourself, “Why choose adoption?” it can be helpful to think about your relationship with the father of your child. Will he be a stable presence in your baby’s life? Will he be a good influence if he is around? Many women ultimately pursue adoption plans because of unhealthy, or temporary, relationships with their partners.
  8. You don’t have a support system to help with a child. It’s entirely possible to do a great job of raising your child as a single mother, but if your baby’s father isn’t in the picture, it can be helpful to think about who will be there to help. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it’s true that there will be times when you need childcare for work, appointments, or just when you need a break. Many women cite that one of their reasons for putting a child up for adoption is that, ultimately, they knew they would be completely alone if they chose to parent.
  9. You want to help someone else to have a family. At any given time, there are many different families waiting to adopt a child. Many women feel strongly about placing their children with parents who have struggled for years with infertility and grief and ultimately say that this is one of their strongest reasons for putting a child up for adoption.
  10. You want to make sure your child has access to every possible opportunity. One of the reasons women give children up for adoption is to make sure their child has the potential to pursue any dream they want to—whether that’s participating in sometimes costly extracurricular activities, going to college, or more. It’s a selfless decision, to place your child with a family who can guarantee all of these possibilities, and it’s one that takes a lot of strength to make.

If you’re wondering why people give children up for adoption, please know that it’s never an easy choice — nor is it “giving up” on their babies. Interested in talking to an adoption specialist to learn more about how a woman decides to give a child up for adoption? Please don’t hesitate to contact one of the agencies below