A new study explores the feelings birth parents have about their experiences with adoption, and indicates that stigma exists toward birth parents and has increased over the last several decades.
The research aimed to gain a better understanding birth parents and glean awareness to foster the development and delivery of programs and services for expectant and birth parents.
Among the questions examined were:
- Why do birth parents choose to place their children for adoption?
- What factors contribute the most to long-term satisfaction with an adoption decision?
- How have the experiences of birth parents changed over time?
- What is most helpful to an expectant parent or birth parent considering adoption?
Much has changed since the 1970s in private adoption, they found.
Birth parents are now making most of the decisions in the adoption process, as opposed to earlier when they had little to no say. While this is a positive development, they say, there is further to go. In addition to there being opportunities to improve services and support for birth parents, the study found that “the percentage of birth mothers who experience some level of stigma about their decision to place their child for adoption has increased 20% since 1970.”
Birth mothers indicated various sources of stigma, such as other relatives - 36.4%, parents – 34%, friends – 33.9%, and healthcare workers – 31.7%.
Birth fathers said other relatives were stigma sources at 29.5%, other birth parent at 24%, and friends at 19.2%.
With an estimated 36 couples waiting to adopt for each adoption-eligible baby in the U.S., and the tragic numbers of abortions each year, pregnancy centers can be a life-affirming bridge between their clients and prospective adoptive parents by accurately informing clients about adoption and help combat any stigma in the pregnancy help arena.
The letters that pregnancy centers receive from couples looking to adopt testify to the numbers of people seeking to welcome a baby into their family.
These couples realize that pregnancy centers are where young women in unplanned pregnancies encounter pregnancy help and receive guidance in making their decision. They know the pro-life mission means encouraging these mothers to first realize they have life-affirming choices, hopefully eliminate abortion as an option, and then decide whether parenting or finding an adoptive family is best in their situation.
Naturally, pregnancy centers already work to highlight adoption as a beautiful and sacrificial decision by birth parents.
Birth parents can go forward knowing they rose to the occasion in an unplanned situation; they did not take the supposed ‘easy way out’ by allowing an abortionist to end the life of their child. To go forward through nine months of pregnancy and doctor visits so this baby can be loved by other people is heroic. This is the message of hope shared in pregnancy help centers about adoption.
As an adoptive parent myself, I’ve always felt great appreciation for my son’s birth mom, knowing that she could easily have chosen abortion.
Out of love for him and wanting him to have a life that she just wasn’t able to provide, she rejected the easy way out in order for her son to have a full life with loving parents. Each year on my son’s adoption day, we make a point of saying, “Thank God for your birth mom!”
Learning that many birth parents who choose adoption feel a stigma is disappointing, when in many aspects of our society there is no such stigma about abortion. The abortion industry's powerful marketing campaign proclaiming abortion as "empowering," "a woman's right," and that it is no big deal has been part of our culture and complicit media for years now.
Of course, we never want to make a woman who is suffering from a past abortion to feel worse about it; in many cases they weren't shown their ultrasound and were pressured into it. But the more pro-life truth and testimonies that abortion-vulnerable women see of mothers who chose life in unplanned pregnancies, the more likely they are to choose to life for their child.
A woman who chooses adoption over abortion has made a far better decision for herself in addition to her child.
Tweet This: A woman who chooses adoption over abortion has made a far better decision for herself in addition to her child.
Pregnancy centers can play a big role in informing woman of the likelihood of a better future in choosing adoption over abortion.
* BraveLove.org is a great resource on adoption for pregnancy centers. Their video testimonials tell the stories of birth moms who were hesitant initially about adoption, but ultimately made an adoption decision and are so glad they did now. There are also testimonials from adoptive parents, expressing their love for their child and gratitude for the birth mom's decision. They also offer all sorts of literature for pregnancy centers to encourage pregnant moms to consider the option. Additional adoption resources are available HERE.