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You’re not ready to have a baby. Perhaps you’re still a teenager, not financially stable, or not prepared to care for and raise a child. One of the options you have is adoption: placing a child legally with another family or parent other than the birth mother or father. This transfers all of the responsibilities and rights over to the adoptive parents shortly after childbirth.

Some couples that use birth control and conceive unexpectedly face a situation that they hadn’t planned for at all. Even couple who have been married for years can find themselves facing conflict if their reactions to the news differ, and that conflict can lead to a final heart wrenching decision of divorce or a mother raising the newborn all on her own.

Why consider adoption

If a married couple is unable to have children on their own but don’t want to resort to fertility procedures like in vitro fertilization, or IVF, adoption is the next best choice. Sometimes a woman who finds herself in an unfortunate scenario can provide her unborn child with the best home by giving up her legal rights and letting a family member or friend adopt the baby. If you’re pregnant and don’t have anyone to turn to, there are many professionals and organizations available at little or no cost to help you learn whether adoption is the best choice for your unborn child.

One of the main reasons a birth mother decides to give her child up for adoption is the hope that an adoptive family could provide the baby with the things she is unable to give the child. While many young mothers say that they were forced by their parents to put their child up for adoption, other reasons include not being financially stable enough to provide for another person, being in an abusive relationship or living in an unsafe environment, being single and unable to handle parenting alone, and being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Others have been the victim of rape or incest and believed they would be unable to care for a human being that resulted from such violence.

Types of adoption

An adoption can be closed or open, domestic or international, related or unrelated, and each one has its own rules and features. Open adoption is fully disclosed and allows for communication between the adoptive parents and the biological mother and other biological family members, such as phone calls, letters, or visits. A closed adoption takes all identifying information shared between adoptive parents and the biological mother or father out of the picture after the point of placement. Medical history and ethnic background may be shared as it is considered non-identifying information, but once the adoption is legalized no further information can be shared. A related adoption is the correct term to be used when a baby is adopted by an existing family member, like when a stepfather adopts his wife’s biological son from a previous relationship or a grandmother adopts the baby of one of her own children. Intra-family adoption can also occur as a result of a parental death.

History of adoption

While in the past adoption was used more for slavery than building a family, today couples or individuals adopt a child or children in order to add to their family. Abandoned children made up a significant part of the Empire’s slave supply, and both males and females could be found working at brothels in ancient times. Wealthy families used adoption to foster their own interests instead of the well being of the child; for instance, many of Rome’s emperors were adopted sons. In the Middle Ages when a ruling dynasty would overthrow a family that lacked a natural-born heir, bloodlines were paramount. In France, the Napoleonic Code required adopters to be at least age 50, at least 15 years older than the person being adopted, and the adoptee had to have been fostered for at least six years, rules that made adoption especially difficult. Eventually the Catholic Church created rules about the treatment and rearing of abandoned children because of the rising levels of abandonment, and in the Middle Ages the Church began to find new homes for the abandoned children. Because this practice forced children to live within monasteries, eventually the orphanage system was created.

Posted by Andrew
on Oct 31 2010. Filed under Pregnancy.
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