Placing my little girl for adoption was the hardest, most wonderful thing I have ever done. I placed because I knew that it was the best way to give her a safe, happy home with two parents. Placing your child for adoption is oftentimes a healthy decision for both mother and child. There are many valid reasons to place your child – but there are also reasons not to.

Don’t place because adoption is your first instinct

Your first instinct may very well be right. But the decision to place your child for adoption is something that needs to be carefully planned and considered. At first, it seems simple: you didn’t plan on this pregnancy and you don’t know what to do. Place the baby for adoption, then the baby will be taken care of and everyone will live happily ever after. But it’s really not so simple. There are many things to consider. How will your decision affect your child? How will you, your family, and the other parent feel? What is the difference between open and closed adoption? Which do you feel is a better fit for you? Pondering on these questions will help you feel more confident in your decision.

Don’t place your child just because you feel pressured

I planned to parent my baby during the first seven months of my pregnancy. During that time I had several people approach me about adoption, pushing me toward it because that was the most culturally acceptable decision in my area. While these people had good intentions, it didn’t help me. I needed to make the decision on my own. I placed because I had my child’s best interest at heart, not because people or agencies told me to. If you find yourself considering placement just to get people off your back, don’t do it.

Don’t place to make a waiting couple happy

Kids aren’t presents and hopeful adoptive parents aren’t children in need. Infertility is sad. Loving couples waiting for years to adopt is sad. My heart truly breaks for every waiting family. But you shouldn’t place your baby with a couple out of pity. Yes, you are giving a wonderful gift to a family. The main healing factor in my life since placement has been seeing how happy baby R’s family is. I love them so dearly and their joy makes me smile. But I didn’t place for their benefit. Her adoptive parents are adults who are perfectly capable of handling the frustration of waiting to adopt. I placed to give her the best opportunity to have a healthy childhood. Choosing to place should always be in the best interest of the child.

Don’t place your baby because you don’t feel good enough

I would have been a killer mom. I love baby R with all my heart, and there’s not a thing I wouldn’t do for her. I’m a great role model. I’m responsible, intelligent, and hardworking. There’s nothing about me that would keep me from being a great mom. But at that time, I didn’t have the resources to properly care for baby R. It was the situation I was in, not who I am that made it best for me to place her. If I let myself believe that I placed because I’m not good enough for her, I will never be able to heal. Birth moms are good moms faced with a tough decision. Choosing to place has nothing to do with whether you are a good mother or not.

I love adoption. I support it so much that I am constantly writing articles, speaking on panels, and doing all I can to support birth and adoptive parents, and most importantly adoptees. But I also support the right of a woman to do whatever she feels is best for her child. Whether that means parenting or placing, I would urge every expectant mother to explore both options carefully.