Parenting or Adoption - One Birth Mom's Personal Thoughts

By Jess Nelson, Community Manager, PairTree

November 30, 2022

3m read

I have always been a researcher, a list maker, and used a pro-con list to make most big life decisions, so when I was faced with an unexpected pregnancy, I did my research and laid out all of my options. When abortion wasn't an option, I was left with parenting or adoption. And I truly did not know what to do.

So I made a list.

And while no pro-con list in the world can prepare you for the weight of this decision, it did help me to put on paper my thoughts and feelings, as well as some of the benefits and struggles I would face no matter what decision I made. No two women are in the same situation, but this was my thought process... and I though it might help you, too.

Parenting Pros

You have the opportunity to be a parent.
If this is something you’ve wanted for a long time, or currently want, then this is a huge pro. For people who want, and feel prepared, to parent, in can be one of the most rewarding experiences.

There are, in some areas, less decisions to make.
Of course parenting involves a million decisions. But, up front, you may be less overwhelmed with giant choices. Adoption plans involve a lot of choices, and important decisions.

Less questions & stigma from society.
We live in a world that, unfortunately, still isn’t sensitive towards topics of parenthood and adoption. You may feel more accepted & welcomed if you choose to parent.

The path is more straightforward.
Once again, parenting is very confusing! I'm not saying it’s simple. But it’s true that the path to adoption can be a bit more confusing & intimidating when you’re starting out.

Parenting Cons

The emotional cost, if you’re unsure.
If you feel forced into parenting, then the emotional cost can be immense for both you and the child. Being forced into any major life decision is harmful & unacceptable, but especially so when it comes to parenting.

Letting go of some dreams/goals.
You absolutely can keep chasing your dreams when you are a parent. But, lots of parents find themselves needing to let go of some of their biggest goals for awhile, because their child becomes priority.

The cost.
Kids are expensive. If your financial situation is already stretched, children can add a lot of stress on your financial security. But remember, if you want to parent, there are always ways to find financial support!

Adoption Pros

The choice is yours.
We are entering a modern era of adoption, where you can be as selective as you want. You have control – you don’t need to feel powerless.

You may feel it’s what’s best for your child.
If you are currently not ready to be a parent, for whatever reason, you may feel that adoption is what’s best for your child. You may want safer conditions at home, more financial security, or more life opportunities for your child – and this can make adoption a good option.

The freedom to pursue your dreams.
If you’re at a point in your life where you’re just not prepared to give up your goals & dreams, adoption allows you to pursue them. Of course parents can still pursue their dreams, but often parenting takes such priority that your own goals & dreams can be put on the back burner.

A community of supporters.
You will always have support from the adoption community. No matter what you’re going through – someone will always have your back.

Adoption Cons

The emotional toll.
This is the biggest, scariest con of adoption. This process involves all kinds of heavy emotions, and they can often be unpredictable.

The unknowns.
No matter how many people comfort you, or how much studying up you do, a lot will still feel unknown in adoption.

The fear of regret.
Whenever you’re making a massive life decision, a big part of the decision making process is the fear of regret. Adoption will most likely be one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make.

The feeling of judgement/isolation in society.
A lot of people still don’t get it. We’re trying to change this, but we still live in a world where people may judge your decision, or make you feel uncomfortable with their questions.

Adoption or Parenting – The Big Picture

Just remember – you do what you believe is right for your child. Don’t let anyone coarse or pressure you one way or the other.

Consider each option, the pros & cons, the questions you should ask yourself, and make sure you feel confident in your decision.

Jess Nelson Jess Nelson is the Community Manager at PairTree, focused on growing the resources, programs and education offered for both expectant and birth families, and adoptive families. Jess has spent the last 5 years working in the field of private adoption, first as a paralegal for an Adoption Attorney in Louisiana and most recently with PairTree. As a birth mom of two through private adoption, her firsthand experience of both agency and attorney adoption led her to becoming an adoption professional and join the fight for reform and post placement care for birth moms.