Adoptions With Love Blog

“Giving Baby Up for Adoption”: Choosing Adoption is Not Giving Up

Placing your child for adoption is NOT the same as giving up your baby for adoption. Adoption does NOT involve giving up.

The term “give up for adoption” is a dated term that is often used in casual conversation and in the media. It is derived from the phrase “put up for adoption,” but if we are to really think about it, “giving your baby up for adoption” is anything but giving up. It is an incredible sacrifice that a very brave mother makes for her baby, to give her baby life full of love and opportunity. It is not easy. It is one of the hardest, but most selfless things a mother can do when she is not ready to parent her baby.

Instead of saying “give up” or “put up for adoption,” we say making an adoption plan. Making an adoption plan means making a thoughtful plan for your baby’s life ahead. You may not have planned to get pregnant, but you are certainly taking responsibility to make sure your child has a life filled with love, education, permanence, family support and many opportunities. This is certainly far from giving up. You are planning for your child’s life.

Adoption has come a long way since the mid-1800s, but for some reason, the language we use to describe it has not evolved as well. The phrase “put baby up for adoption” comes from a darker era in which orphaned children were once forced onto trains and literally “put up” on stages to perform for, or be inspected by, prospective adoptive families. Over the years, many hospitals adopted the acronym “BUFA,” which stands for “Baby Up for Adoption.” The phrases “put baby up for adoption” and “give baby up for adoption” were likely used, heard, and spread by hospital staff to patients, and beyond.

“Giving Up” vs.
Giving Your Baby a Wonderful Life

Today, adoption looks vastly different. Expectant/birth mothers and their children are expertly matched with the best possible families, based on each mother’s wants and needs. All the hopeful families are carefully screened and interviewed, to ensure they are ready to raise a baby. In most modern adoptions today, expectant/birth moms choose the family to raise their babies.

Modern adoption is full of choices. Expectant/birth parents make a choice to give their children a better life. They choose the person, or the couple, they feel would make the perfect parents to raise their child. They also have the opportunity to meet with, talk to, and keep in touch with this family. Expectant/birth mothers can determine the level of communication with the adoptive parents, during pregnancy and throughout the child’s life. This is possible through open adoption.

Because adoption is such a positive path for many families, there is no deadline for deciding to take this path. You can take your time to consider this option throughout your pregnancy, and in the days following. In all states, birth mothers are required to wait until after the baby is born, before making a final decision. This allows them to meet their baby (if they wish) and carefully consider this decision.

Adoptive parents and birth parents can form a very special bond in their experiences, as they love and care for the future of this baby. Oftentimes, expectant/birth parents find that special “click” when they see or meet the perfect family for their baby. When an expectant/birth mother knows she has found the right family who was meant to love her baby, she can find peace-of-mind in knowing that her child will grow up to live a happy life, full of love and wonderful experiences.

Adoption can be a beautiful, positive, and loving choice for your baby if you are not in the position to raise a child. Remember, adoption does not mean you do not love your child. It does not mean you would not make a great parent. Rather, it provides a permanent, alternative option for you in this moment, right now, if you are not ready to become a mom or dad. Society or pop culture should not let you feel that you are “giving up.” Whether you are considering adoption, choosing adoption, or talking about adoption with others, try to use more modern and positive phrases, such as:

  • Choosing adoption for baby
  • Making an adoption plan
  • Placing baby for adoption

You should also feel confident to tell anyone who asks that you are “giving an opportunity” to your baby for the rest of their life. Feel proud and brave to make a positive choice for the life of your baby. We think you are brave and remarkable and you should think so, too.

A Birth Mother’s Perspective on the Phrase “Giving Up for Adoption”

Years ago, Adoptions With Love worked with a birth mother who made the brave decision to place her baby for adoption. She shared her thoughts on the terms “Give Up” and “Put Up” for adoption:

“Give up” sounds to me like a bad habit, like my beautiful daughter was a mistake I needed to get rid of, and adoption was the easy way out. It offends me to think that my daughter is anything but the smart, curious, amazing, funny girl she is. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and I’m so proud of who she is, and saying I “gave her up” implies that her existence was a problem that I needed adoption to fix. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Put up for adoption” is another phrase I hate, because it sounds impersonal and transactional. Like I posted an ad on Craigslist for newborn baby — free to a good home. As I mentioned, babies are not gifts or commodities. They are the most precious parts of ourselves and as birth mothers, we love our children more than I can possibly express.

I much prefer saying that I chose adoption, or that I placed my daughter with a family. I think that captures the feeling much better – that I chose her parents, that I was involved the whole way through, that it was a decision I made out of love, that I took my time to make the choice. Most of all, that I took the time to choose the right people – I didn’t just accept whoever came along first.”

Making an Adoption Plan

Adoptions With Love understands that everyone is an individual and no two people are alike. This is YOUR adoption plan. Some expectant/birth parents want a closed adoption plan. Others want a semi-open adoption plan where they can choose the family, meet in person, and receive letters and pictures (through their adoption agency) over 18 years. Many expectant/birth parents want a more open adoption plan with ongoing yearly meetings or regular email and phone calls. We have all of those options at Adoptions With Love. Every prospective parent agrees to at least a semi-open adoption plan. Adoptions With Love also keeps photos and letters on file, should a birth mother have a change of heart on receiving the update on her child.

When you consider adoption as a positive choice for an unplanned pregnancy, you are certainly not giving up. You are in charge. This is YOUR adoption plan and as skilled adoption professionals we can assist you and make certain your best interests are the main focus. At Adoptions With Love, we are here for you with care, compassion and professionalism. Adoption is a journey through life and we are here all the way, both now and into the future.

For more information please click here. If you would like to talk about your options on the phone, we are available toll-free 24/7 at 1-800-722-7731. You can also text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.