Father of the Baby

Unplanned Pregnancy When You’re Married or in a Relationship: Is Adoption Right for You?

This guide is entirely devoted to a topic that’s not often talked about: Unplanned pregnancy and marriage/committed relationships.

When you think of a person who chooses adoption, you may have an image of single women and uninvolved birth fathers. This is actually an unrealistic stereotype. Birth parents come from all situations, backgrounds, ages, races and relationship statuses.

So, if you’re in a committed relationship or are married, unplanned pregnancy might feel like a more complicated situation. However, you might be surprised to learn that, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy in marriage, many couples choose to place the baby for adoption.

Here’s what you need to know as a married couple placing a child for adoption, and what the process would look like for you:

Options for Couples Experiencing an Unplanned Pregnancy

Couples who are married or who are in a committed relationship have the same pregnancy options as anyone:

  1. Parenting
  2. Abortion
  3. Adoption

Too often, married couples who experience an unplanned pregnancy are expected to default to raising the child. However, that may not be the right choice for you.

There are many reasons why a married couple might choose adoption for a pregnancy:

Reasons Why Loving Couples Choose to Place a Baby for Adoption

Although your own reasons for considering adoption will be entirely unique, you may share some of the same considerations that led other loving couples to choose adoption, like:

  • You don’t feel emotionally ready to be parents right now.
  • You don’t feel financially ready to be parents right now.
  • You don’t feel physically ready to be parents right now.
  • You don’t ever want to be parents.
  • You are currently raising other children and feel that your family is complete.
  • You want this baby to have the best life possible — even if you’re not raising him or her.
  • Raising this baby isn’t an option for you, but you want to help another couple who desperately wants a child.

Whatever your reasons for considering adoption, they are valid! All that matters is that you feel adoption is what’s right for you and for this child.

Common Situations a Married Couple May be Facing

Again, everyone’s situation is as unique as the people involved. The complex situation you’re currently facing may feel unusual to you, but adoption agencies have seen it all. Your situation may be more common than you think. Some of the most common situations that led to married couples choosing adoption have included:

  • Married and can’t provide for new baby. Considering adoption may be a good choice for married couples who aren’t financially, physically or emotionally able to provide for a new child at this point. This may be especially true if you’re struggling to support the children you’re already raising. Many couples choose adoption because they want to ensure this baby receives everything he or she needs, and also because they don’t want their older children to struggle if resources are spread more thinly after the addition of another child.
  • Married, but want to ‘give baby up’ for adoption. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you want to have kids — now or ever! There is constant societal pressure for married couples to have children, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with deciding that you don’t want or aren’t ready to be parents.
  • ‘Giving baby up’ for adoption while married and going through a rough patch. Becoming unexpectedly pregnant when you and your spouse are having marital difficulties is scary and confusing. You may not be sure if your marriage will make it, and the pressure of a child right now is not ideal. You may be worried that you’ll be forced to stay together if you try to raise this child, or you may be worried that the stress of a baby could force you apart. Additionally, you may worry about how all of this would affect a child.
  • ‘Putting a child up’ for adoption when married after infidelity. Relationships outside of marriages happen, and sometimes they result in unintended pregnancy. Women who have become pregnant by a man who is not her husband may feel that adoption is the best way to heal and move forward as a couple. So, you and your husband may decide that adoption is what’s best.

There is no one type of situation that offers a clear decision on whether or not adoption is the right path. This is something that only you can decide! Choosing adoption will often come down to a gut feeling.

How the Adoption Process Works for Pregnant Couples

As a married couple ‘giving up’ a baby for adoption, the process is just as simple as it is for any expectant parent considering adoption. There are five key steps:

Step 1: Choose Adoption

Despite being the first step, it’s usually the hardest! Have an honest and open conversation together about adoption. Take some time to learn about adoption, how it may benefit your child and you as a couple.  If you both feel that adoption is what’s right in your situation, take the next step.

Step 2: Contact an Adoption Agency

Start with our list of licensed private adoption agencies. When you contact an adoption agency, you can receive free information with no obligation to move forward if you’re not ready. They’ll be able to answer any questions you may have at this point, and they can walk you through what comes next.

Step 3: Select Adoptive Parents

You and your partner can view adoption profiles of pre-screened waiting families through your adoption agency. If you see a family that feels right to you, you’ll be able to get to know them through phone calls or even in-person meetings. You’re fully in control of how much or how little you want to talk to the adoptive family, based on your personal comfort levels.

Step 4: Place the Baby with Your Chosen Family

When you’ve delivered your baby, you’ll need to wait a minimum amount of time before you can sign the adoption paperwork, in accordance with your state’s laws. Your adoption agency will provide you with a free attorney, who will talk you through all of this to ensure you fully understand your rights. If you sign your consent, your baby will be placed with his or her parents.

Step 5: Stay in Touch

It’s very important to note that you always have the ability to decide how much or how little you want to stay in touch with your child and his or her family throughout the years. 9 out of 10 birth parents choose to have some amount of contact through an open adoption. Choosing an open adoption has been shown to have benefits for both the child and the birth family, but the amount of openness you wish to have (if any) is entirely up to you.

We understand that you may have some questions at this point. That’s normal! Let’s go through some of those:

Common Questions about Choosing Adoption as a Couple

You might have some questions about if adoption is possible in your circumstances, and about how your relationship may affect the adoption process. Here are some common questions that unexpectedly pregnant couples have asked:

“What if we are married and pregnant — and don’t want to be parents?”

You can always choose adoption in response to an unplanned pregnancy! That includes if you’re married. Learn more about ‘giving your baby up’ for adoption as a married couple here.

“Can married women ‘give their baby up’ for adoption?”

Yes! ‘Putting a child up for adoption’ when married is always an option. If you think it might be the right option for you and your spouse, start here.

“I’m considering ‘giving baby up for adoption’ even though I’m married. Is this an option if the baby is already born?”

Yes! Sometimes a married couple brings their newborn home and then they find that they no longer feel able to care for their child. You may still be able to choose an adoptive family for your baby together. Learn more here.

“Can I consider adoption if I’m married — without my husband’s consent?”

Rarely. While there are some situations in which a woman may pursue adoption without the consent of the birth father, these situations are legally complicated. Contact an adoption agency immediately to learn more, and to find out if adoption without your husband’s consent is possible in your situation.

“Can a woman ‘give her baby up’ for adoption if the father is still in the picture?”

Yes! You don’t have to raise this child just because the birth father is in the picture. Whether you’re married to the father of your baby, in a loving relationship, or even if he’s just a supportive presence in your life, you can still choose adoption. Learn more about placing your baby for adoption together here.

“If a woman ‘gives a child up’ for adoption when a father wants to be in the child’s life, is there a compromise that can be reached?”

Yes, and it’s called “open adoption.” Choosing an open adoption allows you and the baby’s father to remain in touch with your child for life. You can decide how open you want your adoption to be — learn more about this option here.

“Can you ‘put a baby up for adoption’ if you are not married and know the father?”

Yes! Women can (and do) choose to place their child for adoption with the support of the baby’s father, regardless of whether or not they’re married or in a relationship. Adoption can provide your child with a loving, stable, two-parent home. Learn more here.

“I’m in a new relationship — unplanned pregnancy is too much for us to handle right now. Can we choose to place the baby for adoption?”

Yes! Women (and couples) choose adoption for many reasons. All of those reasons are valid! If you don’t feel ready to raise a child with this person, or you’re worried how a child could affect your budding relationship, you can always choose adoption.

“How does a birth father consent to adoption?”

Like this. However, you’ll need to talk with an adoption attorney. The specific steps that a birth father must complete in order to give his legal consent to an adoption will vary based on your state’s laws, and must be issued in the correct way. Contact an adoption agency now to learn more.

Adoption May Be the Right Choice for You, Regardless of Your Relationship Status

Whether you’re single, married, in a relationship or in a complicated situation, adoption may be the right path for you. Regardless of your relationship status, you’ll need to decide if adoption feels like the right choice.

That choice is never easy, and it may be made more complicated when you’re not sure how the father of the baby will react or how he’ll feel about adoption. Remember that if you have any questions, you can always reach out to a licensed adoption agency, 24/7.

Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.

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