Teen brother expecting baby
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Teen brother expecting baby
These boards have been extremely helpful in the past. Hopefully
this community can help me this time. My brother is 17, so is
his girlfriend. They live in Kentucky and are expecting a baby
in March '03. I'm advising them to give the baby up for
adoption. How can I sway them? I really don't want them to throw
their lives away. I feel sorry for the baby too - being raised
by teenagers is difficult for the child (My parents were teens
when they had me!)
Can a few of you post your feelings/experiences with adoption?
I'd really like to forward them messages from adults who were
adopted as kids and from families who've adopted kids.
What can I say to them to help them make the hugest decision in
Worried Big Sister
Two thoughts on this one. First, have a baby as a teenager is
really tough. Second, despite my own feeling that I needed to
be ''ready'' to have a child financially, emotionally, etc., I
have to acknowledge that those definitions of ''ready'' aren't the
same for everyone and can't be imposed. If your brother and
the baby's mother are willing to consider adoption, then giving
them support and resources is great! If they are not, would you
consider being supportive of their decision to keep the child?
I know a couple of circumstances where young adults, who I was
sure were ruining their lives by having a child, have blossomed
as parents and have happy, healthy children. Both had drug and
alcohol history that compounded the worry. Both, I am happy to
say, decided their responsibilities as a parent overrode
everything else. Don't know your brother's circumstances, but
life can evolve in the most unexpected ways. Don't lose hope.
I realise that you're woried about your brother, but please
think very carefully about trying to persuade him to adopt his
child. I was adopted by a mother who spent 8years on valium
trying to live with her decision, and spent decades regretting
it. Yes, of course it is difficult to be teenagers and have a
child, but what alot of people don't realise is that giving a
child away can be even more traumatic and life changing.
It is a heavy burden to bear, and one that will never be
forgotton by parents or child. Please pause, it must be their
own decision either way.
My husband had my step-daughter when he was 18 and he is the best
father I have ever seen. He worked full time and got through college and
now works for UC Berkeley. The daughter, who has lived with us for
most of her life, is a fabulous child. Very smart, caring, healthy and
beautiful. It has been a joy to have her. I can't imagine what we would do
without her. Her father was young but he gave her all the love he had.
She has blossomed as a result and is an ambitious child who loves life.
If your brother wants to keep the baby and love it and be a real father to
it then I say he should. Help him to realize that he has a heavy load in
front of him and that he has to work very hard to become the best father
he can be. I can only imagine how painful it is to give up a child
escpecially against one's will. Good luck with this difficult situation. But
maybe it isn't as bad as it seems.
Hello - this is a very delicate subject, indeed.
In most countries around the world, it is not uncommon for 17-year
olds to have babies. In this country, it is frowned upon - but I
am here as a young mother who is raising my daughter with nothing
but the utmost attention, love, affection and respect. It is
possible for young moms and dads to be effective and incredibly
Please don't judge them - have you tried talking to them
about ways you can _help_ instead of shaming them? Pressuring them
to give up their baby will only create problems if they have other
plans. Only discuss this with them if they bring it up first,
otherwise I would suggest keeping yourself out of their business
unless you really want to help them with their new baby.
I'm not saying adoption is the wrong choice - but it is their
I hope everything goes well.
Wow! We are adoptive parents (January, 2000) who are currently
pursuing a second adoption. That means we are looking for
birthparents who want to place their baby for adoption, and
would consider us to be a good family.
Now that you know my bias, I would say the best way to support
your brother and his girlfriend is to help them find the path
that makes sense for them. I'd also welcome a conversation with
you, and/or your brother and his girlfriend at any time. It's a
big subject, and a big decision. I am happy to tell you our
story and provide one example of how it might work for them. No
pressure. It really is about helping them come to a decision
that is right for them.
We chose to adopt our son through Open Adoption because it
strongly emphasizes the birth parents' rights and roles in the
process. Open Adoption is legal adoption where all parties know
each other to some degree. Birthparents choose the family they
want to place their child in based on their own objectives, and
we collectively decide what the relationship should be going
forward - not the courts, not the agencies, and not the
attorneys. For some people that means going through the
adoption process and never seeing each other again. For others
it means periodic contact as agreed in the adoption process.
For others still it means frequent contact, either in person or
by phone/mail. The point is that the participants are in charge
of the relationship.
We work with the Independent Adoption Center. Our office is in
Pleasant Hill, but they have offices across the country. You can
learn more about the IAC and Open Adoption by going to their
website at www.adoptionhelp.org, or by calling them at 925-827-
2229. We like this agency because they place such a strong
emphasis on supporting the birth parents. There are birthparent
counselors at every step of the process, and continued
birthparent support for years afterward. They are also
extremely focused on helping the birthparents find their correct
path - even if it means helping birthparents develop a parenting
plan instead of an adoption plan.
There's so much more to say...alas.
Although it may seem overwhelming right now, please know that
whatever decision your brother and his girlfriend make,
everything will be alright. Blessings to you for your obvious
love and compassion.
Every time I think of it, which is often, I am filled with
gratitude to the birthmothers of my children for having made
them available to me to adopt. However, I am also thankful
beyond words that I know (and can explain to my children) that
these women were not pressured or coerced into their difficult
decisions. It's fine to talk to your brother and his
girlfriend about different options open to them, but then you
should do something really hard, which is to stand back and let
them make their own decision. Let them know you love them and
offer them your support in whatever they decide to do. (And if
they do decide to raise their child don't assume they'll do it
An adoptive mom
I am writing as an adoptive parent whose 21-year-old birthmother
placed her newborn baby with us as she recognized that she would not
be able to provide the kind of life for the baby that she wished at that
point in her life. I certainly understand your concern about your brother
and his girlfriend and their situation. I have found that many people
know little about adoption. Perhaps the most helpful thing you could do
right now would be to educate yourself, and help educate your brother
and his girlfriend, about their options. They should understand what the
reality of having and raising a child is, as well as what the reality of
adoption is. For example, there is closed adoption and open adoption
and everything in-between; If they choose to place their baby for
adoption, they could have an open adoption where they would be able
to be in contact with the adoptive family if they wished. If they wanted a
closed adoption and no contact at all with the family, they could do that.
In the end, they will need to make their own decision about it all, of
course. One thing I would encourage is to use the currently accepted
language for adoption within the adoption community - you don't ''give
up'' a baby for adoption, you ''place a baby for adoption'' or you ''make
an adoption plan''. I believe it's an important distinction, because of the
negative associations of ''giving up'' your baby. It is such a tremendously
difficult position to be in to begin with, to imply that you are a failure
because you recognize that you may not be the best person to raise
your baby is making a difficult situation worse, in my opinion. In the best
situation, the baby is raised in a loving home where s/he can be given
the best possible environment to grow and thrive - this could be with the
birthparents, or with an adoptive family, and if the latter, that the
birthparents believe in their hearts that they did the best thing for the
baby. Because ultimately it really is all about what is best for the baby.
Our birthmother most recently wrote us the following regarding the
annual letters and pictures we send her of our daughter and us (which
was what she wanted in terms of contact after the adoption): ''Every year
it always reinforces that I made the right choice. It seems the three of you
make the perfect family.''
As a single adoptive mother this is my experience and
This has got to be one of the most difficult decisions anyone
will ever make, as any parent can imagine. It takes a
tremendous amount of courage to make an adoption plan for a baby
(this is more sensitive language, instead of saying place a baby
for adoption or giving a baby up for adoption). It seems that
the majority of teenagers who become pregnant choose to raise
their babies themselves. Even if they start out making an
adoption plan, many will change their minds once the baby is
born. Most birth mothers who go through with adoption plans
tend to me older, 18 - 26. Adoption has changed a lot in most
places in the last 20 years, so your brother and his girlfriend
may have many misconceptions. I don't know the laws in Kentucky
(each state has its own adoption laws), but in California both
domestic independent and agency adoptions are open adoptions,
meaining that the birth parents choose the adoptive family, that
is, the people who will raise their baby. Secrecy is out,
openness is in. It also means that birth parents can arrange
with adoptive parents to have an ongoing relationship with the
child. How often letters, pictures, visits happen is
negotiated. I suggest that you do some reading (there are lots
of great books about open adoption, some of them written
specifically for birth parents) and also talk with some good,
ethical agencies that work in the field. Adoption Connection in
San Francisco is very trustworthy; I don't feel that way about
several other local adoption facilitators and agencies (unnamed
here). I wish you and your brother the very best.
This may not be the advice you wanted...but....are you sure it's
the right thing to place the baby for adoption? Is there no
family support for your brother? Would he and his girlfriend
make awful parents?
I look at adoption as a true last resort. It can be VERY hard on
the baby and the biological parents. My adoptive family was
abusive and awful, and it's taken me years to recover. I think
it can be a real risk to give a child up for adoption. In some
ways, I think adoptive families have additional hurdles to
overcome, not the least of which is the psychological challenge
of the child growing up knowing he was ''given away.''
Many people have had happy adoption stories, but please try not
to look at it as an easy solution. I hope I don't offend the
adoptive parents out there...I'm sure there are many loving and
sane ones....I just didn't happen to land with them!
I know what I will post will be controversial. I am the adoptive
mother of a 5 year old who is the greatest joy of my life.
Much to my regret the adoption was closed at the birth
mother's request. This has been very painful for me and for
my daughter. Although I think an open adoption would help I
also think it that keeping the baby within the biological family
is the best solution if the family can make it happen and
provide some support.
Needless to say I am thankful beyond belief to have my
daughter, but if she got pregnant at 17 and decided to have
the baby I would NOT encourage her to place the baby for
adoption, and I would definitely give her whatever support
she needed to keep the baby in the family.
this page was last updated: Jun 1, 2003
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