I was raped.  I have chosen to give birth to this baby.  Now what?

 

You survived a vicious attack and you have made the decision to move forward. You have taken control of your life and your decision-making and chosen to give birth to your baby.

  • You have considered what is healthy and healing for you, while maintaining your focus on the positive and that which makes you stronger.
  • You have shown you are your own person, a capable and determined individual, who has made a firm decision to give the gift of life to your baby.
  • You now have a new resolve to make strong decisions for both you and your baby.
  • Choosing to give life to your baby was, after all, your very first parenting decision.

 Is this really my baby?  I don’t want him in my life.

Answer:  The child growing in your uterus is truly part of you, imprinted with your genetic code, your personality traits, your DNA, your child.  The baby you are carrying under your heart is very much your baby. She is truly part of you.  She will depend on you while you are pregnant to protect her and keep her safe.  Most of all, you have made a decision that will give you inner peace.

  • You also have the next nine months to decide whether you will choose to parent this baby, or whether you will explore making an adoption plan.
  • Both choices are honorable and should be respected.
  • Regardless of the direction you choose to pursue, there is help and support for your decision. 

Let’s look at both options and what considerations you may want to think about.

Parenting: 

Parenting is a decision only you can make.  You are capable of deciding if you are ready to assume the role of being a parent. You may need to reach out to available community services that are committed to helping you give birth to a healthy baby. We can help you connect with community support services in your area.

  • Am I able to unconditionally love this baby regardless of the circumstances of her conception?
  • Am I getting help and support to heal from the rape experience?
  • Am I ready to assume the responsibility of parenting and putting the needs of my child first?
  • Will I be emotionally ready to assume the role of being a “mom” when I deliver this child? 

Can I provide for this child? 

  • Am I financially able to provide for my child or can I put a plan into place that can help me provide for her?
  • There is help available to find work, schooling, or job training.
  • Just because you are not financially secure right at this moment doesn’t mean you won’t be able to provide in the near future.
  • Many programs will also help you find quality childcare while you pursue your career path. 

Do I have healthy relationships in my life? 

    • Do I see my situation including a partner?
    • Does the significant person in my life accept my decision to have this baby?
    • Can I accept the possibility of single parenting?
    • Have I identified my support system?
      • Do you have the support of family or people in your life you trust who are willing to help you?
      • Who in your life can embrace you and your child and offer either physical or emotional support and encouragement?

Am I in a healthy relationship?

    • Is where I live a safe place?
    • Is the environment I live in emotionally safe or do I need to make an effort to move on from a controlling relationship to an environment free from fear?
    • You are worthy of being treated with love and respect. Your child deserves to be safe as well.  There is help for you should you desire to take this important step.

Is there stability in my life?

  • Do you have any mental health challenges that might prevent you from being able to meet the needs of parenting your child?
  • Even if you do, with careful monitoring and medication support, it is often possible for motivated people to be provided with the tools they’ll need to parent successfully.
  • Seeing a professional to help you achieve this goal is giving a gift to yourself. You are worth it!
  • Are you able to seek out the help and support your community offers? If you are choosing to parent your baby and you would like referrals to help you during pregnancy and beyond, call your local Pregnancy Help Center or visit: http://www.pregnancycenters.org
    or

    Get Help


    to check for a Pregnancy Help Center near you.

What about my future?

  • Do you have hopes and dreams for the child growing within you that you do not feel you could help your child actualize at this time?
  • Sometimes women feel they are “a work in progress”. They are working toward being healthy, self reliant, and emotionally stable.
    • There is no timetable for this process.
    • It is up to you to determine if you are ready to be a parent.
    • In no way should this alter your decision to give your baby life.
    • You do have another option after giving birth.  Below are some considerations for making an adoption plan should you decide you are not yet ready to parent.

Making an adoption plan:

Making an adoption plan is a loving choice.  It is a carefully and deliberately chosen plan.  It is a choice that demonstrates great love and courage. Children who have joined their families by adoption grow up knowing that they are deeply loved by their family….by the parents who adopted them…. and by their birth parent(s) who gave them life.  When thinking about possibly making an adoption plan, you might want to consider these questions:

What do I know about adoption?

  • Do I need to call an adoption agency to get more information about what services they provide?
  • Be sure to call several so you can compare which agency could best meet your needs should you decide to meet or talk to an adoption counselor.

Can I change my mind at any time during the process?

    • You are the decision maker.
    • You can keep the option to change your mind available right up to giving birth.
    • At the hospital, you can decide how much contact you want with your baby.
    • If you decide to pursue the adoption plan, your baby will be connected to a loving temporary foster family until the termination of parental rights hearing, usually scheduled about a month after the birth.
      • You would then appear before a judge who would ask you questions about your decision.
      • He or she would ask if you made your decision freely without coercion from anyone else.
      • They would also ask you if you were aware of support services in your community if you were considering parenting. The decision at that hearing is a final one.
      • The judge will honor your choice.

Do I have input as to who would parent my baby?

      • It is a common practice to present each birth mom a series of portfolios describing the parents/families waiting to adopt a child.
      • These parents have been screened during a home study process by a licensed social worker.
      • You have the opportunity to see photos of the parents, their home, any siblings, etc.
      • They disclose their incomes, their faith affiliation, their careers and their extended family support.  They also provide personally-written biographies detailing their reasons for wanting to create their family by adoption.
      • This process gives the birth mother a window into their lives.
      • This familiarity with the chosen family assures the birth mother they can provide the love needed to raise happy and healthy children.
      • The birth mother can select the family she chooses to parent her baby.

Can I have any contact with my child after placement with the adoptive family?

      • This is your decision.
      • You can choose a family who welcomes this contact should you decide to have ongoing visitation. This is called “open adoption”.
      • You would make an arrangement with the family to have an agreed-upon number of visits per year.
      • You can also write a letter to your child to be given to them at age 18.
      • You can share the emotions of love that prompted you to both give your child the gift of life, as well as the gift of a loving family.

What if I want to move on and choose not to have ongoing visitation?

      • Birth mothers can also choose to have yearly pictures and letters from the family to get updated information about the developing child.
      • This is called “semi-open adoption”
      • Or you can choose to not have contact which is called “closed adoption.”
      • All adoption information is confidential.
      • Sometimes women decide it is best to let the family they chose move forward with their lives.
      • Birth mothers should select the path that feels right for them.
      • Everyone’s situation is different, and there are different options to meet individual needs.

Will my need for privacy be respected?

      • Absolutely.  You are in charge of what you want to disclose.
      • They will ask you for some health history so that your child will be informed about any medical conditions to which he or she may be genetically predisposed. That information can be life-saving.
      • Throughout life, your child can then be screened for heart disease, cancers, or other inherited physical or mental vulnerabilities.
      • Your health information can influence your child to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Is making an adoption plan something I can financially afford?

    • Yes, the adoption agency covers the costs for the adoption process from the family choosing to adopt.
    • There are no fees for the birth mother.

How will I feel about adoption later?  

The decision to make an adoption plan is two-fold:

  • It gives you great peace of mind knowing you have made a courageous life-giving decision.
  • It is an honorable choice — not better, not worse — than parenting. It’s just different, and it is the decision that is right for you and your situation.
    • That’s not to say there isn’t some pain involved. Working through feelings of loss is part of what an adoption worker can help you with.
    • Choosing open, semi-open, or closed adoption has different degrees of separation, which means different ways of coping with adoption.

Can I talk with someone who has made an adoption plan?

  • Yes, we can refer you to someone who created their family by adoption.

I’m so confused.  I don’t know what I’m feeling.  Is this normal?

Answer:  If you are undecided, remember that it is understandable and normal to feel a sense of conflict when you are considering what is best for both you and your child.

  • Most adoption agencies have adoption counseling available for you at no cost.
  • You will not be pressured to choose one option over another.
  • You can do an Internet search for local “adoption agencies” to talk to an adoption counselor.
  • You have your entire pregnancy to decide if you will choose to parent this child or choose to make an adoption plan.
  • You will make the right decision because it will be the right decision for you!

It is important for you not to feel overwhelmed.

  • You have experienced a traumatic event.
  • You have shown courage in the face of despair.
  • You have taken control of your life and have become stronger.
  • You have taken control of your life and become a stronger.
  • Do not rush into any formal, long-term plans.
  • Focus on you, healing those emotional hurts, and having a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
  • Surround yourself with people who love you, support you, and understand your decision. 

Most of all take good care of you!  You are worth it!!!

Adoption Links:
www.americaadopts.com/resources/birth-mother-support-groups/
www.calib.com/naic/laws/index.htm
www.bethany.org

Related Questions:

What kinds of adoption are there?