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Pregnant and Divorcing: Is Adoption an Option for You?

Getting divorced can be one of the most stressful moments in a person’s life. However, if you are pregnant and getting a divorce, you often have several other concerns as well. In this circumstance, there is more on the line than just your relationship. Getting divorced while pregnant adds a new layer of complications to an already messy situation.

So, what can you do?

You may be wondering about your options in this situation. You may also be asking: “Can you put a baby up for adoption while in a divorce?”

Adoption is always an option for an expectant mother, even if you are going through a divorce while pregnant. This is a complex situation, and there are plenty of things to consider. Only you can know what is best for you, and you should keep your best interests, and the best interests of your baby, as priorities.

If you decide you want to “give up” your baby for adoption while going through a divorce, you will need to understand your rights and the father’s rights in this process. Because state laws regarding a father’s rights in adoption vary, we encourage you to contact an adoption specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more. Our specialists can explain what the legal requirements are in your situation and, if you decide adoption is right for you and your baby, help you move forward with an adoption plan that is best for you.

You are never obligated to choose adoption, even if you contact American Adoptions while you are pregnant and going through a divorce. Before you make this life-changing decision, we encourage you to think hard about your situation and what is best for your unborn child. Adoption and divorce certainly aren’t what you had pictured, but it may be the option to help you make the best of this difficult situation.

Should I Keep My Baby While Divorcing?

Often, when a woman is getting a divorce while pregnant, she is unaware of her pregnancy when the divorce process begins. If she discovers that she is pregnant during the middle of her divorce proceedings, it can add another emotional complication to an already stressful process.

There are many questions she may have at this point:

  • Should I keep my baby and try to save our marriage?

  • Should I even tell the father about the baby?

  • Do I want to forever have a connection to this man by having and raising a baby together — even if our divorce continues?

  • What if my husband is not the father of the baby?

While you are the only one who can make this decision, we encourage you to think about one important thing — what is best for your baby. A baby should never be used as a fix for a failing marriage. While a child may seem like the sort of bonding experience needed to repair the relational damage that has led to this divorce while pregnant, this is not a healthy way to approach things. The relationship between you and your partner is hard enough already; adding a child to the mix will only complicate things further.

If you’re asking, “Should I keep my baby while divorcing?” you should also consider the realities of single parenting. If your husband is the father of your baby, he may be obligated to pay child support after your divorce — but you will still need to consider the financial aspects of raising a child on your own, as well as things like childcare and a support system for you as a single parent. While you are coping with divorce while pregnant, you may see your unborn child as a “replacement” for the loved one you are losing, but remember this — a child should not have the pressure of being there to make you feel better. Your responsibility as their parent will be to make them feel loved and supported, despite your own feelings.

Single parenting is possible, but difficult. If this path may not be the answer for you, remember that you have another option: adoption. Yes, you can put a baby up for adoption while in a divorce, even if the situation with the baby’s birth father is complicated. In fact, adoption may offer the best chance at a good life for your baby. There are many hopeful adoptive parents who would be overjoyed to provide a stable, two-parent household with parents who are committed to loving and supporting your child. Choosing adoption is not “giving away” or “giving up” your baby, but it is giving him or her the chance at a life you may not be able to provide yourself.

You will have the same rights as any prospective birth mother if you choose adoption while pregnant and divorcing. You have the right to create an adoption plan that is best for you, including choosing adoptive parents for your baby and having an open adoption relationship with them and your child after the adoption. But, because birth father rights in adoption can be especially complicated during a divorce process, you will need to work with an experienced adoption specialist to learn what laws apply in your situation.

Our specialists are always available to talk you through your options if you are going through a divorce while pregnant, including the steps of the process if you want to give a baby up for adoption while going through a divorce, your rights, and the birth father’s rights in this process.

“Giving Up” Your Baby for Adoption to Save Your Marriage — and Vice Versa

If you are pregnant and getting a divorce, you likely have a complicated history with your spouse, especially if he is your baby’s father. If he knows about your pregnancy, he likely has an opinion about whether or not you should place your child for adoption. Depending on your situation, he may be able to interrupt your adoption plan if he asserts his parental rights. This is one of the reasons why adoption and divorce can be so complex. You should always speak with your attorney about how the birth father’s rights could impact your adoption plans.

There is also a chance your spouse would use your unplanned pregnancy to manipulate your divorce proceedings and make promises about the future of your marriage. A child should never be used as a manipulative tool in a relationship. As wonderful as a child is, they are also a major new responsibility, and life-changing responsibilities rarely heal relationships. If you know that you need to get a divorce while pregnant, any attempt by your spouse to use the pregnancy should be approached skeptically.

Think about what will be best for you and the baby moving forward. Do you want to sustain your relationship, even if you know your marriage won’t provide a loving environment for your child? While you may need to involve your spouse in the adoption plans, using a child to “save” a marriage is never the right answer.

If you are feeling the pressure of getting divorced with a baby, remember that you always have the right to make the best choice for yourself and your child. For more information about putting a baby up for adoption and divorce, please call our adoption specialists for free at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

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