Pregnancies happen in many different circumstances, and can elicit a variety of different reactions from both Birth Mother and those around her. While, of course, the most important factor by far is the mother’s situation and her feelings on the issue, she can also, unfortunately, be subject to social situations outside her control that may influence her decision and if or how she chooses to carry out the pregnancy.
You, as the Birth Mother, may have already decided on adoption, but you are uncomfortable with your specific situation in a way that makes you consider keeping the adoption process a secret.
Reasons to Keep Adoption/ Pregnancy a Secret
The Health of the Child
First of all, it is definitely possible to keep your adoption a secret from those surrounding you, and there are definitely women before you who have done so. However, it is very difficult to keep every factor concealed, as your body will physically change throughout the progression of the pregnancy, which many will take notice of. Even if your adoption plans remain a secret, the pregnancy most likely will not.
Even if the pregnancy is desired, sometimes holding off on telling others about the conception may be wise. For example, if a woman is unsure about the health of herself or her child during the pregnancy, then she often finds it a good idea to at least delay announcing her pregnancy so as to not make any potential issues surrounding the pregnancy a public affair. Miscarrages can occure, and, when they do, telling surrounding friends and family about the loss of the child may be just as hard as initially loosing it. Sometimes, holding off on the announcement is wise until the pregnancy is more certain and stable.
Though adoption is a wonderful thing, there still exists a general societal stigma against unplanned pregnancy and the process of adoption. You may currently find yourself in an unpleasant situation where you would be exposed to negative remarks and pressure if you were to reveal your status as pregnant and considering adoption.
The adoption process can already be a stressful one, consuming your physical and emotional energy, and pregnancy is not an easy ordeal either. The prospect of also having to deal with negative comments and judgments from those in your social circle can be too much to bear. This is also one of the main reasons why women discard adoption as a possibility in the first place. However, keeping your adoption plans a secret may be a way that still allows you to consider adoption as an option while keeping your personal security intact.
How the Secret Might Work
If you are considering moving forward with the adoption process in secret, there are a few things you may want to think about in order to ensure some ease of mind during this stressful time:
- You may want to consider living in specific designated housing for pregnant women who are placing their child for adoption. Sometimes, adoption agencies and professionals offer free housing that is covered by the adoptive parents, other adoption professionals arrange affordable apartment housing, temporary hotel stays, or independent houses that will offer free housing for pregnant women, according to the state’s law. Relocation in general will give you access to a valuable support system of women going through similar experiences, while also allowing you to more easily keep your adoption plans a secret.
- You could also consider delaying your pregnancy announcement for a while instead of keeping it a secret forever. Delaying could enable you to develop your adoption plans without external pressure or judgment, while still giving yourself the research to create a plans and access to a support system consisting of supportive family and friends.
Legalities to Be Mindful of
While it is within your right to keep your pregnancy a secret from the vast majority of people, you should be sure about the legal aspects of adoption (depending on your state) and make sure you are not keeping the adoption a secret and thereby throwing its legality into question:
- In some states, if you are under 18, you may need parental consent in order to create an adoption plans for a child. Even in these states, however, you can get the judge to override this if you present a convincing case.
- In some states, you may also be legally required to inform the birth father of both your pregnancy and the adoption. This can also generally be negotiated, depending on circumstances, but you should be informed about the putative father's rights in your state and whether you are obligated to tell the birth father about and gain his consent for the adoption.
- You should also think about when you should tell your employer, if applicable, in order to inform them of impending absences and the possibilities for maternity leave.
- While you may not ever want to tell the people in your life that you have placed a child for adoption, you should still definitely talk to a counselor before, during, and after the adoption process. The adoption professional you are working with will be able to direct you to free or affordable counseling whose confidentiality can definitely help you work through some of your feelings about pregnancy and adoption in private.
- If you are currently in a difficult situation where you must keep your adoption plans secret because you are feeling threatened or intensely pressured, there are many resources out there designed to help you with your specific situation. The Femenist Majority Foundation offers a good list of hotlines and organizations for domestic violence, pregnancy, and other crises, as does Psych Central. The Office of Women’s Health in the U.S Department of Health and Human Services also offers a list of domestic violence resources organized by state. Contacting one or more of these many resources can be a difficult but essential first step for seeking assistance or escape from your situation, and will be able to give you directions that will help you while keeping you and your child safe.
Connecting with people online can also be a great way to gain a support system while still keeping your pregnancy a secret from those around you. A support system is one of the most valuable things you can have during the adoption process. If you plan to keep your adoption a secret, still make sure to at least have a network, or at least one or two people, whom you can rely on for emotional support.