Birthparents and Poverty

Birthparents choose adoption for a wide variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include feeling emotionally unprepared to parent, a desire to finish high school or college, or feeling unable to parent without a partner. One of the most troublesome reasons for an adoptive placement is poverty. In voluntary adoptions, most adoptive parents rightly balk at a placement that is primarily the result of poverty. No one wants to take a child from a family just because they are poor. The social workers at the Independent Adoption Center and other agencies agree with this stance.

Women who call the IAC indicating that the only reason they want to make an adoption plan is because of financial problems are provided referrals to resources that can help them with housing, food, and other assistance. Of course, most situations are less clear-cut.

Women may express concern about their financial situation, but also indicate other reasons they want to make an adoption plan. Counselors at the IAC, and other agencies, explore all of the factors relating to their desire to place their baby for adoption. In particular, they ask the woman to imagine if all of their financial problems magically disappeared would they still make an adoption plan. If the answer is yes and the woman has other strong reasons for placement, the counselor will work with the woman on an adoption plan.

In situations like this, adoptive families need to be prepared to provide financial and emotional support to the birthparent(s) through the pregnancy and for a couple of months after the birth. Even more importantly, families need to be prepared for an ongoing relationship with a birthparent(s) who may face financial trouble throughout their life. This does not mean they will be asking the adoptive family for money. Although this does happen it is very rare. However, it can be hard to watch the birthparent(s) of your child struggle in this way. At a counseling-based agency, like the IAC, it is important for adoptive families to explore their feelings about a situation like this with your counselor before you commit to a match with birthparents facing financial hardship.

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