Sometimes life takes a completely unexpected turn. A surprise pregnancy when you already have a full house can change everything. When 38-year-old Cheryl faced an unexpected pregnancy after she thought she was finished having children, she didn’t know what to do. She knew she had two personally acceptable parenting choices: to parent a fifth child or make an adoption plan. After long talks with her husband, they made the difficult decision to meet with an adoption counselor and discuss what adoption could look like for them. First they spoke with their children.
“They were all old enough to sit with us and have this conversation. We felt like this was a family matter. Even though we were pretty sure we were going to move forward with adoption, it just seemed like the right thing to have a family meeting to discuss it,” Cheryl explained.
Initially, the children were shocked by the news of the pregnancy; the conversation became harder when Cheryl and her husband Rich shared that they were considering adoption.
“We told them we would like an open adoption so that they could still know their sibling. We simply didn’t feel prepared to start at the beginning again, nor did we feel like we could financially handle another child. It was one of the most painful conversations we’ve ever had.”
Ultimately, the whole family met with the adoption counselor, and though one of the younger children did not like the idea, the family went through the process of choosing an adoptive family together.
“This was the best thing for us – for all of us, the new baby especially,” Cheryl said. They were able to choose parents who had been waiting a long time to adopt, and together they all made a plan that would keep the birth family involved.
“We visit on some holidays, though we try to give them their family time, too. But, I feel like our child got the best of both worlds. Two families love him. And while we know there will come a day when he has hard questions, we haven’t doubted our decision once. We know this was the best for everyone.”
So often people think of unplanned pregnancy and adoption as being a teenage-centered issue; the truth is any woman at any time could face this decision.
Taking the time to look at all the options and what each family needs is most important. Choosing adoption after parenting is more common that many realize, but with adoption counseling, a better future can be realized for everyone involved.