To the Parents Who Just Found Out Their Daughter is Pregnant

 Supporting an “Adoption Plan” and the Relinquishment of Your Grandchild is Not the Answer

Historically, it’s been one of a parent’s worst fears despite all the jokes and funny t-shirts that make the rounds. Your daughter comes home and confesses to you that she’s  “in trouble”.

Maybe she is still in high school ,  maybe she is younger, maybe she is still in college or just set out on her own with a carefully thought out plan and shoe string budget. Maybe you really like her boyfriend, or you hate him or maybe you didn’t even know she had one. Maybe you are completely surprised by the fact that she’s even had sex! It really doesn’t matter how this happened, the fact is that it did and now your daughter is coming to you for help.

She needs help because she is pregnant before she was planning to be and the idea of seeing her life’s path change so drastically is scaring her shitless. Probably the thought of telling you, her parents, about her pregnancy and the change in life plans also scared her shitless. And I am sure the thought of your baby having a baby is scaring you, yup, you guessed it, shitless.

That’s why I am talking to you now. Because I know from firsthand experience how hard it is for her right now and, as a parent now myself, I can also imagine how you feel right now. I also know that important decisions, like the ones you will hopefully make together as a family during this time,  are not the kinds of decisions that should be made in fear.  I know a drastic change like this is frightening and change brings on fear; but now is the time to just take a deep breath, sit back and please, for her sake right now, please just listen.

Don’t Make Decisions Based On Fear or Doubt

Of course, you are upset right now. I can imagine that feelings of disappointment, anger, shock, embarrassment, shame, failure, fear, concern, and, hopefully, love, are all emotions that are running rampant  right now.  I will tell you that it is OK to feel this way and it is normal, but please remember that this is actually not about you. While the early pregnancy of your daughter will affect you and the other members of your family directly, it is first and foremost about what is best for your daughter and now your grandchild. This is not something that was done TO you by your child, but is happening TO her. I know it is hard, but there are times that we must remember that we are the parents, we are the adults and our jobs are to put our own needs aside for our children.

So with that I say:

Please don’t allow your child’s pregnancy to make you feel that you have failed as parents. I am not going to get all in your face with the percentages of teen pregnancies or single mothers in the US to make you feel that you are not alone. I understand that numbers and stats are all well and good until it happens  in your own family, but please don’t think that that the people that matter will judge you. Do not subscribe to the shame.Yes, your daughter is “knocked up” and half the people in the world are the results of unplanned pregnancy, too. Just remember that the people who might dare to judge; they  have had sex, too, and have a 50% chance of being unplanned. Hold your head up high and support your child.

An Unplanned Pregnancy is not Failure for Either of You

You have not failed your daughter because she is pregnant before it is socially “acceptable”.  We can only guide out children as best possible, but they must learn to make their own way.  I am sure like many  parents you have told her what not to do and are upset that she has gone done it. It’s easy to wonder “how did this happen” in the days of sex education and birth control, but the simple truth is that accidents happen and people do make mistakes. The goal here is to not let a “mistake” turn into an outcome that affects her life in a negative way.

I understand you love your daughter and want what is best for her. I believe you have the best intentions when you say that having a child now will severely alter her life. You might feel that this “pregnancy”,  this future “baby” is the very thing that will “ruin” your daughter’s life. You might be seeing the baby as a potential force that will hurt your beloved child.  Perhaps the child itself can be seen as the cause of the problems, the interloper, the issue, the problem to solve, something to “get rid of”.

May I remind you that this baby is your grandchild?  This child is not just part of your daughter, not just the fruit of that loved or hated boy friend, but also a part of your family, your heritage, the niece or nephew of your other children, the great grandchild of your parents , the most recent member of your linage, your legacy. The child is not the problem, but a innocent person who, for whatever reason,  is entering this world now.

Change is Necessary in Life, but Adoption is Not

And yes, I will concede that changing things around to now fit in child before your daughter is ready will change her life and probably yours, too, but it doesn’t have to be a major disaster. It might mean that the time line changes, but she can still have the same hopes and the same dreams and the same goals, just with a cute little tag along.

Now, perhaps your daughter will decide to terminate the pregnancy and perhaps you will support that.  If that is the case, then she will not be a mother and her life’s trajectory can continued on as planned. But perhaps, for whatever reason, either you or she or even some well meaning friends might suggest that your daughter relinquish this baby to adoption and this will, no matter what you might have been lead to believe or what you might read in most publications, will NOT allow her to continue life as planned. Please allow me to just expand upon this for a minute.

I understand that you might truly believe that your daughter cannot handle or perhaps should not be forced to handle the responsibility of parenting right now.  And again, I will concede that she probably cannot do it on her own, but she is not on her own. She has you, her family, to help and support her.

Perhaps, you believe that your daughter might fail at parenting and her inability to embrace that motherhood would harm the child. Please believe in your daughter. Please believe in the power of love. Please give her the chance to succeed rather than protecting her from possible failure. And again, if you need to step in as the older, wiser, voice of experience, then do so. You are there to help not only your daughter, but your grandchild, by protecting them in any way needed.

I am begging you to do all you can to protect your daughter and grandchild from the harm of adoption separation.

Adoption Professionals Won’t Tell; Not Better, Often Worse

Maybe, based on your doubts and fears, you think that a baby would be better served by being adopted by a family that has more financial means than you and are ready to welcome this child into their lives. Perhaps you feel that it would be the best way to have all benefit from the “problem” of having your daughter being pregnant right now. Maybe you even feel it would be a “good deed” to provide a child to a couple who longs to have one. However, it is not your daughter’s job to provide a child for another couple who wants one. It is, I feel compelled to say, not God’s will either. God could have gotten them pregnant if he wanted, but he blessed your family with this child instead.

But you see, by encouraging or supporting your daughter to relinquish her baby to adoption you are, in a most literally sense, helping to destroy the child you now know as your daughter. Adoption is not a onetime event that, once completed, allows the participants to go on as if nothing has happened.  The daughter you know now will not just face a few weeks, or months, or years of sorrow, but will be permanently altered.  The simple “mistake” of becoming pregnant before planned will become, instead, a continual punishment  and she will be forced to live with endless grief until the end of her days.  So while accepting a new grandchild in your life now will be hard for her in the first years and probably present new challenges for you, there will come a time that the struggles will be over. Not only will she grown up more, but her child will and in time,  the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy will no longer matter, it will not be a “problem” and you will simply have a daughter to be proud of and a grandchild that you adore. Adoption, on the other hand, will create a hole in your family that can never be replaced and this hole can be felt by every member of your tribe.

While I am sure that you would talk to adoption professionals and have reason to believe you can trust them, please listen to me when I say that there are almost no adoption agencies in this country that will assist your daughter in making a truly informed choice in regards to this pregnancy. They will not tell you of her increased risk of secondary infertility. They will not tell her that the grief does not stop, but will try to make her responsible for her own impossible “healing”.  They will tell her lies such as “you  can choose to have as much contact as you want with your child” via open adoption, but they will not help her when the adoptive parents close the adoption  or fail to send pictures, or block her on Facebook.

Sell Your Grandchild to Pretend and Destroy Your Daughter in the Process

Your grandchild is worth money to the adoption professionals and they will benefit if your daughter chooses to relinquish. If you kick her out of the house, they will gladly give her a place to stay. If you have health insurance difficulties, they will find means that the hospital bills are taken care of. If she also believes them, and you do not, they will help her emotionally separate form you and have even been known to get orders of protection against the grandparents like yourself. Why? Because your grand child has the potential to net up to $50,000 or more in “fees” for that agency. Would you sell your grandchild for peace and quiet and to pretend that life has worked out the way you think it has?

And the baby, that innocent , helpless baby, has no guarantee of happiness anyway. Adoptive parents get cancer, die, get divorced, lose their jobs, or somehow pass ” the home studies that are supposed to prove their stellar qualities.  Even if your daughter truly finds the most wonderful people on the planet, and your grandchild has a life filled with endless opportunity and much love, the adoptee also lives with separation trauma and loss.  Often the affects of adoption are not even realized by the adoptee. Before you believe that adoption is best for your grandchild I urge you to read some of the blogs written by happy normal adoptees who have had wonderful childhoods and still speak of the trauma of adoption.  Then, imagine would you want that for your grandchild? Would you have wanted that for your own child? Then why do you expect your daughter to want that for her child?

Listen, I know you are still probably reeling and please, take time to calm down and let things sink in. Your family really does not have to rush to decide even if she is far along.  I likewise understand completely that you probably have no clue regarding the long term effects of adoption for your daughter as a potential birthmother or your grandchild as a potential adoptee. That’s OK, most of us do not know the truth about adoption until it is too late. We believe what the media tells us or know things form talk shows or witnessing the happy faces of your cousins or neighbors who adopted, but that very different than what both adoptees and birthmothers will say freely when it is safe for their voices to be heard.  Please take some time and read what they have shared with you for they are the ones who know the future that your daughter and grandchild will face should you support adoption relinquishment.  Please do your own independent research. Just Google and keep reading.

Adopting out this child will not prevent your daughter from being mother before she planned to be. She will still be a mother, but a mother who will always be missing her child. You will still become a grandparent when this child is born , but you might never have the opportunity to take your grandchild to the park or be given a gift of a hand print cast in plaster. No matter what, your daughter is pregnant and she is having a baby. You can, as a family, either adapt and accept both the challenges and joys that a new family member brings into your family, or you can adopt and cut off the new shoot on your family tree.

I hope you choose to adapt and bloom together.


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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine,, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

5 Comments on "To the Parents Who Just Found Out Their Daughter is Pregnant"

  1. Amazing post!! Been through this.. thank goodness I was already aware and there was never another possible choice but to become the most supportive Mom and Granny I could be =) .. would’ve turned out the same.. but nothing else was even entertained =)

  2. I wholeheartedly agree with your article except for this part.

    “perhaps your daughter will decide to terminate the pregnancy and perhaps you will support that. If that is the case, then she will not be a mother and her life’s trajectory can continued on as planned.”

    Losing a child, whether by adoption or “abortion” are equally painful. You may think one is not a ‘mother’ because they haven’t gone through the nine months of pregnancy. But that is not true. A mother is a mother, from when the baby is an embryo in her womb to full birth. Here is a link to Rachels Vineyard, a ministry of supporting mothers in grief of losing their babies through abortion. These women suffer a painful loss and most of all they suffer remorse of having made the decision to terminate.

    I agree that there are horrible adoption practices out there that needs to be reformed.

    But I do believe that to have your baby adopted instead of aborted is the more humane choice.

    But I believe most of all that to keep your baby and preserve the family unit is the best choice.

    • While I do understand those thoughts, Nina, but I will go with the fact that if a woman decides to terminate pregnancy, then that is her choice to make. While I understand that there ARE many women who feel the loss of a pregnancy and have true regret due to the terminations; it has NOT been my personal experience nor is that supported by the many birth mothers I do know who have gone down both paths and speak of their feelings. I talk about that in detail here: and also discuss the comparison of the “choices” made here:

      As I have been known to say; the terminations I have chosen, while not joyous occasions, are, even when I try very hard to conjure up feeling, mere blips on the radar screen of MY life; whereas the loss of my son was a major course change and continues to affect it every day. The two are not interchangeable and we MUST allow women to understand that distinction, not cloud them with guilt:

      And while the pregnancies that I did not allow to carry to term WOULD have made me a mother, I am not a mother based on them as they are not living breathing children. It is like, to me, saying I am the wife of a man whose eyes I met one day in the subway and COULD have, should I have chosen to talk to him, perhaps, married. Was the potential there? Perhaps, but it did not come to be.

      And again, this is not to say that a woman will not feel anything after an abortion. I greatly sympathizes with those who do feel sadness post procedure and understand that those feelings can carry on especially if they did want the child and gave into to others pressure and could not make a true choice for themselves.I can say that the ONLY one that does cause any feelings at all was my final pregnancy which I would have carried to term if not for finances. Indeed, I was aware enough at that time to know that I would have accepted that motherhood, but money was ruling the decision and it made me angry that a another child was just not affordable. So logic ruled over feelings and again, while there is resentment of that fact, I still do not mourn what is not, nor in the end regret what choices had to be made. They were just hard choices that time. For the soul that was denied entrance to life that time, I ask for forgiveness and understanding and wished it well upon it’s journey to another who was ready to open their lives to it. And I do believe that if we were meant to travel together through life, then we shall met up in another lifetime. I have asked other souls to leave me of their own free will due to such constraints upon my life and timing and they have gone freely, so that alone brings me peace. I do not think a woman is beholden to accept everything that comes to her and desires to live through her. And again, that is my feeling. Of course, should you fce the same, you are free to make your own choices. And should YOU choose to relinquish, you might change your feelings appropriately as well.

      Hence, why this piece does not really touch on that here, but leaves it up to the family, and hopefully, more importantly, is a decision made by the hypothetical daughter in question. I cannot project what feelings she might or might not have. However, if asked. I will say that I find an abortion to be a MUCH more humane way to deal with an unplanned pregnancy for I do not believe myself that an undeveloped zygot is a person and I opt to perverse the mother. So while we are in agreement that support for th mother and family preservation is the BEST option, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the next best option. It has been said: Adoption Aborts the mother and I find this to be 100% true. Hence, I opt for the already living breathing feeling human to decide for her life as required.

  3. Having done both, adoption was infinitely more painful than abortion. The abortion doesn’t bother me, but the forced adoption of my child has been the “gift” that keeps on giving – pain, grief, and suffering! Anyone who thinks different, doesn’t have a clue what they’re talking about!

  4. I don’t have daughters, I have sons. However, if one of them were to become a father “early” I would do everything in my power to keep the baby to be given up for adoption, even if that meant my wife and I raising the child ourselves. I’m adopted, and while I had the adoption industry’s billboard “perfect childhood” I recently, at 42, found my birthmother and her family. In doing so I discovered I had four younger siblings and also discovered a lot of feelings I didn’t know I had. Despite the happy life I lead as an adoptee I will never subject someone else to becoming an adoptee or losing a child to adoption if it is within my power to prevent it.

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