Adoption is the kind, loving choice for everyone involved.

Abortion vs. adoption: why so many choose the first and what we can do

Remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? My brothers and I pored over those as kids. On each step of your journey, you were given choices. You were in the Amazon. Did you want to ride a riverboat or travel to the ancient ruins by foot? Did you want to hire a tour guide or follow a local Indian? Your entire journey – and sometimes your life – would hinge on the choices you made.

While “choosing your own adventure” can give kids a heightened sense of appreciation for thinking through their decisions, the decision I’m going to talk about today is far more important than anything these books covered. And it requires thought, research, and a life-or-death choice.

Adoption is the kind, loving choice for everyone involved.

Countless women in the U.S. choose abortion over adoption for their unborn babies every year. When I sat in on counseling sessions at a pregnancy center, I learned that women are often very closed to the idea of adoption. They either want to keep their baby themselves or get rid of the baby now. Adoption statistics are hard to track, since states are not necessarily required to report domestic adoptions. However, the numbers are grim, and much of it is owing to abortion:

Between 1989 and 1995, 1.7 percent of children born to never-married white women were placed for adoption, compared to 19.3 percent before 1973. Among never-married black women, relinquishment rates have ranged from .2 percent to 1.5 percent.

Business Library reports that “there are up to 36 couples waiting for every one baby placed for adoption.”

In the USA, there are approximately two million infertile couples waiting to adopt, many times regardless of the child’s medical problems such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, HIV infection or terminally ill. Dr. Brad Imler, President of America’s Pregnancy Helpline, confirms the challenge of waiting couples by stating: “Only 1% of the Helpline’s annual 40,000 clients inquires about adoption.”

Clearly, this is a very sad – and I would say epidemic – situation. Many good, loving families are waiting throughout our nation for a baby whom they want to cherish, value, and raise for the rest of that baby’s life. Instead of babies going to these families, they go into a trash heap or down a garbage disposal. Why do mothers feel that killing their children is a better option that choosing families for their children?

Over the years, adoption has gotten a bad rap. Too many people confuse adoption with the foster care system. I personally know incredible people in the foster care system, but it’s clear that the system could use some reforming. Yes, some adults do enter the foster care system for the money it provides or other wrong reasons. However, adoption – especially the adoption of a newborn baby – almost always involves a loving, excited couple who have dreamed for years of holding and caring for their own special treasure. Adoption can cost an arm and a leg for the adoptive parents (it’s free for the birth parents), so they are most certainly not in it for the money.

Do mothers considering abortion realize that families actually go on waiting lists to adopt newborn babies? Do they realize that some couples wait years to adopt the baby they’ve desperately waited to hold in their arms? Do mothers realize how many experienced parents with wisdom, resources, and plenty of love are reaching out to adopt another child – no matter his or her race, gender, or disability?

I firmly believe that one of the best things the pro-life movement can do is promote adoption. We cannot claim that every mother out there can adequately care for her baby alone. That’s simply not true. We should stand behind any mother who desires to keep her child, but we should not demand this of all mothers. While the inability to care for a baby is no excuse to kill her – just as the inability to care for a five-year-old is no excuse to kill him – we should work harder to paint an accurate picture of adoption for pregnant mothers.

We need to let mothers know that they can handpick their babies’ adoptive families. They can choose an open adoption, where they see their babies at certain times throughout the year. They can choose a partially open adoption, where they receive photos and updates about their children’s lives. Or they can choose a closed adoption and give their babies completely over to their adoptive families. Adoption is full of choices for the mother and the father, too, if he is involved.

Nightlight Christian Adoptions (who works with people of all religious backgrounds) provides great information to mothers and fathers who would consider adoption. They connect birth mothers with other women who can talk to them about their questions and concerns. They even have parent profiles of parents who are already approved for adoption and able to take a baby very quickly.

You will decide the type of ongoing contact you want to have with the adopting family, whether it is through pictures, letters, emails, or visitations. You are able to get to know your child and over time your child will know about you and will always know how much you cared — because you chose a loving family for them. Adoption doesn’t cost you a thing, and our time, even if you choose to parent, is free. If you need help, adopting families can legally help with pregnancy-related costs such as medical bills, counseling for both birthparents, maternity clothes, and living expenses. Adoption is about loving your baby so much that you give them the world, being mature enough to admit you are not ready to parent, and responsible enough to choose the right family to care for your child. It gives you the opportunity to create a life for you and your child that you both can live with. If you’d like to learn more about the loving option of adoption, with no obligations, call us. The call is free: (888) 933-2237

Another thing…we need to stop referring to adoption as “giving up” a mother’s baby. She is not giving up her baby. Giving up is equated with failure and bad decisions. In reality, adoption has nothing to do with giving up and everything to do with giving life – life instead of death.

Adoption gives life and a family to your child.

Some mothers choose abortion instead of adoption because they believe they can’t deal with wondering about where their babies are for the rest of their lives. Or, if they are pregnant for nine months, they want to enjoy the results of their hard work; they want to keep their babies. We need to encourage mothers who want to know about their babies to choose open adoptions. We need to make sure they are informed and know they can receive photos and regular updates so they don’t have to worry about their babies so much. They can handpick the parents. And there is always a waiting period in adoptions where the birth mother can change her mind and take her baby back. We need to encourage mothers who would want to keep their babies if they stayed pregnant to keep their babies. They do have mothers’ hearts, and we need to encourage them to keep them!

As pro-lifers, let’s learn more about adoption. Let’s become familiar with the stories of adopted children. All the ones I know are incredibly grateful that their mothers gave them a chance, a life, and a family instead of the finality and cruelty of death.

Adoption Stories:

Pam’s Story

Rodney Atkins 

Vera Schmidt 

Deanna Candler 

Molly and Grayson’s Story

More Stories  

Tell Your Adoption Story!

Adoption Questions, Agencies, and Information:

Option Line:  1-800-712-HELP

An Open Door 


Adoption Resources  

Bethany Christian Services

Christian Adoption Services 

Find an Adoption Agency

Pass this around to your friends, and let’s spread the word about the truth on adoption!

  • Oldmanbob

    We were married in 1970 and by about 1975 it was becoming clear that having a baby or our own was not going to happen.  There were no babies to be had. 

    This is perhaps the most painful post ever on this web site, and one of the most nessary.  By now we are too old and broken down to care for a child and there is an empty place in our hearts. 

    Thank you Kristi for this post.

    • Kristiburtonbrown

      I’m so sorry for your pain.  I’m sure there are many other people, though, who have benefited from you and your wife’s love and care…even if it wasn’t your own children.  I’m sure you have blessed many lives and made a difference.

      • Oldmanbob

        Thank you Kristi

  • Guest

    You bring up many good points, which we consider when we counsel women at our pregnancy center. However, one glaring omission is the overwhelming influence of a peer group in a woman’s decision. There is a huge stigma against adoption, especially in the African-American and Hispanic communities where adoption is still considered as abandonment. I’ve heard this countless times from the clients we serve. If adoption is not accepted by her “homies,” who are her family, basically, she is highly unlikely to pursue this option.

    • Kristiburtonbrown

      Thank you for your comments.  I haven’t had a lot of interactions with those communities at pregnancy centers, so I’m glad to hear your input.  Have you found any effective ways to present adoption to them?  Is there a way, in your view, to persuade people that it is not abandonment or, in the alternative, that abandonment is at least better than death?

  • Holly Hansard

    I love you, Kristi! Thanks for writing this story!  

  • Chrissi Fisher

    THANK YOU.  One of my main concerns has always been the prolife community having to learn about adoption before they can promote adoption. It’s not enough to just use it as a slogan or a post topic, it’s a subject we need to be educated on.  We can not suggest what we know nothing or very little about…. and hearsay-tv based knowledge-and a person you know who not enough. We read books, blogs and pages on abortion so that we can speak intelligently and factually about…we need….need…. to do the same regarding adoption.  

    What the other guest here mentioned is what we were told by our adoption agency. We were open to race, ethnicity, etc but were told in our area hispanic and asian women (in general) will not place for cultural reasons of shame.  It’s heartbreaking.

    • Chrissi Fisher

      I should have noted that the heartbreaking part was our agency stating that most of those women will indeed abort.

  • I grew up with a TON of kids who were adopted from Korea – I don’t know about now, but at the time, Minnesota had more Korean adoptees than any other state – and I’m glad every single one of them was adopted instead of aborted, even the two or three who were mean little kids. The only person I knew who was born in America and adopted was my friend’s little sister’s friend, who was adopted by her grandparents because her mother had her at the age of 18. I’ve heard stories about entire adoption agencies that closed down after Roe v. Wade because they no longer had enough mothers placing their kids to stay in business.

    There was this Lifetime movie a few years ago – I know, Lifetime movies are usually fairly stupid, but this one was pretty good – about a teenage girl who has a baby, which prompts her mother to move the entire family and claim the baby as the girl’s little brother. The girl attempts to get back with her ex-boyfriend so they can raise the baby together, but that doesn’t work out. Eventually she arranges an open adoption with one of her teachers, who’s maybe in her late thirties, married, and hasn’t been able to get pregnant. There’s this scene at the end where it’s the little boy’s first day of kindergarten, and his dad is filming him and asking him questions. The dad asks where the boy’s new little sister came from, and the boy says, “From inside my mom.” Then the dad asks him where he came from. “From inside Jaycee.” (I think that was the girl’s name.) “Who’s Jaycee?” “My birth mother!” Then you see that the camera is filming the little boy going up to Jaycee, climbing into her lap, and giving her a hug. I cried like crazy.

  • Mark G

    Kristi,,, Another wonderful article from Live Action!!! To your point,,, Open Adoption is the best kept secret and it shouldn’t be!.,,,, It should be “marketed” as one of the very best alternatives to abortion. I speak from experience,,, my family of 5 was created through open adoption,,,, our daughter is 9 and our boys are 5 and 6 (boys are 100% siblings 11 months a part). We met our birthmothers (through an agency) while they were 6 mos pregnant. We developed a great relationship and life was allowed to happen (3 time!). Open Adoption was the deciding factor for both women who were both in a crisis situation. I could go on and on about the goodness of Open Adoption,,,, I will stop here by saying,,,,, “my wife and I are thankful to God that we were not blessed with ability to have biological children….. because these 3 wonderful children would still be in the world,,, but were would they be,,,, what would their life be like??? —- then again,,, maybe they would not have been given the gift of life”!!!….  I also agree with your statement about “giving up for adoption”…….. Our agency changes that verbiage immediately,,,,, the term we use is,,, “Making a plan of adoption”!!!    Kristi,,,, thanks again for your wonderful article,,,,and thanks to all for this wonderful website!,,,Mark and Family!

    • Kristiburtonbrown

      Mark, thank you for sharing your personal experience.  What a wonderful story!  And yes…this is exactly what I mean!  Open adoption – and handpicking the parents – needs to be broadcasted far and wide as part of the modern adoption system.  I really feel like many women would be interested if they knew the facts and were encouraged by stories like yours.  We cannot stand by and let women choose abortion.  We must tell them the facts and help them see how good adoption is for their baby!

  • Eileen Pressler

    All the abovve is very true. But having been counseling women and girls in crisis pregnancies for almost 25 years, I caution that urging adoption before the  girl/woman is certain of her decision and that she can make it through the pregnancy and all the fears she has to do that is premature. Most cannot see the light at the end of that tunnel and to ask her to go through this scary journey until she is certain help is available and she won’t go through all that she fears and then give away that baby, is very possibly going to push her towards abortion. It is true, she will be sorry and this solution is the worst. But, she can’t see that and if you blithly say. “there are people who will take this child and raise it, don’t worry” just doesn’t cut it early on in the pregnancy. As one of my counselees said. “Oh Eileen, if I can survive all the next months may bring, I would keep the baby, but I don’t know if I will loss my job, how I will take care of my two children and what about my  jealous husband who I am separated from who is abusive?”

    • Kristiburtonbrown

      Thank you for your voice of experience, Eileen.  How would you suggest that we encourage women like the ones you mention to choose adoption or to keep their baby?  Are you just saying that it’s important to wait for the right timing to bring it up?  Or do you have other ideas?

  • how I wish the morning-after pill was available for these matters

    • Guest

       morning after pill is an abortive drug. =

      • mementomori

        No, it isn’t. It prevents implantation. It does not induce abortion. Please educate yourself before you spread this ignorant rumor any more.

  • Mugsylee

    Women have told me they chose abortion because, “It would just hurt too much to know that I was the mother of a child out there and someone else was raising them.” Narcissism at its finest. It is difficult to make a narcissist perform an altruistic act. 

  • Colette Wilson

    Kristi, Is that Life Legal Defense Foundation (not “Fund”)?  BTW, I’m a pro-life activist in California, a pro-bono attorney with LLDF, an allied attorney for ADF and adoptive mother of four beautiful children.  Thanks for a great article!! I agree with you 100%.

  • Gabriella_villalpando

    I do not think that the author of this article was saying to push adoption.  Rather to educate people in general about adoption.  It is important to educate everyone on adoption and how it has progressed through the years. 

  • LouanneMason

    Thank you for this!

  • leiapeison

    i dont owe anyone a baby. if my contraception fails, i will have an abortion. that is my right

    • grdawg

      Of course you don’t “owe anyone a baby.” But is it really all about you? Or could it possibly be about an innocent child, who would love to have a life – just like you have a life. Sometimes it’s not just about our legal “right.” Sometimes it really is about someone else. I have a little girl, and to be honest, I had absolutely no idea that she would mean this much to me. I love her so much more than I could have imagined I would. She is the light of my life. I really believe almost every woman would feel this way about their own child if they simply gave their baby a chance. I know the depth of my love surprised me, but it is absolutely amazing.

      • mementomori

        I’m glad your situation worked out for you, and that you are happy, however, not everyone in the world is you.

  • ldwendy

    The public needs to be aware that open adoptions are not legally enforceable in several states. It’s very easy for adoptive families to decide to cut off contact from the birth mother.

    In additional Bethany Christian Services does not have a stellar reputation. You should read Karen Fetrow’s story – it starts in the middle of the article below.

  • DarkAngel

    Why not adopted the over 2,000 children who need homes. Why does it always have to be a baby? It shouldn’t be. Older kids need love too. This is why so many children who end up in the jails are those who grew up in foster care and didn’t have a family to love them the way they deserved. If you can’t have a baby look into older children then. If God wanted you to have a baby then you would have according to your reasoning on why those who get pregnant should keep their baby. You guys say God blessed you with a child so you must keep it. How about God denied you a child so live with it. It is a woman’s right to do what she pleases. And by definition an unborn baby is technically a parasite if you look up the definition.

  • mementomori

    According to WebMD:

    How Does Plan B One-Step Work?

    Depending upon where you are in your cycle, Plan B One-Step may work in one of these ways:

    It may prevent or delay ovulation.

    It may interfere with fertilization of an egg.

    It is also possible that this type of emergency birth control prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus by altering its lining.

    Plan B One-Step is not the same as RU-486, which is an abortion pill. It does not cause a miscarriage or abortion. In other words, it does not stop development of a fetus once the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. So it will not work if you are already pregnant when you take it.

    • Guest

      Quoting the above post” “It is also possible that this type of emergency birth control prevents implantation of a FERTILIZED EGG in the uterus by altering its lining.”

      This failure to implant is the abortion of a developing human being, which is one or many reasons why prolife people object to the Plan B prescription .

      • mementomori

        First of all, that depends on when you believe life begins. Everybody has a different opinion on this, and I don’t think we will ever come to an agreement on that, at least lawfully.

        Second, Plan B doesn’t necessarily prevent implantation. It can also prevent ovulation or interfere with fertilization. This way, the zygote never forms. It is impossible to know, however, at which stage a women’s body may be at. A pregnancy test can’t detect anything until implantation. So you will never know how many “abortions” Plan B induced, and how many pregnancies in simply prevented.

        Furthermore, some doctors don’t believe a pregnancy has officially started until implantation. If the egg never implants, then you never were pregnant.

        This subject as a whole completely and totally gray. It is all situational, and there are a variety of different definitions that can influence facts. The only “black-and-white” thing about abortion is an individual’s own opinions.

  • mementomori

    According to the Free Dictionary, Implantation is defined as: The process by which a fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining.

  • L.Smith

    Not being able to deal with knowing your baby is out there in the world and choosing to terminate it instead… How is that any different from a possessive unstable ex, who wants to kill you rather than see you with someone else? “If I can’t have you, nobody can.” Or put better, (like a child with a toy in preschool), “I don’t want this baby, but you can’t have this baby either.”

  • Goofy_Guy

    “there are up to 36 couples waiting for every one baby placed for adoption.” Adding to that all the marrying gay couples who (obviously) can’t have children, this number should increase significantly. And considering that when choosing which of those couples is selected for that baby, that I imagine a man/woman couple would get priority over a gay couple, I would think that the next item on the gay agenda would be to outlaw abortion to provide additional children for ALL couples to adopt and love (and not murder). So, I believe a (strange) by-product of allowing gay marriage would be that abortion/murder would finally be seen as the horrific action that it is…far more horrific than the murder of Ernie the Lion (or whatever)

    • Dajana Smith

      Umm just because you are gay or infertile does give you the right to impose on other women to become incubators for you. You cant demand equal rights and then also try to take away the rights of others… especially if you don’t even have a uterus! Stay. Out. Of. It. Pregnancy is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced but it is very hard on a woman’s body and can even be life threatening. Forcing a woman to go through this against her will is immoral.

      • godbeauty

        Dajana Smith, giving BIRTH to a dead baby, dead by SALINE ABORTION, dead by diabolical design, dead by the hand of abortion and the abortionist, whether dead by surgical abortion or dead by chemical abortion, is also difficult on a woman’s body. It is also difficult on the woman’s psyche! Not to mention the burden of the “karmic weight” of being willfully responsible for the death of your own offspring. Giving BIRTH to a LIVE BABY during abortion, a baby that is strangled to death, or left to die without love, or “snipped” –as was the fate of many a child born alive in the “HOUSE OF HORRORS,” is also not good for the woman’s body. You wrote that “Pregnancy is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced but it is very hard on a woman’s body and can even be life threatening.” For me, pregnancy was not hard on my body. In fact, for me, it was a “health enhancer.” Many woman have lost their lives as their child was being murdered. Abortion, giving birth to a dead baby, or, giving birth to a baby that is killed shortly after birth if it is born alive, is not good for the health of a woman. It’s not good for the health of the woman’s psyche, for certain. Just a few thoughts on LIFE and DEATH by design, for you to ponder…