Pregnant Gal Putthing Child up for Adoption UPDATE

Updated on July 24, 2011
J.G. asks from Spring Branch, TX
16 answers

You can read my previous posts about this pregnant gal - Jenn, 33 yrs old, bipolar, not on her meds right now due to pregnancy #2. Her first unwanted pregnancy she decided to have her son adopted, but changed her mind a few months before he was born. She gets antsy and frazzled with the now 2 yr old and can't handle him and says she 'needs a vacation.' So with pregnancy #2, she'd not named the baby girl, she'd picked out a couple to adopt her baby girl, they took Jenn to lunch a few times, they were at the hospital all day while she was induced and was still there when the baby girl was born (they were there 12 hours or more).

Well I don't know all the details after that, but today I got an email from my friend (Jenn's sister) that said that Jenn decided to keep her baby girl. I am upset to say the least. I know she's the mom and has every single right to keep her daughter. But I can't help but think about the adoptive couple who chose this little girl to be their own, just to have her taken away from her at the last minute. Plus, if Jenn says she can't handle the 2 yr old and wants a week off, what's to say she can handle a 2 yr old plus an infant? I don't want yall to judge me. I just wanted to post this to see if you ladies have had a similar experience from either side (you chose to keep your baby, or you were going to adopt and then the birth mother changed her mind last minute). I don't want to be upset with Jenn. We're not close, so it's not like it will affect our friendship or anything. But Jenn's sister "Suzie" is my friend and Suzie is so excited that her little neice isn't going home to be with someone else. (btw - it WAS going to be an open adoption and they live in the same town, so Jenn or Suzie would have still been a part of her life in some little way. )

So please, tell me your story if you want. You don't need to tell me that Jenn has every legal right to do what she wants and I need to butt out. I know that already. I just feel for these kids and for Jenn's stability and for the couple who was gong to get that baby girl. (Btw - many adopting couples refused to take Jenn's baby b/c both Jenn and the father are bi-polar and for whatever reason, the couple's said they woudn't want that baby. Sad? Or would you possibly make the same decision? I wonder if they didn't want those 'genetics' in the child they adopted or if they didn't want mom or dad to change their mind last minute (like what happened). Insight on that topic? )

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answers from Williamsport on

I was adopted in the 70's when it was anonymous and final. I think the whole open adoption scenario is a train wreck. In so many cases, staying in touch with the birth mother, especially an unstable one, is a terrible strain on the adoptive family. Or this happens. So sad.

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answers from Tampa on

I would have been upset and angry with a friend of mine who strung along a couple who desperately wanted a child - only to tell them "too bad, so sad, F- off... I'm keeping my baby". I might have actually ended a friendship knowing this woman is the way she is and has reneged on such an important thing TWICE.

If I were to adopt, I too, would not want a baby from two unstable and mentally ill parents. Sad but true. ANYONE can become mentally ill... but to choose a child from a couple that are KNOWN mentally ill - no, I'd not set myself up for that.

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answers from Tulsa on

I was going to place my son for adoption, for a number of different reasons. Throughout the entire pregnancy, I kept myself distanced. I didn't tell a lot of people. I only referred to my son as "the baby", I didn't look at baby clothes, I didn't look at toys. I put that mental block up so that when the time came, I would not have that emotional connection. I had a family picked out who had a daughter from a previous adoption and who had a woman pull out at the last minute.

Once my son was born, I left him in the nursery the first day. The second day, I had them bring him to me so that he wouldn't be alone. All of that distancing I had done didn't matter. I was so emotionally connected and I was trying so hard not to be. I even went home from the hospital while my son stayed, still planning on going through with the adoption. While I was at home, everything in my life seemed different. It was like there was a huge void missing. I cried, I thought about the family I had chosen, I prayed about it, and came to the conclusion that I could not do it. I called the adoption counselor and told her I couldn't do it. To her credit, she didn't try to pressure me to continue, so for that I am grateful. I felt horrible for the family. I had been taught all my life to honor your commitments and the fact that I had committed to this family weighed very heavily on me. But when push came to shove, I had to make the right decision for myself, not for this family.

Would my son have had a better life with them? Maybe. I wasn't worried about finances or being able to take care of my son or being able to love him. There were a lot of ramifications based on my family and my son's father's family. I didn't even tell my family or my son's father's family until after he was born. (My son's father knew.) Some of those ramifications didn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things and some things have caused some difficultly, but that has long since passed and I know I made the right choice in keeping my son.

For Jenn, maybe adoption would have been a better choice for her child, maybe it wouldn't have been. There are a million things that could happen that would cause the child to have a worse life with the adoptive family. You never know. As long as Jenn isn't endangering or neglecting her children, then support her. Or support Suzie. If you don't know Jenn personally, you don't know the whole story. A lot of times when we are told a story, we don't have all the details and the bad is exaggerated or the good left out. And sometimes vice versa, the good is exaggerated and the bad left out.

Putting myself in Jenn's shoes, I can't imagine how she would be able to go through with an adoption, especially after already having a child. And not trying to put any blame here, but since she already backed out of an adoption once, I'd say it's a very high chance that this would happen again and I would hope that the family had prepared themselves for this possibility. Hopefully when she is back on her meds, she will be able to even out and not feel so frazzled. It seems like Suzie is happy, so hopefully she will be able to help out at times.

I'm not judging you, because I felt the same way before my experience. I have immense respect for women that are able to go through with adoptions, but for me, it was not the right choice.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't know. I think in the case where the parent is completely unstable, they should not have the legal right to keep their child. I know a lot of people wouldn't agree.

To answer your last question. I have a sister who is bi-polar. My parents went through hell. In fact, my sister STILL puts us all through hell. People who are bi-polar can tend to have a whole host of other mental health issues, as well. If I was looking into adopting children and found out both of the parents had serious mental health issues...I just don't know. The chance of a child having mental health problems when just one of the parents does, skyrockets. You have a double whammy right there. My sister was not right since she was and infant and toddler. It was not something she learned. She was born with problems. If my biological child was born with issues, that's different. But, when I am adopting and selecting...I just don't know if I could properly raise a child with mental health issues. I don't think I could take that chance.I just don't think I could handle it, and how fair would it be to that child, or my existing family? I know that sounds terrible, and maybe it is. It's honest, though.

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answers from Green Bay on

As far as the adoptive parents go, that's one of the chances they take when adopting. It sucks, but it's there. People who aren't bi-polar could still change their minds once the baby is born and it sets in that it's a real person.

As far as adopting a child with a history of mental illness in the family I would probably compare it to autism or down syndrome or muscular dystrophy. If I found out there was a history of any of these in a family I wouldn't adopt the child. I know myself and I know the child would be better off with someone else.

For some reason people feel mental illness isn't really an illness. People treat it like it's some kind of choice that people are making. If you just stay on your meds than you will be like everyone else. Can you imagine saying this to a diabetic? They have a chemical imbalance as well. Their meds constantly have to be monitored and adjusted and they will never be "normal". A mental illness though? It's prescribed at the beginning and very little is done in the way of adjusting or monitoring. They will never be "normal" but that's more their choice because if they would just take their meds then they could be.

It's a double standard that is ingrained in our culture and very rarely questioned.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Aghhh, thanks for the update. I was afraid she would do this. As someone who adopted my neice and went through rocky times, it was hell to go through. Before things were legal, my sister would show up and say "give me my f-ing baby". We got her back the next day but it was filled with manipulation for money because she knew we cared about the best interest of the child.

If only birth parents were required to go through background checks, financial disclosure and home visits, there might me more children placed with more appropriate families. I don't give a damn about biology. Children deserve the best possible life.

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answers from New York on

I'm not sure that hearing our stories will make you feel better. My DH and I chose not to adopt here in the US because we were afraid of the heartbreak that this couple went through. I know it doesnt always happen but it happens more in the US then with international adoption. As for not wanting to adopt a child with a genetic tendency to bipolar I can so understand that! My first husband and my oldest child have bipolar tendencies and have never been diagnosed. Going through the teen years with a bipolar adolescent was hell and I would not willingly choose to do it again.
Knowing that Jenn has made her decision ... What can you do to help Jenn and her children? Can you offer to babysit and give her breaks which may really help her cope with two young children?? Can you offer to help her fill out paper work to deal with insurance etc? We can all pray for her but if you are in the same town you can give her the help she will need.
My adopted son is such a joy to all of us in my family and community but OH how I wish I could have helped his bio mother and bio sister to live a better life! If I could I would gladly buy his half sister clothes and assist the mother any way I could because these people are related to my son. I pray that people will assist Jen even if she makes it hard to do so.

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answers from Philadelphia on

I have to agree with the previous poster, Bug. If you have ever seen mental illness first hand then you know what challenges come with mental illness. I know it could happen to my children too and I would have to deal with it but to sign up for it is not something I would be willing to do. Of course there is a chance this child will be totally healthy but genetics are not on her side.
I also agree with you that it is very sad for the child that the mother decided to not put her daughter up for adoption. Growing up in an unstable home alone can make someone into a dysfunctional adult IMO.

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answers from Seattle on

If Jenn usually takes her meds and tends to have her bipolar under control when she is on meds then I don't see why she would not be able to be a loving mother to her kids. I know a lot of parents of toddlers (and kids of all ages for that matter) who say that they would like nothing more than a vacation - and plenty of people DO take that vacation by themselves or with their spouse and leave kiddo with the grandparents. I especially know a lot of people taking a vacation alone without their first child, while they expect number two...enjoying some adult time before those first crazy and sleepless months.
Recognizing that you need a break and then making a responsible choice to arrange for good care for your child while you regenerate your energy sounds like good parenting to me.

Of course the situation is heartbreaking for the couple waiting to adopt. It is one reason that some people prefer to adopt infants from abroad - with children already in orphanages there is less of a chance of going through the many instances of having it fall through.

As for people not wanting to adopt a child from parents with a history of mental illness: bipolar does run in families, so Jenn's kids are at higher risk for mental illness than children of healthy parents. Just as some people may decide that they do not want children because they or their partner have a heritable disease in the family, I think it's ok for people to decide that they would not like to adopt a child at higher risk for a heritable disorder. It's always better if people admit/decide against something that they think they can't handle.

I hope she has a good support system with her sister being around and it all turns out well for everyone involved. There is a huge stigma attached to mental illness, but as long as people are getting appropriate treatment, there is really no reason that they could not have kids.
Good luck!

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answers from Kansas City on

I agree with Bug. Also though, in my opinion the whole adoption scenario is such a tough one. Obviously the birth mother has the right to change her mind. But what about the rights of the adoptive family? Especially if they have already purchased the crib, clothes, all the various and outrageously expensive baby supplies? they are not only emotionally traumatized but financially put out as well. Why do the potential adoptive parents not have rights? I dont know how I would be able to cope if I were going to adopt and was so happy about bringing baby home only to get told at the last minute, sorry no deal. There should be some type of regulations or something. I dont know.
About the bi-polar, it can be sooooooooooo difficult. My brother is bi-polar along with two other cousins, one of which has a whole slew of mental issues. I can understand the couples not wanting to adopt a baby of two bi-polar parents, it is for the babies best interest so that way she goes to a family willing and capable of handling issues. my heart goes out to everyone in that messed up situation.

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answers from Joplin on

Once she is back on her meds it will be better.
I know it is sad for the family who wished to adopt, but the mother has a right, I think putting a child up for adoption is so noble, I cannot imagine carrying a child for 9 months and being strong enough to let that child go, I know personally I felt like I had bonded with my babies before they were born and could not wait to hold them.
Bi-polar does not hold the stigma it once did, with medical advances it is quite possible to lead a very normal productive life...and do not judge her too harshly, heck for all practical purposes I would say I am quite stable/normal and I have wanted vacations from a 2 year old once or twice or maybe a dozen times....

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answers from Oklahoma City on

You can research bi-polar disorder by googling it.

It is a medical condition that can require medication to keep the person on an even keel. Thin about it this way, normal people have dips and speed bumps emotionally as they go through the day or month. A person with BPD has mountains and valleys, some hourly and others it may be years between extreme episodes. They struggle with the side effects of the medication that makes them little more than zombies, not being able to feel sadness, anger, happiness, joy, or even the emotions of love.

If she was off her medications I am sure she really needed a vacation from the stresses of raising her child. A 2 yr old is a bundle of everything anyway. I am sure she really planned on giving the child up for adoption during this pregnancy. It's too bad the adoption agency didn't wait until the baby was born and mom was back on meds to follow through the process of adoption. It is really sad for that family.

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answers from Dallas on

For me, the main problem is the mom getting another family's hopes up and excited about the possibility of a son/daughter for them. She had every right to keep her baby (like you said), but especially since she did this once already, she should have REALLY made sure she was going to go through it this time than drag another family through the emotionally rollercoaster of adoption only to end up devastated in the end. I feel so sad for the almost-parents. And, I think it's wrong that she did that to them. I can understand if it's the first time. She doesn't know how she's going to feel. But this is the second time. It seems somewhat selfish to do that to other people.

Someone mentioned thinking that when a parent is completely unstable, they shouldn't have the right to keep their child. I can agree in extreme cases, but if this mom is normally on meds, she might be just fine normally. Plus, I think that opens it up for being REALLY risky for other parents if someone deems them not fit for parenthood and takes away their baby when in reality they would have been a wonderful parent. A diagnosis doesn't necessarily translate into whether someone will be a good parent or not. I certainly don't want to give the government that type of power...unless the parent has proven they are harmful.

I have a few cousins that were adopted. I've also had a cousin put a baby up for adoption. It was an incredible story of selflessness and love. She loved that baby but knew she couldn't give her a life with a mom and a dad, which she felt was really important. She's amazing and loves her daughter more than anything...and because of that love and her knowing she couldn't give her daughter what she wanted, she gave her to a very loving, caring family.

I feel very sad for those hopeful parents. I hope they get a baby soon. And, I hope that this mother does well with two kids!

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answers from Houston on

I am very sorry for all involved. They have no idea what's in their future. My husband is bipolar. Our 11 year old it not, but our 8 year old is bipolar. He apparently showed signs younger than typical. He's been diagnosed for a couple of years. It is a tough road. It would take a very special adopted couple to care for a bipolar child. We do therapy once a week and finally have him under special education to get the additional help he needs (he's also ADHD). So, yes, bipolar is hereditary - and with both parents having it, the children have a great chance of it. You didn't mention in this post if your friend normally takes her meds? If she doesn't, she REALLY does as these children get older. Two bipolars butting heads is not pretty - they are both stubborn as mules and won't back down. Bipolar children need LOTS of patience and love - their self esteem is lower than low. Hopefully you will be around as these children grown to help with giving them the love they will need.

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answers from Tucson on

I have a headache and i dont really know what you are asking, but i feel sorry for the adoptive family. how awful to not get the baby you were so hoping to get. Its kind of like the baby dies. My heart hurts for them.
The mom is bi-polar so hopefully once she is on her meds again she will have a little more control. I have a 2 yr old and a newborn and man is it rough. I am a single mother and it can get overwelming and depressing at times. I can't even imagine being bi-polar and dealing with 2 kids. BTW i think it is genetic.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I thought this might happen. I trust in God for everything and believe that it was just not His plan for the adoptive family to have this baby girl, that He has something else planned for them. The adoptions I have known of left other couples without getting that child, but they were able to move on and adopt others.

Being bi-polar is hereditary, so many prospective parents would likely be afraid to take on a child with that parental history.

Now that Jenn can get back on her meds she hopefully will improve and be attentive to her children's needs and her own care. Please advise Suzie to watch for signs that Jenn needs help with the children or her own care and proactively seeks it out for her if necessary. As with any child it truly takes a village❤

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