I had a four hour long conversation with my aunt this evening. She was explaining to me in great detail: her faith, her political ideas, how she raises her children, so on and so forth. Myself being a very liberal atheist, I mostly stood there, trying not to have a disgusted look on my face, and smiled and nodded. It was very hard for me not to tell her that everything she believes in is childish and wrong. After the very one sided conversation, I locked myself in my room and watched Christopher Hitchens videos on Youtube, a sort of detox. The thing that has been running through my mind is, I am going to be giving my child to them. With her ideas of creationism and her love for Sarah Palin and Bill O'Reilly, this is going to be way more difficult than I had ever imagined.

I want to put my child in a good home. Now don't get me wrong, they are wonderful people, very nice and not as judgmental as I thought they would be, she is okay with my tattoos, and actually knows I'm and Atheist and doesn't seem to mind. But as nice as they are, I want different things for my child. I want my child to be exposed to so much more, mostly the truth. They already have 3 children, so it isn't like they are really needing another one, and they home school them, which means they are exposed to so much more religion and are taught creationism vs. Evolution, this bothers me.

Perhaps I will keep my child. It will be difficult, but I have people who love me and will help me as much as they can. My Aunt told me if I decided I wanted to keep the baby, I could and she would help me take care of it and watch it while I was at work or if I decided to go to college. I just don't know what I am going to do once I make the decision not to give them my child. When do I tell them? Should I go back home to Missouri? When do I go home? I just got here 2 weeks ago. I guess I still have a lot of thinking to do.

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Comment by Reggie on December 24, 2009 at 8:25am
A fellow Missourian! Hello and welcome to T|A from St. Louis!

It sounds like you have some tough decisions to make in the coming months. Growing up in a religious home is not the worst thing that could happen to a child. If your aunt and uncle provide a safe, stable home environment and are able to love your child as one of their own, then I think their religion should not weigh in as much if your decision is to give the baby over to adoption.

I am curious what role you will have in your babies life if they do adopt the child? Will you have a relationship or any influence?
Comment by Laura on December 24, 2009 at 9:43am
You have a difficult decision to make. If you do let your aunt adopt your child, she might have the legal power in the future to keep you from seeing the child. I guess I'd be concerned that, if you start sharing your atheist wisdom with your child after the child has been adopted, your aunt might be able to cut you off from him or her to "protect" the child from a "bad influence."

If your aunt has offered to help with the baby if you keep custody, this might be the best of both worlds, though I'm sure it won't be easy. If you're unable to handle it, you can always let your aunt adopt the child later, but you probably won't be able to get the child back if you let her adopt him or her right away. So I guess I'd personally err on the side of trying to raise the child yourself, with help from your family, and seeing how it goes. Let your aunt do the babysitting while you go to college. No need to rush into adoption right away, right? Just my thoughts. I wish you well.
Comment by Michel-san on December 24, 2009 at 11:38am
Maybe carefully write down all your options and follow them through to their conclusions, dealing with all the 'what ifs'. Then you can better make a decision. Things are easier when written down, there's a limit to how much you can fit in your head at once.

1) No adoption & stay with your aunt.
+You ultimately stay in control of your child.
+You get help and support from experienced parents.
+You get a large influence in the child's upbringing.
-It's a lot of work bringing up a child.

2) No adoption & go back home.

3) Adoption by your aunt.
+They are experienced parents.
+They are nice people.
+Possible to stay in contact with your child.
-You lose custody.

4) Adoption by someone else.
+Can pick from prospective parents.
-No contact with the child or part in her/his upbringing.
Comment by denis bider on December 24, 2009 at 4:39pm
I second Michael's comment, but would add to say that I don't think this is a difficult decision at all. That is, the difficulty is not in deciding, because you probably already know what you prefer. The difficulty is in accepting and adapting to all the consequences of the decision that's correct for you.

If you're ever going to have kids, then it will probably be before this kid even turns 10. Ten years from now, you're going to be a mother of a second child, and you might very well be regretting that you let your aunt adopt your first one.

If you plan to be a mother some day, the best outcome would be for you to raise this kid, too. If you can get your relatives to help you during the first few years, that would be much better, but if you plan to be a mother eventually, you'll regret it if you don't have full custody of this kid when he or she turns 5.
Comment by Galen on December 24, 2009 at 5:50pm
Well, if you want "so much more" for your child, the only way to give him/her that is to raise him/her yourself. I'm curious as to why you're giving up your child in the first place. I read your other post about it and, ok, the standard "too young" etc. problem. Understandable, but I also want you to realize that a lot of the "too young to have a kid" stereotype is nonsense piled on by society. Most of the arguments against you keeping and raising your child would apply whether you were 16 or 36. Being a single mom is HARD work, for sure. I've seen some women do horribly at it and some women do great at it.

What you really need to do all of this is the support of those who love you. It sounds like you have that. If you decide that giving your baby up is really the best thing for both you and him/her, then great, but be prepared to regret it. Of course, there will also be plenty of times when you'll regret keeping the baby if you do that! But in the long haul, it sounds like you already have hopes and dreams and plans for your young one and those aren't coming true at the hands of anybody else but you.

In the other post about this, Gaytor came out clearly in favor of giving the baby up. I'd say I'm definitely taking the opposing position (which is good, so both sides are represented). The decision is ultimately yours to make and I'm sure everyone here will support whatever choice you make. Good luck in making that choice, I know it's not easy!
Comment by paddo on December 24, 2009 at 8:37pm
Hi Alexandra
No matter what happens you are going to be in for a tough time. As if you don't have enough to think about, I would suggest you try to imagine yourself in ten or twenty year's time looking back on this decision. The reason being that your choice is affected by several factors, namely
1. You are depending a lot on others for support right now
2. You are subject to prejudice by current social standards
3. You are surrounded by people who although well-meaning, are probably making you feel as though you have been morally bad, and they are sufficiently close to you and influential for this judgement to sting.

I really want you to ignore all these factors if you can because they are temporary. In ten years, (after a lot of hard graft, sure) you will be established, secure, self-confident and indifferent to the criticisms of the ignorant. You won't stand by and listen to crap from others as you describe yourself doing above. You will certainly not let anyone subject your child to it. At the moment you are in a pretty powerless situation but you will change that. One thing you do control now is what happens to your child, who is depending on you to bring them up in the light of reason. I really hope that you don't have to relinquish that. Good luck with your decision.
Comment by Alexandra Jael on December 26, 2009 at 12:58am
To answer Reggie's questions, this would be an open adoption, so the child will know I am its biological mother. I can have a relationship with the child if I want to, but I don't think it would be best to influence the child because I won't be the one raising it. It will no longer be mine to influence.

I have taken everything everyone has said into consideration and I appreciate everyone's advise.
I do want to keep my baby, that is what I want to do.
I cannot be selfish and hand over my baby just because "I'm not ready to be a mom yet." that is a silly excuse and I need to grow up and take responsibility of my action.

and Nelson, I have thought about this, and I may look into it, but I am living with my aunt and uncle, I don't have a car and we aren't near public transportation. we are close to boston but live in marlborough. I would feel like such a jerk to ask them to take me to an adoption agency so I can give my baby to someone else!

I planned on having children someday, I have always wanted to be a mom, but I wanted to have kids with someone who loves me and will be a good dad. But I'm sure I will find a good guy someday who will love me and my child. So it looks like I'm thinking about staying up here in Boston and raising my child myself. Or I will go home, I do miss my family terribly. But I think this is a good decision, one that I will never regret.
Comment by Galen on December 26, 2009 at 1:41pm
With either decision, I think somebody could've found an excuse to call you selfish. But that would just make you normal. Normal people tend to BE selfish. What you've done is to recognize what you consider to be your own selfishness and made a conscious decision to do what you think is RIGHT in spite of that. There's a lot to be said for conscious self-improvement!

I think you'll do just fine. NOBODY is ever "prepared" to be a parent. Even people who're married and have planned it all out; they quickly discover how little their plans mean, lol. Being a good parent is all about you as a person and your relationship with your child, it's not about "being ready" because nobody is. I've seen horrible 40yo mothers and I've seen great 16yo mothers. It's all about the parent and their support network.

I think you'll do just fine. Good luck! :)
Comment by Jacqueline Sarah Homan on December 27, 2009 at 4:28am
Alexandra Jeal: "I have taken everything everyone has said into consideration and I appreciate everyone's advise.
I do want to keep my baby, that is what I want to do."

Then that is precisely what you should do.

I would also add that Galen is right insofar as you should not let anyone bully you into a choice that's not right for you with the "selfish" cudgel. No matter what you would have chosen, whether it was to terminate the pregnancy, or have the baby and keep it, someone out there is always ready to jump on their soapbox and call you "selfish." And that is where you must call bullshit. Like Galen said, there are no instruction manuals that come with how to be a mother. But society is often quick to condemn.

@ Galen: Kudos to you for giving sound advice and good moral support for Alexandra. You have totally earned my respect for that.
Comment by Angie the Anti-Theist on December 27, 2009 at 7:59pm
Well, Galen & paddo both have excellent comments. I'll just agree that no one is ready to be a mom or dad (not even my sister who's been prepping for it since she was 6.) Take the help you need while it's available. My mom isn't exactly the nicest person & we're not even speaking to each other now (crazy guilt-tripping Christian) but living with her rent-free the first two years of my son's life definitely helped. (If she'd actually been willing to babysit on occasion, that would have helped more...)

And you can totally find a guy who's into you as a young MILF. I've dated half a dozen guys in the past 4 years of momdom, three semi-seriously, and one seriously. I've had fewer dry spells as a mom than I did before I hit drinking age, lol. It can be lonely, but I've found having someone else to be responsible for has raised my standards for a guy, so hopefully I'm weeding out the useless and the asshats. Hopefully it'll do the same for you :)


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