Social Question

_Whitetigress's avatar

When a woman gives up a child for adoption do you view it as noble or ignoble?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4354 points ) September 18th, 2012

I just heard this topic on the radio and thought it sparked some interesting debate.

What is your take on it?

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29 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Without details, this question has no answer and certainly not a “one-word” one.

jca's avatar

If someone realizes that for whatever reason, she cannot be the best parent she can be, then giving up a child to adoption, although probably extremely hard for the mother, is a wonderful thing.

wonderingwhy's avatar

A lot depends on why and the circumstances. For example if you suddenly find yourself unable to provide even minimal food or shelter or care for your child and see no way that’s likely to change soon, putting them up for adoption certainly seems the right thing to do. On the other hand if you foresaw such circumstances and knew you couldn’t avoid them, while you’d still do right by your child in giving them up, you’ve done a disservice to society having that child in the first place. All of which is just a sweeping generality. There are many, many aspects to consider for example the adoption/foster care system itself and the effect it can have on a child, particularly for children that require special care. Again, even those examples are high up and have many details that impact how a decision is viewed.

In general though, putting the welfare of others ahead of your own desires could certainly be considered noble. As could be the base acknowledgement that you are not what’s best for the child and working to ensure they have a chance at better than what you can or are willing to offer.

syz's avatar

I suppose it would depend on the person, the child, and the situation, but my overwhelming response is “What business is it of mine?”.

KNOWITALL's avatar

In the US, I would view it as a noble gesture for your childs benefit. And then only if you or your family are unable to provide for the child’s needs.

wundayatta's avatar

I doubt I would find it either. I suspect it would be a product of the situation. I wouldn’t judge anyone who did it.

In fact, it seems stupid to label such a situation either way. Why would you need to? I’m much more of a pragmatic person. If you can’t take care of a child, then to give it to someone who can could be the best for the child.

DrBill's avatar

it is always noble to do what is in the best interest of the child.

janbb's avatar

Neither; I don’t judge without context.

Judi's avatar

I always thought that it took
an incredibly selfless woman to do that. I was a teenaged mom and I knew I was to selfish to consider it seriously. I think there will be a special place in heaven for women who love their children enough to let someone more able raise their child.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, I guess we can generalize that here in America it is mostly done by young mothers who didn’t plan to have a baby. I would not say noble or not, so much depends on each situation. I know a lot of people say it is best for the baby, but I think most parents want their unwed teens to give up their babies because they worry about their own baby’s future. That their daughter is not ready to be a mother and it will stifle her opportunities, and the family doesn’t want to take on the responsibility of the baby. It seems to me some people are conditioned to give up their baby, told from childhood that pregnant teens should give up their children, abortion is unnacceptable, and there is a family who wants to give the baby their love.

I would never give up my child, except in dire circumstance, like the Nazi’s were coming to kill us. I can’t imagine it, I would be freaked out every day wondering if my child was ok. In that way I think it is an incredibky selfless act to give up a baby. It has to be incredibly traumatic for the mother, whether she firmly believes it is the right thing or not. Any woman who does it gets some credit in my book.

Sunny2's avatar

I don’t think the word “noble” applies here. Wise, pragmatic, sensible, maybe, but not noble.

JLeslie's avatar

@Sunny2 You think it is always positive? All the words you use are positive.

YARNLADY's avatar

Any mother who gives up her child for adoption has done the best thing for the child.

I don’t believe it is noble or ignoble, because it depends on the circumstances.

JLeslie's avatar

@YARNLADY What do you think about this. A friend of a friend, his daughter was a jr or senior in high school and became pregnant. She gave up the baby in an open adoption. She went to visit the baby almost every weekend last I heard, not sure if that is still the case. I think she should have kept the baby. I question whether that was best for the baby, the set up they have. The family had the money to support the child and even hire help watching her at times if necessary. The teenager didn’t need to take a full day of school to finish high school. I really didn’t understand it. But, I don’t know the family or all the details of the decision.

wundayatta's avatar

Open adoptions are pretty common these days, @JLeslie. They are considered better for the child, so the child doesn’t wonder why its mother abandoned it. Instead, it knows its biological mother and can hear the story of what happened as it grows up. It’s supposed to be healthier for the child.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I don’t think most open adoptions have the mother coming to visit and play every other weekend.

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t know how they work, but I’m sure they are all different. This does not seem out of the ordinary to me. But then, we all know my views aren’t exactly down there in the mainstream.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta I just think it is a little weird. If I were the kid I think eventually I would think, ok the family has a decent amount of money, my biological mother is over all a competent person, she has the time to visit me almost every weekend, my bio mom also does not have a dire situation in any way, but doesn’t want to bother raising me. It just seems odd. To me it just seems like the baby was given up so the bio mom can pursue her own life.

I am ok with open adoption, just to be clear. I think it is fine for an adopted child to have access to their bio parents information and possibly minimal contact. I’d have to hear from adoptive parents and the children how that worked out exactly. I’m not negative about the basic premise. The idea of a complteley closed adoption I don’t really like, it makes me uneasy for everything to be a total mystery.

YARNLADY's avatar

My sister gave up her first two children at birth. Her third child was taken away when he was still an infant. That one was given to the father’s parents in another state and had visitation with his mother once or twice a year.

The two who were given up at birth looked up their mother when they became adults. One has established an occasional relationship – emails and such. The one who visited once or twice a year has maintained the same as an adult.

In your example, it everyone is agreeable with the arrangement, I can’t see how it could be wrong.

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t often make judgments about the things that people do which don’t involve either myself or my family, public policy or other decisions of magnitude to more than their own families. And like @gailcalled said, when there are no details there’s no basis for even a half-assed judgment.

So if you want my whole-assed judgment, I’m in favor of people who don’t think they would be good parents giving up their children to people who think they might be, assuming the bona fides of each set of parents can be more or less accurately judged. That is, I don’t want to see “depressed” or “poor” or other parents making judgments about their capability (or lack of) under duress, and I also don’t want to see likely or potential adoptive parents get away with lying about their own better capabilities or reasons for wanting a child.

Sunny2's avatar

@JLeslie Giving a baby when the mother has no means of supporting it and isn’t old enough (say, 14) to care for it is a positive thing, as far as I’m concerned. The situation I have in mind was a decision between abortion and adopting the baby out straight from the hospital. It was a good decision.

josie's avatar

What if the mother died at child birth, and the child defaulted into the care of the father. What would you think of the father who gave up the child for adoption?
What if an American mother gave up her child for adoption by Romanian parents?
The question takes a few facts for granted, doesn’t it? Or not?

filmfann's avatar

A close friend of mine gave up her child to adoption. It’s a funny story best told in another venue, but I will say that I thought it was a very brave, selfless, and thoughtful thing to do. I was very proud of her.
I know that decision pains her to this day, though she would do it again.

Haleth's avatar

What is the father doing in this hypothetical scenario? Does he even exist? Theoretically, both parents should have a stake in this decision. I hate how the stigma/burden/blame of single parenthood usually goes to the mother, and how there such low expectations of fathers when it comes to parenting. To me, this question assumes that the father isn’t even in the picture. That’s so common that we just take it for granted, so nobody is really bringing up fathers in this conversation. If this question were reversed, and we asked about fathers giving up their children for adoption, the first question would be, “why isn’t the mother around?” The whole deadbeat dad/ struggling single mom thing really pisses me off, and it’s sad that adoption is one of the most viable alternatives.

JLeslie's avatar

@Sunny2 You are making a lot of assumptions. Did you see the situation I asked @YARNLADY about? The family had money and was keeping constant contact with the baby. The mom had means and time (although, obviously visiting on weekends is not like caring for a baby/child full time, but she could have devoted herself to her baby).

I don’t judge them, because I don’t know all the details, I am only saying from the outside I really don’t understand it, but that is coming from my perspective of being very reluctant to give up a baby. I knew one girl in school who did it. I remember when she told me she was going to give it up, it was the most perplexing thing to me, I had never heard of such a thing at the time.

Nullo's avatar

It depends on the reason. I’d say it’s a good thing, if the mother can’t look after the child for whatever reason. It’s an especially good thing when the alternative is abortion.

@Haleth Unless I am mistaken, men are at present legally denied any input on relevant pregnancies, even though half of the genes in question are from them. Combined with a culture of sexual ‘liberty,’ there’s little reason for a man to stick around. You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Haleth—In my sister’s case, the first two were flyboys and she didn’t even know their names—.

Haleth's avatar

@Nullo A Pig and a Chicken are walking down the road. The Chicken says, “Hey Pig, I was thinking we should open a restaurant!”. Pig replies, “Hm, maybe, what would we call it?”. The Chicken responds, “How about ‘ham-n-eggs’?”.

The Pig thinks for a moment and says, “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved.

That’s why men have less legal input into what happens after a pregnancy. Men are involved, but women are committed. Men are still equally responsible for creating the pregnancy, so they should be equally responsible for raising the child. If they aren’t, it’s not womens’ fault for wanting to “have our cake and eat it too;” it’s a symptom of a sick society.

On one point, I agree with you- currently, there’s little incentive for men to stick around after getting a woman pregnant. A freedom isn’t real if it isn’t for everyone, and sexual liberty needs to go both ways. Restricting womens’ liberties kept families together in past centuries, because marriage was the only route to financial security for most women. (Security here doesn’t mean wealth; it means, like, not starving.) It should be obvious that that system is morally wrong, because it limited womens’ options and gave them heavy consequences, while giving men plenty of freedom and fewer consequences.

Men may not have many incentives to stick around and raise their children, but it’s very disheartening to imagine half of the human race acting on only self-interest when it comes to something as basic as families. Raising children that you helped create isn’t about self-interest anymore. It’s about not being a shitty person.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I think it was Ron Paul who taught me the biblical verse from Timothy 5:8 during one of his speeches.

“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

So, I guess for someone religious there is reason. In that quote it seems not taking care of our children is one of the bigger sins against God.

And, I have to agree with @Haleth, it is disheartening men need an external insentive, rather than just having an internal desire to care for their children. I guess it is generational in some cases. I know several women who gave up babies, when they themselves had been adopted. Kind of living out what their bio mom did. I guess maybe fatherless men are more likely to become fathers who don’t father their own children. Just a guess.

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