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We're having a baby

Started by RT, Dec 10, 2003, 01:59:28 PM

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I have a problem and need some opinions.

My wife and I have been married three years. I'm 43 and she's 35. She would like to have a child but knows financially we can't handle it. She has two children from a previous marriage, and I have two as well. All four are teenagers. Only her 15 year old daugter lives with us. I pay CS for my two. We both work full time.

Time went on....and my 15 y/o step daughter is pregant - 8 months. The 17 year old "father" is a no show and skipped town. This "mother" to be is a typical imature kid, who hasn't a clue what she's in for. She's more into the "hanging out" with friends and what boy is cute. She's in the 10th grade, no job (never had to work) and has very basic skills other than marathon phone conversations.

At one point, we all agreed (daughter included) to release the baby to adoption. In fact, we found the perfect family who had already qualified and was waiting. All appeared to be good.

Now, my step daughter has changed her mind and wants to keep the baby. Her friends are bringing over baby clothes! We have talked to her till we are blue in the face about she not being ready to be a mother, and what problems she will face. This "mother child" does not know what commitment means, and I know the burden will eventually rest on her mother and myself.

I'm afraid this will destroy my family. I got a wife who would love to have a child, and a step daughter who "thinks" she's a mom. Who's going to be "in charge" of this baby? Financially this will destroy us also. We will have to cut back our hours to meet these new demands. We were already living month to month before this.

My wife acknowledges the potential problems, but isn't doing much to sway her daughter back to adoption. I feel like I'm the bad guy for doing what I think is trying to save my family - stressing how adoption would be better - #1 for the BABY & #2 for my family. Any comments?


Kitty C.

Check out Dr. Phil.  He's been dealing with a family where the older daughter was pregnant and the marriage was on the rocks.  Dr. Phil got her to talk to a group of teenage moms:  ones that gave up their babies to adoption and ones that kept.  It gave the girl the chance to see for HERSELF what it's like.  She ended up keeping the baby, but every person's different, so you never know.

Here's a link to the specific episode:


Also check out the following from the 'Advice' pull-down menu on the Dr. Phil home page: Parenting>Pre-teens, Teens>Teenage Pregnancy: Adoption or Motherhood?

If you want to see other episodes regarding this situation, just go to archives and look for any show entitled 'A Family Divided.'
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......


If I were you, I would sit back and let your wife and step-daughter decide what is best. I couldn't help but smile to think of the overwhelming power a newborn baby has, but it's not from your side of the family. I totally understand where your coming from, but let's say you share your input and they give up the baby. The "what if's" may come into play, such as what if you and your current wife divorce in ten years? After all, it is her granddaughter your talking about giving up for adoption. What if, your step-daughter matures into a responsible adult and resents you for convincing her and her mother to give up the baby? I know an unplanned baby, especially at such a young age is not going to be easy, but a decision to give up a baby for adoption is an extremely important one.  You may end up regretting saying what you say now, later. Believe me, there is a whole lot worse in life that can happen besides a pregnant teenager with a family under limited financial means. Sometimes the right road isn't the easiest....that's what someone told me when I found out I was pregnant. Oh, and a respectful suggestion in reference to an abortion. Thank goodness I didn't abort my oldest baby that grew to be an Aerospace Enginneer!

One last thought, remember, your step-daughter is just a child herself and any girl at 15 NOT pregnant is enough to drive anyone bonkers!

Dr. D

I certainly can understand your frustrations.  I sense a great deal of impatience with this issue as well. It seems as though, you were settled with the adoption idea and can't understand the change in plans.  It also sounds as though you are concerned that you and your wife will become the parents.  Slow down, take a deep breath, and consider some other things.

What is the worse thing that will happen if your sd keeps the child?  What are her options?  Where can she get some assistance? SOmetimes, an unplanned pregnancy turns out to be one of the best gifts a family can receive.  I am not suggesting this to be the best option in your case, HOWEVER, keep your mind open.  If your SD does keep the child, she should file for support immediately.  Teach her how to support the child.  Teach her how to parent.  Problems occur when parents step in and become the parents not the grandparents way to quickly.

Coaching her to visit with children that have been adopted or teens that opted not to adopt are also reasonable avenues.  Make sure she has all the information.  How will she finish school?  Who will get up with the child in the middle of the night to feed and nurse her?  Who will babysit while she goes to school and works to pay the childs' bills?  Will she miss not going to all the school activities?  Will she miss "dating" because most teen boys don't want the responsibility?  Let her explore these issues.

Remember, you cannot really make this decision for her.  Present to her her options, the consequences of each, the boundaries you and your wife are really to set, then hold on to hope that the right decision will be made.

Things will work out.....trust in that.
Dr. D


There are several options you need to look into.
!st and foremost, adoption is Not a viable option unless the father agrees to terminate his parental rights also. So pursuing this issue before you are positive the father will agree is a waste of time. Even if the father has indeed skipped town. You have an obligation to due dilagence to find him and include him in the decision.

2nd, if you and your wife have agreed her daughter needs to wake up to the responsibility of motherhood, then allow her to do just that. You both have to step back and allow her to parent this baby. You can make suggestions on how and why in certain circumstances, but you must allow her to parent.

You and your wife MUST present a united front. The daughter has to learn Right Now about consequences to actions. You can and should make her responsible for her decisions. Help out whenever possible but SHE needs to be the parent. It is in her, and the baby's best interest to allow her the respect and dignity to grow up and be responsible

The Witch
Remember . . . KARMA is a Wonderful Thing!!!!!


I am horrified. I am 42. we just had a baby the baby is 4 months old. The amount of work AND patience that it takes to hold our group together is enormus. I have a 15 year old, 4 year old and 4 month old.
People on line talk about adoption, having the child and abortion as if they are casual issues. Again I am horrified.

To raise a child in a blended family is tough enough, but to become a grandparent because thats what "everyone else wants"... Thats it you know.

What are you supposed to do ? Leave ? Agree to raise the child with your wife. Let your step daughter walk all over your values ? Some people will tell you Love and prayer will get you through. It will in the end.
Meanwhile how upsetting for you to be put in this position.

In our family if we all don't make a decesion someone makes a compromise. We have yet to force anything on each other. Ya'll need to talk . Professional help might be needed to together or seperate.
I will look to see how you are doing and I will pray for you.


I appreciate the responses from everybody and are noted.

I wanted to make it clear my first concern is to do what is best for the baby. The baby is the innocent party here.  Thinking logically, being raised by someone so young and unprepaired is second to a wanting and established family.

The "father" is well aware of this child. He has elected not to provide any physical, emotional, or financial support.  He is a drug user with a criminal record, has no job, and a 9th grade education. I have been told by an attorney that he automatically forfeits his rights to the child if there is no contact for one year after the birth. I hope that is correct. I imagine this is the way it will be.

Even with the above being said, at this point, my wife and I have decided to support her decision. It has always been her decision - but at 15, it is our responsibility to educate her.  My step daughter is in for the education of her life. Even with our support, I pray that she can handle this - for the childs sake.

Best to all


I'm speaking from the point of view of being a birth parent. I adopted out two of my children when I was a very young girl. From my own experience, it was the best thing that I could have done at the time for my children.
As far as it being a "viable" option because the birth father needs to sign over his rights...it doesn't sound as if this would be a problem. My first child's father actually left the state and my lawyer said that all we had to do was post a legal ad in the major papers where I thought he would be announcing the pending adoption. If he didn't respond within I believe 60 days, then it was assumed that he had given up his rights.
I know that I made the right decision in doing what I decided to do because my children are in the best possible situation. It hurt like nothing I had ever felt before, to see my children go off with people who would be called Mommy and Daddy. But today, I know that they are loved, they are cared for, and they have a better life than I could have given them if I were to have kept them. Both financially AND emotionally.
Adopting out your child is the most loving, selfless thing that you can do. To realise that you can't care for your child the way that they should be taken care of, emotionally, mentally and financially, and giving them a life that supersedes any expectations that you could have had for them takes amazing love.
Giving a child of 15 the responsibility of making a decision that will affect forever her life, an innocent baby's life, as well as your own life is putting a lot of responsibility on your step-daughter. She's still a child. Would you ask her to make a decision about a change in your career? Or make a decision about how to purchase a new house?  Of course not, she's 15. If you wouldn't allow her to make those decisions, why do you assume that she can make this one?
Adoption has a stigma to it. Most people assert that adoption is worse than killing the baby. I've heard so many times from women that they would rather abort a baby than give it up for adoption. Is adoption hard? YES. Is it harder than keeping a child? NO. Ask about open adoption. You step-daughter could still have a relationship with her child and with the adoptive parents. It's not the sealed-keep-everything-secret-no-one-can-know-anything operation that it was even 20 years ago. I've even heard of birth mothers who babysit for their child/ren for the adoptive parents.
Before you allow your step-daughter to make a decision that will affect not only her but her baby emotionally, financially, mentally and physically for the rest of their life (which is considerable considering she's only 15 and the baby isn't even born yet), encourage her to explore the option of open adoption more closely.
Your step-daughter doesn't really comprehend the concept of "being a mother." To her those every two hour feedings, 8 - 10 diaper changes a day, the crying, the spitting up, the missed dances, not dating, missing days out with her friends, hoping you don't run out of diapers before the end of the month...they are abstract concepts floating around outside her head. She's romantized the duty of being a mother to sitting in a rocking chair with her quite, perfect baby watching it sleep.
She is not an adult, even though she's in an adult situation. She has to rely on you to  make adult decisions for her, because she isn't in an emotional position to make adult decisions.
Well, now I'll get off my soap box and wait for the fruit to fly. ;-)