Recession adoptions: Economy forces some women to give up babies

The recession has caused some people to postpone having children until they feel more financially stable. But now comes reports of some struggling families putting the kids they do have up for adoption, all because they can't afford to keep them in this economy.

A USA Today story profiles a a woman who says she really wanted to keep her baby, but just didn't see how she could afford it. Renee Siegfort, a single mother of three teens, says she has always struggled financially and didn't want a new baby to be even more of a burden on her and her children. "I didn't want to hurt my children," she says. Although she wrestled with this difficult decision, she says has no regrets about it because she found a family that can give her baby a good life and they continue to stay in touch.

Siegfort is not alone in her struggle to raise kids in this tough economy. A variety of adoption agencies have reported more inquiries from women with unplanned pregnancies who are considering giving their babies up. Many of them are in their 20's and already have at least one child.

A recent Gallup poll found that 9% of married women have postponed a pregnancy because of their finances. Single women are especially concerned about an unplanned pregnancy, and 33% of women ages 18 to 44 say they've become more diligent about using contraceptives to avoid conceiving. That certainly jives with recent reports that condom sales have increased as the economy as worsened.

Common estimates say that raising a child from birth to age 18 can cost parents more than $250,000. The first couple years alone are full of all kinds of expenses that include diapers, clothing, formula, medical visits, child care and other necessary items babies just can't go without. All those purchases really do add up and strain many families' budgets even in the best economic times. (You can use a calculator to estimate the costs of raising your own kids here.)

As difficult as it is for me to imagine giving up my own child for adoption because things were tough financially, I'm not going to judge this woman for her decision. I think she probably did the best she could in her situation and wanted to put the welfare of her child first. She made a huge sacrifice giving up her baby, and I hope she really is at peace with her decision.

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