Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Know what to consider when it comes to adopting sister's baby
Maryland: My much-younger sister, 22, is pregnant by her cheating ex. She dumped him when she walked in on him with the other woman, and the pregnancy knocked her for another loop.
Meanwhile, my husband and I, both guys, had been talking about adoption. About a week after she found out, she asked us if we wanted to adopt her baby. If not, she's planning on getting an abortion.
We need to decide soon, and we're torn. It feels selfish to adopt the baby given how much pain this whole thing is causing my sister, and when she has a fairly low-paying job that has no health insurance and requires her to be on her feet all day.
Also, how would we explain it later that the kid's aunt is actually his/her mother? We have a big extended "adopted" family of close friends, so the child would have several aunts/uncles/grandparents who aren't actually related, but this seems hinky in a different way.
We're having a hard time figuring out what we should be considering when we make this decision.
Carolyn: It sounds as if you're trying to talk yourself out of adopting this baby. That's exactly what you should do if you're not ready to be fathers, with all the complexity that entails. ("How would we explain it later" is barely a blip on the complexity radar.)
If your unexamined opinion is that you want this baby, then the things you need to consider/examine are whether this would be good for the baby, and for your sister.
The former has two parts — whether you and your husband have it in you to be patient, loving and unselfish, and whether your home is stable. By "home" I mean your relationship, your finances, your housing; it doesn't have to be sparkling, just nonchaotic.
The latter is something you can't know unless you and your sister are honest with each other. Remember, she approached you — after a week of thought. It's possible she's just as afraid to say, "I really want you to adopt this baby" as you are to say, "We really want this baby."
Instead of just being fearful of making the wrong decision, try to balance out your thinking into more objective pros and cons. When it comes to kids, objectivity takes you only so far — there's always a leap of faith waiting for you — but your discussion about your sister's situation sounds strangely speculative, as if you haven't actually asked her any specific questions or plumbed the various possibilities.
Ask her about everything, please, from feelings to insurance to her job to the father's willingness to sign adoption papers.
Anonymous: Re: Adoption: Many children are raised by aunts, uncles, grandparents and other family members. There is nothing hinky about having another family member raise the child. It sounds as if Sister would only go through the pregnancy if the baby would stay in the family, so it definitely sounds as if she wants this child to live.
Carolyn: It sounded that way to me, but then you'd think she would also consider placing the child with another family. I hope the brother will explore that with her if he decides against adoption himself.