By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 at 6:06 am in Adoption.
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter is pregnant and plans to keep the baby. Political talk aside, it’s not really that surprising. It doesn’t matter that her mom supports promoting abstinence in teaching sex education. All the family values in the world won’t change the fact that 17-year-old Bristol is like a lot of other teenage girls. Forty-two in every 1,000 girls in America has a child before turning 20 years old. And the kicker, according to Child Trends, is that less than 1 percent chose to place the child for adoption.
It’s not easy for me to voice an opinion on news such as this because I can’t be objective. I fall in the group of thousands of women in America who are trying to adopt a child. While I truly want each pregnant woman to make the right choice for herself and her baby, the hopeful side of me is still grateful to know some women do choose to carry their children to term and place them for adoption. The fact remains, women are the ones doing this, not teens. Surprised? So was I, at first.
The movie “Juno” painted a very Hollywood-type image on adoption. A teenager gets pregnant, decides to place her child for adoption and then sits playing her guitar with her teen boyfriend in a very life-goes-on scene. Reality check: most women who place their children are 23 years or older. According to Stolley, most of them have greater educational and career goals for themselves than do those who choose to parent their children; they come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds; and they are from intact families who support the adoption placement.
Also, rarely do the birthfathers marry the birthmothers. That’s where Palin’s daughter breaks from the norm. According to reports, her 18-year-old boyfriend plans to marry her. That’s not to say his decision affected her own decision to parent. Truth is, no one except Bristol can say with certainty why she made the decision that she has.