Faith can be the cornerstone of life. It shapes worldviews, gives hope, offers ways to see meaning through challenging times and provides direction for difficult decisions.
So, it’s no wonder that you may be wondering about religious views of adoption if you are a person of faith experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Whether you are a practicing evangelical, Muslim, Jew, Catholic or any other religion, this guide is for you.
Let’s go through all of the major religions, and what those traditions may have to say to a woman considering adoption for her baby.
Christian Views on Adoption
Is it wrong to “give my baby up” for adoption if I’m a Christian?
Most Christian denominations place a strong emphasis on sexual purity, viewing premarital sex as “sinful.” This causes many Christian women who end up experiencing an unplanned pregnancy outside of marriage to feel incredibly guilty and like they have to parent the baby.
But the truth is that the Christian view of placing a baby for adoption can be (and should be) very positive. Did you know that the Bible is full of stories of adoption?
Moses, one of the heroes of the faith who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, was actually adopted. His mother was faced with a desperate situation and chose to do what was best for her baby.
If that’s not enough, here’s something you may not have considered before: Jesus was adopted. Joseph, according to Christian doctrine, is not Jesus’ biological father. That means he would have had to adopt Jesus.
Purity culture may cause you to feel shame about adoption. It may make you ask, “Is putting a child up for adoption a sin?”
The resounding, true answer: No. There is Scripture about “giving a baby up” for adoption, and the real Christian view of placing a baby up adoption acknowledges that, sometimes, adoption can be the best thing for the mother and the baby. It can create the hope of a better future.
Christianity also places a strong emphasis on “caring for the orphan,” and American Christian culture has always strongly encouraged and supported adoptive families.
Catholic Views on Adoption
Are you a Catholic and want to “give up” a baby for adoption?
If so, you may be interested in what Church tradition has to say about this topic. While Roman Catholic views on “giving children up” for adoption are always up for debate, we believe that your faith should motivate you to choose adoption, not deter you from it.
There may be cultural and theological ideas engrained in Catholicism — no sex outside of marriage, a high value on strong families — that make you feel a sense of guilt for considering adoption. However, when you choose adoption, you’re not “giving up.” You’re making a sacrificial decision that puts the life of your child ahead of your own, and that’s something that Church doctrine fully supports.
Historically, Roman Catholic view on “giving children up” for adoption has motivated the creation of some of the largest orphanage networks in America. More recently, the Pope has spoken positively of adoption, and others have made the case that the act of adoption is actually a sacrament.
Islamic Views on Adoption
“Giving your child up” for adoption in Islam comes with a unique set of cultural challenges.
While the diversity of theological and cultural interpretations of Islam can create communities where adoption is viewed positively, many pregnant Muslim women putting a baby up for adoption are met with negative responses. This is mainly due to the situations that commonly surround adoption, such as pregnancy outside of marriage.
There are Islamic doctrines that encourage caring for the “orphan,” so the issue is not with the virtue of adoption from the perspective of the adoptive family. Typically, biological relatives are considered as the first option to adopt the child, and then other options can be looked at.
Pregnant Muslim women putting a baby up for adoption can also turn to an adoption agency to place their baby for adoption. While some Muslim communities have internal practices for adoption, many in Western societies will rely on more modern means of completing the adoption process.
When “giving your child up” for adoption in Islam, you may feel a strong conviction that Muslim parents should adopt your child. As we’ll explore in greater detail below, this is always possible with the right adoption agency.
Adoption in Judaism
Can I “give my baby up” for adoption in Judaism?
The Jewish tradition and Scriptures are full of stories of adoption. Fathers of the faith, like Moses, were adopted. Moses’ mother, Miriam, is seen as a hero for choosing to do what was best for her baby, which God then used to lead a nation to freedom.
However, this doesn’t always mean that Jewish women who “give a baby up” for adoption receive a positive response. Like many other faith traditions, cultural ideas about sex outside of marriage and family responsibility can create negative perceptions of adoption.
While you should always be prepared to receive pushback, that shouldn’t discourage you from doing what is right for your baby. As seen in the Moses story, adoption is a loving, brave thing to do. In fact, “giving a baby up” for adoption is a mitzvah, according to some rabbinical interpretations. And in nearly all Jewish traditions, adopting a child is encouraged.
Buddhist Views on Adoption
Can a Buddhist woman choose adoption for her baby?
Yes, she can. Adoption is a brave and loving choice made in the midst of a difficult decision. It involves sacrificing your own desires to do what is best for your baby. For a Buddhist woman, it’s easy to see how this could be in line with important values of the spiritual tradition.
The sacred texts of Buddhism have little to say on the subject of adoption. There are several parables that may have to do with adoption, but they seem to be more about wise parenting than anything that resembles the modern adoption process.
Modern debate around the topic has unearthed promising and surprising ideas about adoption in Buddhism. You may know that the Buddha actually “gave up” his own parental responsibilities to his son in pursuit of enlightenment, and some argue that this “can be interpreted to reveal an ongoing concern for that son.”
If finding a Buddhist family to adopt your baby is important to you, then this can be a part of your adoption plan, which we’ll discuss in greater detail below.
Adoption and Hinduism
Women considering adoption for their babies come from all different walks of life. Whether you are a young woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or a mother whose family is already complete, you may be wondering what your Hindu faith has to say about adoption.
First, you should know that adoption is always an option in response to an unexpected pregnancy. You can choose adoption for your baby.
As it pertains to the Hindu spiritual tradition, there are many stories that could speak to adoption. The richness and depth of this tradition offers many interpretations on nearly any subject. It may help, when considering adoption, to think about it this way: Adoption is a loving act in which a mother puts the life of her child above her own, doing what is best for the baby even when it is hard for her.
So: love, self-sacrifice, and care for another. That’s what adoption is, and the Hindu tradition certainly supports those values.
Atheist and Agnostic Adoption
If you are a non-religious person considering adoption, you may want to know that you can find atheist or agnostic parents to raise your child. This could come from a personal conviction that it’s better to grow up without religious ideals.
When you’re a prospective birth parent, you choose the adoptive parents for your baby. This happens by working with an adoption agency and looking through adoptive family profiles. In these profiles, you can learn about the prospective families, including if they are religious. You can decide to pick an adoptive family for your baby that is not religious.
Religious Adoption Agencies
Faith-based organizations can provide the services you need in order to successfully complete an adoption placement. Christian adoption agencies are especially popular, but there are adoption agencies for families of nearly every faith.
You can also choose to work with an agency that is not faith-based, but gives you a great chance of finding the perfect family based on religion (more on this below).
If you are specifically interested in working with a faith-based adoption agency, then you could consider contacting one of the professionals listed below:
- Nighlight Christian Adoptions
- Bethany Christian Services
- Catholic Adoptions
- Jewish Children’s Adoption Network
- New Beginnings Family and Children’s Services
Religious Adoptive Families
Whether you are “giving a baby up” for adoption as a Christian or considering adoption as a Muslim of Catholic, you can choose an adoptive family for your baby that is a part of the same faith tradition.
When you’re a prospective birth parent, you choose the adoptive parents you think will be best for your baby. Working with an adoption agency, you can create a list of important characteristics. The agency will show you adoptive family profiles with families who match those characteristics.
The best way to ensure that you find the right family is by looking at a lot of profiles. Typically, large adoption agencies work with more families and, in turn, have more profiles to show prospective birth parents. This is why many women looking for adoptive parents of a specific faith tradition choose to work with national adoption agencies.
If you’d like to learn more about working with a national adoption agency, you could consider one of these organizations:
Or, you could contact us today. We’d be happy to connect you with an adoption agency that can answer your questions and help you get started with the process.