No Baby For You!

When I was confronted with an unplanned pregnancy, I decided on adoption. At this moment, my life changed. I fully accepted myself as an atheist as soon as this happened. People were telling me that it was “God’s will” for me to be a single mother to two children. Why? I could not afford two children on my own and I knew this baby’s father would not step up and take responsibility.

Once I accepted myself as an atheist, I had a new obstacle with the adoption agencies. Was there such a thing as a non-religious adoption agency? At that time, I couldn’t find any. When I did go to an agency, I asked for an atheist family or a gay family in need of a child. I was told that they did not have any at this moment. I went to many agencies and received the same answer. Why was it so hard to accept an “alternative” (yes, the agencies actually used this term) family? I didn’t want the traditionally Christian household for my child.

I finally decided on the private adoption route, but I was still angry. Did being an atheist mean I was less of a person? Did the idea of having my child raised in a household of reason make me a bad person? No. The idea that agencies would not accept couples with different ideals was appalling. In the end, if the child was loved, what did it matter? I ended up choosing a nonreligious family to an extent. While my daughter’s new family is Christian in certain ways, they hate the idea of church. They find the pastor’s constant need for money to be disgusting.

This whole adoption experience opened my eyes to everything I disagreed with in terms of what makes a family. Sure, on many adoption sites, you can choose a family based on the religious preference but once you click the “atheist” category, there are no families to choose from. Now, look at how they choose their families. They do a home study and a background check on each family. Then, they claim, you get to do your own evaluation of the family. Now, how can we do that when there are no options for us? Surely, there are atheist families who are dying for a child.

Now, after much research, I will admit that there are alternative adoption agencies; however, they are so far down the list in any search engine that it would take you at least a half hour to find them. Why do adoption agencies act like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld? If you do not do, or think, the way they want you to, you do not get a baby. As a birth mother, this is troubling. While I would never want a drug addict, pedophile, or alcoholic as the parent of my daughter, I would never want to exclude someone who holds the same ideals as I do. So here is my final question: Why are these tax exempt adoption agencies refusing to let all qualified potential parents in the search? Should religious organizations be allowed to handle adoptions?

  • Ray

    I am against religious organizations handling adoptions outside of their particular faiths.

  • Carol

    I’m quite certain that there are a good many atheist or nonreligious families out there who would love to adopt a child, but probably feel that, because of the stigma associated with the word “atheist” in this country, that this would be a red flag for a lot of adoption agencies and many young mothers who want to be able to say that their child went to a “good christian family”.

    • Heather

      Not many of the birth mothers I know wanted a “good christian family.” They only wanted a family that would love the child and respect the birth mother. Nothing more.

  • George

    my wife and I have been considering adoption. I am an atheist she is agnostic. We were basically told to get a white (my wife and I are white) baby we would most likely have to accept a baby from a mother that had been a drug addict. Or we could work through the foster system and get a baby that had been removed from an abusive home.
    kind of disheartening.

    • AJ

      So drug addict babies or babies from an abusive home aren’t good enough for you then? Or any baby of another race? I’m an atheist and looking to adopt and none of that matters to me…I just want to give a child…any child of any age etc…a chance at a decent life better than the shitty hand they were dealt.

      • Lizzy

        I can only imagine the ‘white’ specification is so that they can start the adopted baby (and everyone who meets them) off believing she/he is their biological child. If they have a baby of a different ethnicity people will know straight-up that she/he is adopted – people are cruel, they have prejudices, especially children… maybe they just want to protect him/her.
        And the drug addict thing is hard to figure out – the baby could have medical issues, perhaps they aren’t equipped for that.
        And babies from abusive homes have all sorts of mental issues, they are incredibly hard to care for and potential parents should be able to decide whether or not they are prepared to make exponential efforts to care for what another person broke.
        Of course I can’t speak for this man? But I’m making a guess, specifications (especially for an adoptee) aren’t always coming from a place of bigotry.
        You sound like a good person btw. any poor unwanted kid would be lucky to have you :)

        • Dave

          I totally agree up until the last bit. AJ sounds angry and completely unable to empathise with the OPs sadness at potentially facing raising a challenging child. Until AJ can learn that, I think the jury is out on whether any poor unwanted kid would be lucky to have them.

  • George

    You will probably not find any children,s homes or old age homes or non governmental organizations and public benefit org’s run by atheists either. Why? The heart of atheism I would guess. Loving and caring for anybody but yourself is not exactly atheist philosophy. We come from nowhere, live for nothing but fleeting pleasure on our way to nowhere. Do not moan and groan after all it is your baby and you where involved in the sex that that evolved the baby. You had the pleasure, why not live with the result? Stop blaming others for problems you evolve by your own choices. But then again you will probably find some stupid Christians out there that in their ignorance actually care for that baby and even for the irresponsible mother and father. Crazy those Christians but thank God (oops – evolution) that they are around to try clean up our mess.

    • Huda Al-Iraqia

      Don’t paint a nation with the same brush. Just because that’s the kind of Atheist you are, doesn’t mean everyone else is Although I myself am not an atheist, I do believe everyone deserves a little respect.

    • GomerDomer

      What a nasty and untruthful response.
      There are lots of NGO’s and public benefits orgs that atheists are involved with. We just don’t go around saying that only atheists are allowed and do not mind working with people of faith.

      What really annoys us are people like you who go around lying about us.

      FWIW, this atheist family has adopted two kids already and we are starting the paperwork for a third child.

    • Angie Brumett

      Atheists and agnostics have everything to live for and nothing to die for. A meaningful life is necessary because this universal human desire cannot be pushed into some possible afterlife. Sometimes such people are the only ones willing to deal with life’s harsh reality and do what it takes to prevent further pain. A love for truth instead of delusion does not make someone uncaring: almost everybody on death row requests a chaplain, so there are not many unbelievers in the cold blooded muderers category. Basic morals are not learned through religion and are actually corrupted by religious agendas. I see this biological mother as wanting to give her child a home of love and clarity in their purest forms. What a beautiful gift.

  • Darwinian

    Liberals are aborting or giving away their kids.
    Conservatives are having big families.

  • Loyalist

    Being an atheist is not the problem.
    Giving away your flesh and blood is.

    • Lizzy

      She’s doing right by her flesh and blood – giving him/her a life she cannot herself provide. That is the true nature of a mother, how much of yourself you are willing to sacrifice for them. Solomon and all that (theist?)
      No-one has ever been a good mother out of a sense of self-depreciating duty, you have to have love, passion, commitment otherwise it’s joyless – and baby will know that.
      I cannot conceive of how you could see sending a kid where he/she is wanted and will be cared for as a ‘problem’

  • Arbor Rooma

    My husband and I are atheists just starting the adoption process. We were told that if we were honest about our non-belief in a higher deity, we would probably never get to adopt. We were told our best chance would be to lie about our beliefs, join a church and get a reference from a pastor. Lying about my beliefs just feels dirty and morally wrong but when you’re desperate for an unwanted child you consider doing anything. “Fake it till you make it.” is what we were basically told.

    It’s not that there are no atheists looking to adopt, it’s that many agencies are not very willing to work with them to get a child. The whole system is whack.

    I’m sorry you had so many ignorent comments onto this article. My heart is filled with nothing but love and respect for you and your situation. We do not have fertility problems but are choosing to adopt because we have a stable, loving home and there are children out there in need of a home like ours.

  • Nicole

    I have found two wonderful agencies that accept non-religious adoptive parents. American Adoptions and Independant Adoption Center. Both are nationwide, doesnt matter what stat you live in. Also you dont have to “accept a baby from a mother that had been a drug addict” This is a huge adoption misconception. Many mothers who are choosing an adoption plan are choosing the best for their baby and have made life changes to make sure their baby is healthy.

  • 862private

    Heather, did you find adoptive parents? Because I know an atheist and agnostic who would like to be parents …

  • Huda Al-Iraqia

    well i definitely see you’re point, however I can understand the anxiety of having to worry about leaving a child in the hands of people who will raise them to have different ideals than yours. Some, such as these religious agencies, may even go so far as to see it as a sin to give a child to a family that will raise them to be atheist rather than monotheist. Then again, you don’t want your child to be raised with a different ideal than yours just because you are unable to raise them yourself at the time. And for that reason, I do believe these adoption agencies should take better care to give equal opportunities to families that have different views.

  • RoryJenHopingtoAdopt

    My husband and I have been trying to adopt for two years. He is an atheist and I am a Deist (belief in God but not in religion). We believe strongly in being honest about our beliefs, and our agency (a Christian one that insists they work with people of all faiths) told us that there is “a birthmother out there for everyone”, so we refused to lie on our profile. Well, so far not one person has shown the slightest bit of interest in us (we have had a small number of people look at our profile, but no one ever chooses us), and we are getting very, very discouraged. We are pretty sure it is because of our (lack of) faith, because everything else about our profile is very positive. It’s nice to hear a story from someone who WAS an atheist birthmother, but I’d love to know how to find others out there to advertise our profile to, because there don’t seem to be any in our state.