Is it sinful to give unwanted children up for adoption?

Imagine that there is a married catholic couple, one that doesn’t want children.

Maybe they already have all the children they could want, maybe they would rather focus on their work, maybe they don’t think they would make good parents or otherwise don’t trust themselves to raise a child, or maybe they don’t have the resources to raise any/ any more children. But for whatever reason, they do not want to raise any more children.

They are not using contraceptives because the church disapproves of it, but they are also not using NFP because they still desire the unitive benefits of sex.

So instead, whenever they get pregnant they carry the child to term. But instead of raising it themselves, they find a married couple that is looking to adopt and they give the child to them instead. This way the couple in this example only has as many children in their household as they desire, they are respecting the possibility for new life, and they are providing a chance at parenthood to couples who can not have children yet desperately want to.

Is this wrong or sinful?

It might be, and it might not be.

The adoption itself? I don’t think so. But maybe their intentions with sex could be?

Why? They accept the procreative and unitive purposes of sex, they just don’t want to/ aren’t able to raise the child afterwards. It’s not like they’re getting abortions or leaving the children at doorsteps: they’re finding good homes for the children.

Is the pullout method part of NFP?

Fair enough. I wasn’t sure myself.

I don’t know if there’s some kind of “official” Catholic position on this, but here are my thoughts…

It depends on why you give up a child for adoption. If it’s in your child’s best interest, then that seems like it would be fine. But if you’re doing it for selfish reasons, then no, that wouldn’t be okay. Children have a right to be raised by their own mother and father, and parents have a duty to raise their children. You could only give up your child if it really was for their best interests (or you at least perceived that it was).

The example you gave does not at all sound like the parents are giving their child up for adoption because it’s what’s best for the child. Here, they are giving up their children - denying them that right to a relationship with their own parents - simply so that they can have as much sex as they want.

It would be one thing for a couple to “accidentally” become pregnant, realise that they can’t raise another child, and then give up that child to someone else. It is quite another to realise in advance that they can’t have more children, but then decide, “But we don’t want to cut back on how much sex we’re having, so who cares if we have another child, and we’ll just give them away”. That’s perhaps one of the most selfish attitudes a person could have (obviously, this is a hypothetical couple - hopefully no one really thinks like this in real life!)

Finding “a good home” wouldn’t seem to be enough in my opinion. The children have a right to be raised in THEIR home, their parents’ home, unless there is a serious reason that this isn’t possible.

I feel like your placing too much emphasis on blood relation. The couple who conceives and gives birth to a person are only their biological parents; the person’s actual parents are the ones who raise and love that person (it might also be the biological parents, or it might be adoptive parents).

Your home is whichever place you feel most comfortable and secure. Your parents are the people who raised and nurtured and love you. Blood relation is unnecessary.

If someone was raised by two loving parents, and found out they were adopted, that person would continue to call those parents “Mom and Dad” and would be happy that he/she was raised by them.

It appears by your use of the words Right and Duty that you believe biological parents are automatically the best possible parents a child can have. That is simply not true; non-abusive adoptive-parents are better than abusive biological ones, and nurturing adoptive parents are better than emotionally distant biological ones.

No. NFP, or Natural Family Planning, is when a Catholic Couple only has sex during the few days of the month when the woman is least fertile (at least until menopause). This only decreases the chance of pregnancy, it doesn’t outright eliminate it.

Pullout Method is when a man pulls his penis out of his lovers vagina right before sexual climax so as to prevent the genetic material from entering his lovers womb and resulting in conception. This, if done right, fully eliminates the chance of pregnancy and takes the procreative aspect out of sex.

No, I’m not saying that your biological parents are “automatically” the best possible parents you can have. I’m saying that you have a right to be raised by the people who brought you into this world, unless there’s a serious reason why they can’t do so. All things being equal (they’re not abusive or emotionally distant etc.), then it’s better for a child to be raised by their biological parents than by an unrelated set of parents.

The UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child states under Article 7 that every child has the right as far as possible “to know and be cared for by his or her parents”.

To say that “blood relation is unnecessary” - no it’s not “necessary” as far as that you don’t NEED to be raised by your biological parents. But it’s preferable.

Don’t you agree that a child has a right to a relationship with the people who brought them into this world, unless there’s some serious reason why that can’t happen? When, for example, a child conceived using a sperm donor wants to know who their biological father is, are you saying that their biological father is irrelevant? Your biological parentage is part of who you are. I think you have to have a good reason to give up a child for adoption and deny them that relationship with their parents. The example you gave, of parents giving up their children for adoption just so they could have more sex, isn’t a good enough reason in my opinion to justify it.

Natural family planning is the recording of a woman’s symptoms of fertility. It can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy, or just for health purposes.

Its morality is not dependent on the chance of conception, but rather that the sexual act is not changed. Withdrawal alters the sexual act.

I don’t think it’s sinful or wrong.

Which is probably sinful. I suspect it’s probably less than as successful as the rhythm method as well, relying as it does on exact timing of acting against pleasurable instinct :o

Getting back to the OP, I think it depends on the intentions. If the parents want the best for their child, that could be good, although it is not easy to argue that adoption is the best thing for the child except in extreme cases like poverty or abuse. If the parents simply don’t want the responsibility and expense of another child, that is a terrible (selfish, unloving) reason to put a child up for adoption.

No. This is erroneous information. According to ACOG, the withdrawal method has a 4 percent likelihood of resulting in pregnancy over the course of one year when executed perfectly every time. There’s really no way of saying this without being graphic, but that “genetic material” you referred to is in the pre-fluid, not just what occurs when the act is completed by the male. Because of that, there is the 4% pregnancy likelihood. I can recall being informed that withdrawal is not a form of preventing pregnancy back in my public high school sex ed classes in the 1980’s, but apparently the myth that “pulling out” is a reliable form of preventing a pregnancy is still going strong today.

You can practice NFP and still have the unitive benefits of sex. In fact they might increase, because you would be less selfish.

My daughter is adopted, and although she loves us, her adoptive parents, she has talked to me about the pain she feels that her birthmother couldn’t raise her.
Ideally, one’s birthparents should raise a child.
the couple in your scenario are incredibly selfish and immature.


If biological parents have enough self-awareness to realize that they would do a poor job raising a child, or that they can find someone who can do it better, than I don’t see why it would be selfish or unloving.

There is a single woman that lives in the same apartment complex that I do. It’s for low-income and/or disabled people. She had two children, maybe around seven and nine, a boy and a girl. She also had her boyfriend living with her. This woman’s little girl started saying that the mother’s boyfriend was sexually abusing her. The mother wouldn’t believe it and took the boyfriend’s side. It ended up with the mother voluntarily and permanently signing over her children to the state. Sometime after that her boyfriend left her. But I see her around now and then and she looks as happy as she can be. There is no regret at all.

How can a parent do this?

I don’t know if it is a sin or not but it’s an awful thing when a mother throws away her own little kids. It’s not always the best thing for the children to have to be with someone who doesn’t want them, especially their own mother.

A friend in the US had an interesting take on this

Her daughter in law found she was pregnant later in life.

She knew that she could not leave her job etc to raise a child full time and was planning accordingly. Cannot remember if this meant abortion or adoption.

My friend stepped in;acted as birth coach and the little one while knowing her birth parents well, has been raised by her grandmother.,

It has worked very well.

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