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Why don't more women who don't have abortions put the baby up for adoption?

It's a reasonable question. Here's part of the answer, from what I know, and I'm hoping it will stir a better answer from one of the vastly more articulate and opinionated people on this issue here:

The way I understand it, vetting of adoptive parents/families has never been much of an exact science. Orphanages would judge however they felt like it. Since those basically all went the way of the buggy whip (bad analogy), it's been a hodge-podge of state and local efforts, or if an expecting but reluctant mother is resourceful, an individual effort to find and approve parents for their "unwanted" child, Juno style. More recently, to hear DW tell it anyway, there have been religiously-oriented adoption agencies that say they've been forced to shut down because the federal government won't let them receive federal funds AND bar gay couples from adopting.

At any rate, the biggest reason appears to be a stark lack of good, reliable information about where to go for with it, in the face of most mothers' unwillingness to just wrap their baby up in a blanket, put it in a basket, ring the doorbell somewhere, and run. Apparently, a whole lot more money goes into abortion counseling than adoption counseling. Part of this dynamic, at least in one model where the adoptive parents pay for the mother's childbirth expenses, is that the modern "hospital" childbirth has become so expensive that only better-off parents can afford it. While that could also be seen as a positive (able to afford childbirth ~ able to afford to raise the child), it DOES result in a narrower potential adoptive parent pool.

So, my take is that if there were more families willing to adopt AND a better of way of matching mothers not willing or not able to have abortions, that would help.

There's also the fact that single mothers get several kinds of government assistance that single non-mothers don't get. It's not ALL maternal instinct, I promise. This was this sad case of one instinct being stronger than the maternal one: (with an ironic twist--I hope that was fake, actually). Not saying this public assistance is a bad thing, just saying that, as in just about everything and at the margin, money incents certain outcomes over others.

Finally, many young women want (or feel pressured) to become mothers because their friends do.

It would appear to me to take a whole lot of trust to put your baby up for adoption. That's why the approval process is a touchy one, and one that it's tough (for me anyway) to imagine Uncle Sam getting it right. "Hardest thing I've ever done" is probably a common refrain. It has to be an intensely basic and natural feeling for a mother to KNOW in all her heart that she and only she is the best possible person to raise that child. Being male, I can only begin to know what this feels like. (yes, fathers feel this too)

Now, I'll shut up so someone can tell me I have no idea what I'm talking about.

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