There is a raging debate in an adoption group I belong to over what it is like to be young and foolish causing one not to be a good mother. Part of the debate has to do with how much time it could take for a 21 yr old, unsupported and drug addicted, partying mother to get her act together. Fortunately, the baby in question that was taken by Child Protective Services is currently in place with a relative who has worked hard to keep the child in contact with the mother and wants to maintain family care for the infant so that the child can know the child’s grandmother, great-grandmother and other extended family.
I wasn’t a good mother when I was in my early twenties. I gave birth at 19 and was divorced by age 23. My marriage had involved drug use. My perspective was still wild and free and partying. I did manage to hold down a job and pay rent but I struggled financially, often going to my mom for inadequate $20 handouts and had an ex-husband who refused to pay child support because he believed I would just party on that money. He never seemed to give any consideration to the cost of child care, pediatricians, much less food and clothing.
So, in desperation I took my child to her paternal grandmother (not expecting my parents to approve of my plan to head out on an 18-wheel truck in order to make some real money). Eventually, her father remarried a woman with a child and they conceived another child together. This ended my plan to come back and continue to raise my daughter because I could not give her the family he could and I was still struggling financially.
I am totally in favor of maintaining family ties when a young mother isn’t mature enough or financially sound enough to support her child. Adoption by strangers should ALWAYS be the absolute last resort. Eventually, I matured. I married a man when I was 33 and we went on to have two sons together. I truly had felt like a failure at parenting. I was simply too young and too unsupported to have done better. I know now that was the truth of it.