DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been dating this guy for about a year, and I recently learned that I am pregnant. I am so scared. We are in a good relationship, but nothing close to permanent. We used protection, but clearly that didn’t work. I don’t believe in abortion, but I also don’t have a job. I’m in school. My parents will kill me if I have to drop out. I know that adoption could be an option, but I hear horror stories about how kids can feel lost when they are given up for adoption. I haven’t told my boyfriend or my parents. I don’t know what to do. -- Next Steps
DEAR NEXT STEPS: You cannot keep this to yourself. Since you intend to give birth to the baby, you will need to have proper health care and nutrition to ensure that you will deliver a healthy baby. If you are on your parents’ insurance, that will be extremely helpful. You will need to find a doctor who can support you through your pregnancy.
Learn more about adoption. You can read about it and research agencies in your area that you can interview to see if there is a good fit for you. Many reputable agencies are successful in placing children in loving homes where they get opportunities that birth mothers may not be able to provide. One avenue to research: bit.ly/2WKBsjw.
Talk to your parents and explain what is happening. Ask for their wisdom on the subject. They may think adoption is a viable option. Or they may offer to support you in rearing your child while you are completing school.
You must also speak to the baby’s father. He has a right to know that you are pregnant and to state his position on the future of the child.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a person who goes to church twice a week, sometimes three times -- for worship and for service. I’m in the choir, and I help out with the soup kitchen. Everything is closed right now because of the quarantine in my city. I am at a loss for how to stay connected to the people in my church community. Plus, I’m concerned about the people we normally serve. Not giving them food could mean they won’t get any. I want to help, but I’m not sure what I can do. -- Want To Help
DEAR WANT TO HELP: Reach out to your pastor to learn if the church will be starting online streaming of the service. That is a popular option across the nation. In this way, at least you can view your service from the safety of your home. Find out if your church is going to continue your food kitchen and if there are opportunities to help. In some instances, organizations are streamlining their outreach but not shutting it down. Perhaps you can be part of a smaller team of people who prepare and offer food to your community.
Finally, there are many organizations that provide virtual volunteer opportunities for people. It is possible to help others from the safety of your home. For a curated list of businesses to consider, go to gma.abc/2QLN2ah.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)