Choosing adoption for your baby is a very big decision. It takes a lot of thought and soul searching and is a brave and loving choice made for the benefit of your baby. Once you have made your decision, telling the birth father, your friends and your family about your adoption plan can be challenging.
It is important to prepare yourself for their reactions. You may find those close to you are proud and impressed that you are making this pro-life choice for your child, or you may find they don’t understand. You will likely receive a variety of reactions from those you tell.
Who and When to Tell About Your Adoption Plan
Take time to think about who you want to tell and when. First, you probably want to tell the birth father, your family, and very close, personal friends. Then, prepare to tell coworkers and others who will ask about your pregnancy when you feel comfortable. You may want to rehearse some of these conversations and have your responses to their questions and comments ready.
Tips for Sharing
When sharing your adoption plans with loved ones, be prepared to remain calm no matter what their initial reaction is. Remember, you’ve had time to think about your situation and adjust to your decision. Many times, people blurt out the first thing that pops in their head without thinking. Give them time to process the information and then ask them to listen to your reasons for choosing adoption.
If you think someone in your life, such as the birth father, will have a negative or violent reaction, do not share this news alone or in a situation where you or your baby can be harmed. Kayla had experienced some domestic violence situations with her boyfriend. When she found out she was pregnant, she knew she didn’t want to bring a baby into this situation. She was afraid to tell him, so she and her parents arranged to meet him in a very public place where she explained her adoption plans. He was angry but didn’t act on his anger because they were in this public setting and Kayla’s parents were present.
Use Adoption Language
It is important to use the right words when speaking about adoption. Avoid phrases such as “give your baby up.” You are lovingly placing your baby for adoption. You are creating an adoption plan. Words can be powerful. If you hear others using language that is hurtful, correct them and let them know that you are choosing to do the best thing for the future of your baby and yourself.
Focus on the Positive
Adoption is not an easy choice, and explaining your reasons for choosing adoption can be hard. Focus on the positive facts about why you have chosen adoption. You are placing your baby with a loving family that is ready and able to parent your child and provide a healthy home where they will thrive. You are giving yourself an opportunity to move forward with your hopes and dreams. You are also not saying goodbye forever. You can choose to receive updates and photos, and can have a relationship with the adoptive family.
It can be hurtful when people ask questions such as “are you sure this is what you want to do?” or “how do you know you picked the right family?” You can feel like you have to defend your choice. Speaking with a professional or peer counselor can be very helpful at this time. They can lead you through the reactions you can expect from others and help you be prepared with your responses. You may want to do some role-playing to help you feel confident.
Have the Facts
Most people don’t know much about modern open adoption. This is a great time to share what you have learned about the adoption process. They probably don’t know that you can receive updates, pictures, and even visits with your child. They may not know that you are the one to choose the adoptive parents and can choose parents who have the values and lifestyle you are looking for in a family for your baby.
You will hear a lot of different opinions, be given a lot of different advice, and may even be given offers of help from family, friends, and even strangers. Do your own research, talk to counselors, and follow what your heart tells you is best for you and your baby. The other people giving advice are not going through what you are. Well-intentioned offers of help usually don’t come through or fade over time.
Remember, this is your life and your child that you are making long-term decisions for. Have faith that you’re making the right choices.
Our pregnancy educators are available to talk with you at 1-800-672-2296 or you can click the chat button. You can also contact Lifetime Adoption at 800- 923-6784.
Author: Heather Featherston is the Vice President of Lifetime Adoption and has been working with pregnant mothers for more than 20 years.