Monday, August 31, 2015

You have decided to make an adoption plan. Your roommate(s), family, friends or coworkers may be aware of your pregnancy or that you had a baby. Naturally, they will inquire about your future plans for yourself and baby. They may even want to help to plan a baby shower for you or recommend day care providers. This might be an awkward moment to inform them of your intention of making an adoption plan for your baby.  Ultimately, who you choose to inform about your decision to make an adoption plan is your choice. Here are some suggestions that you may find helpful:

Telling a Professional

A trusted and caring professional can help you to identify the people in your life to tell. A professional will also be able to help you to practice telling others. Furthermore, a professional will be a neutral person to discuss your plan within an emotionally safe environment. You may encounter negative opinions about your decision, which a professional can help you to prepare you for such conversations.   

Telling a Child

Telling your child or a younger birth sibling/family member may be difficult. While children may loosely understand pregnancy and where babies come from, they may not understand the complexity of adoption. 

A great way to share your adoption plan with a child is to use the aid of children’s books. One particular book that comes to mind is Sam’s Sister by Juliet C. Bond, which chronicles the fictional story of a 6 year old girl, whose mother is making an adoption plan.

Preparing for Reactions

You may encounter different reactions from people when you tell them about your adoption plan. The reactions of others may lead to you feeling a myriad of emotions, two common ones being confusion and guilt. Family members in particular may feel upset, as your baby is also their family. However, your circumstance may be that you are not be prepared for the responsibility of parenting. It is easier said than done, but it’s helpful to not to take unpleasant reactions personally. Family and friends who voice their disagreement with your decision are often genuinely concerned for you and baby. Your immediate support network can speak with your social worker if they have questions about the process.

The Aftermath of Telling Others

This is a time when you will not only be managing your thoughts and emotions, but the thoughts and emotions of those who you have told. It is important to surround yourself with supportive people. You will need the support of others during your pregnancy, adoption, after you deliver, and beyond. There may be preconceived notions, old school language like “giving up a baby for adoption” that negatively influences others. Often, if one’s life has not been personally touched by adoption, they are wary of it due to misconceptions.

Making an adoption plan can take courage and strength, especially in light of potential objections among those around. Your family and friends care about you, but that doesn’t mean they understand your perspective. Barker offers a monthly support group for birth mothers who made adoption plans and expectant women who are considering their options.  It can be helpful to meet other women and men who have been in your shoes. A fellow birth parent (Aaren) has even shared her feelings in video.  

If you are interested in learning more, feel free to call (1-888-731-6601) or text (240-600-1106).

Whatever you decide, we wish you peace and support in your decision. 

Erica Seivright-Potts, LGSW, Pregnancy Counselor