Should I tell my family about my adoption plan?
For many women, it’s important to tell family about the adoption plan. Once you’ve made the decision to put your child up for adoption, you will want to consider how to talk with family and friends about your adoption plan. The news will be difficult to share and difficult to hear, no matter what. Having a plan ahead of time can make things easier and less stressful for both you and your family.
In this post I will share ideas about how to:
- Tell your family and friends about your adoption plan
- Plan what you’re going to say ahead of time
- Share with others what support you need from them
- Talk with an experienced professional
Here are some of the strategies that other women in your position have found helpful:
Tell family about your adoption plan in a note
Many expectant mothers are afraid of how others will respond when they tell family about the adoption plan. This is especially true when telling parents or the baby’s father. For several reasons, many women have found it’s easier to simply put a few sentences in a handwritten note.
- A note gives you control as to where and when someone will receive your message, unlike with a text or email.
- The note can break the ice. It gives the reader a chance to take in the information. He or she can then respond privately and without worrying how you will take the initial reaction.
- Once the initial—potentially emotional—response is over, you can have a more productive conversation.
One idea is to say: “I’m 6 months’ pregnant and thinking about placing the baby for adoption. I need you to support me in this choice. When you’re ready, I want to talk with you.”
Plan what you want to say about putting your baby up for adoption
Adoption can be scary for family members and friends. Most people don’t know how to respond when they learn that someone they love is unexpectedly pregnant. Your loved ones may feel overwhelmed and scared. They may not know how to help you or what to say. Planning what you want to say to them can help ease the tension:
- Make sure they know you have given the decision a lot of thought. Tell them that you have weighed all the options (and tell them what those options are) and why you have decided against each.
- Tell them how the process works so they know you have done your research.
- If you have chosen an adoptive family, share information about the prospective parents. You can even share information you have already received about them if you wish.
- Share with loved ones your plans for your future and how adoption fits into that plan.
Family members and friends may feel less fear and concern for you if they know you are making a well-thought out, informed decision. When you tell family about the adoption plan, they may feel reassured knowing that you are taking responsibility for your choices. They may take comfort knowing you are taking care of yourself and your child’s future.
Tell your family and friends what you need from them
Your family’s first reaction may be that they ask what they can do for you and how they can help. Once you have the details of your adoption plan in place, and have shared this plan with your family, you can then tell them exactly what you need from them.
- You might ask your family members to meet the adoptive parents you have chosen.
- Ask a trusted family member to tell other family and friends about your adoption plan.
- Maybe you want your family involved at the hospital, to be there for your delivery, or to meet the baby if they wish.
- If all you need is love and support, be prepared to tell them that.
Tell an experienced professional
Even if you cannot tell anyone you already know, it can be helpful for some to talk to a counselor. Share your decision and feelings with an unbiased professional, especially one who is experienced in adoption and talking to expectant mothers about this choice. Some women even find it helpful to tell a counselor first to practice telling others and to think of strategies how to do so.
Facing the reactions
Family members, in particular, might become very upset about the idea of adoption. If you face unpleasant reactions, try not to take it personally. Most of the time, they are coming from a place of concern, even if it feels quite the opposite.
Sometimes, their objections will come from a lack of knowledge about today’s adoption practices. If this is the case, do not hesitate to have them contact an adoption professional to ease their minds.
After the talk
Once family, friends and others know of your plans, you will want to align yourself most frequently with those who are supportive.
Show those individuals how much you appreciate that support, so they continue to be there for you through pregnancy, adoption, postpartum and beyond.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and afraid about the decisions you are facing, consider calling a counselor today, to discuss your feelings and your options.