Telling Someone about Adoption: Speaking with Your Family and Friends
Once you decide to place your child for adoption, you may be worried about how to talk about placing a child for adoption with those close to you. One question many women ask themselves is, “Who do I tell when I decide to do adoption?” The answer to this is actually fairly simple: You can tell whoever you want to.
We recommend that you begin building your adoption support system as early as possible after you’ve made your adoption choice — or even while you’re still deciding between your options. Facing an unplanned pregnancy and then going on to pursue adoption in your child’s best interests is going to be a stressful journey (although very worthwhile), and it’s good to have a team in place to lean on when you inevitably need it. This team can include anyone with whom you’re comfortable sharing your adoption decision. Whether they’re related to you or not, make sure anyone you tell about your adoption plan will be comforting, reassuring, and able to give advice and opinions without pressuring you about your choices.
Tips for Telling Your Family about Adoption
When wondering how to tell family you are “giving away” your baby, it’s important to keep a few helpful pieces of advice in mind:
- Attempt to talk to people one at a time. There may be many different reactions if you tell a room full of people, and that can be overwhelming.
- If possible, try to tell someone who will most likely be supportive of your adoption plan. It can be difficult telling friends and family members who aren’t inclined to be supportive at first, so having someone by your side for these conversations can be invaluable.
- Try not to have any expectations for how anyone you tell about your adoption plan will react. While it’s possible that you may predict correctly how they will take the news, it’s also possible that their opinions and responses may surprise you. With this in mind, it’s best to approach each person calmly and neutrally and allow them the chance to process the news.
- If you are approaching someone who doesn’t know about your pregnancy, it might be helpful to only disclose your pregnancy for the time being. That information alone may be overwhelming, so it can help to let them process that fact before you begin to talk about your plans for your child. If they have questions, you can feel out the situation. For example, they may want to know how you are going to be able to raise a child, and at this point you can decide to either tell them you are researching your options or, if they seem supportive, that you have chosen to pursue adoption for your baby.
- Give your friends and family time to process their emotions. Their first reaction may not necessarily reflect how they’ll feel — or how supportive they will or won’t be as time passes and they wrap their minds around the news.
What Happens After Telling Someone about Adoption
In a perfect world, your friends and family will all be immediately supportive of your pregnancy and your choice to place your child for adoption. However, the world isn’t perfect, and neither are people. If your loved ones are immediately a source of strength for you, then that’s amazing. Let them know how much their support means to you, and start talking about what you might need from them in the coming months.
If, however, they are not immediately understanding of your adoption decision, this does not mean they won’t come around. It can be helpful to let them process this news and then explain your decision — why you think it’s the best choice for your baby, how your child will benefit from adoption, how you can still have a relationship with your baby through open adoption, and more. Oftentimes, people have negative ideas about the adoption process that is based on out-of-date practices, and a better understanding of adoption may help them to see that adoption is going to be an amazing decision for both you and your child.
When the dust settles and you know who you’re going to be able to lean on for support, you can allow your loved ones to be involved in your adoption plan, if you want them to be. You’re going to have a lot of big choices — selecting an adoptive family, making your hospital birth plan, forming a relationship with your child’s adoptive parents, and more — and they can absolutely come along each step of the way with you.
Telling your family about adoption will ideally lead to the development of a strong support system for the emotionally and physically difficult days ahead, but this is not always the case. If you are wondering how to tell family you are “giving away” your baby or how to talk about placing a child for adoption, it can always be helpful to speak with an adoption professional before beginning these conversations. Here are a few adoption agencies you may consider reaching out to for support: