When you are exploring the possibility of adoption for your child, one of the most valuable resources you can have is a network of supportive people. The people helping you through your pregnancy and adoption should be important figures in your life that can provide care, guidance, and positivity as you make your decision. These people make up your adoption support team, and they can be a crucial part of your journey before, during, and after an adoption.
Benefits of Strong Support
Your adoption decision has an impact on the people around you who care about you, don’t want to see you struggle and will try to help you in any way they know how. When you are considering whom you should tell about your adoption decision and who should be a part of your support system during this time, remember that their primary purpose should be to be there for you.
A good support system can provide you:
Emotional support – Sometimes, all you need is a reminder that you are not alone. This is exactly why the people you choose for support are so valuable. They can be there for you when you are stressed, frustrated, or simply in need of someone to lean on.
Help with decisions – If you decide on adoption, you have many more important decisions ahead of you. While these choices are ultimately yours, you can sometimes benefit from a second opinion or a different perspective.
Assistance through your pregnancy – Pregnancy can be very demanding on a woman, and you may find that you need help with things you could normally do on your own. The people in your life can help with some of the burdens of day-to-day life so you can focus on having a healthy pregnancy.
Who to Include
Your support team can consist of anyone who is close to you and will help you in some way during your adoption. Everyone’s support system looks different, as some only consist of a few people while others consist of a whole host of people; some include a few family members, while others include people from all areas of the woman’s life. Regardless of what your support system looks like, one thing remains the same: you should only include those people who will have a positive impact on this important time in your and your child’s lives.
When you are thinking about who to turn to for support, look for people in your life who:
- Offer comfort, not criticism
- Acknowledge your feelings, not dismiss them
- Advise you, not pressure you
- Give you reassurance, not doubts
Some of the people in your support system may include:
- Extended Family
- Close Friends
- Pastors/religious figures
- The baby’s father
- And even your adoption specialist
Again, these people should only be involved in your adoption if they are helpful, supportive, and acting in your best interest.
How to Involve Your Support Team
You have chosen the people to include in your adoption journey because of their ability to love and support you. But this may be a new experience for them as well as you, so it is important to let them know exactly how they can help you.
Tell Them What You Need
Every pregnant mother’s situation is unique, and you may have different needs at different times; sometimes you may want the company of your friends and family, while at other times you just want to be alone. Sometimes you may need to talk through a major decision, and other times you may simply lack the energy to run to the store. Your needs are varied and valid, and you should not be afraid to give voice to them. Your support system is there because they want to do whatever they can to help you.
Ask for Patience
The people in your life may not always agree with the decisions you make, but ultimately, you know what is best for you and your child. Don’t be afraid to explain this, but also let your loved one know that you respect their feelings and appreciate how much they care.
Also keep in mind that this could be a stressful time in your life, and you may be prone to a wide range of emotions. Consider sitting down with your loved ones and explaining any negative feelings you may be having, and let them know that it is not their fault (unless, of course, it is). They will likely understand where you are coming from and be considerate of your emotions.
Sometimes, people in your support team may have the best of intentions, but they simply don’t know what to do. Even the most well-meaning people can say or do the wrong thing from time to time, and it’s common for people to not always know how to talk about adoption. For example, many people will talk about a woman “giving up” her baby for adoption without realizing the negative connotation this gives to placing a child. If someone you love unintentionally says something to upset you, let them know, and tell them what they could say instead. Often, they will be quick to correct the mistake.
Adoption can be a long and challenging journey, but you do not have to make it alone. This is your pregnancy and your adoption plan, but your support team is invaluable to your physical and emotional well-being. By creating a strong network of support, you can pursue adoption with the confidence of knowing you have loved ones at your side.