It can be hard to ask for help, especially when you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. Nearly half of the pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned pregnancies. You are not alone.
Many people aren’t aware of the benefits of adoption or how to find adoption support. Your best source of adoption support can be an adoption agency with a personal adoption background. This means that many staff members at the adoption agency are birth parents, adoptive parents or adoptees who can offer you real-world advice because they’ve been there.
You can consider these four steps to creating and maintaining an adoption support team:
Step 1: Understand the benefits of an adoption support team.
Step 2: Know who you can include in your adoption.
Step 3: Learn how to involve your team in your adoption.
Step 4: Start your adoption process with your support team by your side.
If you’d like help forming your adoption support team today, you can contact us online to be connected with a helpful adoption professional.
Step 1: Understand Benefits of a Strong Adoption Support Team
“[My adoption specialist] was there for me when I didn’t have anybody, and she always knew just what to say. She was just amazing, and I’m so glad that she’s in my life.” — Lindsey, a birth mother who placed her child for adoption.
Your decision to place your baby for adoption affects you and those who care about you. The people who care about you will do whatever they can to help you because they don’t want to see you struggle.
You may feel embarrassed or afraid to ask for support, but you don’t have to feel that way. When people care about you, they truly want to support you however they can.
The three most important benefits you can receive during an adoption decision for an unplanned pregnancy are as follows:
- Emotional Support: If you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, it is normal to feel angry, depressed and ashamed. At times you may just need relief from stress and frustration with a reminder that you’re not alone.
- Help with Decisions: Your decision for adoption is just one of many decisions you’ll make during the adoption process. Each milestone in your adoption journey is always your choice, but you can benefit from a second opinion or a different perspective.
- Assistance through Your Pregnancy: If you have experienced pregnancy before, then you know that pregnancy can be physically challenging. Nausea, fatigue, backache and muscle soreness are just a few of the symptoms you could experience during your pregnancy. You may find that you need help with things that you could normally do on your own. It is important for you and your baby to be healthy during your pregnancy and sometimes that means having help with day-to-day activities like cleaning and running errands.
Step 2: Learn Who You Can Include in Your Adoption Support Team
“After much prayer and support from my family, I decided that adoption would be the best decision for both [my baby and me].” — Mary, a birth mother who placed her child for adoption.
You can include anyone in your adoption support team as long as you trust them and you can depend on them. Your support team may be willing to provide you with more than kind words and advice if you are in a difficult situation. Your team may provide you with transportation to and from appointments and a safe place to go when you need to leave an unhealthy situation.
Consider the following people in your life that you may choose to involve in your adoption plan.
- Parents and Siblings
- Extended Family
- Close Friends
- Religious Figures, Teachers and Counselors
- The Baby’s Father
- Your Adoption Specialist
All adoption support teams will look different. Remember to include those whom you trust regardless of how they’re related to you.
Once you gather your strong adoption support team, it is important to know how the members of your team can help support you throughout your adoption process.
Step 3: Learn How You Can Involve Your Team in Your Adoption Process
Remember: your adoption team and your adoption process will be unique to your adoption situation. The most important aspect of having a team and keeping that team together is communication.
1. Tell Your Adoption Team What You Need
Many people are unaware of the adoption process and you may be learning alongside your team. You may not know what you need for the adoption process, that’s where your adoption specialist comes in, but only you know what you need emotionally, socially and physically. These needs are not set in stone, so you may want to hang out with your team one day, but you may need time alone the next day to process your thoughts.
It is important to be honest with your team when you don’t know what you need. Your team can make suggestions and help you through your struggles because your team is there for you.
Being a team is not a one-way street. Your team members still have their lives and personal situations that still demand their attention. Don’t be surprised if your team members need your help as well, which leads into the next point of discussion.
2. Be Patient with your Adoption Support Team
Your support team members won’t always know what to do when you reach out to them, and that’s okay. Tell them what you need and give them the time and opportunity to figure out how to do it. It may be the case that you reach out and you find your team member in need of your support. Being able to provide a listening ear can show your team member how to help you in those situations as well.
No one is perfect, including your adoption team members. They may say or do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, like forgetting to use positive adoption language. If you correct them in an understanding way and explain why it makes you uncomfortable, your team member will likely understand and correct their mistake.
There may be times when you believe you’re asking a lot of your team members or you may feel like you’re being too distant. That’s OK, it may take some time to smooth out your team dynamics. Don’t forget to be patient with yourself.
3. Ask Your Adoption Support Team to Be Patient with You
Your adoption team is built on trust and honest communication. When disagreements or misunderstandings arise, you can remind your team members of these three important factors of patience:
- You respect their opinions and views, and they should respect your opinions and views as well.
- They should give you the time, space and consideration you need to sort through your questions and theirs.
- It is important for you to have the time that you deserve to reflect on your values and your needs
You alone know what is best for you and your child, but you are grateful for their concern and support. Patience can decrease stress and increase your fulfillment in the adoption process.
If you don’t understand something about your adoption, or you make a choice that your team members disagree with, your adoption specialist can be a great resource. Your specialist likely has a great deal of adoption experience. They can naturally be aware of the importance of patience with you and your support team.
Step 4: Learn How to Start Your Adoption with Your Adoption Support Team
You can assemble your adoption support team before or during your adoption process. There are a few steps you can take when you are ready to consider adoption and create an adoption support team.
Step 1: Know that adoption is right for you and share this knowledge with your team.
Step 2: Get the adoption information that you need, and recruit your team to help you find information.