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Explaining Your Adoption Decision [5 Steps]

The first difficult situation for you may be when you discover that you’re unexpectedly pregnant. Your emotions can go through the complete range of anger, sadness, fear and disbelief. The second difficult situation may be when you decide that adoption is best for you and your baby.

It is important to understand and reflect on your thoughts and emotions about your adoption decision. But, it is also important to develop a support team to help you move forward with your adoption journey. This means that you may want to talk to someone about your adoption decision.

You may believe that keeping your adoption plan to yourself could be easier than talking about your adoption plan with family and friends. If you know that talking about your adoption can be better for you, what will you say to friends and family? How will you answer questions from coworkers and anyone else in your life?

When thinking about who to talk to about your adoption decision, you can be nervous. It can be uncomfortable for you to think about how to talk about adoption. There are many ways you can go about choosing who to tell and how to talk about your adoption decision, and you can use this guide to help you get started.

If you think it would be helpful to speak with an adoption professional, you can contact us today.

Step 1: Use Positive Language When Telling Someone about Adoption

“[Some people] were not nice to me; they told me I ‘gave my baby away,’ that I didn’t love her, that this was the easy way out. This was not the easy way out. This was way harder than people would think.” — Lindsey, a birth mother who placed her child for adoption.

You may have heard negative comments about adoption, but those things come from a place of misunderstanding. People fear what they don’t understand. Seeking understanding can change perspectives, creating a positive viewpoint and shedding light on the true meaning of adoption.

Reflecting on the following terms and statements about adoption can help you and others better understand your decision when you talk to someone about adoption.

  • You’re not “giving your baby up” for adoption. When you are explaining your decision to “give your child up” for adoption, this may leave a negative feeling associated with adoption.  You can explain that adoption is a positive choice. You’re not “giving your baby up,” you’re giving your baby a chance at having their best possible life through adoption. Adoption is choosing to place your baby with a loving family. You can say “I am placing my baby for adoption.”
  • Adoption is not a selfish act. Adoption is a selfless act. When you think about how to tell someone about adoption, you can tell them that you have chosen to value your baby’s needs above your own. Placing your child for adoption can be one of the hardest things you will ever do. Birth parents who choose adoption for their baby are giving hopeful parents a priceless gift — the experience of loving a child and receiving a child’s love. You can say, “I am choosing adoption because I am thinking about what is best for my baby.”
  • “I don’t want my baby”. Often, this statement is made out of fear in response to an unplanned pregnancy. All children are wanted and all children are loved. Even though you may not feel that way, remember that others do. There are hopeful families waiting for the opportunity to bring your baby into their loving and safe homes. When you are explaining your decision to place your child for adoption, you can say, “I love my baby, but I am not ready to raise a child.”
  • “I don’t want to keep my baby,” or, “Someone else can keep my baby.” Objects are kept, but children are not objects. The word keep in explaining adoption is better expressed by the word parent. In reality, you may not want to parent or raise your child. A good way to tell someone about your choice for adoption is to say “I don’t want to be a parent right now, but through adoption I can choose the family that I want to parent or raise my child.”

With positive adoption terms in mind, you may feel more comfortable and more at ease when explaining your decision for adoption.

Step 2: Decide Who You Want to Tell First

You may know immediately who you want to tell when you decide on adoption. Maybe you tell your best friend everything, or perhaps you share important decisions with your religious leader. If you don’t have a person that you regularly share your thoughts with, or if you feel like your adoption decision is too personal, that’s OK. You can always choose to contact an adoption agency first when you make your decision for adoption.

You can consider telling the following people who may need to know because they may be important figures in your adoption process.

The Baby’s Father

“[My son] deserves to grow up knowing who his biological father really is, and that I’m there for him if he wants or needs me. I want to build a life where I am always accessible for my son.” — Josh, a birth father who placed his child for adoption.

When you’re ready, you may consider telling the baby’s father about your unplanned pregnancy. Despite some of the fears and doubts that women have about men’s views on fatherhood, sometimes he wants to be informed. He may want to ensure that the baby is healthy and happy, even if you have chosen to place your baby for adoption.

Remember, he will need time to process his emotions just as you may have needed when you found out about your unplanned pregnancy.

If you and your baby’s father have an unhealthy relationship or you don’t know who your baby’s father is, that’s OK. You get to choose what to do and who to tell about your adoption decision if the father is absent or possibly unsupportive.

Your Parents, Siblings and Friends

Your family and friends who have been around you most of your life can be great choices for talking about your decision for adoption. It may help you to get their perspectives on your decision for adoption or about adoption in general. You are not obligated to take their advice or accept their opinions. Once you tell them that you have chosen adoption for your baby, you can follow this up with a firm statement about your commitment to your adoption decision.

You may know your parents, your siblings and your friends very well, but their reactions may surprise you. If talking to family and friends about your adoption goes well, maybe even better than you had hoped, that’s great. But, if reactions take a negative turn, it can be helpful to have a game plan. If you feel like you’re in danger, don’t hesitate to leave the situation and contact law enforcement.

Other People and Professionals

Even if you have a great relationship with your family, friends and your baby’s father, you can still reach out to others when you want to talk about adoption. Having conversations with other people about adoption may help you feel comfortable and more at ease when you do tell your family and friends. Other people can include religious leaders, teachers, counselors and co-workers. Professionals can include adoption specialists at an agency, social workers and adoption attorneys.

You don’t have to find adoption professionals on your own. If you work with an adoption agency, you can have access to the adoption professionals that you need for support and guidance.

Step 3: Prepare Some Answers in Advance [Only Say What Makes You Comfortable]

It may help you to have a script of what you would like to say when telling someone about adoption. Nervousness can make it hard to think on your feet. You can also prepare a list of answers to the following possible questions:

These questions can be uncomfortable and insensitive, but sometimes the people who ask these questions don’t mean any harm. It is important for you to be honest about how you feel about their questions and let them know that you may not feel comfortable answering their questions right now. If you are telling someone about adoption and they do not accept what you have to say, then you are entitled to stop the conversation and resume when you are ready.

Step 4: Talk to Family Members and Friends [Know What to Expect]

You may be armed with positive adoption language, a game plan and answers that you suspect may be asked about adoption. Now, all that’s left is telling people you are placing your baby for adoption. Despite how well you know your family and friends, they can act differently.

You can consider the following reactions when you are explaining your decision for adoption.

  • Proud and supportive: There is no better response than this when you talk about your decision for adoption. Add this person to your adoption support team and move forward with confidence.
  • Hurtful and judgmental: It is important not to take this reaction personally. People who respond in this way usually don’t understand adoption. After giving them some time to think about your choice of adoption, they may come to an understanding and be less emotionally charged.
  • Uninterested or uncaring: Don’t be offended. Realize that this person is giving you the space to do what you need to do for your adoption. No reaction could also be a sign that this person just needs time to think and process their emotions.

These reactions may be pleasantly surprising, or they may make you angry or sad. It can be a difficult situation when you want to talk about adoption but others don’t want to listen. Keep in mind that many women have chosen to talk to their family and friends about adoption and have received many different reactions. Reading through birth parent testimonials can help give you possible ideas about the best way to tell someone about adoption.

Step 5: Talk to an Adoption Specialist and Move Forward with Your Adoption

This step could also be your first step. In this case, you are saving the best for last, but if you have a difficult time telling people about your decision for adoption, your adoption specialist can talk to your family with you.

An adoption specialist wants to provide you with the best possible adoption experience, and part of that experience is helping you get through difficult situations, like talking about adoption.

Your adoption specialist can offer you tips and advice that they have learned through professional experience. They may also share personal adoption experiences with you to help you trust your adoption decision and feel comfortable with your choice of adoption. You can contact an adoption professional online today or at any time, when you’re ready.