Adoption changes the dynamic of our personal relationships. A birth mother will know in her heart that adoption for her baby is the right choice, but friends and family members may not always agree with her. There were certain members of my family who were not supportive of my adoption decision, and it put a significant strain on those relationships. I felt betrayed by some friends and family members, and it has taken time for me to get to a place with them in which our relationship has headed in a healing direction.
The most important lesson that I’ve learned when it comes to healing relationships with friends and family is to forgive them. I was so full of anger initially. I couldn’t see past my hurt feelings of betrayal. I felt as if they were punishing me for choosing adoption, and I couldn’t understand why I was being punished for making a responsible decision. Those friends and family members who turned their backs on me were very important relationships to me. I didn’t want to lose them, but they left me anyway, and I didn’t know where to begin to make things right.
Choosing to forgive someone is no easy feat. Since forgiveness is a choice, we must put in mental effort to forgive. Making that choice is difficult when you can’t see past your own anger. However, if anyone is to move on from resentment, then forgiveness must be the choice. Choose to forgive the friends and family members who you feel have betrayed you. Choose to forgive them for not understanding, or maybe not even knowing how to understand. They have their own opinions and feelings, which they are entitled to, and perhaps forgiving them might make it easier to understand where they are coming from.
Educate on Adoption
I firmly believe that the reason many people shun the idea of adoption is because they don’t understand it. There are so many stereotypes, namely that choosing adoption is “giving up” on your baby. That is my most despised stereotype, because it couldn’t be farther from the truth of sacrifice for your baby. It is likely that the friends and family members who are upset with you for choosing adoption are just unaware of the beauty of adoption.
It is not your complete responsibility to educate everyone you love on adoption, but it is a partial responsibility if you want to help strained relationships to heal. Take some time and think about how you can speak with those who don’t understand about adoption. Try not to take what they are saying personally, as it is likely they just don’t know any better. Educating yourself on adoption will only help you in educating others, so check out the resources around you for adoption education support.
Sometimes, you just must cut your losses in the present, and be patient for the long-term healing process. Healing takes time for everyone. Perhaps those strained relationships need time to see how beautiful adoption really can be. Move forward with your own life and your healing journey, and give others around you time to see that you have made the right decision by choosing adoption. After all, the proof is in the pudding. As they see you heal, they may slowly open their eyes to what an amazing decision was made. As they watch your child grow up, they will see how happy he or she is. All in due time, those things worth healing shall be healed.
Remember that you can’t change others, but you can change yourself. Keep your eyes focused on being the best version of you that you can be. Spend time healing and bettering yourself. Take time for yourself to do things that make you happy and that are healthy. Don’t give up on yourself just because someone else doesn’t understand your choices.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.