How to Share Adoption with Friends and Family
Ask your adoption agency and counseling service
Telling your adoption story to friends and family can be hard because you hope they will support your decision. Once you’ve chosen adoption, you’ll eventually have to decide which people in your life to tell about your adoption plans. If you’re nervous about starting that conversation, you can reach out to adoption consultants for support.
Who you tell about your decision to place a child for adoption is up to you. Some birth mothers only inform people they feel will be supportive. There may be a small circle of close friends or family, or it can include almost everyone you know.
Your situation is unique, and what you choose to share is personal. The decision to adopt is yours and based on what you believe is best for your baby. Not everyone will agree with you. They may view it as “giving up” the baby rather than a thoughtful and loving choice. Your family should listen carefully, especially to the advice you may have received from adoption consultants about your options.
If you have opened your heart to adopting a child, you are providing a forever home to a child whose birth parent could not do so. You have special circumstances that brought you to this decision, and many people close to you may already be aware that you were considering this option. Others may not, as you may have chosen to keep things private until the lengthy process was complete. Only you can be sure when you are ready to share your adoption story with family and friends and the details you want to share.
Adoption Advice and Language
Whether you have chosen to give a baby for adoption or adopt a child into your home, an adoption professional can help you tell your story to family and friends with advice about starting the conversation.
Discuss your family dynamics with a counselor and provide insight into close friendships to help them develop the best approach for explaining your adoption plan. Telling people your adoption story is tough, especially when they don’t have much experience with adoption. You may have spent months learning about the process yourself before making the decision, and they’ll need to catch up.
Before beginning the conversation about adoption, it helps to learn positive adoption language. People react to negative words and phrases like “giving a baby up for adoption” and miss the emotion behind a loving plan to place a child with parents who may have gone to considerable lengths to have their own child unsuccessfully. Adoption is a solution for both birth mothers and parents who seek an alternative to grow a family. The focus is on what is best for the child and their future.
Positive adoption language talks about birth mothers who “place a baby for adoption” and parents who choose to tell an adoption story about how the child came into the family. It will be a story shared with the child very early on so they understand and accept that families are formed in many different ways.
Conversations with Family and Friends
Check-in with an adoption specialist for advice and talk about what you might want to say to specific people. Remember that you don’t have to explain anything and can simply keep things private.
A few things to keep in mind:
If you think certain family or friends will be supportive, this is the best place to start. After a positive conversation, you will feel stronger when facing those who are less receptive. Involve your advocates in discussions for more confidence.
Sometimes you may think you know how family and friends will react, but there is an unexpected response instead. Try to approach each person neutrally and without expectations.
If a pregnancy or adoption process is still a secret, consider only disclosing the immediate situation. Telling people about an unplanned pregnancy and adoption plan all at once could be overwhelming. The same can be said for a decision to adopt a child and sharing all the details and expectations. Let people know you are exploring your options until an opportunity presents itself or the timing seems right.
Know What to Expect
An adoption agency and counseling service help answer nagging questions like:
- What happens if you tell someone you are pregnant and placing your child for adoption and they’re unexpectedly supportive? What happens if they become judgmental instead and try to change your mind?
- What if you share the decision to adopt a child from a local agency and friends and family are excited? What if you’re contemplating adopting a child from another culture or race and they become skeptical?
Adoption consultants have been through it all and reinforce your decisions so you can handle any disappointments. Agency staff members, caseworkers, and counselors may be birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents themselves. They’ve had these conversations with their families, along with multiple clients in similar situations.
Some reactions from friends and family can be hurtful. Try to understand their viewpoint and give them time to digest your news. It may be easier to talk after emotions die down. They may not understand how modern adoptions work. Explain what you’ve learned about adoption or have them speak with your adoption expert.
Supporting Your Decision
Whether family and friends are supportive or not, you’ll have a community of other birth parents and families who share the adoption experience to support you. Your adoption agency, staff, and counselors are always there to help with information and resources. Remember all the things that ultimately helped you decide that adoption was the right choice. You’ve made an educated decision based on your situation and perspective.
Before discussing an unplanned pregnancy or adoption plan with family members and friends, talk to a local adoption agency and counseling service. Heart of Adoptions Alliance can help you choose the right words and the best time to explain adoption stories. We bring birth mothers and adoptive parents together. You can also reach us at 866-432-7860 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about different types of adoptions.