In the adoption world, the term “giving up a child for adoption” is often frowned upon. Instead, the words “making an adoption plan” provide a more positive way to describe the difficult decisions that birth parents are making in regards to their children. Considering adoption and choosing to make a plan requires sincere and careful thought.
If you have a loved one who may be considering adoption for her baby, here are a few ways you can support her.*
1. Listen. Allow her the opportunity to process and flush out all of the thoughts running through her mind. This decision is most likely one of the biggest she will make in her life, and she needs people around her who will listen to a wide array of feelings. Anger, confusion, grief, hope, and love are all mixed in together. Be willing to listen without judgment.
2. Help connect them to resources. There are pregnancy and adoption services available to prospective birth parents. These services can provide counseling, support during the pregnancy, groups where she can connect with other birth parents, and a whole host of other resources to assist her to walk through this time in life. It is so important for birth parents to receive supportive services.
3. Recognize that this is their decision, and no one else’s. It can be very hard for others to understand why a birth parent is considering making an adoption plan. Her consideration of adoption is life-changing and life-affirming. Birth parents need to feel fully supported and not judged.
4. Understand that this decision is one that will impact the rest of their lives. Making an adoption plan may seem “in the moment,” but it is far from that. Just like adopting a child is a lifelong journey, so is being a birth parent. She will need support and encouragement through the years.
5. Affirm their emotions about the selection of an adoptive family. Let’s face it. Birth parents put a whole lot of trust into the agencies, social workers, and adoptive families they are placing their children with. This too can be an extremely emotional experience—one of sadness, but also great joy when the prospective birth parent has been able to select a family (if applicable). Although you may feel the need to express your opinion about the type of family that should be selected, it is (unless asked of your opinion) better to show kind regard to the decision that they have made.
To fully support a loved one who may be considering the adoption of their baby, you should consider your own opinion, thoughts, and feelings about adoption in general. Unless one has been a part of adoption, it may be difficult to understand the complexity of it. However, as complex as it might be, adoption is still very much a loving, selfless act.
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At the end of it all, your support for a loved one considering adoption will not only enrich their lives, but it will also enrich yours.
*Editor’s Note: For simplicity, we used the feminine pronoun throughout this article, but these tips could just as easily apply to a male considering adoption.
Free support is available for women who are pregnant and considering the adoption option. You can make contact with an adoption professional by clicking here.
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.