At four months pregnant, I had met the most amazing man I had ever laid eyes on. We hit it off perfectly and despite my being pregnant and creating an adoption plan, he stayed right by my side. He would get me my favorite ice cream and stay in on Saturday nights cuddling and watching mass amounts Netflix. He was even the one who took me to the hospital that Wednesday morning to get induced and stayed with me throughout labor and delivery. He was, and forever will be, my angel.

We were together for about a year and a half and just recently broke up. I was devastated, moping around–a full-on pity party–but that is no way to live life. A friend had brought up the idea of getting out there and dating again. Of course with a freshly broken heart, I couldn’t even imagine doing so, but then the reality of just how different dating will be had set in. I now have a more flabby belly with stretch marks to match. I have pictures of my birth son all over my apartment, all over my Facebook, in my wallet, on my phone. He is not hidden, and the adoption is not hidden, but how do I share this information with that future somebody? When is the right time to bring it up to that person you have been talking to and how on earth will they take it? I can’t handle any more heartache.

This friend of mine introduced me to a man she thought I might hit it off with. We were just texting back and forth, no dates had been planned, when the question of adding each other on Facebook had been brought up. As soon as I would add him, I knew he would see all the pictures of my handsome birth son and the posts about adoption I’ll make from time to time.

So before taking that next social media step, I flat-out told him. “Alright, so soon after we become friends via Facebook you will see many pictures of me and a little boy. That is my birth son. About 13 months ago I gave birth to the most perfect little boy and created an adoption plan. A couple I have known for years adopted my little boy and they now have a perfect and complete little family. He deserved two parents, not a dead-beat dad and a mom he never saw since she would have to work multiple jobs to barely scrape by. My son deserves the world, and it breaks my heart to have to admit that I am not the one that could give it in a traditional way, but rather through being adopted. I am blessed to say I am apart of an amazing and healthy open adoption and I don’t regret any of it. He is always on my mind and forever in my heart. Take this information how you want to. I am a proud birth mom and that will never change.”

I was nervous sharing this information. We had only been talking for a couple of days. Was this too much too soon? I actually felt really strong and proud of sharing a little bit of my story. I wanted to get it out there before falling for this man and being broken apart for my decision like so many strangers have done. I wanted it all out on the table. Instead of being disrespectful, he told me how much he admired my strength and courage and how much respect he has for me. He told me how his family was touched by adoption, and that even though he has 2 little boys biologically his own, that he has always wanted to adopt and knew this from a young age. A hug wave of relief rushed over me. I survived the first time telling my adoption story in the dating world.

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Not everyone you meet needs to know every single detail of your adoption story right off the bat, but it doesn’t need to be some big scary ordeal to share it, either. The more you think about it and stress over it, the harder it becomes to share and the more you push away something that could turn out to be a great thing. If they do decide to end whatever communication you had due to the fact you had a child and chose an adoption plan to give your child the best in life, then they 100% do not need to be around you anyway.

It’s very liberating to be open and honest about your adoption story right away rather than stuffing it deep down and dreading the day you bring it up. Be open, be honest, be confident and use your best judgement. Chances are you will get a better reaction than you could have ever imagined, and if not, you didn’t need to waste anymore of your time on them anyway. You will feel so much lighter and ready to face whatever comes at you next.