“I would never place my child for adoption.” This statement is usually made in one of two ways. It either means “I admire your strength” or “I think you’re a bad mom.” Both of these are emotionally triggering and can be tough to respond to. Here are a few tips to help you be prepared for the next time someone tells you they wouldn’t place their child.

For the ones who mean well

I have had several lovely, well meaning people tell me they could never make the decision to place because it would just be too hard for them. I know they are trying to say they admire my strength to do what I felt was right, even though it hurt me. Keeping that in mind helps.

I have found that a good way to graciously respond to this comment is “neither did I, until I found myself in a situation where I knew it was right for my child. You would do the right thing for your baby too.” This way you are accepting their roundabout compliment and explaining that being a birth mom is all about love for the child. Take this opportunity to educate about adoption and what a beautiful thing it can be.

For the ones who don’t

Step one: Seriously consider whether this comment is worth a response. Chances are, it’s not. Is this statement coming from a stranger on the internet? Rude great aunt Becky? Don’t give it the time of day. You don’t need negativity from people who don’t matter.

Step two: Take a deep breath. If this is someone who’s opinion really matters to you, you have some major educating to do. Some people have preconceived notions about adoption that are just plain wrong. Explain calmly that you placed your child because you believe it was the best thing for them. That should be enough. You not have to explain every dirty detail to everyone who asks.

Step three: Understand that some people will never understand. The people who are healthy for you will love you and support you, and try to learn about your decision and how best to help you. If they’re not doing that, they might need to join the step one group. It is no one’s right to question your decision to place.

“I would never place my child for adoption” has no reflection on you. … Maybe they wouldn’t. But you did. And you are not wrong. You are the only one who can know what is right for your child. You are smart and capable. And most of all, you are birth mom strong.