Your Family and Friends
How to Talk to Family About Adoption When You’re Pregnant
When you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy and planning to place your child for adoption, some of the first fears that may come to your mind may include, “How am I going to tell my family and friends? What’s the best way to talk to parents about adoption, or my immediate family members?”
Many women are worried about how to talk about placing a child for adoption, especially how to talk to family about adoption. So, we create a step-by-step guide for telling someone about adoption, as well as some tips for handling questions or comments when you talk to someone about adoption:
Step 1: Prep Work
Any time you know you’re about to have a tough conversation with someone, a little preparation for how to talk to someone about adoption can go a long way. Here’s what you’ll want to do to prepare:
- Contact an adoption specialist immediately. They’ll be able to guide you through this conversation, offer tips, prepare you for potential reactions and offer you resources to show your friends and family if you think that might help educate them about modern adoption. Contact an adoption agency before you talk to your friends and family. Their support is always free for you.
- Learn about (and use) correct adoption terminology. Outdated phrases like “real parents,” “giving up,” “putting up,” or even “giving away” a baby for adoption make your careful, loving and painful decision sound careless, unkind or selfish: all the things that adoption is not. Use positive adoption language in the conversation with your family, and you’ll be able to encourage them to do the same.
- Organize some information and resources. Come prepared with printed-out information about modern adoption. Your friends and family might not know much about adoption, or they may still believe popular adoption myths. Have information ready to go, so that they can learn the truth about how modern adoption works and get answers to their questions.
Many pregnant women have asked, “How do I go about telling people I am putting baby up for adoption?” Contacting an adoption agency is the best way to receive personal advice and guidance on this issue.
Step 2: Decide Who to Tell and Who to Exclude
Remember: You always have the right to choose who you tell about your adoption decision. It’s generally recommended that you tell the people who you know will be supportive of you first. That way, you’ll have loved ones in your corner if/when you’re talking to family about adoption whom you fear might be unsupportive.
Most pregnant women find that they need to tell:
- The father of the baby (this one is often necessary)
- Their parents
- A few of their closest friends
- A few of their closest family members, like siblings
You may decide that you want or need to talk to additional friends or family members about your decision. Who you include is entirely up to you!
Step 3: Set a Time to Talk
Ask to get lunch, or to come over for a visit. Make sure you have enough time to talk privately. So that they don’t worry, you may want to let them know that this is a positive (but emotionally tough) conversation. Positive because you’re doing something that you feel is best for you and your child, but tough because this choice is a difficult one.
If you’re worried about talking to a specific friend or family member, having someone with you who knows about and is supportive of your adoption plan might give you some confidence.
Step 4: Know What to Expect
Ideally, your friends and family members will express their support and love for you, no matter what you decide. You deserve people in your life who love you unconditionally, and who trust you to make the choice that’s best for you.
Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens with every person you tell. Be ready for some people to react negatively.
Some people will decide to stay out of it all, while others may even try to change your mind. Be ready for any possibility, and consider how you’d like to respond.
Most of all, as you prepare for how to talk to your family about adoption, be ready to answer questions, like:
“Are you really going to ‘give away’ your baby to strangers?”
“So, you’ll never know what happens to your child after the adoption?”
You can choose to have an adoption that’s as open as you like. Modern adoption means never having to say ‘goodbye’ forever. You can stay in touch with your child and his or her family for life.
“Why can’t I raise the baby?”
Placing a child with a friend or family member is often complicated. Most women choose an adoptive family based on their individual preferences. Be firm in expressing which option you’re comfortable with.
Step 5: Keep Moving Forward
No matter what, stay firm in your beliefs. This is nobody’s choice but yours. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but in this, the only opinion that matters is your own.
Let your friends and family know that no matter what, you’re going to move forward — you’re informing them of your decision, not asking their permission. This can be tough if you’ll be moving forward without the support of a loved one. But remember that you’ll never be alone.
Your adoption professional will be there to provide you with emotional support and guidance through telling your family about adoption, the process itself and beyond.
Tips for Handling Questions from People Who Aren’t in the Know
Pregnancy is almost impossible to hide from everyone. It can be awkward when strangers or the people you haven’t told ask questions like:
- When are you due?
- Are you excited?
- What are you going to name him or her?
- Is it a boy or girl?
- Are your older children excited about their little sibling?
You can answer honestly and tell them that you won’t be raising this baby. But it’s also always fine to just offer a generic answer, and not offer up details about the adoption. How to talk about adoption as birth mother is always your choice.
Sometimes, it’s too emotionally draining for a pregnant woman to constantly explain her adoption decision to people. If you find that’s the case, just smile and give a simple, standard answer to end the conversation.
This is your decision, and not everyone has to know all the details if you don’t feel like sharing!
Reach out to an adoption agency now if you’re worried about talking to your friends or family about your decision to place your child for adoption. They’ll be able to give you advice based on your individual situation and guide you through the tough conversations as you talk to parents about adoption, as well as your friends and other people in your life.
Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.