This week, a woman thinking about adoption shared “I think an adoption is the best plan for my baby, but my aunt and friends say they think I should raise my baby with their help. I don’t know how long I can count on them to help, especially since I’ve been through this before and after a couple months they didn’t help much with my first child. What should I do?”
Making a plan that works for you AND for your baby, in the long term, is what matters most. It’s understandable to want to explore all possible options before you make up your mind. Sometimes the best way to explain your plan is to share what you’ve already thought about, as well as what you’ve learned about open adoption, which led to your plan for this baby. Tell them the reasons you see adoption as the best plan, and the concerns you have about bringing another baby home, based on your experience with their offers to help before.
If sharing your feelings and reasons for choosing adoption are not enough to get their support, try making a chart for them to see what kind of help you’ll need to parent your baby, as well as places for them to sign up to commit to helping. For example, your chart could have child care, your work or school hours and hours you’ll need someone to watch the baby. You may also want your chart to include other things such as who can help pick up your other child from daycare or school and stay with him until you are home. Add areas to your chart that show financial need as well, such as diapers, formula, extra rent for a larger home that will hold you and both of your children, clothes and other necessities.
Remember that adding a baby to your current financial situation will also make it harder to cover costs for your other child too, which means your chart might have some extra spaces for help needed to meet the needs of both children. Make sure your chart also includes medical expenses for your children, as well as the income you’ll lose while you’re on maternity leave for the new baby.
Most people mean well when they offer to help, but the reality is that unless it changes their daily life, like how your life will change, their help will drift away over time. Outlining the help you’ll need can show them how much thought you’ve already put into this plan for you and your children. Help them learn how they can support you while you create an adoption plan; let them know that open adoption allows extended family to be part of the child’s life, if you are comfortable including them in the process and contact after the adoption.
It helps to talk things out while you make a plan you feel is best for your baby. Contact us to talk with a counselor or to speak with another woman who chose adoption for her child. You can even watch adoption stories online that are from the point of view of the birth mother. Call anytime or visit LifetimeAdoption.com for more information: 1-800-923-6784.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.