Deciding to make an adoption plan for your baby isn’t easy, but if your family disagrees with you choosing adoption, it can become even more difficult. It’s normal to seek your parent’s approval when you’re thinking about adoption.
It may be hard to go through the adoption without having the support of the people you love. If your family is anti-adoption, you’re not alone. Family members disagreeing about their sons and daughters choosing adoption is common. In this post, we’re going share some tips on how to handle the situation.
When Family Just Doesn’t Understand
It may be that your family members and parents are thinking of adoption as it used to be. Closed adoptions of the past meant that the birth mother had her baby taken away from her and placed with the adoptive couple. She didn’t get to pick the couple, and her child grew up never knowing her.
Shares one of our birth mothers, Jessica, “My mom yelled at me that she gave up her life as it was to raise me at 17 as a single mom. She told me that by giving away my baby for adoption, I was not only selfish but also it was telling her I was ashamed of her! I told her that my decision was about my baby and what’s best for him. I wanted to give him everything in life that he deserved: two loving parents, a good education, and the resources to follow his dreams. But to my mom, it was like I was dissing her.”
Over time, Jessica’s mom came to see that she could be a part of her grandson’s life too, through open adoption. Today, Jessica’s mom is sent updates on the boy too and even joined in on a Skype call with the adoptive family.
How to Tell Your Family You’ve Chosen Adoption
There isn’t a “one size fits all” answer to “how do I tell my family I’m choosing adoption?” We suggest you reveal the news to each family member one-on-one, in a private setting.
Try using “I” statements like “I know you want the best for me, so I’m hoping you can find it in your heart to support me” or “I know that adoption is going to be the best option for both my baby and myself, in my situation.”
Know this: the first reaction you get to your adoption news isn’t how they’ll always feel about it. They might be shocked and respond with anger and disgust, or with sympathy and hope. Any of those reactions are normal.
Also, your family members’ opposition to adoption probably comes from concern for you. They may change their minds after they learn more about open adoption and how the process works.
Brace yourself for various responses from different relatives. Adoption procedures were done very differently in the old days. If you find it’s helpful, tell your relatives what open adoption is and isn’t. Tell them you’re researching all your options and aren’t just making snap decisions. If you’re comfortable with it, you can see if they have any questions about adoption. They can even speak with your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime if you need that.
At the end of the day, you’re in charge of your decision. You have the right to make whichever choice is going to be the best for you and your child. The family members who truly love you unconditionally will come around at some point, no matter how they felt about it at first.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.