Building an Adoption Support System

Involving Supportive Friends and Family Members in Your Adoption

I know that it can be incredibly scary to talk to friends and family about the choice for adoption. It can even be challenging to talk to a stranger about it. How do you get through such a conversation, or how do you even start it? It is up to you how you approach your family members and friends. You know the best ways to approach them. Trust yourself to have the hard conversations, and remember that even if they are not as supportive as you may like, you are not alone.

Tips for Talking to Family and Friends

Talk about why you are making the decision.

Although the decision to place a baby for adoption may seem like an emotional one to those who do not understand, try to discuss why you are choosing adoption from a logical point of view. While you may want to say: “I’m under too much pressure to be a parent,” consider stating what exactly the pressure that you are experiencing is. The more detailed in logic you can be, the more likely those around you may be to understand where you are coming from.

Make sure you pick appropriate venues to discuss an adoption decision.

Start the conversation in a setting where a private conversation can be had. Sit down with the most important people first, and have a one-on-one with them. Once you have spoken to a few people one-on-one, then you may consider a setting in which those who support you join you in the tougher conversations you may need to have.

Talk about the positive aspects of adoption.

Many people close to you may feel like adoption is a negative decision, and they may not understand that there are many positive aspects to adoption. Instead of focusing the conversation on what you are losing, discuss what you and the child will be gaining.

Talk about adoption in the beautiful, giving light that it is.

Friends and family may feel like you choosing adoption is taking something away from them. While it may seem selfish, they may feel that they are about to experience a great loss. Focus the conversation on the gift that is being given to the child who is being placed for adoption. It is easy to look at the dark side of a big change, but try and focus on the bright side when explaining your adoption decision to others.

Keep the conversation focused on yourself and the child.

If the conversation drifts from how adoption is positive to how the person you are talking to is being affected, consider redirecting the conversation to how this is good for you and the baby. Hopefully, they will see that although this may be difficult, this truly is the best decision.

My hope for you is that every conversation you have with a family member or friend regarding your decision for adoption goes swimmingly. I hope that you can experience a large group of people you love who will support you. The best-case scenario: everyone you discuss adoption with is warm and receptive to the decision.

My Conversations

My experience was not one that went swimmingly. Most those in my life were not supportive when it came to the decision for adoption. I was disowned by my closest family friends, and received a lot of backlash from my family. In fact, fast forward six years later, and I am still dealing with comments here and there that hurt my feelings.

Create a Support System

My recommendation if you are facing a lot of negativity surrounding your decision is to create your own support system. Those who are supportive should remain close to you, and those who are not supportive will require boundaries to be set up. However, as I have stated many times before, you are not alone. The following are ways to generate a support system that you can rely upon to not only aid you through the adoption process, but you may be surprised at the lifelong relationships that may develop as well.

In-person support groups

In-person support groups may be a bit challenging to find, but they are out there. Talk to your adoption professional, local adoption agencies, and potentially some local churches to find out if there are any support groups local to your area.

Churches and Spiritual Affiliations

Many churches provide spiritual counseling, and recovery from trauma groups. Getting involved in a local church or spiritual organization can be a great way to meet people who will love on you and support you in what you are going through.

Online support groups

Online support groups are great for a little bit more privacy. You can have an online alias if you prefer, but can access many online resources. There are websites that host support groups, online blogs with comments, and tons more online resources.

Online education and blogs

Educating yourself on what adoption is, how the process works, and what to expect next can really help you to understand what you are going through and may relieve the feeling of loneliness while dealing with unsupportive friends and family members. Always be cautious with what you come across online though. There are some very negative topics on adoption that are not going to be helpful in a situation in which a woman is trying to gain support. The following websites provide educational and support resources:

Adoption professionals and the resources that they have available

Whomever you chose for an adoption professional should be able to help point you in the direction of support resources. They have their own resources, as well as the knowledge of other local resources available as well.

Counseling/Therapy

Having an unbiased person to talk to can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to dealing with lack of support regarding an adoption decision. I would recommend finding a counselor/therapist who has some knowledge on adoption, otherwise you will spend most of the sessions educating them. An adoption professional should be able to provide or recommend someone.

Anonymous hotline

If you need support, but don’t want anyone to know about the questions you may have or what you are feeling, you are welcome to call 1-800-ADOPTION and speak with an adoption counselor who can discuss with you what you are going through. They may also have resources that can help you with what you may be going through.

You Are Not Alone

The bottom line is this: you are not alone when going through a decision for adoption. While lack of support may have a significant effect on you, I implore you to seek out support where it may be most helpful to you. Consider all the resources available and do not be afraid to ask for help. Worst case scenario: you are all alone and don’t ask for help.

Remember, I have been through an adoption with almost no support, and I am now on a journey of healing. If I can get through it, you can too!