How Do I Tell My Friends and Family?

Sharing your adoption plan with family and friends can be challenging. Here’s what you should know about having this conversation with the people you love most.

Once you have chosen adoption for your baby, you are probably wondering how explaining the decision to “give a child up” for adoption will go.

You may not have even told your family, friends and other acquaintances that you are pregnant yet. Telling your family about adoption can be difficult, and so can explaining this choice to a friend or co-worker. It’s natural to seek approval from others, so you may want someone else to tell you that you are making the right decision.

The fact is you are the only one who can know if you are making the right decision to “give your baby up” for adoption. Many people do not understand adoption and may have negative views of the process, or may be caught off guard by your choice. There’s a good chance that you are the only person they know who has ever chosen to place a baby for adoption.

What does this mean? When you’re thinking about explaining the decision to “give a child up” for adoption, you will need be ready to explain how you came to your decision and allow your friends and family time to understand your decision.

We’ve created this guide on how to talk about adoption as a birth mother to help you prepare for this conversation.

Telling Someone About Adoption and “Giving Up”

You may have noticed that we keep putting “give up” in quotation marks. This is intentional. “Give a baby up” is one of the most common ways to talk about adoption. It’s probably a phrase you’ve used yourself. However, it’s important to know that when you choose adoption, you aren’t “giving up” at all. You are doing something loving and brave.

In an effort to be relatable and inclusive, you’ll see us use “giving up” here. There are more positive ways to speak about adoption, such as “place for adoption,” “choose adoption,” or “create an adoption plan.” You may want to consider using these phrases when telling someone about adoption. This can help change the way they think about adoption and see your decision for what it is: an act of selflessness you’ve put careful thought into planning.

I Haven’t Even Told Anyone About My Pregnancy – How am I Going to Tell Them About My Adoption Plan?

Telling your family and friends about your unplanned pregnancy is the first step in explaining the decision to “give a child up” for adoption. They need to accept the news of your unexpected pregnancy before they can contemplate your choice of adoption for the child. Think back to how you felt when you found out that you were pregnant. You may have been shocked, disappointed, and even confused. Those who love and care about you will need time to process the news of your unplanned pregnancy.

Sometimes, family and friends’ initial reaction may not be about what is best for you. They may initially be thinking about how this will affect their lives or how they could have done a better job as a parent or a friend. Stay calm and be mature about the situation, even if your family members are not being supportive.

In situations where you face opposition from family and friends, calmly explain to them that you have already made a decision on how to deal with your unplanned pregnancy. Remind them that you are asking for their support, not necessarily opinions or advice.

The Best Way to Talk to Parents About Adoption

Telling people you are putting a baby up for adoption can be challenging. How do you actually explain the situation and your decision in such a way that you get the positive response you want?

First, it is important to accept that you cannot control how other people react. There are things you can do to prepare yourself for the conversation, and this can help it go better when telling your family about adoption. But, it is ultimately up to other people to be responsible for their own reactions.

One of the best ways to talk to parents about adoption is to focus on the benefits. This can include:

  • The chance for you to continue working toward your life goals
  • The opportunity to help hopeful parents fulfill their dreams
  • The life your child will have in their safe, loving adoptive family
  • The continued connection you can have with your child through open adoption
  • And more

Focusing on the positives and making it clear that you’ve done your research is one of the best ways for how to talk to family about adoption. Along with understanding the benefits, you may want to learn more about how the process works, so that you can answer any questions they might have.

Who Should I Tell?

It is your decision who you want to tell about your plans to place your child for adoption. Only approach those you feel comfortable talking with and who you trust. But don’t expect a certain reaction from a friend or family member. Some family members might be supportive, but others could be disappointed. Others will be angry. They may need to process these emotions before they can begin to understand your decision to give your baby up for adoption.

You should try to tell your family and friends one person at a time about your plans for adoption. If you tell everyone at once, you could be overwhelmed by the various emotions of your friends and family in the room. Everyone is going to have a different reaction. Try to approach the member of your family who you believe will be the most supportive. If they are supportive of your decision, they can help calm fears and answer questions from other family members. They also can be there to support you when you tell others about your plan to place your baby for adoption.

Talking to Family

Figuring out how to talk to your family about adoption isn’t easy. We’ve already covered some of the best ways to talk to parents about adoption. Ultimately, you know your family better than anyone, and you know what type of approach will give the best results when you talk to parents about adoption.

When evaluating how to talk about adoption as a birth mother, keep in mind that you deserve to feel encouraged, supported and safe. If you feel that this conversation could put you in danger, then you are not required to have it.

Talking to Friends

Friends may at first be excited about the pregnancy and then disappointed that you are placing the baby for adoption. They may even try to persuade you to parent your child, saying that they will help take care of him or her. You should remember that your friend may eventually move on with their life and start their own family. They may not always be there to help you.

Talking to Acquaintances

Many prospective birth mothers take pride in their adoption decision, as they should. It’s a brave and loving act. If you feel this way, then you may want to talk with acquaintances about adoption, too.

When speaking with acquaintances about adoption, keep in mind that this is a very personal and emotional journey. You certainly don’t have to share your adoption story with anyone you run into. If you do find yourself in conversation with an acquaintance and the subject comes up naturally, consider offering a short response that makes it clear that you’re not going to spend too much time talking about adoption. This way, you can share your story without divulging too much about a highly personal topic.

Talking to Coworkers

The workplace can produce great friendships, but it is also a professional environment. Is this the best place for a personal discussion about how you are responding to your unplanned pregnancy?

On the one hand, you should never feel like adoption is something that has to be kept secret. If someone asks, then telling people you are putting a baby up for adoption is totally appropriate.

On the other hand, respect the personal boundaries of the work environment. It may be best to not make your adoption the center of all your conversations, in the same way the coworkers don’t make their relationships or family the center of all their conversations in the office.

Pregnancy, Adoption and Social Media

Social media — the place where family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers and total strangers all come together — can be a very tricky place to navigate explaining the decision to “give a child up” for adoption.

Be responsible in regards to what you post. These are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Privacy: Who do you really want to invite into discussions about the most personal aspect of your life? There’s not necessarily a “right” answer. It’s important to consider this before posting about unplanned pregnancy or adoption.
  • Future Readers: The people who follow your accounts today won’t be the same as your followers in the future. Are you okay with your thoughts about adoption being out there for future readers? This could include the adoptive parents of your baby, future romantic partners, future friends and, eventually, it could even include your child.
  • The Complex Nature of Adoption: Social media dumbs things down. It’s inherent to the style of communication. Adoption cannot be fully understood this way. You probably have a lot of nuance that you’d like to communicate when explaining the decision to “give a child up” for adoption. Is social media the best place for that?

Preparing for the Concerns of Family and Friends

Once you tell your family and friends about your decision to put your baby up for adoption, they will ask many questions and have various concerns about you and the baby. This is always a part of telling people you are putting a baby up for adoption. You should share with others how you decided that adoption is the right choice for your unplanned pregnancy. Sharing the stories of other birth mothers and adoptive parents with them could help ease their fears. Your adoption counselor — if you are connected with an adoption agency — is also available to speak with your family members if they have questions.

Many people think that parenting is the only option because they have negative and misleading ideas about adoption. They also may not be thinking about what is best for you and the child. When thinking about how to talk about adoption as a birth mother, consider how you can try to calmly explain your situation and what you want for your child and for your own life. Make sure to be clear to others that you are the only one who can make this decision and that, while they may not agree with you for placing your baby for adoption, you would appreciate their support and love in the coming months.

After you have shared with others your plan to place your baby for adoption, you will feel so much relief that you no longer have to hide or worry about what people will say when they learn of your decision. While some of your family and friends might say hurtful things, you might be surprised by others who show you the support and love you deserve during your pregnancy.

Sometimes, speaking with a professional can be helpful if you need someone to talk to about your concerns and fears. We would be happy to connect you with an adoption agency if you need help preparing to speak to your family and friends about your adoption plan. Please contact us here if you would like to talk to a specialist in more detail. In the meantime, you can also begin looking at adoptive family profiles here.