Dealing with Unsupportive Parents and Family Members

On both ends of the adoption spectrum, you may deal with unsupportive family members and parents.

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“It just made me feel like I’m a better person and that I made a decision that I will never regret.” – ANLC Birth Mother

Whether you’re an expectant mother considering an adoption plan for your child, or you’re considering adopting a child into your family, you may run the risk of pushback from some of the people you care about most.

Of course, finding that your parent or other family member are unsupportive of your adoption plans can be discouraging, but this should not stop you in your tracks. Learning how to deal with naysayers to your decision may help you establish some confidence in your choice as well as reinforce the reasons behind it. Unsupportive parents and family members may be a given factor for some individuals embarking on adoption, but there are ways to overcome in a positive manner.

Unsupportive Parents and Family: for Birth Mothers

As an expectant mother, you have plenty of things to worry about without adding on the negative opinions of your family members and parents. Unfortunately, unsupportive family members can be more than just unsupportive in their opinions; they may even do what they can to stop the adoption from happening. From talking you out of it to meddling in the decision itself, some family members and even parents may take things too far.

With this in mind, you must know that neither your parents nor other family members can prevent you from going through with your adoption plan. The decision is yours and yours alone, which means their unsupportive words, actions, or feelings should not hold much influence over you. To help you deal with this, you can try the following:

  • Educate Them: A lot of parents and family members are against adoption because they don’t quite understand it. They see it as a black and white situation: either you “give up” your child, or you keep your child. However, you know it is certainly not so simple, or so cut and dry. The best way to ease your family away from this type of thinking is to educate them. Tell them why you’ve chosen adoption and show them that you truly feel that you’re making the best choice for your child by allowing him/her to be loved by another family as well as this one.
  • Show Them That You’re in Control: Some parents and family members may think that creating an adoption pan for a child is simply putting the child out of your hands. Show them that, in actuality, you are in full control of your adoption plan from start to finish. Inform them that that:
    • You Select the Adoptive Family Your child is not going to some random family when you choose adoption. In fact, you get to be actively involved in the selection of the adoptive family in most cases, ensuring that your child is placed with someone you’re comfortable with.
    • You Are Eligible For and Will Receive Financial Assistance As the birth mother, you are able to receive financial assistance throughout the pregnancy and the adoption process depending on state regulation and law.
    • You Choose the Amount of Contact With your Child: You get to decide between an open or closed adoption in most cases, which may involve letters, pictures, and even visits with your child.
    • You Know What You’re Doing: Perhaps you have certain goals or aspirations that you won’t be able to achieve while raising a child, and you know it – tell your family this and explain why it’s best for you and the child to choose adoption.
    • The Adoption IS Happening: Overall, the most important thing to insist to your parents and family members is that, despite their opinions, the adoption will move forward. If necessary, remind them of your reasons, show them how much you care, and be clear about how much their support would mean to you.

Unsupportive Parents and Family: for Adoptive Parents

As an Adoptive Family, you may face backlash for wanting to welcome someone else’s child into your home and family. Your parents and other family members may be against, or unable to understand, why you want to adopt, and this can be frustrating. However, this should not put the brakes on your adoption plan. Again, education is the best medicine for parents and family members who are against your choice. Share with them the following:

  • There May Be Reasons Why Adoption is Best For You: Some couples or individuals decide to adopt due to infertility or other medical problems when it comes to conceiving. Such issues are very personal, and usually stay within the confines of the couple’s relationship or the individual’s inner mind. If, for whatever reason, your parents or family members do not know about your infertility or other medical condition, you do not have to tell them. However, explaining that there are more reasons behind adoption than what they might think may help them keep an open mind and be more sensitive.
  • You Are Financially Stable: Just as deciding to get pregnant is between you and your significant other, deciding to adopt is between the two of you as well. Even as an individual, it is up to you when to start a family, and, sometimes, adoption is the best way. One of the main concerns about having children is the financial obligation that comes with them. Adoption can be very expensive which may cause some family members to be wary. State that you are an adult and have considered all the financial demands that come with adoption. Show them that there are also loans and grants available to help adopt, as well as additional adoption resources.
  • This is Something You Want to Do: Some families choose adoption because they simply want to expand in that way. They want to help children in need, and adoption is a wonderful way to do so. Telling your family this may show them that you have a very real and very pure reason for your decision.
  • It IS Going to Happen: At the end of the day, adoption is your decision and your parents and family members can do very little to stop you from moving forward. Though it may be frustrating and discouraging, you may have to accept your family’s views and feelings, but maintain to them that the adoption is going to happen. Convey how much their support would mean to you, but you must understand that this may not change anything.

Staying Strong

All in all, adoption is a very emotional decision for everyone involved, and a lack of support can certainly make things difficult. Though this may happen, you are not alone. You can find the support you need through groups or within the adoption community. While your parents and family members may be unsupportive now, they may not always be. Remember this and move forward with your decision because you know it is right for you.

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