When you are thinking about adoption for your baby, you should first consider speaking with your friends and family. But, really think it through before talking to anyone about it. Try to imagine how the conversations might play out.
Try to imagine what the response might be from each person when breaking the news of an unplanned pregnancy, especially the father of the baby. You have a secret to reveal and may not be sure where to turn or what will happen next. You may be feeling helpless, confused, and fearful about the future and about talking about it.
You may think that the decisions you make moving forward are yours alone. While this is true, talking about adoption as an option can also be an opportunity to strengthen relationships and gain respect. Speak openly and honestly with the father of the baby and your friends and family. With patience and confidence, explain the plans you have for your life and for the life of the expected baby.
Once you have confirmed the pregnancy with a doctor or pregnancy center, it is time to start thinking about decisions you will have to make. Start by making a list of the things you will need to decide. List the reasons for decisions you are considering, and take your time thinking it over. If you choose to start working out an adoption plan for your baby, here are some things to think about, and maybe to talk with friends and family about:
What kind of adoption you would prefer:
- Do you want to get to know the family, or remain completely confidential
- Whether you would like photos or maybe even visit the child as the years go by
What kind of Adoptive Parents you would prefer
- a big family or one with lots of extended family members or maybe a childless couple
- maybe you have a preference about their religion, or what kind work they do
- whether you would want them to live nearby or whether you would prefer some distance
The months of pregnancy are a very delicate time. Attitude, behavior and nutritional choices of the mother during this time have an impact on the health and future development of the baby. The pregnant woman should be surrounded by a positive, calm and tranquil atmosphere as much as possible. Anger and anxiety should be avoided.
Sharing painful secrets with the people who love you can bring great peace, but sometimes it is just not possible. If your immediate family is not able or willing to help you through this difficult time, seek out others who can; close friends, maybe even his family, or even professional counselors. Please let us help you get connected to someone now.
Your family may have lots of questions. They may ask to talk to the father of the baby or his family. Some may yell or cry. Some may be embarrassed or fearful of what others will think. Someone may offer to help you raise the baby, but even so, this is your baby and you are the person most responsible for the decisions made for the baby’s well-being. No matter your age, or how much pressure your loved ones put on you, this is an adult decision that you must make, even if it is your first adult decision.
Present the facts and tell them you would like to hear their opinions. It may help to hold off expressing your own feelings until they have had a chance to express theirs. If possible, try to allow them time between hearing the news and having deeper conversations about your plans moving forward. If they expect that you should immediately agree with their opinions, you can always ask for more time to think things through. Remember to thank them for their opinions even when you don’t agree.
Decide who you will speak with first. Think of the person who is most likely to understand your feelings. Maybe it’s your best friend, or your mom, or maybe the father of the baby. Consider how family members, even aunts and uncles and grandparents, might feel if they were to be left out of your decision. Give a lot of thought to how you will present this news. For example, you may not bring the news to an elderly aunt with the same language that you speak with a close sister, brother or friend. This may not be the right time for a group meeting, unless you have a family that is really good at this kind of thing.
If you’re exhibiting symptoms or drastically changing your lifestyle, you might find it more difficult to hide it from some of the people in your life. Before 12 weeks, there is a higher chance of a miscarriage. So, at 12 weeks is the generally accepted safe point to share your news, the important thing is that you do it when you feel ready. It may be earlier than 12 weeks, or it may even be later – whatever you feel is right for you.
Telling the father of the baby
If you have a good relationship with your baby’s father you may be able to considering the options and make a decision together. Some women considering adoption, however, do not have a good relationship with their child’s father. For example, they may have had a violent relationship with the father, or may have no relationship with him now. In such circumstances, an adoption professional or attorney can contact the father as necessary.
"When, where and what will you say"
"I was on the pill, and had only been with my boyfriend for a month, so it was a real shock when I became pregnant. When I told him, he just kind of mumbled at me and stormed off. I was devastated."
"I told my ex by email since I wasn't going to see him for a about week. He phoned me right back and asked me to get an abortion. I told him to think about it a bit longer. A week later he apologized and said that it's my decision and he'll support me whatever I choose to do."
"I took the test during my lunch break. As soon as I saw the second line appear, I called my boyfriend at home, bawling my eyes out. I felt like I'd ruined everything - our five-year plan and so on - but he reassured me it was all right."
"I wasn't in a relationship with the father of my baby when I got pregnant, so I really didn't know how to tell him. After weeks of agonizing, I eventually wrote an old-fashioned letter and put it through his door. It gave me a chance to explain how I felt about everything before we talked. When we did meet up, he was really supportive."
“It took me a whole day after I found out to text him and say I needed to talk to him. When he came to see me, he asked what it was but I couldn't speak. I just looked at him. He asked me if I was pregnant, and I said yes. I didn't really tell him. He just figured it out!"
"After the test showed positive, I started to panic. I shakily asked my boyfriend to come and sit down so I could talk to him. He was like, 'What's the problem?' He started to guess stuff, like did I do something to the car? Did I cheat? I said, 'no'. Then he said, 'Are you pregnant?' I just nodded."
There are several reasons for involving the baby’s father, not the least of which are state laws about fathers’ rights, roles and responsibilities. Each state has their own law about adoption. Most states require that the father (or the man you think is the father) be told about the baby before the adoption. This is true even if you aren‘t married to the father. While laws vary, many states require that your baby’s father (or your husband) sign legal papers agreeing to the adoption; granting legal “consent” before you can place your child in an adopting family.
If you're concerned about how he will take the news, you're not alone. But you may find his response more positive than you imagine. When you break the news that you’re pregnant, he may go into shock. People in shock do funny things. He may seem as if he hasn’t heard what you’ve just said. He may not want to show his fear and just mumble something. He could say the first thing that comes into his head, which will could be something hurtful or goofy. He may not even believe you. These are all normal reactions. Try to be sympathetic. You’ve probably been through it already yourself over the past few days.
The problem with asking for support is that it can mean different things to different people. Before you ask for his support, try to think about exactly what you really need from him.
- Emotional support: just being there for you?
- Financial support: help with the costs?
- Practical support: help with baby care and daily chores?
- Maybe his opinions about choosing an adoptive family?
Once you’ve worked out what you want from him in the longer term, bring the focus back to the next few days. Would you like him to be with you when you tell your family? Would you want him to go to the doctor with you? If you are considering adoption, would you like for him to be with you during that process? Knowing what you want means you’re halfway to getting it. If you just ask for support without saying exactly what you mean, he may panic. By being specific, you can help him see a clear way forward, one need at a time. Think of the first chat as the beginning of an ongoing conversation. Make it short with a plan to talk the next day, after he’s had a chance to get his head around the news. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
When you also have other children
Many women choosing adoption for the baby they are expecting already have a child that they’re raising. Fully understanding the commitment and resources needed, they more easily recognize what’s best for them and their family.
Explain your decision and the process to the children you already have. Don’t try to keep your adoption decision or your emotions a secret from your children. Children tend to sense and reflect the emotions of their parents, so make sure that you are representing a positive outlook. They will look to you for reassurance.
Your Adoption Advisor can give you advice on how to appropriately have this conversation. After you explain your adoption decision, maybe even let your children be a part of your adoption decisions.
No matter how you choose to explain your adoption decision, it’s important that it remain an open and honest conversation throughout the process and even after the adoption is complete. If you can provide a better understanding of the benefits of adoption, it will lead to a healthier relationships.