Maybe your daughter, sister, or friend recently shared with you that she is making an adoption plan for her child. We understand this may be unexpected news for you, and it may be difficult to process at first. This is big news, so it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. No matter what your initial reaction is, it’s important to help provide support for her decision even if you are not fully on board or understand why she is making an adoption plan. Her support system plays a crucial role in the adoption process. Give her time to share the details with you, and be open to hearing about how and why she’s come to this decision. Once you have heard more about her plan, you may find it easier to offer support.
If you are unsure what to do next, that is okay! Here are some ways to support the birth mom in your life.
How to Support an Expectant Mother in Her Adoption Plan:
- Listen to her share about her decision. Having someone to listen to what you are going through can mean a lot. If she has trusted you enough to share her adoption decision, it’s okay to ask questions about her decision-making process and how she is feeling throughout the process. She needs your support, so trying to learn more about her decision shows that you care. Remember that she has probably been thinking through this for a lot longer than you realize.
- Get to know the adoption agency she’s working with. New Life Adoptions has information about our adoption process readily available on our website. It may be helpful to look through this information so you can help reaffirm her decision. It may also be reassuring for you to know the support your loved one is receiving.
- Educate yourself on current adoption terminology and the adoption process. Using correct and current adoption vocabulary helps show your support and care for the birth mom in your life. It helps to promote a more positive view of adoption to others. For example, saying “place for adoption” or “making an adoption plan” instead of “put up” or “give up for adoption” portrays the truly selfless decision a birth mom makes for her child in adoption. Adoption has changed a lot in over the years and likely looks different today than what you thought it would look like. New Life Adoptions has resources available to educate you and your community on current adoption practices.
- Support her in any decision. Whether she chooses a parenting or adoption plan, she’s a mother and is making a plan to support and provide for her child in whatever way she believes is best.
Practical Ways to Support a Birth Mother During and After the Placement:
- Take an interest in how she is doing. It’s okay to talk about the adoption even if the birth mom is sad or grieving. Acknowledging the adoption helps support and validate her. It may be difficult for her to talk about adoption at times, so take cues from her to know what she needs. If she isn’t ready to talk about it, make sure she knows that you are available when she feels ready.
- Be available to talk. Be honored that she chose to include you in this significant part of her life. You are part of her support system and she needs you.
- Help with practical needs. Consider bringing a meal post-partum or offering to babysit her other kids, especially while she’s in the hospital or after delivery.
- Find outside support. It’s normal for a birth mom’s loved ones, especially close family members, to also grieve the adoption. Even with very open adoptions, there is still loss that occurs for all parties involved. It’s best to have your own support as well. Often times a pastor, supportive friend, or an adoption-competent counselor can help you work through the wave of emotions. New Life Adoptions has resources and referrals available for birth families such as connecting you to another birth grandparent for support.
- Offer ongoing support. Adoption is a life-long decision and there will be days that may be more emotional than others. Continue to acknowledge that some days, especially milestones (birthdays, mother’s day, etc.) hold significance for her. While they may be ‘happy’ occasions, they can still be difficult. Support the birth mom in your life through these times. Help her know that she is not alone in remembering her child in these moments.
Whether or not you are supportive of an adoption plan, your daughter, sister, or friend may still choose to move forward with adoption. Remember, you can have a positive impact on your loved one’s adoption journey by being a positive support to her along the way. She is not making this decision out of a lack of love or responsibility. She is making a selfless and loving plan for her child, and someone making a difficult decision needs all the support they can get.
If you want to learn more about how to better support an expectant or birth mother on her adoption journey, contact us today. We are happy to give more ideas and information about how to be available and supportive throughout this process.