Making the decision to place a baby for adoption is never easy. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, and you are already parenting a child, the decision to make an adoption plan can feel even more complicated. One of the most common concerns for parents considering placing a child with adoption is: How will I explain this decision to my child/children? You are not alone. 80% of the women who place a child for adoption are already parenting other children.
Right now, you may be worrying about how your child reacts to the news. You may fear that they will worry about their own place in your home. You may also worry they will resent you for your decision. Here are some steps to take as you approach telling your child about your adoption plan.
- Gather Your Thoughts and Feelings
If you are in this position, the first thing to do is to take a deep breath. Take a moment to take stock of your own feelings first, as you are the one who is facing this decision. Give yourself grace and try to give yourself a break from the feelings of guilt and doubt you may have. Your adoption journey is a marathon, not a sprint. You will emerge from the other side, but first you must allow yourself to consider your own emotions as you embark on this life-changing journey.
Before talking to your children about the adoption plan, remind yourself that you are making this decision out of love. Adoption is a selfless sacrifice, in which you can give your baby a better life than you feel you can provide at this time. Most women in this situation also need to consider how raising another child will affect her current children. While some still use the dated term “giving up for adoption,” adoption is anything but giving up. You are not taking the easy way out, but instead taking the brave path to ensure that your child has a safe, stable, and loving home, filled with opportunities for a brighter future.
- Contact an Adoption Agency
As you consider the adoption, your own feelings, and speaking with your child/children about the decision, it can help to speak with your adoption counselor. If you do not have one yet, consider contacting an adoption agency for guidance. A reputable, experienced adoption agency like Adoptions With Love can help you navigate every aspect of the adoption journey – including speaking with your child/children. We recommend speaking with your adoption counselor prior to discussing your adoption plan with your children.
The counselors at Adoptions With Love have worked with many expectant/birth mothers in your position. We have been helping guide expectant/birth parents through the process since 1986. Our expertise and knowledge can help you approach this situation with your family, and create a personalized plan with which you feel comfortable. It can also help to speak with a professional counselor to clear your own mind before starting the conversations. The counseling session – like any others at Adoptions With Love – is completely free of charge and always confidential.
- Start the Conversation
It is important to start the conversation with your child/children about your adoption plan even though you may not know exactly how to begin. Children adapt to most situations better than adults expect. Starting the conversation may be the hardest part, but once you start explaining to your child what your plans are, how adoption works, and why you are making this choice, they will ask questions to better understand what is happening. If your child is very young, keep the conversation simple, as long explanations may only confuse them further. It is important to express that this is a decision made with love. Reassure your child/children that this plan is not for them; they will be with you forever.
- Keep Talking
Prepare to have multiple conversations about your adoption with your child. This life event is not a one-time discussion. Your child will likely have many questions after your initial conversation, and you will need to repeat the plan several times. That is okay. Repetition will help your child understand the adoption process.
Since the conversation is one that bears repeating, try to speak with your child/children about the adoption as early as possible. Depending on your child’s age, you may want to introduce the idea in age-appropriate, gradual stages. Start by explaining what adoption means, and simply start to familiarize them with the concept. Explain why adoption is a positive choice for many families. Explain – more than once – that they are never going to be placed for adoption, to set aside any unspoken concerns they may develop.
- Get the Family Involved
As you continue to explain the adoption plan to your child/children, get them involved in the process. This may help them to understand the plan and feel like they are involved in this decision that will impact the whole family. Let them browse through the adoption profiles with you. If you are planning to meet with the adoptive family in advance, and you are comfortable, allow them to meet the adoptive parents. This will give them a face to pair with the adoption as they imagine the baby being adopted.
If you are keeping an open adoption, let them voice their opinions as to how you will keep in touch with the adoptive family after the adoption is complete. Open adoptions look different for every family. If your child would like to see photos, request photo updates via a shared online account or email. If your family would like to keep in closer contact, consider phone calls, video chats, and in-person reunions. You are in charge of this adoption plan but letting your child/children in to help make some of the decisions can help them cope with the arrangement.
- Lean on Your Support Systems
As you plan your adoption with your child in mind, keep in contact with your support systems. You may be leaning on a good friend or family for support. You will want to keep them up to speed with how your child at home is processing the plan. You will also want to keep in touch with your adoption counselor, as they can provide round-the-clock support during this challenging time. They can also offer support for your child/children.
If you would like even more information about placing your child for adoption, reach out to Adoptions With Love. Our services are always free of charge and we provide birth parents with care, compassion, and respect. Call us any time of day, any day of the week, at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.
You may also learn more with our free eBook, Placing a Second (or Third) Child for Adoption, by downloading it below.