When your child or a loved one is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering adoption, you have may have a strong reaction or disagree but support them. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your loved one and hope that the following suggestions can help you provide the support that your loved one needs at this time.
Our first suggestion is assure them that you love them. This might sound like a silly suggestion, but when your loved one comes to you, they are most likely coming to you because they trust you and value your support. Your loved one might have been scared to tell you in fear of rejection or disappointment. You should feel honored that s/he made the choice to tell you about this unplanned pregnancy. Assuring them that you love them and are there for them can help them in ways you would never imagine.
After you have covered the basics, explore their feelings before telling them yours. This loved one might be coming to you because they need to talk their options over or just let some emotions out. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to say or do the right thing but at this point your loved one might just need to let their feelings out. Remember that s/he might not be sure how they feel and that the feelings they are having are okay.
This next suggestion can be the most difficult part of helping your loved one. Put your emotions on the backburner. Your loved one came to you because they felt they needed you as a support system. This is your time to focus on them and what they need from you. This is difficult to do for some because it can be an emotional time and you may have many emotions running through your head. It is important for you to also work out your emotions (most agencies have counselors you can talk to).
We would suggest that you find a support system outside of the adoption plan. You need space to grieve and take care of yourself. Compassion fatigue is a real thing. Helping others without taking care of yourself can take a big toll on your body and emotions. By finding a support system outside of the adoption plan, you can take care of yourself without harming your loved one’s feelings.
An unplanned pregnancy can be very overwhelming. Considering adoption can lead to many questions that your loved one may want to get answers from. This leads us to our next suggestion get as much information on adoption as you can. You can do this by calling your local adoption agency or researching online. Speaking to an adoption professional would be your best source of information. By gathering information to learn more about the process and what open adoption is, you can help your loved one through the adoption process.
When your loved one is at the hospital for the birth, it may be when you will be hit the hardest with emotions. Leading up to the hospital, your loved one might be thinking logically and with their head about their adoption plan without getting their emotions involved. The birth and after-birth is where emotions might come colliding with their logic. Now is when they need you more than ever. It is now that they need your comfort in whatever decision they make, whether it be terminating their rights or parenting. It’s important to know that even if your loved one has been working with an agency, they are under no obligation up until they sign paperwork terminating their rights. And likewise, if they had planned to parents and after birth decided they wanted to make an adoption plan, it is not too late to contact an agency.
After the termination of rights has happened, your loved one may still need you as a support system. The most important thing that you can do is continue to talk with your loved one about the adoption if they want to. Your loved one might need to know that you care and that the baby is always a constant thought. S/he is still a parent even though they are not parenting daily. Encourage your loved one to seek support groups or counseling if need be. While placement is in the past, adoption is a lifelong journey.