Helping Your Friends & Family Understand Adoption
If you’re surrounded by friends and family who understand adoption, and maybe have even adopted – consider yourself blessed. Many potential adoptive families encounter friends and family members who harbor old fashioned ideas about adoption and can be very vocal in sharing their negative opinions.
Adoption has become more and more common in recent years with couples waiting longer to become established in life before trying to conceive, and with women facing unplanned pregnancies becoming more aware that adoption is an option.
How can you help your friends and family understand adoption in a positive light?
First of all, some people may seem to express a negative standpoint on adoption, because of certain comments they make. Keep in mind, when the topic of adoption comes up, a lot of people don’t know WHAT to say, so they might just blurt out any old comment – which isn’t always the most positive thing. Give them the chance to update their thinking and learn about adoption, just as you may have done yourself.
Be sure and point out that adoption stories we see and hear about in the media are about as accurate as any tabloid touting the latest celebrity gossip. The media tends to sensationalize adoption situations that really weren’t good situations to begin with. Most adoptive families use reputable adoption professionals and experienced adoption attorneys to ensure their adoption is handled securely. Families do not have to fear that a birthmother is going to “run off” with the baby, or that they will end up in a long court battle over parental rights. Adoptions today are handled quietly and peacefully, so you really don’t hear about it in the media – it’s just not that interesting!
Sometimes, those who are uneducated about adoption will say, “I don’t know how any woman could give her child away!” Well, certainly, most people have never been in a position that warranted even considering adoption. There are many good and valid reasons why a birthmother would place her child for adoption: Women today who do not believe in abortion, or who have had an abortion and don’t want to endure another abortion have found adoption the best way to give the child life – and a life with a loving stable home with a mom and dad who are ready to become parents. Just because a woman isn’t able to parent, doesn’t mean she doesn’t love the child – in fact, most birthmothers will tell you it would have been a lot easier to parent – but they wanted to make a decision that was the most beneficial for the child. Most birthmothers set aside their own needs and wants when they decide to place their child for adoption.
Understand that most likely if someone is opposing your decision to adopt, or voicing negative opinions, it is usually because they themselves are not educated on adoption. You’ve probably spent hours poring over books and chat rooms, learning about adoption – they have not.
Here are some ways to lovingly educate your friends and family on adoption:
Share adoption testimonials from birthmothers and adoptive parents. Share first-had accounts of healthy, modern adoption situations.
Express that while you appreciate their concern, this is the option you have found to be the best solution for bringing your baby home. Conceiving on your own, or infertility treatments are no longer options for you, or you have chosen adoption over these options for personal reasons.
Assure them that you are using a reputable and experienced adoption professional, and share any websites or outreach materials so your friend or family member can explore on their own.
Let them know how much their support means to you, and how much it will mean when you bring your new child home.
Pray for them, that God will open their hearts and minds to adoption. Point out scripture from the Bible that supports adoption: James 1:27, Matthew 18:5, Romans 8:14-16. These are just three of the many scriptures that share God’s point of view on adoption.
You may not be able to win every friend or family over to the new ideas on adoption. Many who can not be talked into an adoption can be won over once they see you with your new bundle of joy in your arms, and they can see for themselves that there is no difference in the love a mother has for a biological or adoptive child.