Responding to Negative Reactions to Your Adoption Plan

Let’s face it: not everyone is going to agree that you’re making a good decision by choosing an adoption plan. But how you handle their reactions can make a big difference in your relationship moving forward.

There will be family members who may suddenly volunteer to raise your child for you “until you are ready.” How do you respond?

Jenny said her aunt tried to convince her to stop the adoption plan so that the aunt could take care of the baby until Jenny was ready, not understanding that it wasn’t just a matter of being ready.

“I just told her, ‘Thank you for such a generous offer, but I have made a decision that I feel is best for both my child and myself. I appreciate your heart and the way you love me.’ My aunt wasn’t happy, but I think my gentle response helped her understand me a bit better.”

When Marie told her best friend what she had decided to do, her friend told her she wasn’t making any sense. “You always talked about being a mom. Why wouldn’t you keep this baby? That doesn’t make sense.”

Marie responded gently that the time wasn’t right to begin her family. “I do want to be a mom, and I still am a mom to this baby, but this wasn’t the plan I had in mind. This is the best decision I can make for both of us now. My baby needs more than I can provide. And I need your support through this.” Taking time to explain helped her friend to see what Marie really needed.

Sometimes, it’s not your family and friends who don’t understand but rather strangers along the way.

Fifteen-year-old Anne-Marie shared how she was in a meeting with a nutritionist when the subject came up about breastfeeding. Anne-Marie responded that this wouldn’t be an issue because she had made an adoption plan. The nutritionist turned to her and said, “Adoption? Why? I know plenty of girls your age who kept their babies and they’re just fine!”

“She made it seem like I just made a flippant decision and should change my mind,” Anne-Marie said. “But I knew this was a good moment to help this woman who works with so many others understand how she made me feel. I responded, ‘This actually wasn’t an easy decision but I know it’s what’s best for me. I feel good about my choice, even though it’s hard. I’m happy others are doing well, but I thought long and hard before I made an adoption plan. But thank you for your thoughts.”

How you respond to others can not only continue to build a relationship, but it can also bring understanding and compassion where none might have been before. If you can remember that most responses are made out of concern, not judgement, your responses can help educate rather than add to negativity.

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