Choosing adoption is a difficult and brave decision. It’s one of the hardest choices imaginable. During the process, it’s overwhelming and all-consuming. You’re in it, and the rest of the world might seem to fade away.
But, then it ends.
Placement happens, and you sign your official consent. There’s a period of grief — which can last a long time. There’s necessary healing and often counseling. Eventually, though, life starts to take a “normal” shape again. The impact of adoption never ends, but the all-consuming nature of the process does. And life goes on, as it should. After all, choosing adoption for your baby is, for many, a way to carry on with life after experiencing the surprise of an unplanned pregnancy.
Many birth mothers find the return to “normal life” challenging for many reasons, one being that you now have this big, complicated part of your story. Explaining that you chose adoption in any situation can be awkward. Explaining it on a date?
Now that’s a real challenge.
We’d love to give you a perfect answer, a short-and-sweet way to broach the subject and then carry on with your date as normal. However, that’s probably not going to happen. There are a lot of factors involved, and one part is totally out of your control: your date’s response.
Dating after adoption can be a real challenge. Here are a few tips to keep in mind that might be helpful as you approach this important conversation.
Allow Time to Process
Some people may process your story and respond positively right away. That’s, obviously, the ideal response. However, other people will need time. Adoption isn’t something that most people know a lot about. There’s a learning curve. Needing time doesn’t necessarily mean a negative reaction is on the way.
If you share your story and your date needs some time to try to understand it, give that time (within reason).
Consider Social Media
Do you have pictures of your birth child on your Instagram or Facebook? If so, that’s great! It also means that anyone you start dating may find out about your adoption on their own time when they follow or friend you.
This is something to be aware of. If you don’t like the idea of your date finding out about your adoption history like this, then you could set all your profiles to private for the time being.
Don’t Force Yourself Into Telling Your Story
Are you comfortable sharing your adoption history? This is your story, and you can do what you want with it. If you aren’t comfortable sharing it yet, then don’t make yourself do so. There’s not a hard deadline, as if not sharing by the third date will ruin everything. Take the time you need to share this very important part of your life.
Don’t Wait Too Long
There’s a balancing act between this point and the last one. Adoption is a big part of your life, and it’s something that a serious partner probably needs to know about. Waiting too long to have this discussion can increase the chance your partner will feel like you were hiding something. On the other hand, there’s really no need to bring your adoption story into casual dating if you feel uncomfortable doing so.
Where is that line? Only you can really know. If you think the person you are dating could be in your life for a long time, it’s probably time to start thinking about how to have this discussion.
You Have No Reason to Be Ashamed
Adoption is an act of love. Unfortunately, many people associate it with shame. But you have no reason to be ashamed. You did what was right for you and what was right for your baby. Remind yourself of this truth and surround yourself with family and loved ones who can remind you, too. Going into this conversation with a romantic partner with the right mindset can set the tone.
Talk to an Adoption Specialist
If you have more questions, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION any time to speak with an adoption specialist. We can’t give you a perfect answer, but we can provide help in challenging times. Additionally, if you are considering adoption today, don’t hesitate to call or request more free information online.