You need a good support system when placing a child for adoption. After all, this is a decision that will impact the rest of your life. There will be ups and downs along the way, so you should look for loved ones who can support and celebrate you throughout every step.

But, you may be a little unsure of how to involve your extended family in your adoption decision. Even if they are supportive, your family members may experience sadness and grief, just like you. How can you involve them in a way that protects your ultimate deciding rights as a prospective birth mother?

We’ve gathered a few tips below to get you started. Remember that your specialist is always here to answer your questions, too. They can provide more advice on involving your loved ones in a safe and supportive way as you move toward placing your child for adoption.

1. Sharing the Adoptive Family’s Profile

You can help your extended family visualize your child’s future by showing them the chosen adoptive family’s print profile and video. While you may not want your family members’ input when choosing adoptive families, you can show off your pride in your choice by helping them know exactly who your child will be placed with after birth. This may help your loved ones get answers to their questions and better accept your adoption decision.

2. Educating the Adoptive Family About Family and Cultural Traditions

You probably want your child to grow up with knowledge of their family traditions and heritage. So, you can ask your extended family to help you share that knowledge with the adoptive parents. This could involve creating a “traditions book,” where you outline what you usually do together for certain holidays, adding helpful suggestions like song lyrics and food recipes. If you and your extended family usually wear certain clothing items for a traditional celebration, consider getting some for the baby or listing stores that the adoptive parents can frequent as your child grows up.

3. Completing a Family Tree

Even if you have an open adoption relationship in the future, your child may ask you questions about their heritage that you don’t have an answer to. So, you can get ahead of the curve by asking for your extended family’s help in creating a detailed family tree. This way, your child will have the names of as many biological relatives as possible, in case they should need it in the future. You can also add in specific family medical history, as well.

And this won’t just assist your child — it will help you and your family members understand your history in greater detail, too!

3. Being There During Doctor’s Appointments

If you know that your extended family can be 100 supportive of your adoption plan, you might have them be a part of intimate experiences during your pregnancy, including your doctor’s appointments and sonograms. No matter your own feelings toward adoption, doctor’s appointments can be an emotional time, and it can be incredibly helpful to have supportive family members by your side. They can even record video or take photos of sonograms and other ultrasounds to send to the waiting adoptive parents.

But, before you bring extended family along to these appointments, make sure they are prepared for the emotions they may feel — and that they remember you are fully committed to adoption.

5. Sending Gifts to Adoptive Parents

Sending gifts back and forth can be a great way for your extended family and the adoptive parents to get to know each other. It shouldn’t be anything expensive or elaborate; instead, you might help your family members create “Taste of Our City” or “Our Favorite Things” baskets to share a little bit about themselves. It might help your family members feel like a part of the adoption process, even if they never get to meet in person.

6. Buying a Gift for the Baby

Your extended family members may also feel much better about your adoption decision if they can give your baby something to take home. It could be something as simple as a letter from the birth grandparents, telling the baby just how much they love him or her. It could be a handmade blanket that the baby will always have in their room or a stuffed animal they will love on forever. If your extended family isn’t sure what’s appropriate, you might consider talking to the adoptive parents or your adoption professional for ideas.

7. Being There at the Hospital

Asking your family members to be with you at the hospital can be one of the most special ways to involve them in your adoption journey. This will be an incredibly emotional experience, so having trusted loved ones by your side as you bring your child into the world and place them into the arms of adoptive parents can make all the difference.

Your family members can do more than just support you during this period — they can meet your child and the adoptive parents and get to have the proper “goodbye” they may need. This can also be a great way to start off your post-placement relationship, as you can include your family members in your future open adoption visits, too!

How much involvement your extended family has in your adoption process will ultimately be up to you. We encourage you to do only what you are comfortable with; don’t let any family members try to pressure you into a decision you don’t want to make.

Remember, if you’re having trouble involving your family in or even talking to them about your adoption decision, your American Adoption specialist will always be there to help.