“It’s three weeks from delivery. I chose adoption weeks ago, but when my mom heard, she swooped in and offered to support me and the baby. With the extra support I may be able to make it, but I feel torn. What do I do?”

As an adoption specialist, this a common phenomenon, and it’s not always mothers. Significant others, siblings, aunts, fathers, grandparents, friends or anyone else involved in your child’s life may step in when you choose adoption, hoping that you’ll change your mind if they can help you out.

Below are some things to consider when someone offers support or urges you to change your mind after you’ve chosen adoption. If you are in this situation, then you can talk to an adoption specialist here.

How to Cope with Conflicting Feelings

It’s completely normal to have a lot of feelings about your adoption decision, especially as you navigate relationships with other people.

It may be helpful to acknowledge that each person in your life will have their own feelings about your adoption decision, and it can be healthy to pause and consider what they’re saying and how it makes you feel.

Identify Feelings and Thoughts

As you consider your loved ones’ opinions, it may be helpful to try to name your own feelings.

You may be experiencing a wide spectrum of feelings: hope, fear, shame, joy, determination, hopelessness, sadness, skepticism, frustration, excitement, anger, etc. You can read more about identifying feelings here.

Consider Where Your Feelings Might Come From

As you identify feelings, consider where they may be coming from. These feelings may be caused by the current situation, but they also may come from wounds or experiences from your past.

Some examples:

  • If your mother has had little contact with you, it may be exciting to hear her support.
  • If you have been criticized for having an unplanned pregnancy or choosing adoption, you may feel ashamed or angry.
  • Sometimes when people make big gestures or shows of support, it can create a sense of guilt if you don’t take their advice or accept their help.
  • You may be excited and hopeful because someone has promised a big change.

Consider Why You Chose Adoption

Once you’ve identified your feelings, you can turn to your thoughts. Emotions can be high as it gets closer to birth, so it may be helpful to return to some of the thinking you did earlier in pregnancy as you considered adoption.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Ideally, what do I want for my child?
  • What reasoning did I have for choosing adoption?
  • Given the resources I have in this moment, would I realistically be ready to parent?
  • What would need to change to make me feel like I am prepared to be a parent in this moment?

If Someone Offers Help, Look At the Past

Although offers of support or advice to “keep” your baby are often well-intentioned, people unfortunately don’t always follow through with as much enthusiasm.

It is especially important to consider this if an offer of help could be the deciding factor for you to parent or choose adoption. It may be wise to consider what your options would be if you decide to parent and they don’t follow through. And it also may be wise to look at their past behavior.

Look for Patterns

You can’t completely predict what will happen in the future, but if someone is promising support to you, remember that people have patterned behavior. Think about whether they have followed through in the past, whether they have been consistent and whether they have the time and resources to take on significant responsibility in helping you.

If you see good intentions, but you are unsure about relying on this person, sometimes the best way to move forward and create a positive future for everyone is to accept that the people in your life want to help, but they may not have the bandwidth to help as much as you need.

How to Respond

If someone offers you support or thoughts, you are still empowered to make the best decision for yourself and for your baby. Ultimately, you are the only one who knows your full situation, and only you can make the decision to choose adoption or to parent.

Here are some ways you can respond in the moment:

“Thank you. I’ll take that into consideration, and I appreciate your support.”

“I need some time to process what you’re saying, but I hear you and appreciate your concern.”

“This is a difficult decision, and I know you want the best for me and my baby. That’s why I’ve chosen adoption.”

“I know that you care a lot about me and my baby, and adoption is what I’ve decided on.” (Then explain why.) “I appreciate your concern, but I’ve made my decision.”