Do you have a friend or family member who is facing an unplanned pregnancy?
Are you wondering how to best support her?
I believe the most important thing you can say to a woman who is considering adoption is — you have a choice. You always have a choice and I will support you either way.
Often, women believe their only option is to place their child for adoption, whether it be for financial reasons, lack of support, or peer pressure. Placing your child for adoption will naturally come with moments of regret and doubts, and even more so if the birth mother feels she had no other option.
Creating a positive and supportive environment for an expectant mother will guide her to make the best possible decision for herself and her child. Educating her on the resources that are available, whether she chooses to place or parent, will be vital in helping her make a well-thought-out decision. Eighteen years ago, when I placed my baby girl for adoption, there was limited post-placement support. It took years to convince adoption agencies that post-placement therapy and information on grief is crucial to birth parents’ healing. I believe there are good agencies that now understand this need. There are also many online support groups for parents and birth parents. Do some research and find what best fits the expectant parent you’re supporting.
Each step in an unplanned pregnancy is flooded with decisions that must be made. It can be overwhelming to pick an adoptive couple for your child or figure out how you will make rent once your baby arrives. If you want to support your friend or family member truly, remind them the choice is theirs to make. Their choice may change from day to day, and that’s okay, it is common to jump back and forth with life-changing decisions. Most likely this will be the most significant divide they will ever face, a crossroads. Once they make that first step, make sure you are there holding their hand.
I am grateful for the support of loved ones, friends, and family members who constantly reminded me, during my unplanned pregnancy, that I had a choice — I could place, and I could parent. Each option held different consequences and struggles; there was no “right” or “wrong” decision. Each choice held emotional weight for all involved. As I stood at the crossroads, I made a list of pros and cons, and with that list came awareness. The confidence to create that list came from the positive environment I was gifted by those around me.
At some point, all of us will stand at a crossroads (it may not be an unplanned pregnancy), and we will look around for a loving hand to walk beside us. We will look for reassurance and understanding, whatever the decision may be. Be the hand you might find yourself needing someday or be the hand someone offered to you. The love and support you give comes back to you tenfold.
Educate an expectant parent on their options, remind them they have a choice, and support their decision. Be a voice of reason, unconditional love, and understanding. Their confidence will grow and you will help create a stable space for them to make the best decision possible.
As a public speaker and birth mother, Gina has engaged audiences at adoption conferences and birth mother retreats nationwide. After placing her baby for adoption in the fall of 2000, she founded Birth Mother Baskets, a non-profit organization focused on providing emotional support to birth mothers post-placement.
After 14 years of running Birth Mother Baskets, Gina stepped away to pursue a career as a Creative Arts Manager. A severe concussion in 2016 led Gina back to rediscover her real passion for writing and adoption. She has been working on her adoption memoir since that time.
Her writing has been featured on America Adopts, Adoption Today, American Adoptions, Adoption.com, AdoptionLife.org, and CAIRS News Room. Gina has received the UAC Community Excellence Award for outstanding contributions to adoption in Utah.
Gina currently works as a content writer, blogger, and birth mother advocate for CAIRS Solutions. She lives in Utah with her husband and three children. You can read her independent work at ginacrotts.com and follow her on Instagram at @ginacrottswriter.