How to Create an Adoption Support System
Finding the Help You Need During Adoption
A strong adoption support system makes all the difference during your pregnancy and after the adoption because you shouldn’t have to go through this life-changing event by yourself. Even just one person who is there for you can make you feel less alone during this time.
Pregnancy is hard. Adoption adds another challenge. But the members of your adoption support system may help you choose an adoptive family, support you during the adoption process and even assist you with day-to-day responsibilities, like helping with errands or childcare for your other children.
“I had my family’s support, which is what I needed at that point, and I knew I wasn’t going to be alone,” said Sara about her decision to choose adoption, with the support of her family. “The next day, I called American Adoptions and left my information. I had never known anyone who’d been through adoption, and I had a lot of questions. Social worker Erin immediately returned my call. She answered my questions, and we discussed the concept of adoption. When I hung up the phone (crying), I knew this was the right choice for me and the baby. It was what my child deserved.”
Having a team of supportive, encouraging and loving people in your corner can mean the world when you’re choosing adoption for your baby. Here are some tips to create a strong adoption support system to help you through the ups and downs ahead:
Who to Include in Your Adoption Support System
Different people will offer unique perspectives or roles in your adoption support system, and it is always up to you to decide who you want to involve in your adoption process. In general, your support system should include people who have your best interests in mind and who will listen to and support you during your pregnancy — even if they don’t fully agree with your adoption decision.
Some people you may want in your adoption support system include:
Friend or roommate
Grandparents or other family members
Pastor or religious leader
Teacher, school counselor or mentor
Your adoption specialist
How to Start Gathering an Adoption Support System
First, ask yourself, “Who can I talk to about my pregnancy?”
Sometimes it’s obvious who to seek support from during the adoption. You might tell your sister, best friend or mom everything, and know she will listen about your pregnancy and adoption plans. Religious leaders, mentors or school counselors also might be good people to speak to early on, as they’ll be able to discuss your adoption decision as it relates to your faith or education.
Other women don’t know who to reach out to and instead turn first to an adoption specialist or adoption counselor. At American Adoptions, each woman is assigned to an adoption specialist who can be reached 24/7 and will be with you during the entire adoption process. With our own personal adoption experience, we understand what you’re going through and are equipped to help you in any way you need. Many of our adoption specialists have gone through the adoption process as adoptive parents and birth parents, and have been in your shoes. We have your back every step of the way.
How They Can Help
Your adoption specialist will be an extremely helpful person in your adoption support system in several ways:
He or she will be able to walk you through the adoption process, making sure that you’re comfortable each step of the way and that your wishes are being met.
Your adoption specialist can also educate people in your life by providing information about adoption and talking with them by phone or email. Having others who understand the benefits of adoption will help you feel less isolated, and your family and friends may be more supportive of your adoption choice once they understand your adoption plan.
There are several benefits to having a strong adoption support system:
People who positively support your adoption can be a helpful presence when you tell others about your adoption plans.
Having them by your side will build your confidence, and they can help make sure you say everything you want to.
If you are worried about how certain people might react to your news, you can start by talking to the most supportive people in your life. Then, you can involve your existing support system in those more difficult conversations with other friends and family members.
No matter how much they care about you, emotional support can be a challenge for some people. So it’s also important to recognize the other ways your support system can help you during your pregnancy and after the adoption. Not everyone in your life may approve of your adoption plan wholeheartedly, but that doesn’t change their desire to be there for you. These people might not be the best to talk about adoption with, but they may still help you with childcare or rides to doctor’s appointments or by providing meals during your delivery recovery.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help with day-to-day tasks that become more difficult during pregnancy, and be sure to thank those in your life who are supporting you. Share how much their support means to you, and open up about why you feel strongly about your adoption decision. Ask that they be there throughout the process, and tell them how they can help.
Remember, your adoption specialist will be there for support and can offer guidance if you’re unsure how to approach a family member or friend. If you need help deciding who to bring into your adoption support system, call 1-800-ADOPTION to get connected with an adoption specialist.
How Can You Help a Woman Who Is Choosing Adoption?
If you’re a friend, family member or significant other of a pregnant woman who is choosing adoption for her baby, you’re in a unique position. Your words and actions will mean a lot to your loved one, so make sure that you’re doing your best to take care of her needs and to be supportive of her during an emotionally and physically difficult time. Here are several ways you may be able to help before, during and after the adoption process:
Listen more than you speak. Remember that this is her decision, so unless she asks for your advice, it’s often best to just listen to her while she talks through the thoughts and feelings she’s experiencing at the moment.
Help her with everyday tasks. She’s probably focused on creating a great adoption plan for her baby. Is she eating healthily? Is she getting enough sleep? Something as simple as making a meal she can put in the freezer or offering to babysit her older kids for an afternoon can mean a lot!
Keep her adoption plan private. If she shares details about the adoption process with you, respect those involved and keep those details to yourself.
Let her know that she’s got your support. Adoption is an emotional process, and whether or not you agree with her decision, your support can mean a lot. Sometimes, just reminding her that you’re there for her is important.
Whether you’re placing a baby for adoption and need help creating a support system or you need advice about how to support someone you care about as they create an adoption plan for their child, you can speak to an adoption specialist any time by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.
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