For those who are planning to adopt, loved ones and friends are a valuable source of support. After all, the road towards adoption is a roller coaster ride of hopes, disappointments, paperwork and financial involvement. The challenges become more manageable and the joys are multiplied if you have people who will provide you with encouragement and who can provide a shoulder to lean on or an ear that simply listens. Conversely, having people who discourage you and find joy in enumerating the negatives of adoption make the journey towards adoption all the more challenging.
To pave the way for you to get the support you need from your loved ones, it is important to remember that it is a two way street. Even as you try to understand where they are coming from, you also need to help them understand your thoughts and what you need from them in terms of emotional support.
Here are some things to consider and do:
– Allow loved ones to process your announcement and to grieve. When you made your announcement that you were adopting, do not expect them to be on board with your decision from the get-go. Try to understand and give them time to deal with their own emotions and fears about this decision that will also touch their lives. They will need time to grieve about their loss regarding their concept of having biological nieces or grandchildren, as well as their sense of loss of control with regards to the process.
– Listen to their side about their matter. Learn about their concerns so that you can understand these concerns and be able to more effectively address them.
– Communicate your need for support. Do not expect your loved ones to be mind readers – they aren’t. Open up to them about what kind of support you would appreciate, whether this would entail lending a sympathetic ear, helping rally other loved ones for their emotional support or simply refraining from recounting the latest adoption horror story they heard from the television or from a “friend of a friend”.
– Fight misconceptions with information. Most of the objections loved ones have about adoption come from misconceptions and fears. These fears may range from the amount of expense involved to fears that something can go wrong about the adoption after they have been invested emotionally. It can be fears about the baby’s health condition or the reasons why the birthparent decided for adoption. Deal with these fears by helping them understand the adoption process and where you are at this point. Encourage them to read books or write-ups you have also read. This can show them that you are making a well-thought-out decision and also provide them with accurate information about adoption.
– Get them involved in the process. Solicit your loved ones’ help to make the concept of adoption more concrete, more real. This will also help your loved ones get a sense that they are entitled to the child as his loved one. Some forms of involvement include helping choose the name of the child, preparing for the child’s things or decorating the child’s room.
– Agree to disagree. Sadly, there may be loved ones that will not come on board with the adoption. Rather than force the issue, it is simpler to accept their decision. In this case, you may decide to minimize your child’s contact with this particular loved one if the contact will only cause emotional confrontation or hurtful words that may affect your child.
– Reach out to others in the same situation. There are actually other sources of emotional support. There are support groups that are composed of waiting parents just like you, who can empathize with your situation.
About A Act of Love
A Act of Love Adoptions is an adoption agency with a holistic approach to adoption. It aims to provide both birthparents and parents wanting to adopt with guidance and support, not just for the adoption but also for other related issues such as finding resources and post-adoption support. A Act of Love also provides invaluable counseling from experienced professionals.