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10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Adoption

I am the executive director of a national ministry that serves women facing crisis pregnancies. We provide comprehensive case management in really difficult situations. I receive “inquiries” in my DMs all the time of people who want to “help the cause” and adopt a baby. I have to be honest, this is so frustrating. It is unethical. And honestly, I would never commit to connecting a mom with someone who solicited for a baby in FB messenger or IG direct messages. It’s just not professional and it screams of unhealthy boundaries.

Adoption laws

Many people don’t realize there are laws in 17 states that expressly prohibit advertising for prospective adoptive parents (people who want to adopt) and 33 states greatly restrict adoption advertising. This includes social media posts.

This unethical behavior can be considered solicitation, and while the intent is not to harm, because of the desperation of many parents who so desperately want a child, it borders on trafficking. And as you can see from the law in many states, it is important that you consult an attorney on what is ethical, acceptable, legal, and appropriate.

Being an advocate for women

I am not an adoption advocate. I work to empower women to parent their children. If she decides she wants to place her child for adoption – and she must initiate that conversation and decide – then I immediately connect her with an adoption professional who will represent her and have her best interest in mind.

Does this mean that I don’t support adoption? Absolutely not. But I recognize the legal implications and risks involved with this matter and understand that I am not qualified nor am I licensed to be discussing it with a woman in crisis. Adoption really isn’t a discussion to be had until a woman is calm and definitely not until she is out of her first trimester.

Speaking from experience

I can say these statements with great confidence. I am a woman who grew up in foster care. I am also a mother who has placed a child for adoption. I have also had an abortion and I parent two children. I’ve been on all sides of crisis pregnancy and crisis of life.

The truth is when counseling a woman about her parenting options, I follow her lead. If I bring up adoption, she is likely to hear, “You’re not capable of being a good mom. Someone else can do it better than you.” I know we don’t like to think that – but this is the reality. I know first hand. I felt inadequate, incapable, and definitely ill-equipped to be a mother when my son was born. Everyone focused on his needs, not mine. I selfishly surrendered. It took 10 years before I got the help that I needed to recover from the grief, loss, and trauma of that decision. I still ache, but I have accepted the decision I made and I no longer carry the weight.

10 things I wish people knew about adoption

For what it’s worth, here are my tips for hopeful adoptive parents or anyone who is communicating with people who want to adopt (some of these are from my friends at Abiding Love Adoptions)

1. Get a home study. Don’t even start talking about it until you’ve had a home study.

2. Have pre-adoption education. Adoption Education should always include the following topics: reasons for adopting; familial support to adoption plan; how raising an adopted child is different than a biological child; grief and loss in adoption by birth family; grief and loss experienced by infertility (if applicable); open adoption; transracial adoption; boundaries, etc

3. Hopeful adoptive parents should be represented but the expectant mom should also. Her representation should not be the same as theirs. She deserves to be heard, seen, and valued. No matter the cost.

4. Remember that you are creating a family – not just with the baby and you but also with her. She will be a part of your life and conversations for the rest of your lives.

5. Make sure that you get counseling as a couple before you make the decision. Even if it is just a few sessions – just to talk through your honest feelings.

6. Prospective adoptive parents should have the opportunity to work with as many licensed agencies and attorneys as possible. They also should have the opportunity to not have all of or a significant amount of money with one agency limiting them financially.

7. Be prepared if she changes her mind. Parenting is ideal – so if she is loved so well and empowered to parent instead of place, know that it is a victory. This is proof of how well you cared for her, heard her, and valued her.

8. Her pregnancy is not “God’s way of fulfilling the desires of your heart”. He did not give her a child to give to you. However, He does work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose them. So while it is not the original intent, He will be glorified through adoption. I believe that if everyone is seeking their own healing throughout the process, yielding and submitting to one another in love, then beauty will come from ashes and triumph from tragedy.

9. Adoption is not the opposite of abortion. Adoption is loss for the birth mother. She will experience grief, trauma, and loss. She will need tender, loving care long after she places her child in the arms of another family. Ensure she has this care through my friends at Abiding Love Charities.

10. Adoption is not simple. It is quite complex.

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