Many of the professionals we work with are tasked with supporting pregnant individuals by offering them options counseling. Adoption can be a hard topic to broach, and we find that professionals often ask us, “how do I talk about adoption?” Most of the time a pregnant individual is looking for guidance and is not in a place to initiate the conversation. Even if they are interested in hearing about adoption as an option, they might not know how to ask. We’re here to hopefully offer some potential guidance for professionals in approaching the topic of adoption when speaking with an undecided individual.
Give them all of their options
Friends in Adoption is an ally in choice and honors an individual’s decision, regardless of what they decide. Whether adoption, abortion, or parenting, it’s important that an individual is fully informed with unbiased information about all of their options. They may come into the conversation with misconceptions or stereotypes about a choice. You can work through these by offering information about each option with them. It may be helpful to preface the conversation with something such as: “I know this may not be something you’re considering and that’s okay, but I’d like to go over it with you so that you have the information.”
Make them part of the conversation
If they are comfortable, make them part of the adoption conversation. Ask them if they know anything about adoption and work through any concerns or questions they may have. Sometimes an individual may have outdated or negative views of adoption that have been formed based on television or movies, experiences in foster care, or a friend’s adoption story from 1965. Create a safe space where they can talk about their thoughts and feelings about adoption.
They may not be ready to make a decision
Often times an individual is not ready to make a decision when presented with their options and that’s perfectly okay! Someone may just be finding out that they are pregnant. They may be too overwhelmed to process information or initiate a conversation about options. Even if an individual leaves without a solid plan, it’s important to make sure they leave with information and resources for support when they do decide.
Remember information is to empower, not to change their mind: The purpose of talking about adoption should always come from a place of wanting to empower an individual with unbiased, accurate information and not with the intention to make them choose one thing over the other. It’s okay if an individual isn’t receptive or doesn’t think adoption will be their ultimate choice. The goal should be that when an individual does make their final decision, you know they are doing so fully informed.
Talk about a contingency plan
Making a decision about pregnancy or parenting options is complex and challenging. From personal experience, we know that individuals go through many options, sometimes changing their mind at the last minute. When someone you’re working with makes a decision but then decides to change their mind, will they know what their next step is? If they have decided to parent and give birth but are now uncertain they made the right choice, will they know what their options are? Make sure an individual knows their resources, such as private interim care, for when they need time to reevaluate their choice at the last minute.
Friends in Adoption offers many sources of information for professionals which can be found here, Adoption Resources for Professionals