Whether you’re a birth mother considering an adoption plan or you’re hoping to adopt, you’re making the biggest decision of your life! Your mind is probably overflowing with all kinds of powerful emotions that can change frequently and sometimes without warning, making you feel like you’re all over the place. If ever you’ve needed a support system (and really, who wouldn’t benefit from a support system), now is the time! Building one may be the most valuable thing you do throughout the process.
You might be shocked to discover that not everyone you love will agree with you and might not be as supportive or as understanding as you had hoped. That’s okay. Oftentimes, this lack of understanding stems from a lack of education. Though you may want to help them with this (that’s a whole other article), it’s not your responsibility to educate people when you are seeking support. Try to keep in mind that’s probably because they don’t have all the information or are fearful and that it's not a reflection of you. Even if that’s the case, you don’t (and shouldn’t) have to go through this alone.
Support can come from anywhere and in a multitude of forms; it’s someone in your life that sees what is needed and can help to provide it. Family, friends, professionals, someone in a support group, peers, coworkers, even just someone who is willing to listen or provide a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold. A support system will offer comfort, love, encouragement and affirmation.
Sometimes being a birth mother can be incredibly lonely. You may feel as if nobody understands. You have been through trauma, and everywhere you look, there are reminders. Triggers haunt you, and you desire a place to be safe. A place you can go and be free to express your darkest thoughts and deepest loneliness. A place to heal. That is what a support system does.
Deciding to parent is not a decision that’s made lightly. Extended family and friends may have a hard time understanding your plan. Most of the time, your family hasn’t experienced this journey with you from the very beginning and they haven’t gained the knowledge that you have from training, meetings, and discussions with others. Naturally, they may have a lot of questions and fears about your plan and don’t let negative reactions steer you off course. As adoptive parents, you should also be prepared for some painful questions. Your extended family may have questions about everything from how the adoption process works to why your child was made available for adoption.
So, how do you build this great support system? It may not seem easy to admit that you need support, but whether you’re a birth mother or a parent who is in the adoption process, there is a person or group out there for you.
Family & Friends
Hopefully, you’re “go-to” people will continue in that role. If they’re not sure what to do, explain to them that what you need is to know they care about you, not judge you.
The agency you’re working with as you go through the adoption journey may be able to help. They certainly understand your situation, (In fact, some may have been birth parents or have adopted children, so they have real-life experience)! If they can’t help you, chances are, they will know someone who can, which is all we can ask for!
Whether you want to discuss the pros and cons of the available options or you need emotional support, you can connect with us online, or through Instagram, and Facebook. You can also call us at (214)-210-1060 to talk or even set up a Zoom meeting. You do not have to take that journey alone.
You can find authentic support from a birth mother support group, a group for adoptive parents or those considering adopting. These are people who have taken a similar journey (although we know everyone’s journey is unique to them) and will have first-hand knowledge of things you need help with and what you’re going through. The same is true of an online forum where you can share your thoughts and even offer ideas and advice. You can even be anonymous.
Sometimes a professional can be a great addition to your support team. It’s an opportunity to express whatever you’re thinking to a completely impartial person. Counseling can come from a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker or even a trained religious leader. If you don’t know where to find this service, the agency you’re working with may have someone on staff or can make a recommendation. There are also options if your budget is limited or you can’t afford professional help.
Don’t be afraid to get help. It can seem intimidating, but there are people and professionals out there who are sensitive to your adoption journey and will be able to help you navigate the rougher times. In opening up yourself to meeting new people, you may find a group of people that you now call friends that you can lean upon when times are tough, when you’re navigating different emotions, or when you just need someone to talk to who “gets it.”