Preparing for (and Dealing With) Questions About Your Adoption Decision

Choosing to provide your infant with a loving adoptive family rather than raising him or her on your own can be an incredibly tough decision for any parent, regardless of your age, income, life experience, or family support. 

This process can often be made tougher by the barrage of questions levied at expectant mothers by well-meaning friends, family members, and acquaintances; once your circle learns you’re planning for an adoption, you may find the intensity and intrusiveness of these questions ramps up considerably. 

Read on for some of the questions you may be able to expect from those who have just learned you’re planning to give up your child for adoption, as well as some lighthearted and discreet responses you can have at the ready. 

Why? 

This simple question is often the most loaded one, especially when it comes from parents, grandparents, or other family members who may feel as though they have some vested interest in your decision.

How to Respond 

The circumstances of your adoption may be highly personal; if so, you’re under no obligation to share. Ultimately, you’ve chosen adoption for the same reason as so many others: to provide your child with his or her best opportunity for a happy, healthy life.

You may also want to avoid engaging with anyone who asks this question but is clearly not interested in the answer, instead using this question as a launching point for an argument or rant. You certainly don’t want to find yourself dragged into a back-and-forth debate on the wisdom of your decision with someone who hasn’t walked even a step in your shoes. 

Aren’t You Worried You’ll Regret It? 

Although this question can come off as insensitive and even offensive, it’s often not meant that way; the person asking may be doing so out of genuine concern that you’re being pressured into this decision or you haven’t fully thought it through. Keeping this in mind when you respond can help you avoid being curt or rude in return. 

How to Respond

The detail of your response is likely to depend upon your relationship with the person asking. If you receive this type of comment from a distant relative or casual acquaintance, it’s fine to simply say, “No, I’m not” (or “no, I won’t regret it”).  

On the other hand, for close friends and family members, you may feel comfortable going into a bit more detail on the factors you considered when coming to your decision. Knowing that you’ve thought through all the possible outcomes before deciding this is the best path for your child can help put worried hearts and minds at ease.

You may also want to consider including a request for support in your response. Saying something like, “I know this decision is a lot to take in, but I’ve thought about it for quite some time and am sure I’m making the right choice. I’d really love your support in this,” can put the asker in a position to help rather than judge. 

What Will Your Other Kids Think? 

Not all birth mothers are first-time parents; in many cases, a child placed for adoption will already have one or more older siblings. Because of this, there already exists a wide variety of books, television programs, and other types of media designed to help older children understand and cope with this situation.  

How to Respond 

Again, your response to this type of intrusive question will depend largely upon your relationship with the person asking. Any answer that focuses on your desire to provide the absolute best outcome for your family (including your children) should be enough to quiet even the nosiest acquaintances.  

For those who might be trusted with a bit more information, you can go into some detail on the specifics of your adoption as it relates to your older children: for example, if you’re planning an open adoption, you may indicate that your children are excited to see their sibling on a regular basis, even if you don’t all live in the same home. 

Is It Because… 

This question can have a nearly endless number of possible endings, nearly all of them intrusive. Whether you’re being asked if your baby has special needs, if you’re aware of who the father is, or if you’re unable to afford a child, you’re likely dealing with someone who isn’t adept at exercising good social boundaries. 

How to Respond 

Unless you’re eager to explain your position or are dealing with a very close friend or relative, this is one of the questions where a simple “No” or “That’s an awfully personal question, isn’t it?” is the best response.

Although dealing with these questions (and the subtext behind each of them) can be exhausting for any new mother, having a few prepared responses can make life much easier.

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