Open adoption can be a difficult and sometimes overwhelming decision. Yet it can also be what is best for the child and your family as a whole. When friends and family members talk to you about your plan to open adopt, they may bring up concerns that stem from common misconceptions about the process. Knowing how to talk to them about your open adoption can help you gain their support.
Be Open and Honest
Honesty and transparency are the best strategies when discussing your open adoption with other people. Respond to their concerns about the upcoming adoption as openly as possible. Explain what you can about the adoption agency, the steps it takes to adopt and the planning that goes into making such a big decision. Putting all the facts out in the open from the beginning can allow you to concentrate on other things rather than keeping your family and friends updated on every detail.
Do Not Avoid Conversations About Birth Parents
Most concerns surrounding open adoption have to do with whether the birth parents will make things difficult for the child or your adoptive family down the road. One way to appease these worries is to explain the birth parents’ desire to do what is in the best interest of the child. You may be able to arrange a meeting between family members and the birthparents, so they can see for themselves that the birth family is supportive of you and the arrangement as a whole.
Ask for Their Support
Set the stage for a loving and encouraging environment by directly asking friends and family members to support your decision. When you announce your open adoption, start by saying you hope they have an open mind and respect your decision. Introduce it as an informed parenting decision you (and your spouse) have thought a lot about and have decided to make. Ask your family to welcome the new child and the birth family as extended family members. If you worry about receiving negativity from someone, ask that he or she respect some boundaries, such as not voicing any negative concerns about open adoption around you.
Explain Your Plans
You most likely have already created an adoption plan by the time you are ready to tell family and friends about the adoption. Be transparent about why you believe open adoption will work for your family and how you plan on tackling potential issues down the road. Giving them insight into your plans could help ease their worries. It could also gain their respect and encouragement by strengthening their confidence that you have things under control.
Direct Them Toward Open Adoption Resources
Plenty of resources exist to give people information about open adoption. Direct friends and family to read through some resources on adoption, such as trustworthy legal blogs or information about open adoption on sites such as American Adoptions. Many apprehensions about open adoption come from lack of knowledge on the subject.
The more they understand about the process, the less your friends and family may fear for your future. Educating people close to you about the situation can motivate them to support your decision to open adopt. Once the people close to you know more about open adoption, they may become your strongest advocates rather than spreading doubts and fears.
Remember how you felt when you first heard about open adoption. You may also have had some early concerns about the birth family’s involvement in your life. Approach your friends and family now with patience and empathy, remembering your doubts in the beginning. Know that with more time and education, the people close to you will come around to your decision to open adopt. The efforts you make now as new adoptive parents will make your journey easier.