What to do when you hear of an unplanned pregnancy
Recently I saw this post on Facebook:
My aunt’s step-daughter Tiffany found out she was pregnant last month. She has already lost two kids to the state and is barely able to keep it going with the three-year-old she has. She is in a terrible relationship (abusive) and she has never been stable enough to hold a job. I was working with my aunt to see how I could go and talk to her about the possibility of us adopting this baby. Tiffany knows we want to adopt, but I haven’t talked to her about it, she’s just heard through the family grapevine. I just heard from my aunt that she had an abortion. I can’t quit crying. Maybe I waited too long to talk to her, but it just seems so selfish on her part when she knew we want a baby so bad.
These situations happen. And they seem unfair, upsetting, and frustrating, especially if you never got the opportunity to share your hopes about adoption personally with her. As adoptive parents, we sometimes think “If only she knew…”
From her perspective, she is in a tough spot. She is facing having to carry a baby for nine months. When presented with the option of adoption, she may feel the same way. “I’d consider it, but if they only knew…”
One of the blessings of our country is that we all have free choice. But when we want so badly to adopt a child that other’s seem so quick to discard, that free choice may not seem fair.
The key is that she has to know about you, about adoption, and about the benefits. If she doesn’t have the information, she cannot make an informed decision.
When you hear of someone who may have learned they are unexpectedly pregnant, don’t waste any time trying to figure out how best to broach the subject. Figure that out now, so you are ready. There are two primary ways to do this:
- Arrange for the person who has the connection (in this case, the aunt), to give her a copy of your profile and say “My friends (niece, etc.) is hoping to adopt. I thought you might want to learn about them as you consider your options with this pregnancy.”
- Make a connection yourself. “I’ve heard you are pregnant and may be considering options other than parenting this baby. I want you to know that my husband and I are hoping to adopt and would be honored if you would consider us as parents for your baby.” This is better to do in person than in email.
Here is the key though: Don’t every try to guilt someone into choosing adoption. She has a lot going on, a lot to think about. If she chooses adoption, it needs to be because she wants to, not because she feels sorry for you.
If she chooses to abort, like Tiffany did, don’t say anything or pass judgement. It is her choice and it doesn’t have anything to do with you. If you are working with a birth mother who threatens to abort, that is a huge red flag and you will need to speak with your coordinator.
This is a tough situation, there is no denying it. But with early preparation to know what to say, and to let others around you know what to say, you have a much better chance at encouraging women with unplanned or unexpected pregnancies to consider adoption as an option.