Everyone has an opinion. Everyone thinks that his or her opinion is right, and some will let you know it whether you ask or not. Tell someone that you are planning to adopt, and you will get a plethora of opinions. All prospective adoptive parents hope that when they tell their families and friends that they are adopting, there will be much joy, encouragement, and support. In general, the news of a potential adoption is well-received by loved ones, but sometimes there are people adamantly opposed to the idea. So, what do you do when a friend pressures you not to adopt?
First, remember that God placed this dream in your heart. The decision to adopt is not something you came by lightly. Chances are, you have put much thought and many prayers into the idea of bringing a child into your home. This desire could only come from God. It is, in a sense, a calling. James 1:27 in the Bible reminds us that God cares for the orphans of the world and delights in the care of them. When God calls you to adopt, do not second guess your decision. Cling to it like a dog clings to a bone. Do not let go. Do not look back.
Secondly, do not let anyone try to dissuade you. It is important to remember that no matter how close you are to your friends, they are not the ones who make decisions for your family. Listen to their concerns. Better yet, listen to the heart behind the concerns. They may truly be fearful for you to adopt because of horror stories they have heard about adoption. Lifetime and Hallmark movies have done a fabulous job spinning terrifying and highly unrealistic adoption stories that will cause even the steadiest person to gasp in horror. Many times those trying to pressure you not to adopt are innocently speaking from a lack of education and fear. Once you understand this, you can try to lovingly allay those fears and use the conversation as a teachable moment on adoption.
Also, remember that you do not need permission from your loved ones to adopt. A person who has a child biologically does not ask permission to conceive a child; neither does a person need permission to adopt. While you may care about having their support during the adoption process and throughout life as you raise your child, the decision to adopt belongs to you and you alone. If the friends pressuring you won’t capitulate, then firmly, but lovingly, let them know that you value their friendship and would like their support but that you ultimately don’t need it. What they do from this point is entirely up to them. They can choose to support you, or they can keep their opinions to themselves. My guess is that once they meet the new addition to your family, all their opposition and fears will melt away and be replaced by love and adoration.
Dealing with opinionated people is always difficult, but when the opposition comes from a close friend or family member, it can cut you to the quick. Though every fiber of your being may be telling you to tell that person what to do with his or her opinion, it is important that you try to maintain grace. Try to see the heart of love behind the opposition. A true friend will feel comfortable enough to express concerns and will truly only want the best for you.
Virginia Spence and her husband Eric are parents to two awesome little boys who joined their family via domestic infant adoption. When she is not playing referee or engaged in tickle wars, Virginia can be found cleaning, reading, or drinking giant mugs of coffee. Virginia is passionate about advocating for life at all ages/stages and educating about adoption.