If you are unexpectedly expecting a baby, you may be feeling many emotions during this time. Each moment a new emotion may be bubbling to the surface. Whether you have just begun researching the options for you and your baby or you have been spending the last weeks or days pouring over all of the information you could digest. If you are asking yourself, “When do I tell my partner I’m pregnant and considering adoption?” you have come to the right place. This article seeks to give you support as you determine these next steps in your journey.
You Are Not Alone in Considering Adoption
Many expectant mothers, like yourself, may feel many different feelings and emotions after finding out you are pregnant. The decision to place a child for adoption is made by many different women for unique reasons. For example, you may have planned to have this baby and due to various reasons, you realized that the timing is off to parent your child. On the other hand, you might feel that you are unable or not prepared to parent your child. The best choice for you and your baby may be adoption, and that is valid.
Making that choice or contemplating your options during this time can feel lonely, especially as you debate when to tell your partner about the pregnancy and that you are considering adoption. In this stage, many women find themselves feeling alone, but they are not alone. There are millions of women who have felt and currently do feel exactly as you do. Adoption.com has wonderful adoption forums where you can connect with other women going through the same situation right now. The many adoption agencies that you can contact at any point in your process will also have support groups of other expectant parents who have created an adoption plan or are contemplating creating an adoption plan.
After connecting online, try to connect with others in your life who love and support you. You may fear that it will be hard to share your situation, especially because this process involves multiple unknowns. However, you need your support system to help you as you make the best choice for yourself and your baby. Your support group can also give you the courage to open up to your partner. It’s okay if you are not ready to open up yet but make sure you keep it in mind as you plan.
Contact An Adoption Agency
If you feel that you do not have many people you can lean on at this time or that you are not ready to talk to anyone close to you, reaching out to adoption agencies during this time can be very helpful. Especially if you want to be as informed as possible when you tell your partner you are pregnant and considering adoption. An adoption agency can help you navigate when to talk to your partner and how best to do so. They are professionals who have done this time and time again.
Keep in mind that there is no pressure to speak to an adoption agency at any point. There is also no obligation to use an adoption agency after speaking with them or continue to use them after you decide to work with them to help create your adoption plan. At this point, it can just be helpful to reach out to adoption agencies near you and ask them questions you may have at any point in time.
The Gladney Center for Adoption is one adoption agency that can offer you the support you need to make the best choice for you and your baby, regardless of whether you decide to create an adoption plan. The Gladney Center for Adoption works with expectant parents all over the United States and their options counselors can answer all of your questions. You do not need to go through with an adoption plan even after speaking with them or deciding to use the agency or any agency. The options counselors can not only answer your questions but your partner’s questions too. Furthermore, they can work with you on deciding on the level of openness you would like with your child after the adoption is finalized. They can also help you understand the financial support and medical support you can receive during the pregnancy.
Whatever adoption agency you decide to use will hold your hand through the entire process. They will help you speak to your partner and connect you with counselors for therapy throughout the process. The adoption facilitator you choose will also match you with the adoptive family you choose for your child and help you hand in all of the legal paperwork through the process. In short, they will ensure that you are supported during and after the adoption. Remember that adoption is a lifelong process, so having an agency to help you and your partner will be essential.
Telling Your Partner You are Pregnant and Considering Adoption
The way you tell your partner that you are considering adoption is dependent on the relationship you have with them. The idea of telling him you are pregnant may feel overwhelming. If you are fearful for your safety it is critical that you speak to your adoption agency, social worker, counselor, friend, or trusted family member first. They can be with you when you tell your baby’s father or they can be close when you do so in case you need to leave or are worried about his reaction. Never place yourself in a situation that is unsafe for you, your baby, or others. If you believe you are in danger, it is most important to let authorities know so that you can stay safe. Women are statistically more vulnerable to being victims of violence when they are pregnant. Again, this can not be reiterated enough, your safety and your baby’s safety are what is most important.
However, if you have a healthy or positive relationship with your partner, your timing on when you will tell your baby’s father you are pregnant and considering adoption may be different. If you have a strong relationship and have been together for a long time as friends, partners, or even as a married couple, it is truly up to you when you feel it is best to tell him. Even in the healthiest relationships, it can be stressful or overwhelming to tell your partner you are pregnant, especially if it is unexpected. It can be even more overwhelming if you are considering an adoption plan.
If your partner was hoping you would get pregnant and parent a child together, you may be concerned about his reaction to consideration of an adoption plan for the baby. Having a plan as to how you want to tell him and what you need and want to say is important. In the heat of the moment and the emotions, you both will be feeling, it may be difficult to remember everything you want to say. Being direct about your intentions is the key. It is your choice to create an adoption plan and he should understand your decision.
There are many reasons why a couple in a healthy and positive relationship may choose an adoption plan. If you are in a healthy relationship with the baby’s father may agree with your reasons to place the child for adoption. It could be due to finances, timing, age, life situation, or not believing you can parent a child or another child at this season in your life. In theory, the expectant father should have input on the adoption plan. Some expectant mothers move forward with an adoption plan without their significant other’s input but this usually adds unnecessary stress. Most expectant fathers will agree with an adoption plan if you believe it is best.
If you do not know the expectant father well, he deserves to know you are expecting his child. Informing him of your pregnancy and your consideration of an adoption plan is important. If you do not know him well enough to discuss all of these details in person or over the phone, this is another situation where your adoption agency social worker can be very helpful. Putting the expectant father in touch with the adoption agency is a good option so he can get all of the information and best understand his rights and your wishes.
Your Partner’s Rights and Reaction
After you have told your partner you are pregnant and considering adoption, it is important to understand his rights and your rights. If you are set on your decision to place the child for adoption and believe it is the best decision for your baby, the baby’s father may not agree. It is important for you to calmly go through the list of reasons why you think creating an adoption plan is best for you both and the baby. He does have a right to disagree and he can choose to parent the child if he chooses. However, it is important that you both come to an agreement, when possible, about this decision for the benefit of your relationship and the life of your baby.
Again, as long as you feel safe with your partner, having these conversations in person is important. Stating your reasons for wanting to create an adoption plan in a calm manner is critical. Recognize that your partner will need time to digest all of this information and the emotions he feels now may change. It is critical for you to remember that no matter what information you are sharing with him, he does not have the right to verbally abuse you, physically hurt, or threaten you. Your emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical health must be protected. Having boundaries and an exit strategy in place if you feel unsafe is important.
Taking care of yourself in this season of your life is key. Leaning on your support system, going to counseling, speaking with adoption agencies, and seeking wise counsel from those you trust is important. It is just as important to follow your heart on what is best for you and your baby. Telling your partner you are pregnant and considering adoption is a big step and with the right plan, you will feel stronger for sharing and taking this next step on your adoption journey.
Jennifer Mellon has worked in the child welfare field for more than a decade, serving in varying capacities as the Executive Director and Chief Development Officer of Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) and the Corporate Communications Program Manager for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Jennifer has served on the Board of the Campagna Center, which provides critical educational services to children and families in the DC Metro Area and on the Development Committee for the National Council for Adoption. She is the mom of three children and resides in Alexandria, Virginia.