Should I Tell My Parents I’m Thinking About Adoption?

Young woman sitting by a lake considering adoption.

Finding out you are pregnant may raise many emotions—disbelief, happiness, sadness, shock, anger, fear. You may not be sure where to turn or what will happen. You need to consider your options and you need all the support you can get.

Sharing your pregnancy with the father of the baby is important. You need to know how he feels about it and if he can and will be involved if you decide to keep the baby. Depending on your age and circumstances, you may be able to make a decision about parenting by yourself, or with the father’s assistance. If you are under legal age, or not yet financially independent, you will need your parents’ assistance.

Even if you decide to terminate the pregnancy you may need your parents financial help, access to your medical insurance (in which case they will be notified when the claim is filed), or emotional support. Should you decide on an abortion, they should know you are undergoing a medical procedure (for safety purposes).

Most parents take the news with great concern about your well-being. They may have lots of questions, want to talk to the birth father or his parents and want to know “what you are going to do about it.” This is not what they planned, and know how difficult this will be for you, no matter what your decision. Some may yell and cry. Some may be embarrassed or fearful of how others will view them if they find out. And while some parents agree to help you raise the baby, this is your baby and you need to make a decision.

Unless you live far away and don’t see your parents, at some point, they will learn you are pregnant either by your behavior or change in body shape. So telling them is inevitable. Others in the same situation say that telling their parents was “better” than waiting for them to figure it out. It is also best to do earlier in the pregnancy, with more options and time to plan for the baby.

You may want to share the pregnancy with a sibling or a friend to “reality check” how your parents may react or to practice sharing the news. You also want to prepare the father of the baby that you are planning on telling them, and ask if he would be there with you.

WHAT TO SAY:

Just do it: Mom and dad I need to talk to you. This is hard to tell you – I’m pregnant.

  • I want to raise the baby and will need your help.
  • I am getting an abortion and hope you understand.
  • I want to have the baby adopted and need your help.
  • I don’t know what to do and hope I can count on you to help me figure things out.
  • The father doesn’t want anything to do with the baby and told me to take care of it myself.

INCLUDE THE BABY’S FATHER:

Mom and dad, we need to talk to you. You know we have been together for ___ and really love one another. We didn’t plan this, but I am pregnant.

  • We want to raise the baby, but will need help.
  • We decided to get an abortion. We aren’t ready to be parents.
  • We are going to find a family to adopt the baby.
  • We don’t know what to do and need help figuring it out.

It is okay to say you know they will be unhappy, that they expected better from you and that you know you have disappointed them. Sometimes, getting everything out in the open works best in the long run.

If you wait, you can have the same conversation, but your options will be more limited the farther along you are in the pregnancy.

Your parents may not know much about adoption. Their exposure may only be what they have seen on TV or read in the media. This information is often sensational, and not the everyday reality of adoption. You may find yourself educating them, or learning about adoption together.

If you choose to make an adoption plan, there are many decisions to make:

  • Private or public adoptive placement.
  • Where to receive prenatal care.
  • Working with an adoption attorney or adoption agency.
  • Naming the father (if known)
  • Choosing the adoptive parent(s)
  • Where in the US or overseas you want the child to live.
  • Open or closed adoption – meeting and maintaining a relationship with the adoptive family and your child.
  • And more…

If your parents are not able or willing to help you through this difficult time, seek out others who can, including extended family, the father’s family, friends and professional counselors. They can help you gather information, go to appointments and help you think through options. But, the decisions should be yours.

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Click for more from Adoption.NET Executive Writer Kathy Brodsky