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How to Tell People You’re “Giving a Child Up” for Adoption [5 Steps]

How to Tell Others about Your Adoption Plan [And Preparing for Their Reactions]

If you have learned of an unplanned pregnancy and have made the choice to place your baby for adoption, telling your family about your adoption plan can be a daunting next step.

You might be fearful of the potential reactions your news might receive. Will they be disappointed? What if they don’t respect your decision to choose adoption?

These are understandable concerns to have. It can be nerve-wracking to share such life changing news with those who are important to you. However intimidating it might be, it’s important that you tell someone about your adoption so that you don’t have to go through this emotionally difficult time alone.

Regardless of how those closest to you may react, this is your decision to make. This guide will offer helpful tips on how to tell others about your adoption plan and help prepare you for the potential reactions you may receive.

Step 1: Speak with an Adoption Counselor

If you have chosen adoption for your baby, it is never too soon to get in touch with an adoption counselor. These adoption professionals can help you cope with the emotions you may be experiencing, as well as offer guidance on how to tell your friends and family about your adoption.

They may inquire about relationship dynamics of the important people in your life that you are considering telling about your adoption plan to get a better idea of how to approach the conversation.

Step 2: Practice Positive Adoption Language

Finding the right words to tell your family about your decision to choose adoption can be a scary concept. The language surrounding adoption can come off as careless with phrases like up”, but that could not be further from the truth. It is a choice made from love and with the best interests of your baby in mind.

Before telling your loved ones about your decision, do some research on or talk to your adoption counselor about positive adoption language. Using more positive language when talking to your family about your adoption plan might help them process the information in a more positive way and make them more receptive of your decision.

Step 3: Have the Conversation

When talking to your friends and family about your adoption plan, you should consider first telling those who you feel confident will support your decision. It is vital to have a support system during such a life-changing process, so starting off by telling people who you feel are more likely to react compassionately is a good way to set the tone and build your confidence when telling others.

While it’s difficult to not go into this conversation anticipating the reactions of those you tell, it’s important to keep an open mind to how they may respond.

If you have not talked about your unplanned pregnancy with your family, it may be a good idea to start with that, and then holding off a bit longer on discussing the adoption plan. Disclosing both of these things at once might be overwhelming and may evoke a negative reaction. If they ask how you plan to handle the unplanned pregnancy, you could tell them you are weighing your options.

If you don’t know how to, or don’t want to answer this question at the time, remember that you don’t have to say anything you are not ready to. If you find yourself wondering: How do I talk to my family about my unplanned pregnancy?

Here are some tips:

  • Plan what you are going to say ahead of time. Going into the conversation prepared will ensure that you are able to convey everything you want.
  • Practice the conversation with your adoption specialist. Practicing the conversation can help you prepare for the different reactions you might receive when talking to your family about your unplanned pregnancy.
  • Consider writing what you would like to say in a letter. Writing it down can help you articulate your thoughts in a clearer manner. This can also give your family members time to process the information on their own before responding to you.

Step 4: Prepare for How Loved Ones May React

While it can be difficult to anticipate the different reactions your news may receive, there are a few scenarios you should be prepared for.


While this is not an inherently negative reaction, it can be difficult to cope with during a time where you are in need of emotional support. Those deciding to stay out of the decision might come off as uncaring, but this might not be the case.

This may be their way of trying to let you have full autonomy in your decision, or they may still be processing the information and have not yet figured out how they can support you.


Reactions of anger from your family may result from them being hurt that you made the decision without them, or because they feel you didn’t trust them to help you raise the child. Family members may try to change your mind about adoption for a variety of reasons:

  • They want to help you raise the child, or adopt them themselves
  • They have a negative association with adoption
  • They believe that you will be happier if you parent your baby

Regardless of the reasoning behind their reaction, remember that you are valid in your decision and it is your choice to make, nobody else’s.


This is the best-case scenario. Choosing to place your baby for adoption is a loving and selfless decision that requires immense courage. Your family might understand this and respect the amount of emotional strength you put into such a delicate situation.

They may not show their support through an outpouring of positive words, but they may offer support in other ways, like accompanying you to appointments, helping you choose the adoptive family, checking in with you on how the process is going, etc.

Step 5: Move Forward

Telling your family about your adoption is a scary step, but even if you don’t receive the support you were hoping for, you don’t have to go through the adoption process alone.  Your adoption counselor will be there to lend emotional support and advice.  There are also other birth parents you can network with who know what you are going through.

If friends or family have offered their support, make sure they understand how valuable that is to you. You may even allow them to be involved in helping you with the adoption process.  While the decision is fully yours to make, they may be struggling with their own feelings of concern for you, and want to help in any way they can.

Before telling anyone about your unplanned pregnancy and/or your adoption plan, first consider reaching out to an adoption professional to help you determine how to best approach the situation. You can get free information and support today by filling out this form to be connected to an adoption counselor.

Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.

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