Strengthening Family Relationships During the Adoption Process
By: Krista Muir // Birth Mom
I want to start off by saying that I understand each adoption story is different. This is my story. It doesn’t mean it is wrong or right, it is just my experience. I share my story in hopes to give courage and support to those who find themselves in the process of adoption.
The Initial Shock
When I found out I was pregnant at 18 years old, it was a shock to both my family and I. There really is no proper way to prepare yourself for all the emotions that come along with a pregnancy at such a young age, and the adoption process. I will never forget the day that I told my mom I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test and was shocked when I saw two little pink lines. I was so shocked that I didn’t even take another test to make sure, I just ran into my room and threw it in a bag in the corner. A short time later, I called my mom into my room and casually told her about a friend of mine who was pregnant – I wanted to see how she would react to the whole thing. I distinctly remember her disappointed tone which made me extremely frightened to tell her. Before she could fully answer, I quickly blurted out that I was pregnant, too. I don’t remember exactly what she said, something like “oh sweetheart, are you really?” She didn’t seem to be surprised given how I had been distancing myself from the family. But she still was not expecting the bomb I just dropped on her. I remember grabbing the test out of the bag to show her, then following this shocking news, she just grabbed me and held me on the bed as we both cried.
I had my mom tell my dad for me, who then told the rest of the family as I was too shaken up. There is nothing that helped me more throughout this incredibly unexpected time in my life, than the love and support I received from my family. During this time, I really tested my parent’s patience and they passed with flying colors.
This is What I Feel my Parents did Right:
1. Unconditional Love
If I was able to give one piece of advice to parents of a teenage girl who is pregnant, it would be to never make her question your love for her. I cannot put into words the difference this made for me. I was never once scolded by my parents. They came together for me. They showed unconditional love which is all I needed through this hard time.
2. Respect Decisions
Another thing that really brought us together was their respect for all my decisions. They had their opinions on whether I should place my babies up for adoption or not, but they ultimately left the decision up to me. They were also respectful of my decision to keep everything very private. Not everyone wants to keep their decision private, but this is what I felt was best for me at this time. My whole family was really respectful about asking my permission before sharing my news, and that meant a lot to me.
3. Remove the Label of Shame
I met a girl in college who is also a birth mom. Our stories were very different and it made me grateful for the love and support my parents gave me. This story is hard to share, but I feel it will help demonstrate the importance of strengthening family relationships and removing the label of shame.
When she told her parents she was pregnant, she was in a lot of trouble. They hid her in the house until she was showing, then kicked her out in order to avoid her siblings and the neighbors from finding out. They made her feel like adoption was the only option, and now she lives with regret for placing her baby. It also caused strain on family relationships. I can’t think of anything that explains better the difference that love and support can make. Her parents hid it from her younger siblings, whereas mine turned it into a learning experience for my little brother. Her parents kicked her out of the house, while mine took care of me everyday as struggled with nauseousness for the entire 9 months. They were there for me from day one and never let me feel alone. After having the twins and leaving the hospital empty handed, I went home and cried in bed in between my parents. I knew they loved those little boys just as much as I did, and that we were all in this together. The way my family, especially my parents, handled the situation from start to finish, is what strengthened our bond. I will always be grateful for their endless love and support for me.
Every adoption story is different, but all are emotionally overwhelming. The way we choose to react during an unexpected situation will influence our relationships. Whether you decide to keep this process private or tell the world, the love and support is what will get you through.
To find more resources on the process of adoption, check out our adoption overview page.