What were some things that people said to you during your adoption process that were hurtful? What advice do you have about what to say instead?

ANNALEECE MERRILL

I think most people did come out of a good place and a lot of people said that they admired what I was doing. Some things that were hurtful from that group of people was people just assuming again that I would have been a bad parent or that this was something that was easy for me and that was really hard. Especially a lot of guys assumed that because I was placing I was being promiscuous, that I just didn’t want to be a mom. A lot of guys treated me like I was trashy and that made me really sad. I think one of the hardest experience was not feeling welcome, feeling like I made people uncomfortable because a lot of people just don’t know what to say to you.

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I think that one of the most important things is just to remember that they’re a regular person. They have a face, it’s not just the belly. They’re still the same person as they were before and it’s okay to ask them about placement. If they don’t want to talk about it that’s okay, but for me at least it was really helpful to be able to explain to other people what I was doing. I think after that a lot of them got a lot more comfortable with me. So if you’re talking to somebody that’s looking at placing it’s okay to talk about it but it’s also okay to remember that they’re just a regular person too.

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AMY SCHUMAKER

I would say to be sensitive to the expectant mother. Even supportive comments that you think might be supportive, really evaluate how you’re saying them. Asking them why aren’t you parenting instead of doing what you’re doing, really evaluate who she is in her own environment. Maybe her environment isn’t safe to raise a baby. Adoption placement just like parenting or terminating the pregnancy, it’s very personal. So really keep that in mind. If you do say something that’s unsupportive, really understand that you’re just not helping a very difficult situation.

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It is okay to ask questions but just be sensitive on what those questions might and to really take a step back and if the birth mother kind of shut down, acknowledge that and just say “Hey, if you ever want to talk to me then go ahead and ask me questions.” Even supportive questions, like, “Hey, you can have kids later.” Well, not every birth mom ends up having kids later in life. A birthmom could marry a guy and end up having fertility issue. I think I read a recent study or statistic, not too long ago, that 2% of birthmothers never have kids after placing the first child. It is common at times to not have kids afterwards. Myself, I don’t have any other kids beside the daughter who I placed because of certain issues that I have with my husband and I. Sometimes, it’s just more of the birthmom may not want to go through with the process again with knowing that the pregnancy prior did end in an unhappy time, so why would she want to go through that type of pregnancy again unknowing if the relationship is going to work or not.

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