By Lisa Geiger, Adoption STAR Family Advocate and Adoption Counselor
When I told my children that I would be working for an adoption agency, almost immediately the questions came like rapid fire. My younger children asked questions like “Where do the babies come from?” “Do you get to pick them out?” and “Mom, are we going to adopt a baby?” Then my older children asked more involved questions like “How does adoption work?” “Why would a family choose to adopt?” and “Why would someone ever consider placing their child for adoption in the first place?”
The most startling question came from my 16-year-old daughter, “Mom, what would you do if I ever became pregnant?” Well, after telling her that she wasn’t going to become pregnant until she finished college, had a career and was happily married, the reality set in.
I have seen young women, my daughter’s age; walk bravely through the doors of the agency 8 months pregnant. In order to answer her question, I had the intention of taking my mom hat off and putting my social worker hat on, but I found myself wearing both. We talked about what it was like to have a child and the responsibilities that came along with that. Yes, we did talk about how cute babies are and the overwhelming love a mother feels for her child, but we also talked about the restless nights and the times when everything in my life had to bet set aside for the sake of my children.
We talked about how it was nice for me to be able to stay at home when she and her siblings were little and how unexpected changes in my life led me to return to school and take on the challenges of a working single-mom.
I asked my daughter what her dreams were. If she saw herself graduating from college, having a career, and most importantly to her, having the ability to come and go as she pleases and buy her own clothes and make-up?! I asked her to think about how these dreams may be altered if she were responsible for a child 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. I asked her what she would want for a child and what she thought would be in the best interest of that child?
We talked about how there are so many loving families out there that are ready now to provide all the love and care for a baby. My daughter nodded her head and I saw that she seemed satisfied to end our discussion.
So, I guess when it comes right down to it, I didn’t really answer my daughter’s question “mom, what would you do….” I gave her the tools to make a decision for herself, just like a social worker would have!
I have already assumed that this question will be asked of me again as my other daughters are rapidly approaching the teen years. The Adoption STAR website has a page devoted to unplanned pregnancy help and advice. This is a resource I plan to direct my girls to if they want to learn more about why women choose adoption and actual stories from young birth mothers.
If you are looking for advice on how to speak to your children about adoption and/or pregnancy, contact our birth parent specialist Sue Shaw at email@example.com.