My gay BFF wants a baby and I'm pregnant but don't want to keep it: how do I broach the topic of adoption with him?

June 3 | Guest post by India
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By: vietguider – CC BY 2.0

We had our son five months ago and have been using condoms as birth control since he was born.

Much to my horror, I find myself pregnant again. My partner and I have discussed our options, and have decided we don't want to terminate the pregnancy — but we also know that we don't want to raise two children this close together. We're older parents and my partner is disabled. We know it wouldn't be fair to either child to try and stretch the time, money, and energy we have any further.

We know there are many amazing people out there who want to have children and cannot, so we feel our best option is to place the child for adoption.

Here's our problem: one of my best and oldest friends has been talking about having a baby, and he and his husband are having a hard time adopting. We've joked about one of our friends carrying a child for them, but didn't think it would actually happen… until I became pregnant.

I want to have a discussion with our friends about possibly adopting this baby.

There are a lot of factors to consider (are they really ready to be parents? Who is?), but I'm not sure where to begin.

I obviously need to figure it out rather quickly, as I won't be able to hide my pregnancy for long.

How would you bring up the topic of adoption with one of your best friends?

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  1. I would say, if you're BFFs, just be straight up with him. Tell him that you're pregnant, that you don't think you want to keep it, and that if he and his husband are seriously trying to adopt a baby it would be awesome for everyone concerned if they wanted to adopt yours. That way, everyone is still pretty much family. Make sure he knows that it isn't about pressure, just about an option that might be fantastic for all of you. I would imagine that if they are actively trying to adopt, they know exactly what they're getting into with babies, especially if they're around your new one a lot. I'm guessing they're as "ready" as anyone ever is.

    24 agree
  2. I guess it depends how close you are. If you trust them and love them (which I imagine you do, given that you want to offer them to opportunity to raise this child), then I'd go with honesty. Explain your circumstances as you did in the letter, and tell them that you are planning on giving the child up for adoption – and that you wanted to offer them the opportunity to adopt the child before you opened it up to strangers. Let them know that you won't be insulted if they don't want to adopt this baby, and that you know it might complicate things if their surrogate is someone they know. Give them time to think about what it might mean for them. If they agree to move forward, you all need to be very clear about your expectations for who YOU will be to this child in the future. An auntie and uncle? Birth parents? God parents? Communication seems key here. If it works out, what a beautiful thing you would all be doing for each other, and for this baby.

    24 agree
  3. What an amazing decision you an your husband are making for a special family. I think that the best way to go about it is to talk to you friend about how serious he really is about this. Let him know what you are considering and just have the open conversation. You both are going to have a load of questions, as are your significant others, so it would be good for you guys to just sit down and hash it all out with the 4 of you. I wish you great luck in all of this!

    3 agree
  4. I'm not sure there is an "easy" way to have the conversation. I suggest just taking it head on. If you are BFF's, you should be able to ask how serious they are about adopting, and just lay all of your cards on the table while letting them know that there is no pressure or expectation on your part. Then trust that everything will work out as it should. Good luck and best wishes!

    4 agree
  5. Try talking about it in general first, asking them about how the search is going and stuff. Remember, this will be positive news for them, and they're probably going to be really happy to hear it.

    3 agree
  6. With one of my best friends, I'd do something like this: invite my friend out for lunch or coffee, either just the two of you or both of you with your husbands. Say something to the effect of, "We just discovered that I'm pregnant again. This is really scary. You know what our lives are like right now. We've been looking into adoption as a good choice for this baby. I know you and your husband want to be parents. We would be honored if you wanted to adopt our baby. We completely understand that this is a very big deal, and that there are big legal and and logistical things to think about."

    And then let them go home and think about it. This is why you bring it up towards the end of lunch, or at a coffeeshop: you can cut things short if need be. If you have a deadline by which you need to have started the ball rolling on this stuff, whether that's a deadline you've determined for yourself or one someone else has determined for you, let them know. Plan to get together after a while and talk about it, all four of you.

    In the mean time, if they seem open to the adoption, get a lawyer. This would make your friendship more complicated, and likely more permanent. In that situation, you want to get all your bases covered and your "what if"'s worked out well in advance. There's legal stuff an adoption agency would do for you that could get neglected without a lawyer present; at they least, they can help with the laws and norms around adoption in your location.

    10 agree
    • Yes yes yes to getting a lawyer, but I'd also make it clear in the original conversation that what you're both agreeing to initially is exploring whether you both have compatible ideas about what you want the adoption to look like – so that if you can't come to an agreement, nobody feels like "but you already said yes!!!", that (agreeing to the adoption in reality, not in potential theory once you've discussed all the ins and outs) should come at a later stage, in my opinion.

      Best of luck to all of you! This is such a potentially amazing situation and I hope everyone gets what they want out of it!

      11 agree
  7. First, I would ask how their adoption journey is going. Have there been any new developments? Then, I would just be honest, and tell them your situation.
    Also…
    Have you discussed with your partner the possibility of placing your child with your friend? Have you considered the difficulty of such a situation: seeing your friend raising the child you birthed, and the possibility of disagreement on parenting styles, and being able to "let go" of the child, and let your friend and his partner parent? I don't want to rain on your parade at all! I am just trying to make sure you think this through thoroughly. I know it would be wonderful to be able to see the child you birthed, and have a relationship with them, but there are positives and negatives to an open adoption that is THAT OPEN, and just make sure you explore all avenues, and be honest with your friend about your feelings.

    6 agree
    • Adding in, the fact that the children will be siblings and not-siblings at the same time. Keeping your kept child's feelings in mind as well as the potentially relinquished child's feelings in mind, too!

      4 agree
    • This kind of situation used to be really normal in my grandparents generation. People with too many kids (like 10 in those days) or with twins or whatnot would often give one to a cousin or something to raise, in the same town. My great uncle was being raised by a related family in the small town and ended up playing with this other kid, and then brought him home and was told 'thats your brother". While it seems 'werid' to us in a society just coming out of totally closed adaptions and stuff, its really really common in other cultures (or in subcultures of this one, like in ghettos in american cities) to do this sort of thing and it can work really well.

      3 agree
      • While I agree that extended families raising children is normal in other cultures and even in our not-too-distant past, this isn't what the story is about. The child will be raised by non-biological family and in a culture where adoptions legally sever ties to biological family. While open adoptions exist, they are not legally enforced, and children have their original documents sealed by the state and are never reconsidered members of their biological family, despite what relationship they might have with them.

        3 agree
        • The child doesn't care about their legal status, except for one thing – if the parents who raised them aren't their legal parents, they risk losing them if the birth parents want the child back or if something happens to raise the question of where the child should go. This could be devastating to a child, because they bond with whoever looks after them, not who shares their genes. That's why it's important to legally sever the ties with a child if you aren't going to be raising them.

          1 agrees
  8. Three words: gentle, honest, private.

    You know your best friend better than anyone on here, so I'd recommend trusting your own instincts in this matter.

    If it were me, though… First and foremost, I'd talk to my partner. Make sure he's on board with even offering the baby to your best friend. I'd make a pro and con list (including the emotional issues) and probably spend a lot of time discussing it with my partner over several days. Assuming we both decide that's the route we want to take, I'd ask my friend and his husband to make a date with us.

    I'd sit them down, probably in a neutral setting away from our homes so we can leave when we need to, and honestly and gently explain what my partner and I were thinking. I would list off the reasons why I thought they'd be great parents for the baby I was carrying. I would explain my top two or three concerns. I would (try to) give everyone a chance to talk about it. Then I would break up the meeting and tell them to go think about it. Even if they screamed "OMG YES" right away, I'd tell them to sleep on it and let me know later.

    Assuming they came back and said they want the baby, I'd pack them up and go to a lawyer's office. I would discuss everything I could possibly come up and draft up a contract. If they said no, they didn't want the baby, I would make sure they knew that I still loved them and that I wasn't going to hold that against them.

    Things to think about (you may or may not have already thought of these): If they don't want the baby, can you handle that? If they adopt your baby and move away (now or ten years down the road), how will you handle that? If you and your gay BFF have a major falling out, will you feel like you're losing your child and your best friend? If your gay BFF and his husband break up, will you feel like you have to get involved for the sake of your/their child? If your gay BFF dies, how will that affect how you handle the child? If they both die, will you be able to watch a different guardian claim and raise your child? Because you will be practically an aunt to their child, you may have to face these kinds of issues with any kid they adopt, but being the baby's birth mother will present different emotional and legal issues later on.

    No matter what ends up happening, make sure everyone involved, including both children, understands that your offer comes from love. Approach your conversations with your partner and them with love and not ego. Focus on what's the best situation for the baby you're carrying. Expect misunderstandings and hurt feelings and work to overcome them.

    16 agree
    • You have good ideas, but why do you keep saying "your gay BFF"? Why not just "your BFF"?

      2 agree
      • I'm assuming because if they don't qualify the "my BFF" that there would be questions of why s/he can't have his or her own.

        7 agree
  9. For me, there is something here that's a whole helluva lot trickier than bringing up a conversation…. Have you thought through your emotional attachment to this baby and watching another person, no matter how long you've been friends, raise him/her? Make decisions about this child, that you might not agree with? The possibility of not agreeing with discipline methods or cry-it-out or school placement? It's always one thing to disagree with a friend and say to yourself "it's their kid, they can do what they feel is best" but what happens when it's (for all intents and purposes) "your" kid too? Would there be a point when you'd either break off the friendship rather than be in knots over their methods or at the worst… Even sue for custody?! I'm playing devil's advocate of course, but really… I'm actually serious here. You can't interview them in the way you can with an adoptive family and decide if you don't like their answers they don't get the baby. Would you really change your mind? And take this away from them?? Or would you press on, even with doubts, even though you might not if they were strangers??
    All I'm saying, is of course it's going to be touchy if you place the baby and they are trying to adopt, but it might so be a temporary hurt versus what you might experience as the biological parent watching your child grow up right in front of your face and not feel as if you can have an opinion.

    7 agree
  10. I normally think serious conversations should happen in person, but maybe write them a letter or email? That way, they have time to think about it, digest the information, and aren't so put on the spot.

    Congrats, and good luck! 🙂

    3 agree
  11. A circumstance very like this happened in my family. One aunt got pregnant before she was ready to raise a child. Her sister-in-law was struggling with fertility issues. The perfect solution for everyone was adoption. The kid, now a young man now, knew who his birth mother was and how he ended up with his "real" mother. Both moms had more kids later, and it was never weird for any of them.

    6 agree
  12. It's amazing that you'd even consider it! That shows just how loving you really are. So many folks are selfish and only think of themselves first. Be honest with your friend. After all, he's your BFF! If I were facing a similar situation, I'd talk with him. Talk to your husband first though. You didn't mention him with regard to the baby. Would he be okay with it? Are you both in agreement with wanting an alternative for this baby? I agree with everything that's already been said for the most part. It's not easy, but I'm sure once you start talking, you'll see you had nothing to be afraid about. Even if they don't want to adopt your baby, you will at least have talked about it.

    3 agree
  13. I have no advice on this, but I just wanted to share lots and lots of love to you…. That you even considered this. I hope you all find something that works for your families!

    1 agrees
  14. My biggest concern is how this would affect the children. If this is your best friend I'm guessing you would see this child regularly, as would your son. At what point do you tell them that they are biological siblings? How might it affect your son to know the child you gave up for adoption and how might it affect that child to know the son his birth parents kept? To see his/her birth parents regularly? It seems like it would be more complicated than other adoptions. I would recommend doing some reading about alternative family structures.

    4 agree
  15. Goodness, I can only imagine how difficult this must be.

    Something that occurred to me about this was the assumption that this is what your BFF and his partner would want. If they are already somewhere in the process of adopting they have already made some kind of decision (from a limited range of choices admittedly) as to how they want to create their family. From the small pool of people I know who cannot have children together and need either to adopt or surrogate/use donor "genetic material", the decision about wether to go for completely anonymous or to seek inside their own friends and family has varied hugely, but certainly it seems very personal and is often very strongly felt.

    Think as well of what it would feel like for your friend and his partner to be approached with this amazing offer but with added info that it's actually happening right now and the knowledge that if he doesn't want to proceed that you, his BFF have a huge problem. He and his partner's choices about how and when he is going to parent are going to be made for him and connected to you and concern for you. If you do go for this, then for everyone's emotional safety you must make it possible for him and his partner to say no and know that will be ok between you all. It is worth thinking of your plan b here and telling him what that is at the same time you bring this up, to avoid any misunderstanding that you are offering something here, not asking him something.

    Good luck!

    2 agree
    • As far as the conversation goes, I have to agree with Stripey and a few others – don't approach it like you're doing them a favor. And don't let them say "yes, omg this is perfect!" right away either. This could be a really amazing opportunity for both of you if everyone takes the time to think through the potential obstacles. But there's also the potential for a lot more obstacles as well, as many people mentioned above. In adopting, there are a lot of advantages to adopting from someone you don't know (and in some cases will never see again). I would say something like "listen. my partner and i are pregnant, and we want to give the baby up for adoption. we know you and your partner are interested in adopting, we wanted to see what your thoughts would be on about adopting our baby". And then I'd probably run away for a day. To let them actually think on it. And make sure you let them know (and that you truly feel in your heart) that it's ok for them to say no.

      3 agree
  16. I gave my first child up for adoption when I was 19. It's an open adoption with a gay couple. 11 years later, I have never regretted it. She does call me Mom, we see each other often. My husband and I have 2 children and the 3 of them are siblings. It is like having a huge, wonderful, loving family. She has always known she was adopted. She is well-adjusted, smart, sassy, and loving. She loves our family. The 2 younger children have always known about her as well. It's worked out very well.

    4 agree
  17. "Hey, so like, I'm pregnant again. Do you guys want the kid? No pressure."

    2 agree
  18. I've allready posted above but I can't get this post out of my head.

    Something else that has occurred to me is, that it 's great to see the two posts above where open adoption resulting from unplanned pregnancy went really well. I can't help but notice though that these were adoptions of first children born to young single mothers, not adoptions of second children born to couples. I wonder if part of why the children involved have done so well is the fact that mum clearly wasn't able to look after a child because she was on her own or too young (basically she was not yet a mother) helped make it understandable why the adoption happened, particularly for the children involved. I'm not saying its not understandable why a second child right now is not some thing you want or feel you can cope with, my mother had a termination after her third child (I'm her first and I found out later about the termination) and I totally get why. But if she'd had that child and someone we knew had adopted it, for me that would have been really weird, I'm not saying it would be wrong I'm just saying it would create one of those situations which are complex emotionally forever, like divorce. It's weird enough that later she had more children, one more with my dad and one with her next husband, I still wonder about that missing sibling….. I don't know quite why but if she had had a child very young that someone else raised, before the family I am part of was started, then I think that would feel different. I think it would also feel different if my mother had planned a surrogacy for someone else, rather than converted a situation into one.

    I know these are just hypothetical projections, both of which are from a child's point of view and are probably very unfair on the mother, but my point is this,whatever you do creates the background to this child's life. By which I mean it may make sense for all the adults in the picture, that what solves your problem appears to solve your freinds, but it may be worth considering wether for the child a closed anonymous adoption may make for a easier, less complex story of how they began and who they are.

    Apologies if this is one of the many many thoughts you've allready had and which I'm sure are whirling round your head and keeping you up at night… Good luck.

    7 agree
  19. A close friend adopted her son from her husband's distant relative, who was in her mid-teens and not able to care for an infant. The adoption went very smoothly (despite being *very* last minute, the birth mom contacted them when she was already 32 weeks!). The little guy just had his first birthday, so we'll see how it all pans out over the next several years. 🙂

    1 agrees
  20. Wow! Big decisions. I admire you for being open and honest with yourself and wanting to do a really amazing thing for your friend. I agree with the ideas about the lawyer, and also want to throw in a recommendation for some counseling – possibly for you and your partner, and also possibly, if this does go in the direction you're thinking it might, some group counseling to explore what this might look like for your friendship, and really above all else to have an impartial person help you sort through issues? Just a thought. You might look for someone who specializes in pregnancy and/or adoption issues. Good luck to all of you!

    3 agree
  21. Thanks so much to everyone for their input.

    We ended up just laying out, and they are so happy and grateful that my dear friend (more like a brother than bff honestly) cried most of the afternoon. I think it will work out well. We all agree that it should be approached with honesty and love for the children as well as everyone else.

    The only problems seem to be coming from family and strangers that don't understand our family and our way of life. My partner and I know that it will be a difficult process but the more we think and talk about it the stronger we feel that this is the only right decision for both children. I feel confidant that they will rise to the challenges of parenting as we have and be fantastic parents.

    Note: I only mentioned that they are a same sex couple because there are challenges they face in adopting that straight looking couples don't have. And this is most likely their only hope of ever being parents.

    Anyway, thanks to all for commenting and for the well wishes. The future looks amazing 🙂

    18 agree

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