Are you going to get her back? 

Adoption? Wow, good for you. 

Why didn’t you want to parent?

You have to get her back. 

I’ll adopt your next child!

You actually visit her? Isn’t that hard? 

She’s lucky to be with a family who loves her. 

You’re really brave. I couldn’t do that.

We don’t believe in adoption. We take care of our own. 

Adoption, wow. Isn’t that hard? 

Is it too late to get her back?

Words are powerful. Some of these were said by well-meaning friends and others from complete strangers. Many times I have reacted out of defense mode and my emotions because let’s be real when these comments are made they target so much more than my heart, they target part of my identity. They cut into a place where I wish I could invite others because if only they could also step into the muck and muddy waters maybe then they would understand how hard adoption is. Maybe they would also see the reasons why I chose adoption for my daughter. But MAYBE then they could also know that this life I chose for myself and for her is not full of luck or goodness or bravery. It’s full of many moments of dropping to the floor with a tear drenched face crying out to God why? Why me? Why adoption? And I have to live with that because well I made this choice, right?

But if we are really being honest, I don’t have a “good” answer to any of these comments or questions. Or rather the answer that I think others want to hear. I wish I did so I could walk away from a conversation and feel like my answer made sense to the other person and so that I would feel a bit more understood. But I’m just learning to figure it all out myself. I’m learning to be okay with not knowing the answer to so many heart aching questions about adoption that I struggle with daily. I’m also learning to live with the answers I do have and let those be enough for me.

For those that have stepped in and tried to understand, thank you. Your desire to lead and love me on this hard road is immeasurable. But for those that will never try to understand, I will still by the grace of God fight to love you and educate you on how to walk alongside a birth mother on this rough road, because one day you may know another birth mom – and this time it may be a daughter, a friend, or a sister. And what will you say to her? My hope is that you would stand alongside her and support her fully because she won’t need your opinion as much as she needs you to tell her you love her. Instead of using words, start by listening to her and let her fill the silence with her emotions. You may be part of her story and also feel the effects of this choice, but it was first and foremost her choice. And remember, when you do speak, every single word you say will matter.

Words can be forgiven, but they cannot be taken back.


Emily’s desire to help women going through a difficult time all started in middle school. Her heart ached for the “not so cool kids” who were being excluded by the “cool, but not so nice” ones. She realized then that a simple word of kindness or encouragement goes a long way to lift a girl’s spirits. Emily’s compassionate heart grew exponentially when she herself faced an unintended pregnancy and made an adoption plan for her baby girl. She now works for the mobile app AdoptMatch, and her mission is to let every expectant mother know that she has the option to create a child-centered, open and ethical adoption plan for her unborn baby.