Ask AF: Telling Family About a Birth Child

If you've made the difficult decision to place a birth child for adoption and are wondering how to tell your family about this choice, years after the fact, our expert offers advice.

Q: Years ago, I placed a child for adoption. Neither my spouse nor my other family members know that I did this. Should I tell them? If so, how?


A: You are not alone — many women don’t tell their family members or spouses about having placed a child for adoption. However, secrecy isn’t healthy for anyone, and secrets don’t remain secret forever (you should be prepared to establish contact with the birth child or her parents at some point).

You might want to ask a counselor, minister, or other trusted third party to help you discuss this with your family. The important thing is that you share this information with them, rather than having them find out in some other way.

Initially, your husband and family may be shocked, and feel hurt that you didn’t tell them sooner. But they should understand that you were going through a difficult time in your life and that you made a responsible decision for your birth child based on your circumstances at the time.