Each month I try to share about a non-profit organization doing great work. Today I am honored to tell you about Brave Love, a pro-adoption movement that seeks to change the perception of adoption by acknowledging birth mothers. I interviewed their executive director, Laura Bruder, who shares great tips on how to lovingly and graciously talk about adoption.
DoSayGive: Can you tell me a little about how Brave Love began?
The idea of BraveLove started back in 2012 with a small group of people working with a local pregnancy center here in Dallas, Texas. The center noticed that nearly none of their clients were choosing adoption, much less considering it as a viable option. When it was mentioned as an option, women often responded with: “no, I could never do that” or “what will others think?”
According to the National Council for Adoption, every year less than 2% of women in unplanned pregnancies choose adoption. For every 1 child placed for adoption, 36 couples are waiting to adopt. Sadly, there are still stigmas and outdated stereotypes surrounding adoption and birth moms.
BraveLove exists to erase the shame and stigmas of adoption and show that it’s a brave choice. We envision a community where adoption becomes a more supported option for those in unplanned pregnancies.
DoSayGive: What services does Brave Love provide?
Uniquely, we do not provide any direct services at BraveLove. We’re not an adoption agency or a pregnancy center. Instead we’re a pro-adoption movement focused on de-stigmatizing adoption. We share hopeful adoption stories, create media campaigns, and distribute educational resources nationwide so that people are educated on adoption today and know that it’s a brave choice and loving option for themselves and their child. We also honor birth moms across the country with special dinners and help connect them to support groups and post-adoption resources within their communities.
DoSayGive: That is so wonderful, Laura! So, tell me, what is the biggest misconception people have about adoption?
Admittedly, adoption can quickly get confusing and complicated as there are different types, from international to domestic to foster-to-adopt. So when it comes to domestic infant adoption, I believe one of the main misconceptions is the rationale behind why a birth mom chooses adoption. Choosing adoption is not giving up or abandoning your child – it’s making a plan. There’s purpose behind it. The women who make this decision are wanting the best for their child and are making this decision out of love. They’re not irresponsible or selfish. They are some of the strongest women I know. This video helps people understand our role in dispelling misconceptions and myths surrounding adoption.
DoSayGive: DoSayGive is all about showing love to others through our words and actions. You’ve been around a lot of birth mothers. What is the best way we can encourage birth mothers?
From my experience, I think the best way you can encourage birth mothers is to create a space for them to have a voice. For far too long, they’ve been shamed or silenced.
I think the words we say can encourage and honor birth mothers whether you know a birth mom directly or not. Instead of saying ‘give up for adoption’ or ‘put up for adoption,’ say ‘make an adoption plan’ or ‘place for adoption.’ Do you hear the difference? There’s purpose, planning and love behind a birth mother’s decision to choose adoption. Read this story of a brave birth mom and her advice on how to love and encourage birth moms.
DoSayGive: Anything we should *not* say to adopted children or birth moms?
It’s best NOT to say or ask these things to adoptees:
- Why did your birth parents not want you?
- You should feel so grateful.
- Who are your real parents? (Note: People tend to refer to the birth parents or biological parents as the “real parents.” This can be especially offensive to the adoptive parents. They are the real parents.)
For birth moms, avoid asking these questions:
- Do you think your child will be mad at you for choosing adoption?
- Can you get your baby back?
- Did you not want your baby?
Adoption is a highly personal experience that impacts people and families for a lifetime. Just because you’ve heard one person’s adoption story (whether good or bad) doesn’t mean that’s the case for all adoptees, birth parents, or adoptive parents. Be cautious to over-generalize. Everyone’s story is different and unique. When it comes to adoption, there’s grief and loss for everyone involved – the birth parents, the adopted child, and the adoptive parents.
DoSayGive: How can someone get involved with BraveLove?
Lots of ways! The easiest is to start following us on Instagram and/or Facebook and then tell others about BraveLove. To change perceptions and reduce the stigma of adoption means we have to talk about it. And that’s what you’re doing – helping us spread the BraveLove.
If you know someone who has a connection to adoption, direct them to our website BraveLove.org. We love hearing people’s stories! If you know someone who may be considering adoption (whether an expectant mother or prospective adoptive parents), point them towards BraveLove. Find out more ways to get involved here!
Thank you so much, Laura, for taking the time to tell us about Brave Love!
Be sure to watch our Instagram Stories today for an interview with adoptive mom, Lilly Neubauer. And ways we can love adoptive families through our words and actions!