That pink little plus sign just crossed your BFF鈥檚 pregnancy test, and she鈥檚 totally at a loss. This wasn鈥檛 planned. Whatever the reason is, your friend isn鈥檛 ready to parent right now. After weighing her options, she鈥檚 chosen adoption. Here鈥檚 where you come in. Put yourself in your friend鈥檚 shoes 鈥 she鈥檚 pregnant and scared, and she probably feels alone. Even if she鈥檚 got a super-sized support system at home or the best BF in the world (and he鈥檚 totally there for her all the way through), she still needs you. We talked to Katie Foley, MSW of Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children about what you can do to support a friend who has chosen adoption.

pregnant woman and friend

1. Find a social worker. 鈥淵our friend may need an advocate and emotional support. Birth parents have rights determined by the state they live in. Make sure your friend is working with a licensed or accredited adoption professional in order to protect her rights in this process,鈥 says Foley. She also notes that no one (this includes the social worker and adoption agency staff) should put any pressure on a woman considering adoption, saying, 鈥淪he may invite you into meetings with a social worker for emotional support and/or to take notes about important details.鈥

2. Keep an open mind. 鈥淲ith so many of us having a connection to adoption, it means we all have our own ideas and opinions about adoption! Keep an open mind that every situation is different and every adoption plan is unique,鈥 says Foley. This includes being there for your friend to talk to, no matter what she has to say. Along with that, remember that you鈥檙e not the expert. Sometimes the advice your BFF needs is out of your reach. Foley notes, 鈥淟isten to your friend closely about why she is choosing adoption, and encourage her to meet with experienced and reputable adoption professionals in order to know her rights so she can make the best plan for her and her baby.鈥

3. Listen to her plan. 鈥淎fter reviewing all of the options available to her (including parenting, adoption, kinship care, foster care and termination), she can make the best plan for herself and her baby. By considering all of her options, an expectant parent is being thoughtful about planning for her child鈥檚 future. They are not 鈥済iving up their baby,鈥 as the saying goes,鈥 says Foley. This may include providing support when it comes to the family that your friend chooses. 鈥淲ith support from her social worker and from you, she鈥檒l choose a family with the same values as herself.鈥

4. Understand the vocab. Your friend, the social worker or the adoption agency staff may use terms that you鈥檙e not exactly familiar with. Learning about the adoption process and types of adoptions makes it easier for you to help your friend. Open adoption is one term you may hear a lot. 鈥淥pen adoption means birth mothers have the opportunity to select and interview the adoptive parents and maintain an open adoption with their child,鈥 according to Foley.

5. Talk about money. Nope, this doesn鈥檛 mean you need to get into the nitty gritty of your friend鈥檚 finances. But, you do want to make sure that she鈥檚 covered when it comes to pregnancy-related expenses. Foley says, 鈥淪he may need assistance covering the gaps in her insurance or with pregnancy-related expenses (like insurance co-pays or a work wardrobe that鈥檚 maternity friendly).鈥 She notes that these expenses may be covered in the adoption plan. Along with this, Foley says, 鈥淚t would be helpful for you to help her explore her current insurance coverage to anticipate hospital delivery costs as early as possible.鈥

Woman Visiting Pregnant Friend At Home

6. Offer to see the doctor. 鈥淪ome medical providers know a lot about adoption and some don鈥檛,鈥 says Foley. 鈥淗elp your friend explain adoption to her doctor by bringing information from the adoption professional to appointments.鈥

7. Provide post-adoption support. The help your friend needs doesn鈥檛 stop at delivery. She鈥檚 going through some major emotions, and needs you now more than ever. According to Foley, 鈥淎fter nine months of pregnancy and planning, the most emotional time is often after birth, when the baby has gone home with the adoptive parents. Any reaction or feelings are normal, so encourage your friend to continue to meet with her social worker if possible.鈥 What can you do to help your friend right now? Foley suggests, 鈥淏ring over dinner, turn on Netflix or go out for a favorite meal 鈥 just being together is the important part!鈥

8. Keep the help going. Your support won鈥檛 end weeks or even months after the adoption. Foley says, 鈥淗elp your friend find a community of birth parents for peer support. Some days can be more difficult than others: For example, how will your friend mark Mother鈥檚 Day? By being thoughtful and talking about the difficult things, you鈥檙e showing your friend that you care about her.鈥 If post-adoption life isn鈥檛 what your friend thought, you may need to step in and help them figure out what will make things better for her. Foley notes, 鈥淵our friend is most likely in an open adoption with her child and the adoptive parents. This means she鈥檒l receive photos and/or visit with her child throughout the year. If this relationship isn鈥檛 what your friend imagined, encourage her to speak with her social worker to navigate the open adoption.鈥

Do you need more information on adoption and how it works? A few resources that can help include Donaldson Adoption Institute, Spence-Chapin and ichooseadoption.org.

Have you helped a friend who chose adoption? Share your experience or support tips and tweet us @BritandCo !

(Photos via Getty)