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Are second thoughts about adoption normal?

Dear Megan,

I am having second thoughts about adoption.  I gave my baby up for adoption over the weekend, and she is now home with her adoptive parents and I feel overwhelmed.  The adoptive parents are amazing.   Adoption feels like the right thing in my situation.  But I can’t stop crying.  I miss my baby.  Did I make a mistake?  Please help.  – M.R.

Dear M.R.,

The loss of giving a baby up for adoption is heartbreaking, and your incredible sadness is very normal.  It can  take time to process the grief and to start moving forward.  Keep in mind that feeling this sadness does not mean you have made a mistake.  If you are having second thoughts about adoption for your baby, counseling with a therapist who specializes in grief and loss can be really helpful.  Here are some things to consider and some questions to ask yourself.

It is okay to  be sad and for the adoptive parents to know  you are sad

Sadness, even intense grief, is completely normal when you give a baby up for adoption, and counseling can help.  In California, and in most states, the adoptive parents are required under the law to cover three counseling sessions for the birth mother.  Adoptive parents expect that you will experience this grief and do not want you  to go through it alone and without the support you need.  Feeling sadness and seeking help coping with this can be incredibly helpful to the healing process.  Expressing and facing these emotions will allow you to move forward.  If you try to suppress them and pretend they aren’t there, they can come back to you later in life.  It’s so much better to process and deal with these difficult emotions now.

Have your circumstances changed?

Second thoughts about adoption doesn’t mean you’ve made the wrong choice.  Think about why you made the adoption plan in the first place.   Then ask yourself if any of these things have changed.  Ask yourself what would need to be different in order for you to be able to parent right now.  How likely is it that these will change or that things will be different.  Ask yourself if you are feeling grief and loss or if you’re feeling uncertain  about the adoption.  These are two different things, and if you aren’t sure how you feel, definitely talk  to a counselor.

I’ve written several articles about how to decide if adoption  is right for you.  Here’s a link to one of them with more questions to ask yourself.

Follow your heart and trust your instincts

If you are feeling really scared and uncertain of what to do, it’s probably best that you choose to parent.   Having second thoughts about adoption  could be a sign that it isn’t right for you and your baby.  I believe that if you are feeling really uncertain now (again, this is different from feeling sadness, loss, and regretting past choices), then you might  always feel uncertain and wonder for years to come if you made the right decision.  These feelings of uncertainly could keep you from moving forward and having a fulfilling life.

Please consider getting counseling.  Some women are embarrassed to seek this type of help.  Maybe they want to prove to themselves and others that they can get through it on their own.  Or maybe they think they don’t deserve the support because they’ve made this choice and now must live with it.  Don’t do that to yourself!  Take advantage of the opportunity to fully process what you are going through.  Your feelings matter, and you are not alone!

All my best, Megan

understand the grieving process

 

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Are you pregnant and thinking about adoption for your baby? I can help. You can send me your questions about adoption or ask me to send you more information. Your communication with me is always confidential, and you’re never under any obligation to do an adoption. I’m here to help, not to pressure you or tell you what to do.

Sincerely,

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Megan Cohen, Birth Attorney

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