Many people use the phrase “give a baby up for adoption”; however this choice really is not really “giving up.” Adoption is an emotional roller coaster, and this article focuses on some of the emotions you may experience as you make an adoption plan and move forward with an adoption.
Making an Adoption Plan Can Be a Relief
Setting out on the adoption journey can be stressful and overwhelming. For many birth mothers, taking those first steps can be a huge relief. It’s important to remember that making a plan is not giving up. Instead…
- Making a plan for you and your baby means that you control the decisions about how the adoption is going to work. You will decide who the adopting parents will be and how much contact you will have with them and the baby throughout your lives. The adoption will be tailored to you and your needs. Learning how adoption works and understanding your role in the process can be very empowering. Our goal is that you will come to see that you are not “giving a baby up for adoption,” but rather creating a plan for the life you want for your baby.
- Making a plan means you will become part of a community of birth mothers, some who are considering adoption and others who have already placed. You are not alone. There is support for you whenever you need it.
- Making a plan means you will have access to experts who will guide you. Just talking with an expert about adoption can be a relief. Many birth mothers feel that the minute they choose the adopting family, a huge weight is lifted. It can be really helpful to speak with someone who has been in your shoes.
It’s OK to Feel Anxious
Whether it’s a first pregnancy or fourth, most women will feel anxious in the weeks leading up to delivery. Giving birth is a major life event, and it can be hard on your body and emotions. Many birth mothers get anxious because:
- They want to get the pregnancy over with.
- They anticipate the sadness they will feel when they leave the hospital and the baby goes home with the adopting parents.
Recognizing that these emotions are normal and proactively addressing them can relieve some of the anxiety. Keeping busy can be helpful. Here are some helpful ideas as you await the birth:
- Use the last few weeks of pregnancy to put together a family album of letters and photos for the baby.
- Spend quality time getting to know the adopting parents, sharing meals or shopping for maternity clothes.
- Talk with a counselor and connect with other birth mothers through email, online forums, and support groups. These are excellent ways to address difficult emotions and will remind you that you are not alone and not giving up.
Every adoption is a miracle, a dream come true for adopting parents. By the time adopting parents meet a birth mother, they may have experienced incredible sadness and loss through infertility, miscarriages, and years of waiting to adopt. Adopting parents feel humbled that a woman will choose them to raise their child. As a birth mother you may feel excited and proud to give the gift of family. However, you will also likely feel sad and a sense of loss. It can take several weeks or even months to process these emotions and post pregnancy hormones can make this challenging. Here are a few things you can do to help get through this important time:
- Stay in touch with the adopting parents. Receiving photos and updates by text and email is really common in the first month or so. Seeing photos of the baby with the family, knowing the baby is thriving and that the adopting parents are so incredibly happy can be really helpful in reaffirming your choice.
- Talk with an experienced counselor, other birth mothers, or someone in your religious community. It’s important to remember that you aren’t alone and that support is there whenever you need it. It’s also important to stay connected to your support systems as you continue to move on and process your feelings about the adoption throughout your life.
Hope and Pride
Giving a baby up for adoption is not an easy choice, but made for the right reasons and with support, it can be a choice you will be proud of. Birth mothers who maintain contact with the family and watch their birth child grow, frequently feel proud of the person that child becomes and proud of themselves for making the adoption choice. In addition, the choice may lead to renewed ambition and focus, allowing you as a birth mother to feel hopeful that your own dreams and visions for the future are possible, that you did not “give a baby up for adoption” but rather, you made a choice and a plan to give your child the life you wanted for him or her.