“I’m worried that I will regret choosing adoption. How do I know that this is the right choice for me and my baby?”
We can spend a lot of time and energy second-guessing ourselves. It’s normal to question the decisions we’re making, especially big decisions like adoption. All of these choices can be difficult for a birth mother. With the right plan in place, adoption regret doesn’t have to be a part of your journey.
We have been helping women learn about their choices in adoption, as well as make open adoption plans that include finding loving adoptive parents for their babies since 1986. And in our experience, women who actively make an adoption plan don’t need to worry about birth mother adoption regret — they move forward with peace about their decision, knowing that they remain an important part of their child’s life. The benefits of open adoption make this possible.
Modern open adoption is a way for pregnant women to provide what they want for their child now, when they may not feel that they are in a position to do so.
Adopted children today grow up knowing that their birth mothers chose adoption out of love, and hand-picked the parents for them. Most grow up having a relationship with their birth mother and other members of their birth family. Open adoption creates more of an extended family that comes together with a common love for the child.
There are wonderful children’s books that share adoption with children from a young age, so they always know the truth of their story. Adopted children today who are in contact with their birth mothers are appreciative of the love and care that went into their adoption plan, knowing that they made the best decision they could at the time.
Open adoption lets the birth mother and adoptive family decide together about what future contact will look like. Sharing in-person visits and other connections through email, phone, and social media reassures birth mothers that they made the right decision and keeps them included in their child’s life as a very important connection.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, birth mothers in open adoptions feel less regret and more peace of mind. Open adoption lets birth parents see their child thriving as they grow.
The Language of Adoption
In the “old days,” people referred to the adoption process as “giving the baby up for adoption.” At Lifetime Adoption, we’ve been bringing birth parents and adoptive families together since 1986. In that time, we’ve seen the language of adoption change. Adoption is not “giving up,” it is the way you can give your child more than you are able to at this point in time.
The words we use to describe things might play a role in our feelings, such as feeling over our adoption decisions. This may be the case with the phrase “giving a baby up for adoption.” When we switch the correct words, “making an adoption plan,” our minds begin to process it differently. You didn’t “give up”, you “made a plan.” One is far more powerful and positive! Birth mother adoption regret may sometimes be a fact of life for some women; it is definitely not a fact that mom has “given up.”
With open adoptions through Lifetime, the expectant mother is in control every step of the way. She makes the decisions that go into the adoption process. Women are far less likely to feel regret when they create their own adoption plan. This is true in any aspect of life — when we are in control and make the best decision we can, with available help and assistance, we are far more confident in the outcome. Open adoption is a positive and proactive choice for women who can’t or don’t want to parent at this time in their lives.
Likelihood of Changing Your Mind
Many women thinking about placing their babies for adoption wonder what happens if they change their minds later. Laws are different state by state, but many states have a window of at least a few days for women to change their minds. You will be fully informed about what the options are in your state.
Lifetime Adoption helps connect birth mothers with adoption attorneys who can help explain these laws. But in our experience, most moms who follow through with the open adoption plans are comfortable with their decision. They typically wish their situation was different so they could have parented their baby. Still, they are grateful to have open adoption as an option to allow them to be a part of the child’s life from the beginning. They are also thankful to be embraced and included as part of the adoptive family.
Take some time to learn from the stories of some of our birth mothers. Many women who worry about regretting their decisions find it helpful to read testimonials from women who may have had similar thoughts and experiences.
Consider Chloe, for example. She writes about the sacrifices she made for her baby and how she thinks about the idea of birth mother adoption regret.
“Never in my life,” she writes, “will I regret choosing to endure the nine months to give my baby boy to a loving couple who cannot have children of their own. Through the adoption process, I have been so incredibly blessed, and I feel overjoyed knowing I gave life to a family who could not make it themselves. We all have something to be thankful for…for me, it’s a new family.”
Or read Hannah’s story. She says it’s OK to not always feel OK, but does not regret her decision.
“Choosing adoption and seeing the life my child now has and how much his parents love him has allowed so much healing to take place in my own life,” she writes. “I have walked my own healing journey when I thought I could never move on. And I have been able to see so much beauty come out of such a difficult decision and experience.”
As you consider adoption with Lifetime, you have the opportunity to speak with and get to know one of our adoption peer counselors. They, too, have been where you are and can speak with you one-on-one to answer questions or offer help and support.
There are many reasons for “putting a baby up for adoption.” And while each story is different, there are certainly many similarities, too. Read “What Are the Most Common Reasons for Putting a Child Up for Adoption?” for additional information.
Call or text a caring adoption coordinator at Lifetime with your adoption questions today. We are a nationwide domestic open adoption agency and can help you in any state. We will never pressure you, and all our services are provided free to you. We can help you start talking about what is best for you and for your baby.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.