When you decide to place your baby for adoption, you’re choosing to give your baby a stable and loving future. It’s a difficult decision, and you might be asking yourself, “How will I feel after placing my baby for adoption?” It’s a natural question to ask yourself as you plan for life after adoption.
Even though you may find comfort in knowing that you made the right choice for yourself and your child in a difficult situation, it’s very common also to have feelings of grief, loss, or other complex emotions after placing a baby for adoption. Here are some things you may expect to feel after the adoption of your baby.
Sadness and Grief
It’s normal to feel sadness and experience grief after your child goes home with their adoptive parents. Every birth mother is different in what her grief experience looks like, so you must grieve in your own way. Don’t feel wrong about your sadness.
Talk to a trusted friend or your adoption coordinator about how you are feeling. You may want to join a support group with other birth parents who have experienced what you’re going through.
Be sure to take good care of yourself; your body is still healing from giving birth. It will help if you can find ways to:
- Eat healthy food: Try a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, lean proteins, fruits, and whole grains. Eating junk food may feel comforting, but you’ll feel sluggish afterward.
- Exercise: Once your doctor gives you the go-ahead, try to get some movement and exercise in. In general, doctors ask women who had an uncomplicated pregnancy and vaginal delivery to wait a few days before exercising. Starting with a daily walk after the first week or two is perfect. The sunshine helps your body produce vitamin D, which can help you feel happier.
- Journal: Writing down how you’re feeling is a great way to ease your grief. The action of writing them down often helps elevate these feelings.
A Sense of Relief
Mixed with your sadness may also be a sense of relief. Many birth mothers share that they feel grateful they made the decision and are happy to be done with the process.
Carrying a baby for nine months, working out your adoption plan, and choosing adoptive parents for your child is an emotionally and physically exhausting experience. It makes sense that you feel a sense of relief after once your child is with the adoptive family you’ve chosen.
Every birth mother has her own unique feelings when she places her baby for adoption. You may feel some guilt or shame. This is normal, but you need to work through these feelings.
It helps to remember your “why.” Remember why you chose adoption in the first place. For many birth mothers, their “why” is that they knew they couldn’t take care of their child the way they wanted, so they chose to give them a future with a loving family. Be patient with yourself. It will take some time to heal.
Like you, Jenna chose to place her baby for adoption. She says that she found a way to relieve her guilt by writing a letter to her child. Here’s what she says,
“It helped writing to my daughter and her and her family, even if I didn’t send it to them. I’d write about my feelings of love, my dreams for her, why I was thinking of her, what I want her to know about me or my family… whatever was on my heart.”
Going through something as hard as placing your child for adoption can cause feelings of anger. You may want to blame someone for what you had to go through, even if it wasn’t their fault. You may be tempted to blame yourself, your baby’s father, or even your adoption professional.
It’s human nature to feel angry when life doesn’t go the way you want. Try to work through your anger in a healthy way. Talk to your adoption coordinator about how you’re feeling. They can help you.
One birth mom overcame her anger by focusing on what was good. Andi says, “Focus on the good. I thought about the reasons I chose this plan [adoption] and of all the things I gave my son through adoption. It helped knowing I would stay in touch with him and his adoptive family. I like knowing they think of me and that I’m a part of their lives. It’s like we’re a big extended family!”
As you work through many feelings after the adoption, one positive feeling you may experience is hope for your future. You’ll have hope for your child as you remain involved in their life through letters, emails, and even visits. Many adopted adults have great relationships with their birth mothers.
You’ll feel hopeful for your own future, knowing you can start again. Maybe you want to go back to college or move to another place. It’s really up to you how your new life will look.
Most of all, you’re not alone. Be sure to reach out for help from family, friends, or your adoption specialist. Latricia is a birth mother who placed her child in adoption. She encourages all birth mothers to ask for help:
“Sometimes I felt like I had to have all the answers. I learned to reach out before I felt overwhelmed. Speak up when you need information, a helping hand, or direction for the next step. People want to help.”
You’ve been through a lot. So give yourself some time to process. Make sure to take care of yourself, talk with a trusted friend or your adoption coordinator, and find ways to look for the good.
After the adoption, Lifetime continues to provide support to birth mothers. Communication and open dialogue are important. That’s why our birth mothers are assigned an adoption coordinator at the very beginning of the adoption process. This relationship will grow and flourish over time so that moms can feel comfortable sharing their feelings, thoughts, and concerns with their coordinator.
Of course, our counselors and peer support network are also available to discuss any concerns. We also have the ability to help plan post-adoption support, including referrals to scholarship programs.
Questions or concerns? Contact Lifetime Adoption today! As a domestic adoption agency, Lifetime is ready to help.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.
Well versed piece about birth mother grief. So often adoption articles and posts are focused on the joy that a longed-for baby brings to the adoptive family. This is the tail- side of that double sided coin. Thank you for showcasing loss and grief, one which never really leaves a birth mother.