It’s normal to have lots of mixed feelings after you make an adoption plan for your child. Many birth parents get a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that their child is living with parents who love and provide for them. They feel empowered as birth parents because their adoption decision helped provide their child with a good life.
Some birth parents come to find that the sense of loss is deeper than they expected. It’s totally normal to feel sad after the adoption is complete, or to feel reassured and relieved. Having various feelings is very common, and your feelings might get complicated for a bit.
As you think about adoption for your baby, know that you’re not alone. Many women have been where you are right now. Keep reading to see what birth mothers have said adoption was like for them!
It can really help to see things from the perspective of a woman who has already chosen adoption. Hearing from her can help you know what to expect during the process. One of the best ways to learn about open adoption is to learn from women who have created an adoption plan for a child.
All names and identifying information have been removed for privacy reasons.
What’s It Like to Place Your Baby for Adoption?
“As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew I couldn’t give my baby the kind of life that I wanted to. My boyfriend and I were both going to college full-time and I quickly realized that we couldn’t become parents right then. How would we afford everything a baby needs when we were only working part-time at two work-study jobs?!
While it was challenging to choose adoption, it has honestly been the most rewarding experience of my life. I was able to continue with my college plans and goals while at the same time giving my son two loving parents who are financially stable and responsible. Adoption let me give my son the BEST life possible!“
“When I got pregnant again, I couldn’t afford to be a mom to yet another child. I wanted this baby to have a good life with every opportunity she could get. So, I ended up making an open adoption plan because I needed to know what was going on in my baby’s life and how she’s doing. I love that I have the ability to keep in contact with my daughter throughout her life! I feel secure knowing that she’s being well taken care of.”
“I knew I wanted to have visits…The adoptive couple knew that they were going to raise their daughter to know that she was adopted and to know the blessing of adoption. It’s great for a child to know! I didn’t want there to be any awkwardness as she got older and was asking ‘where’s my birth mom?’ She’s growing up knowing who I am, so she won’t have those questions.”
“My Adoption Coordinator and I talked about adoption and what I wanted. I still wanted to be in my child’s life if at all possible. She said that what I was asking for was very much possible and that I could be picky about who I would choose to raise my child. It was then that I made the decision to put my baby up for adoption. The adoptive mom was next to me and my best friend on the other side during labor! I handed my firstborn and most precious gift to another woman, trusting that she will care for and love her unconditionally, and she doesn’t take that for granted.
The night I signed off my parental rights was very emotional. I held my daughter the entire time and told her how much I loved her. I told her I was doing what was best for her and that one day she would understand. When I got to the last paper, I stopped and stared at my baby to make sure this was what really needed to be done. I was going back and forth in my head for what seemed like forever, but it was just a couple of minutes. I signed. I was mad with myself for not being able to take care of my child. If I’m honest, I was mad at God too, for giving me such a perfect gift just for it to be taken away.
I chose adoption for my baby because she deserved everything, and I wanted her to have the best life possible. I made that decision because I trust the adoptive couple I chose to be the parents my daughter needed them to be.”
Getting the Support You Need
Talking with a licensed counselor with adoption experience can give you support and help you work through your emotions. Another way to get the support you need is by talking with others who’ve been through adoption.
Lifetime Adoption encourages such counseling both during and after the adoption process. At no cost to you, we will connect you with a licensed, third-party therapist. By “third-party,” we mean that this counselor has no personal interest in whether or not you follow through with adoption. She is there to help you sort through the range of emotions you might be dealing with.
Peer support is also available to you, for free. In a peer support session, you’ll be chatting with another woman who chose adoption. She can tell you what to expect as you get closer to your baby’s birth because she’s been where you are right now. Learn more about Lifetime’s Peer Support Program at LifetimeAdoption.com.
Lifetime Adoption is here to give you all the information you need about adoption, so that you can make an informed decision about your pregnancy. We want you to know that you have choices and rights with open adoption.
No matter if you decide to do adoption or not, it’s important to find those who will support you during and after your pregnancy and adoption planning.
Reach out to Lifetime Adoption for judgement-free support anytime
by texting or calling 1-800-923-6784.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 28, 2017, and has since been updated.
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.