It’s totally normal to grieve after your adoption plan for your child happens, and he or she is with their adoptive family. Here’s a general timeline of what you might expect in the first year after placement; you may recover more quickly or it may take longer. No two grieving processes are the same.
The First Few Days
• You might cry every day, and that’s OK
• You think a lot about your baby missing you
• You ache for your baby to be in your arms
• Anxiety about whether your baby’s OK
• Post-partum depression
By a Month and a Half
• Anything will make you start tearing up
• You might feel like drinking or doing drugs, to dull your pain
• Second thoughts about placing your baby for adoption and whether the adoptive couple you chose can be trusted
• Depression, heaviness, and feeling tired
• Trying to move forward with your life, but forgetting why you chose adoption
• Feeling proud of yourself for doing adoption and start to think you will make it
By Three Months
• Thinking about your baby often, but with less sadness
• Starting to feel hopeful about your future
• As you near the time last year that you got pregnant, it might bring back feelings of hopelessness
By Six Months
• You might find that a whole day goes by without thinking about your baby…you might wonder if you’re forgetting about her
• You’re adjusting to the fact of the adoption placement
A Year After Placement
• May feel regret, sadness, and/or anger at a level you didn’t expect
• When your baby’s first birthday arrives, you’ll recall all you’ve gone through
• Becoming more conscious that your life will never be the same
• Starting to get your life “back on track” and thinking about your future
Lifetime Adoption offers counseling from an independent counselor and/or peer counseling, no matter where you’re at in your adoption journey. We strongly encourage you to take advantage of counseling after you place your baby for adoption. It’ll bring up a lot of emotions that you weren’t expecting, so it may really help you to talk to somebody. Speaking with a women who’s made an adoption plan before and “been through it” can help you learn what to anticipate with your recovery.
Receiving emails and photos from the adoptive couple may also help you. With an open adoption plan, you’re able to get updates on your child as they grow up and even visit in person with them if you want to. The amount of contact that you have with the adoptive family is something your Adoption Coordinator can help you discuss. Lifetime recommends that you exchange photos and emails with them if you feel comfortable with it and it’s something you need. Some birth mothers don’t want to hear from the adoptive family right after placement but decide later on they need to see how their child is doing. Others want photos and emails right away but then contact reduces later. It’s up to you—again, no two healing and grieving processes are the same.
Please call us Lifetime Adoption at 1-800-923-6784 if you have questions, need counseling, or even just if you need to talk.
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.