When you become a birth parent, your life changes forever. Placing a child for adoption is one of the most heart-wrenching decisions a person could ever make, and it changes who you are as a person. While birth parents do have to overcome a great deal of sadness and loss after their decision, they also gain a few unique strengths that only come from making this difficult choice.

Of course, every birth parent is different. But, in our experience, there are a few characteristics that many birth parents develop when they pursue the adoption process. We’ve listed them below:

1. Bravery

Above anything else, a birth parent has to be brave to make their adoption decision. They may be scared of placing their child for adoption up until they sign consent papers but, in the act of doing so, they show just how much bravery they have. It takes a lot of strength to make this decision for your child, and it’s a courageous choice, regardless of personal circumstances.

2. Selflessness

Placing a child for adoption requires a birth parent to put their child’s needs above their own. It’s only natural for a birth parent to want to parent their child and show them all the love they have, but it takes more than love to safely and successfully raise a child. When a birth parent chooses adoption, they make the selfless decision to do what is best for their baby, no matter how desperately they wish things could be different.

3. A Sense of Perspective

Adoption is often the hardest decision a birth parent will ever make. In turn, any life challenges experienced after this journey cannot compare. Moving forward, a birth parent is able to view those challenges (however big or small) with a sense of perspective. The right decision may be hard, like their adoption decision was, but if it’s the best solution for all involved, it is the path that must be taken.

4. An Open Mind

Birth parents may or may not have a strict set of characteristics in mind when it comes to their child’s adoptive family. They may have a set idea of what their adoption journey will look like. However, adoption is a process full of moving parts, and things may not always go as planned. Along the way, birth parents learn to keep an open mind — and may even find that things turn out better than they had ever thought.

5. Respect

Adoption is not co-parenting. While it can be hard for some birth parents to accept that, when they do, they also learn to respect their child’s adoptive parents. They may disagree with certain parenting decisions made through their child’s upbringing, but birth parents must allow adoptive parents to make what they see as the best decisions for their child.

6. Positive Outlook on Life

When a birth parent chooses adoption, it’s because they see a more positive future — for them and for their child — by doing so. It’s hard to accept an adoption decision without a certain degree of optimism and, often, birth parents carry that optimism with them through the rest of their lives.

7. A Sense of Commitment

When a birth parent chooses an open adoption, they don’t know what their personal future holds for them — but they have committed themselves to being there for their birth child in the years to come. A birth parent always has the right to choose how much and what kind of contact they share with the adoptive parents, but, by choosing any degree of openness, they recognize that their child may need them in the future.

Adoption is not a journey you can just give up on or forget about; it’s a lifelong commitment, whatever your post-placement relationship may look like.

8. Comprehension of Complex Situations

Adoption is complicated. It often requires all members of the triad to reevaluate their personal desires and preferences to develop a relationship that works for all involved. Birth parents are no exception. Many have never completed the adoption process before, so they have to learn a lot and look at the process from different perspectives before moving forward. These are skills they carry through the rest of their lives, for whatever complicated situations may come their way.

9. Ability to Trust

Placing a child for adoption involves a leap of faith — trusting that the adoptive parents will keep their word on their open adoption relationship and provide the kind of life a birth parent wants for their child. Sure, adoptive parents must prove their ability to safely parent and raise a child but, at the end of the process, a birth parent has to have an inherent amount of trust in someone who they’ve just recently met.

10. An Increased Capability to Love

The love a birth parent has for their child is unlike anything else. It’s special; while they may not be raising the child in their own home, they will think about that child every single day and wish only the best for them. They may go on to parent other children, but this doesn’t diminish what they feel for their birth child (and the love they have for their child’s adoptive parents, too).

After all, adoption is love, and the process often teaches birth parents that they have a greater capability to love than they could have ever imagined.

What strengths has being a birth parent given you? Let us know in the comments!

You can also read about adoptee strengths here and adoptive parent strengths here.