Right now, you might be struggling with getting back to your everyday life after placement. You may be surprised by the emotions that you’re feeling. Even if you know deep down that adoption was the right decision, it’s still very common to have feelings of grief and loss after placing a baby for adoption. Coping with your emotions and adjusting to your new life is going to take time, and it won’t always be easy, but everything will be okay. If you’re looking for advice on what to do next, here are five things that you can do after placing a baby for adoption.
1. Be Compassionate with Yourself
Placing a baby for adoption is an incredibly hard decision to make — so it’s important to be patient with yourself as you’re coping. You’ve made the hardest choice that any mother could make for her child, and you may be feeling intense guilt, anger, and sadness as you move through the different stages of grief. These feelings are completely normal, and you may not feel them all at once or in any particular order. It also doesn’t mean that you’re a bad mother for choosing adoption, or that you “gave up” on your child. You did everything you could to give them their best life.
It’s going to be hard, but taking care of yourself and checking in on your emotional needs is going to be one of the best things you can do. Part of that means making sure that you’re getting the right amount of sleep, exercising when you can and eating right, but it’s also important that you don’t suppress what you’re feeling. You shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself or your emotions.
2. Talk to Your Adoption Counselor
Even though it’s hard to ask for help, there may be times after placement where you really need it. You can take as long as you need to process your feelings, and you should never feel like you need to “get over it.” It’s going to be hard, but your adoption counselor can help. It’s never too late to reach out to them, even after the adoption is over. Your adoption specialist is still available 24/7 whenever you have any questions or if you just need someone to talk to as you’re finding new ways to cope. No matter what, they are always there for you. You might also consider who specializes in adoption and can also give you some advice and recommendations for what you’re going through.
3. Reach Out to Friends and Family
The pain that you’re feeling makes it easy to withdraw into yourself — but it’s incredibly important that you spend time with the people who love and cherish you. Your friends and family may not understand everything you’re going through at this moment, but you shouldn’t tell yourself that they don’t want to listen. Your relationships can be a source of comfort, so remember to nurture them.
4. Start a New Hobby
One of the best things that you can do during this transition is to throw yourself into something new. If there’s something new that you’ve always wanted to try, this is the perfect time to try it out. You can also pick up some of your old hobbies as well if you’ve had a hard time getting back into them after your adoption. Another way to help take your mind off of the adoption is to work towards a new goal. This is a new chapter in your life, and you get to decide how you define it. Whether you decide to finish your education or apply to your dream school, embark on a new career path, or make another big life change like traveling or moving to a state you’ve always wanted to live in, you can make the changes that you want to see in your life.
5. Share Your Adoption Story
Sharing your adoption story can be a source of healing, and it may be easier to work through your feelings if you write them down. Sharing your adoption story also means that you can meet other birth mothers who exactly what you’re going through, and you may even inspire other prospective birth mothers who are just starting the adoption process. Your voice matters, and you should feel confident in sharing your experience.
Adoption is a life‐changing decision, and it will always stay with you. Feelings of grief and loss may come in waves, and you may always have some difficult feelings about your adoption decision. Always remember that these feelings are normal and that you should never feel ashamed of what you’re experiencing. Even though your life won’t be the same after adoption, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to heal. Coming to terms with your adoption decision is a life‐long journey, and your feelings can come and go in waves. There are many people — like your friends, family, and your adoption specialist — that you can always reach out to when things get to hard. No matter how you’re feeling, there are plenty of people ready to support you.