Adoption is an emotional rollercoaster for all involved, but the unique emotions that birth parents feel after placing their child for adoption is something that only those in this situation can understand. Feelings of grief and loss are very normal, as well as joy and relief that your child has been placed with the perfect adoptive family. When all these emotions combine, it can be an incredibly confusing time in a birth parent’s life.
While our specialists are always available to provide free emotional counseling to birth parents before, during and after an adoption is complete, we also understand that the healing process after you place your child for adoption is a personal one. Your grieving and healing process can take as long or as short as you need; there is no “right” way to cope with the complexities of your adoption decision.
As you begin the healing process after placing your child for adoption, consider these steps to help you move forward:
1. Take the time to feel your emotions.
While it can be tempting to bottle your emotions inside rather than deal with the difficulty of confronting them, ignoring your emotions as a birth parent can be incredibly harmful to your physical and mental health. Instead, take the time to feel what you are feeling. Don’t be afraid to cry, vent or even just lock yourself away from the world for a while. Only after you face these challenging emotions can you move closer to putting them behind you.
2. Speak with a professional.
Trained counselors can always guide you through the emotions you’re feeling and provide the support you may need. Unlike a loved one or family member who is directly impacted by your choice, a licensed professional can provide support that is non-judgmental and objective. Sometimes, you need someone who is experienced in the healthiest ways of dealing with grief to listen to you and give you suggestions without pushing you to do something you don’t wish to.
Remember, the adoption counselors at American Adoptions are always able to counsel you through your adoption process for free. Please call 1-800-ADOPTION today for professional, 24/7 support.
3. Pamper yourself.
Grief and loss are exhausting emotions to go through, and you shouldn’t have to feel burdened by them 24 hours a day. It’s okay to have periods of forgetting your grief or feeling “normal” again; it’s doesn’t mean you’re a bad birth mother. In fact, taking the time for yourself can help you heal from your adoption placement, rather than focusing on the difficult emotions all the time.
You may consider taking a bubble bath and watching your favorite movie, treating yourself to your favorite meal, or just spending all day in bed reading a book. You made a choice that many people wouldn’t be brave enough to make, and you deserve some time to support yourself for that decision.
4. Spend time with loved ones.
If you need time for yourself during your grieving process, take it. But it may be beneficial to also spend time with close friends and family who were supportive of your decision. While you may feel like you’ve “lost” one member of your family, remember that you have many others who love you dearly and want you to be happy. Whether you choose to talk about your adoption or not with them, being around loved ones can remind you that you are not alone and that there are people who will support you through the difficult times in your life.
5. Remember that being a birth parent is a lifelong journey.
Placing your child for adoption is not something that you “just get over.” Your adoption decision will shape the rest of your life, whether or not you have an open adoption relationship with your son or daughter. While the initial pain of your grief and loss will fade over time, it’s normal for it to reemerge unexpectedly when something in your life triggers it.
Your emotions as a birth parent never completely go away, and that’s okay. Your identity as a birth parent is an important part of who you are, and it’s something to be proud of.
When you place your baby for adoption with American Adoptions, your adoption specialist will be available to you months and even years after your placement — to counsel you through any new or old emotions that emerge as you grow into your new identity as a loving and selfless birth parent.
I just placed my baby boy out for adoption I really miss him even though it is an open one.
Hi, Miracle — We know healing after an adoption placement can be hard. You can always call our adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION to get connected with local resources to aid you in your healing process. Our thoughts are with you during this time.
I placed my beautiful baby boy two days ago.I have been on a emotional rollercoaster.I replay our time together in my head.Look at all his pictures and videos that took while he was with me those beautiful yet hard 48 hours.After I got home my pain was immense.Crying wanting to hold him.My adoption is also open so I have heard from his parents and seen pictures of him already.This is going to be a very long healing process.I really miss my baby.
I know I have been trying so hard tho. But when I see him I am always full of emotions
If there is any consullation … The adoptees hurt too.
I talk daily to them in a support group.
We feel the pain of the loss too.
That’s our connection that’s broken not just yours.
It’s severe. It’s lifelong and no one has a real cure.
Just as some if you that have children who may on day reject you, many of us like myself have birth parents that reject us too.
I loved my parents both sets. They are equally important.
I placed my daughter 16 years ago. It’s an open adoption, she and I speak and text, I’ve always sent cloths and things she may need for birthdays and holidays. I give her time when she wants it and offer advice if she asks. She’s a straight A student, she’s loved by many and super super cute :0). She asked me to come to her sweet 16. I went, and ate pizza and laughed and talked with everyone. It’s still hard, everyday there is a new level of awakening about what I have actually lost. But for the most part this is what has come of it. I am a friend to her, I listen, I come when called, I answer when asked, and Hug when needed. That’s about as good as it can get I guess. I never moved on, or had other kids. It’s probably best for those who are in open adoptions to just move on. Live your life, love someone, enjoy the sunshine, keep moving. Build a life that will make your child proud to know you one day. That’s all that can be done. That’s the most that can be salvaged. It’s more than you realize, it’s a small gift. But good things come in small packages.
I gave up my baby boy yesterday. It was the hardest thing I had to do. I been laying in bed thinking and crying he should be here with me and his older siblings who don’t know he exists. I am a single mom of 3. He would be my start over baby. My last child is 13 and I know in my heart she would have been the best big sister to him. My living situation isn’t really the best. I know he is with a loving family who will give him the things I can’t. My emotions are all over the place at the moment. Will time ever heal the hole I am currently feeling. My adoption agent says it’s okay to feel the way I feel. I love my son just as much as I love his siblings but I don’t want him growing up seeing me struggle financially to provide for all my children. We are going to do open adoption and I know I will be able to get updates and see him on special occasions but nothing beats holding him in your arms everyday and telling him how much you love him. I want to get back to me and feel whole again. As the days ago by will this get any easier?
Hi, Kat — Most birth parents say that while the loss of a child never goes away, it does become more bearable as time goes by. If you haven’t already, you should consider connecting with other birth parents through support groups. They can empathize with your feelings and give you the best advice for moving forward. You can find some support groups on this list: https://birthmotherthoughts.com/life-after-adoption/birth-parent-support-groups-and-resources/ You can also search Facebook for some helpful birth parent groups. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.