Regardless of which side of the adoption process you’re on — whether you’re hoping to adopt or considering an adoption plan for your baby — it comes with a lot of complicated feelings. In fact, adoption will probably be one of the most emotional experiences of your life.
Everyone’s journey is different, and it’s impossible to truly prepare for all of the ups and downs you might experience during the adoption process. However, there are some steps you can take right now to be more prepared for the emotions ahead.
1. Learn as much as you can.
Knowledge is power. Knowing what to expect during the adoption process can help calm your fears, temper your expectations and make you feel more confident in your decision to adopt or place a baby for adoption.
For adoptive parents, knowing what to expect during the home study and your finalization hearing can help you reduce your stress. Having realistic expectations about your estimated wait time, the possibility of an adoption disruption, and all of the joys and challenges of adopting and raising adopted children can calm your nerves and lead to a more positive experience.
For expectant parents, learning all you can about your rights, options and choices in the adoption process can be empowering and reassuring. Learning about the emotions to expect during and after placement can help you feel more “normal” during your healing process and bring you closer to acceptance.
Whether you’re in the middle of your adoption process or still trying to determine whether adoption is right for you, educating yourself about what comes next may be the best thing you can do to feel emotionally prepared. And one of the best ways to learn about adoption is by talking to those who have lived it, as we’ll discuss below.
2. Build an adoption support system.
You are going to experience complicated emotions during this process — but you don’t have to face them alone. Building a solid team of supportive friends, family members and professionals can make you feel a lot more prepared for the emotions of adoption and give you someone to lean on in times of need.
Here are a few suggestions for finding the emotional support you need, whether you’re a prospective birth mother or adoptive parent:
- Establish a support system of trusted friends and family members
- Join an adoption support group to connect with other birth and adoptive parents
- Talk to your adoption specialist or call 1-800-ADOPTION
Remember, every prospective birth mother and adoptive family that works with American Adoptions will have their own adoption specialist to lean on throughout this process. This person will answer your questions and be your guide through every step of your adoption journey, but they are also there to provide any emotional support you need. If you are a pregnant woman considering adoption, you can get immediate, free counseling 24/7 by calling 1-800-ADOPTION any time.
3. Remember your “why.”
When you are fully committed to your adoption decision, you’ll be more prepared for all of the highs and lows in your adoption journey and be able to address them in a positive manner.
Remember your end goal and your reasons for choosing adoption: If you are pregnant, you want to provide the best possible future for yourself and your baby, and if you are adopting, you are finally on your way to having the family you’ve always wanted.
There may be challenging moments in your adoption journey, but remember why you started. If it’s helpful for you, you can even write those “whys” down and keep them somewhere visible to give you the encouragement and reminder you need that it will all be worth it in the end.
To learn more about the emotions of adoption and how you can prepare, talk to your adoption specialist. If you have questions about preparing for adoption and whether it’s right for you, call 1-800-ADOPTION now or request free information online.