My name is Lauren. Several years ago, I found myself pregnant and without support. I was in school and not involved with the father of the child. My family was going through their own difficulties and could not help me raise a baby. After much soul-searching and exploring several options, I decided to place my son for adoption via Adoption ARC. Adoption has been a good choice for me as I know my son in an excellent stable home and loved dearly. I was able to
Speak with someone who is knowledgeable about the subject. (Sometimes speaking with friends or family members who are not familiar or knowledgeable about adoption may not provide factual, reality- based information which can lead to a poor decision.) I would suggest a licensed adoption agency with an experienced social worker. You may also speak with someone who has placed for adoption and someone who is your age who is parenting a child to hear their experiences.
Surround yourself with positive people who will support you regardless of your decision. (It is very important that whatever decision you make, you should feel supported and respected by those whom you trust.)
Truly think about the dedication involved in raising a child. Are you in a position to make this very important commitment now? Will you be ready in 5 years? 10 years?
Consider the environment in which you live. Is this a positive, healthy place to raise your child and to provide for his or her well-being and success?
Consider the relationships in your life currently. Are these relationships healthy? If not, do you see them changing in the near future?
Think about the people involved in your life right now. Do you think that they would be willing and able to assist you with the care of your baby? More importantly, do you think that they would be appropriate to assist you in this way.
Prepare yourself for feelings of grief and loss after placement. While adoption is a good option, it is painful and you will experience loss. Some people opt for openness or open adoption and there is some on going contact. This can be helpful but you are not co-parenting and you need to prepare yourself by speaking with your counselor.
There are many people who can help you and many ways that you can come to the right decision, but you are the only person who can make this important choice. Know that adoption is not giving up or taking the “easy way out.” It is a mature and healthy option and by considering this choice, you are clearly weighing very realistic and appropriate options. You are courageous and selfless in putting your baby first.
HOW CAN YOU COPE AFTER MAKING THE DECISION TO PLACE YOUR BABY FOR ADOPTION?
Talk to someone your trust, love and respect. Look for someone who does not pass judgment but can understand your choice. You can also speak to your counselor anytime about these feelings and emotions. At Adoption ARC, your services are free of charge for life before, during and after placement.
You may feel remorseful, shameful or guilty. This is natural and you should allow yourself to feel these feelings, but know that you placed the baby with people who could provide all the love and support that you could not offer at this time. Your child is well taken care of. The families are all screened thoroughly and must go through rigorous assessments to become parents. Just like you, they did not make this decision lightly. There is no shame is finding loving parents for your child.
You can expect to feel extreme sadness much like when someone you love would pass away. These are feelings of grief and loss. They are also very normal and again I would strongly suggest that you allow yourself time to feel this sadness but also speak to friends and family that are supportive and always reach out to your counselor.
If your sadness causes you to you feel like you may hurt yourself, then you need to get help immediately. Please call 9-1-1. Just as when you are parenting, you can go through post partum depression.
You may feel tired, irritable and angry as well. This is not an easy process and not only are you dealing with hormones relating to childbirth, but you are also physically tired from the delivery and the emotional experience of placement.
It is ok to cry and feel sad. Anybody that tells you that this is a happy experience for you is not being truthful. However, just because something is painful does not mean it is not the right thing to do. Give yourself time to grieve and heal.
Try to do things that you enjoyed prior to the placement such as cooking, reading, singing, sports or hanging out with friends and family.
Write down your feelings in a journal or write a poem or song. This is a great way to get out your emotions on paper and a great release.
Sometimes getting back involved with others is a good way to get through your own grief such as volunteering in your church or with the elderly or young people.
Ask the agency to connect you with other birth mothers who have placed for adoption so that you can support each other.
There may be time of the year or milestones which trigger your sadness and grief such as the baby’s birthday, mother’s day or Christmas. Again, this is totally normal. Make sure that you take time to celebrate those times but also take some time to maybe write the baby a letter and send it to the agency or keep it until he or she is older. Allow yourself the time and space to grieve during these times.
Take time to remind yourself as to why you made this decision and envision that you have given your child a life that you wanted for him ot her, free of some of the struggles you envisioned. Now, remember some of your goals. Was it to provide more for the children you are already parenting? Do you want to finish school or go back to school to obtain a specific job? Are you working on getting more hours and a promotion at work? Those are all admirable goals and it is almost impossible to be a good parent if you are not yet done meeting your own goals.
Do not expect support from those who are unsupportive. Stay away from them. They could exacerbate your feeling of sadness and that is not healthy for you. Remind yourself of these goals and work toward them every day so that you can make this adoption decision count. Your child will want to know that his or her birth parent is well and it will enhance his or her own self esteem, as well as yours.
Ask your adoption counselor to refer you to an outside counselor if you feel and want to work on issues above and beyond the adoption. There is no shame in becoming a healthier person and learning new coping skills. They will last you a lifetime.
Finally, love yourself and pamper yourself. Your child will always be your child and they want to see you happy and healthy. You gave them life and provided the ultimate gift and sacrifice. You are extraordinary and strong. You deserve to be loved and happy.
As I approached my first Mother’s Day after placing my son, the Social Work Supervisor at Adoption ARC wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. I was surprised as I did not have my child with me, but in my heart I knew that I would always be his mother. I just didn’t know that I would be respected or viewed as a mother since I placed my son for adoption. With her kind words, my counselor let me know that I am truly an important, deserving mother. I can not thank her enough for that. Sometimes, placing for adoption is the most difficult parental decision you will make.