How do you handle the grief and pain that comes after relinquishing your parental rights?
What to do after you’ve placed a child for adoption.
One of the most difficult times of the placement process is right after the adoption is finalized and your parental rights have been relinquished. For many birth parents, this is an emotionally dark time. Even in such a state, interacting with others is necessary to everyday life. Just basic interactions with others can be difficult because of the internal pain you’re feeling. It can be hard to worry about trivial things that people want to discuss. However, it’s even harder to talk about your feelings or your recent experience of placing your child with an adoptive family.
The first thing to remember is that it’s OK to mourn for your loss. There is nothing wrong with that. Actually, it’s healthy, normal, and encouraged. To pretend that you didn’t experience a loss isn’t going to help you in any way. In reality, it will hurt you. So, take the time you need to mourn. It’s the start of your healing process.
If you need help continuing the healing process, you have two basic options. The first is to join a support group specific to being a birth parent. You’ll find other men and women who are in your same situation and those who were once in your place. Both types of people will be helpful to you. Those who have experience in what you’re feeling can help you understand what you’re feeling and that it’s normal. They can give you hope and the knowledge that it does get better with time. They can be your examples of how to continue with the healing process. Those starting out with the healing process can be helpful to you also because you can support each other. Often times, when you help someone in need, you lift yourself as well. You’ll feel more enlivened and aware of the pain of others, which, in turn, helps you to better understand your own pain.
The second option for continuing your healing process is to regularly visit with a grief counselor. Grief counselors specializing in birth parent pain and healing are spread across the country. It won’t be easy to visit with a counselor and share your experiences and everything you’re feeling. You will feel raw and vulnerable, but this is necessary to the healing process. It’s important to deal with your grief instead of trying to hide or ignore it. The only way to do that is to confront it and then take the time to understand it. A grief counselor can help you do that.
While you will need to share your grief with support group members and your counselor, you don’t have to share you pain with others until you’re ready. This includes some family members, friends, or neighbors. Frankly, if you’re not ready to share, don’t. However, if you feel you’d like to involve your loved ones, you have that right. But never feel pressured to divulge details.
Throughout this journey, remember to take it a day at a time. It’s a process. Be patient and forgiving with yourself and your healing will continue to move forward. While the experience of you placing your child will always be saddening, it doesn’t have to be met with constant grief and pain. You can move forward while remembering your child and what you’ve been through. Remember, you deserve to be happy. Find that happiness and healing and hold on.