5 Things I Learned After Placing My Daughter

I was surprised by these life lessons.

Ann Owen September 04, 2014
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1. You can sign away your rights, but you can’t sign away your biology.

Despite the fact that I signed away the parental rights to my second child, Sarah still has a connection to me that no legality can ever remove. I gave her the gift of life and also the gift of her amazing parents, and she is half of me. I will always think of her as one of the two best things I ever did.

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2. It’s possible to love your child’s parents as much as you do the child involved.

I never dreamed when I met Karen that she would become the sister I never had. We have become so close over the last few years that she’s the first person I talk to about practically everything, and it’s not possible for me to adore her any more than I do. Placing my daughter for adoption gave me one of the best friends I could ever hope for!

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3. Sometimes the hardest things you go through in life are what define you in the end.

My adoption was full of not only adversity and pain, but also grace and redemption. Despite the immense pain I felt after placement, the joy and pride I have in Sarah far outweigh the sadness.

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4. I didn’t know I would feel so judged.

I’m clearly very open with my story, and I honestly never know how people are going to react. I’ve noticed that I’m usually put in 1 of 3 categories. First is the heroine reaction. This involves hearing how I’m SO brave and strong, and how they could NEVER do it. Next is the victim reaction. This is essentially a pity party for me, as the person assumes my life is ruined now and I must be a miserable wreck. Lastly is my least favorite. I’m met with disdain and cast in the role of the villain. I must be a HORRIBLE person to just give my baby away to strangers. Sometimes it’s the fact that I still call her my daughter that offends people. I was told the other day that I didn’t deserve to refer to her as my baby–the woman who is raising her is her only mother, and not me.

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5. It’s possible for a child to have and love two mothers.

Although we have very different relationships with her, we are BOTH her mothers. I created her within myself, and Karen has the joy of taking care of her every day. I spent agonizing months fighting with Sarah’s birth father and making the hardest decision of my life. . . Karen has to deal with the massive temper tantrums my mini-me is capable of. I went through the pain of childbirth and then handed my perfect creation to another woman, and in return she respects and understands the connection between Sarah and me and is graceful enough to share. We both love this incredibly bright, dramatic whirlwind of energy, and we keep her at the center of the adoption. It’s always been about what’s best for her.

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Ann Owen

Ann Owen is the mother of an 11-year-old girl she parents--and also of a 3 1/2-year-old girl she lovingly placed in a very open adoption. As well as writing, she enjoys singing in her free time, and is classically trained in opera. Currently she is working on a book with her best friend (who happens to be the mother of her youngest child) on the benefits of open adoption.


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