8 Decision to Make: Adoption After Pregnancy
An unplanned pregnancy really can shift your life in a direction you hadn’t anticipated. Your plans may be put on hold. You may be looking for support outside of your inner circle to help you during a time when no one seems to understand what you’re going through. If you’re now considering adoption, you may be looking ahead to know what life could look like after your pregnancy has played out and you’ve placed your baby for adoption.
Open or Closed Adoption
What is open adoption?
Open adoption is an open relationship where information is shared between the biological and adoptive parents of an adoptee. As a more common practice, open adoption allows for contact based on the needs and preferences of those in the adoption triad: the birth parent, the adoptive parent, and the adoptee. Every open adoption looks different. Some people prefer a relationship maintained through text, calls, social media, and letters. Others may want a yearly visit or a set schedule. The great thing about open adoptions is that, with good communication and healthy relationships, they can be flexible to everyone’s needs. This is something you should discuss with the hopeful adoptive parents and your case worker beforehand so you can set some realistic expectations for the future with your child.
What is a closed adoption?
Closed adoption is an older practice, but still one that is used in certain situations. In a closed adoption, identifying information (last names, phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth, etc.) about biological and adoptive parents are kept confidential between parties once the adoption is finalized. (A birth parent can still choose a family from a parent profile, but use a case worker as a go-between for contact throughout the adoption process). Some choose this route due to privacy, safety, or personal preference. In a closed adoption, contact is limited—perhaps until a pre-determined time (such as when the adoptee becomes an adult). Although names and contact information are not shared, medical history may be requested from the biological parent for the adoptee’s health records.
Counseling or Support Groups
You may choose to try both counseling and birth parent support groups. Social media has made it possible to do either online or easily find an in-person option.
How can counseling help me?
Counseling and therapy can be a great options for developing coping skills and processing the change the adoption process has introduced into your life. As someone who just experienced pregnancy and childbirth but is not currently parenting, your body will be undergoing some dramatic and, possibly, painful changes. As you physically adjust to a new normal, you’ll continue to mentally and emotionally process grief, loss, and other emotions that may come about from the adoption process. This is normal and your feelings are completely valid. Remember that you are not alone and that you can find support in both professional and social settings.
What kind of support groups can I join?
Support groups held online or in person are another great option for birth parents who are seeking community from those who have been through a similar process. While family and friends can be an amazing backbone for love during a difficult time, they may not understand exactly what you’re going through having never been through the process. Contact your adoption agency or attorney to ask about any mentor programs or support groups they may provide for birth parents like you.
Education or Career
Can I continue my education after I place my baby for adoption?
Plenty of birth parents choose to go back to school after placing a baby for adoption. Take as much time as you need to initially recover from childbirth and the adoption process. It will take a physical and emotional toll on you. You may consider easing back into the classroom with online or hybrid classes. If you feel comfortable doing so, you may want to share your adoption experience, privately, with your teachers or counselors. They may be able to support you in offering modifications as needed or help in connecting you with other students who may have similar experiences if you are interested.
How soon can I go back to work after placing my baby for adoption?
Pregnant and have questions? We can help answer your questions by telling us what works best for you.
As soon as you are ready, you may return to work after placing a baby for adoption. Talk to your employer about options for maternity leave before and after you give birth. You may choose to share your adoption plans privately with your employer. Returning to work may be emotional—especially if everyone is asking about your baby. You can prepare for this by kindly asking for privacy during this time while you may be grieving and emotionally processing. If you are looking to change jobs post-pregnancy, talk to your adoption agency about any support they can offer in your job search.
Advocacy or Privacy
How can I use my voice as a birth parent?
Some birth parents cope with post-adoption life by sharing their stories, becoming an advocate in the adoption community, and educating others about their experiences. If this is something you are interested in, speak to your caseworker, adoption mentor, or support group about opportunities to get involved. Remember, you are not obligated to share your experiences. Likewise, if sharing your voice is a healthy and helpful way to process your feelings during this time, you are completely valid in doing so.
What if I don’t want to talk about it?
Choosing to keep your adoption private is also a completely valid decision. Adoption is an emotionally exhausting process for everyone involved. You are not expected to pick your life up and snap back to normal with a story to share around the dinner table. While privately sharing your experience with your inner circle, leaders, or acquaintances may come to be necessary to receive the support you need—you absolutely do not owe anybody an explanation about your experience, your choices, or your plans. A simple, “I’d prefer not to talk about this right now.” is all you need.
8 Decision to Make: Adoption After Pregnancy
<em>Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit <a href="https://adoption.com/support/">Adoption.com/support</a> or call <a href="tel:1-800-23678-98">1-800-ADOPT-98.</a><em>