Adoption and Grief

Make no mistake about it. Adoption is a beautiful thing. It is a committed couple offering love and family to a child they’ve hoped and worked for. It is brave birth parents deciding that they want to place their child with a different family. And most importantly, it is the connection between these lives—two sets of parents coming together to provide the very best for their child. But, like all the best things in life, adoption requires blood, sweat, and tears. So today, let’s talk about another thing that adoption is.

Adoption is hard.

It’s hard for birth parents.

It’s hard for birth parents to choose the different opportunities their baby would have in someone else’s arms. The birth mother carried her baby (wriggling) under her heart for nine months, and her baby was born with a sweet little nose and toes and fingers and shining eyes. Then she leaves the hospital without a baby. Birth parents often find themselves questioning and wondering what might have been. Many of them carry that loss with them for the rest of their lives.

It’s hard for adoptive parents.

It’s hard for adoptive parents who go through months, sometimes years, of waiting for a child of their own. They allow hope, in all her indomitable glory, to rise up again and again, only to be crushed repeatedly by incomplete adoptions. They go through those temerous first days with a new infant, almost afraid to love, terrified that this joy, too, will be lost.

“Adoption is not for the faint of heart,” Jennifer Gillmore wrote for The Atlantic. She should know. It took her four long years of connections with potential birth mothers—including an incident where she and her husband parented a child for several weeks until the birth father claimed his parental rights—before she was finally able to complete an adoption.

It’s two sides of the same coin.

Often, in our minds, we put birth parents and adoptive parents into different camps, believing that their experiences are very different from one another’s. This is simply untrue. Rather, their experiences are two sides of the same coin. Their struggles and hurt and loss and grief come at different times, but they come together to create the resplendent miracle that we call adoption.

People within adoption circles often quote birth mother Desha Woods who said: “He is mine in a way that he will never be hers; yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine—and so together, we are motherhood.” Birth parents and adoptive parents are inextricably entwined in the arms of love they’ve both extended to their child. But let’s not forget that they are also silently united by the pains of grief as well. Denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and, at long last, acceptance—these are landmarks that both birth and adoptive parents pass as they walk the path of adoption. At the end of the path, there is love.

And love always wins.

 

Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.

Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Do you want more choices with your adoption plan? Do you want to regain more control in your life? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98. We can help you put together an adoption plan that best meets your needs.