Here are some things to remember when it comes to the adoption process.
Emotionally . . .
The adoption process is not for the weak. You will feel like you are on a roller coaster ride. Placing your child for adoption is one of the hardest, but also one of the most selfless, decisions you will ever have to make as a parent.
The above photo was NOT taken from the internet. That is me in the picture, holding my beautiful newborn daughter. Next to me on the table are the papers that will change both of our lives forever. The pain shown in this picture is excruciatingly real. This picture was taken at the exact moment in the hospital when it was my turn to sign the adoption papers. I took the pen, looked at my beautiful daughter, and said I couldn’t do it. No one in the room said a word. I wanted to take her and bolt out of the hospital, and not tell anyone where we were. After what seemed like a lifetime, and a long chat with my daughter, I signed the papers.
If you have the opportunity to pick your child’s adoptive parents, you will feel like you weigh the world on your shoulders. In a way, you do. Go with your gut. As hard of a decision as it is, when you know . . . you just know. You will waver throughout the process on whether or not they are the right parents, but you will already possess that “mom intuition.”
The pain of placing your child for adoption is like that of those that have been through a miscarriage. I say this, having experienced both. With both, you will always think about what could have been.
I wonder what type of relationship my child and I would’ve had. I wonder what it’d be like to do her hair every morning. I wonder what her favorite subject is in school. I wonder what she will do for a living. I wonder what type of person she will marry. I wonder if she will ever get married. Will she have kids? I wonder . . . !!! Depending on the type of adoption you have, you might not have to wonder.
The prospective adoptive parents will have worries as well. They will worry that you are going to back out of the adoption. They will worry that you may want their child back after the placement. They will worry if they will feel a parental connection with the baby. They, like any parent, will wonder if they will be good parents.
It’s normal for both adoptive and births parents to have concerns and doubts. It’s normal to want to take your child and just run. It’s all about open communication. Don’t be afraid to voice those concerns and doubts with the adoptive parents. You and the adoptive parents need to have clear boundary lines and trust. The feeling of loss, after placement, will get easier with time and healing. Having a good support system will help, and that includes the adoptive parents.
Do not let anyone make you feel ashamed of your decision to place your child for adoption. You are doing what you feel is the right choice for your child. You are also allowed to “grieve” in your own way. There are support groups to help birth mothers before, during, and after placement. Find one.
Logically . . .
During the adoption process, you will need to know what your rights are. You will want to know how your medical bills will get paid. You may want to know if you can spend any time with your child before the adoptive parents see him/her. You will need to decide whether or not you want to use an adoption agency or a private adoption attorney. Do you want an open, semi-open, or closed adoption? You will need to know the difference between all three.
The more questions you ask, the more informed you will be. No question is trivial. A good place to start is the internet. There are plenty of websites (like this one!) that can help you with questions that you may not have thought about. Use those websites as references, not as a “bible.” There is no one correct way to come up with a placement plan. You need a plan that works for you, your child, and the adoptive parents. Keep in mind, all adoption placements are unique.
Trust your instincts, use all the resources you can with the adoption process. The love you have for your child will also guide the choices you make. That love doesn’t end just because you are placing your child for adoption.
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.