The term “give up” a baby for adoption comes with a lot of negative connotations. Instead, use a more positive term, placed, for adoption.
“Give Up” a Child for Adoption
Why children are "placed" for adoption and what is really "given up."
I had a hard time when people would compare the loss of a child to adoption. I would get pretty upset because I was with families all of the time who had lost their child (I volunteered to take pictures of stillborn babies at the hospitals). What these families wouldn't GIVE to see their child again, see them breathe, watch them grow up, etc. I felt like it wasn't the same at all. Then I discovered adoption wasn't really about the loss of the child, but the loss of so many other things. Everyone grows up with a dream about how their life will go. When it doesn't go the way we planned it, we have to give up that dream and create another one.
As a birth mother, you give up the opportunity to be that child's mother. You give up watching so many firsts, seeing that child everyday, etc. You give up your dream about how your life was supposed to be. Everyone's story is different, but everyone gives up opportunities that come with being a mother to that child. (This also applies to birth fathers and birth families as well).
As an adoptive mother, you have to give up on the dream of having a biological child. You give up feeling that baby move and grow inside you, watching them be born from you and, when you see them, seeing all of those physical characteristics that just look like you and instantly bond you as their parent. You give up being the only mother in this child's life and will forever share that with another woman. I don't mean co-parenting, but I do mean that that birth mother is forever in your thoughts, even in a closed adoption, when your child does anything. This also applies to adoptive fathers and families.
Whenever my daughter does something funny, says a new word, etc., I always think about her birth mother and how I need to tell her about it and record it for her. There is NEVER a day where she isn't part of my thoughts, and to be very honest, sometimes that is hard. Adoption is hard. Sometimes I want to be selfish and just enjoy moments without having to share them or feel like I should. I give that up pretty quickly, though, because I do love her birth mother so much and want to share it with her. I think one of the hardest things about adoption is that the things you give up are forever. You will forever be giving up things that weren't in your perfect dream life. But by giving these things up, you grow and change in ways you never thought possible. You find out that you can love more than you ever thought you could and more people than you thought you could.
On both sides of adoption, there is a lot of "giving up." I don't like the term when talking about the child because no one, on either side, is "giving up" on this child. They had to give up a lot of dreams they had, but because they choose to give them up, they are GIVING this child so much more.
As a birth mother, you GIVE life. You GIVE that child a family. You GIVE unconditional love. You GIVE part of your heart, which will never feel whole. You GIVE another mother a part of her heart that was always missing.
As an adoptive mother, you GIVE unconditional love. You GIVE part of your heart to another mother. You GIVE a family and a life for this child. So in adoption, although there were a lot of things you had to give up, please NEVER GIVE UP.
Terra Cooper is a Staff Storyteller at Adoption.com. She is a mother of three-- two boys and one girl who was adopted. She is also a professional wedding photographer, a self-proclaimed foodie, and a TV/movie addict. Visit her website.
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