How To Heal Strained Family Relations After You Place

Whenever you have a big personal decision to make, there will almost always be people who disagree with your choice.

Lindsey Olsen July 02, 2017
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Whenever you have a big personal decision to make, there will almost always be people who disagree with your choice. This may result in strained or even discontinued relationships. Please remember that when making the decision to either parent or place a child, that the decision should be yours and no one else’s. This is not to belittle a birth father’s opinion, but to get the point across that you need to try your best to do what is best for your child. In this case, I will specifically focus on the choice to place.

That being said, if there are strained relationships, especially familial relationships, there are ways to mend them after a placement. But if you don’t wish to build a relationship back up, that is perfectly fine too. There were many relationships that became strained before and after I placed my son that I chose not to rekindle, letting them become part of my past. But there were others I wanted to mend–specifically some relationships with key family members. You get to be the judge of those relationships you pursue.

An example would be my maternal great uncle. He didn’t really like that I had gotten pregnant in the circumstances that I did; he’d raised me better than that. But he loved and supported me through it anyway. It was when I decided to place and maintain an open adoption that things got a bit rocky. He did say he supported and actually preferred my decision to place my son, but he did not think it was in my best interest to stay in contact with him and his family. His reasoning was that he thought it would hurt me to be part of his life, but not play the part I wanted. Even though I looked up to him and valued his opinion, I stuck with my decision and have a great relationship with my son and his family. My great uncle and I didn’t talk for over a year after that. When the hype of the event itself had started to die down, and I was able to think clearly about where I wanted my life to go, I decided I couldn’t just exclude him from my life. I gave him a call and fixed everything over the phone, then went to see him that weekend to catch up.

Things with my uncle have gone back to the way they’d always been while I was growing up, and he respects me for making things work on my own. However, there are a few other relationships I tried to fix that have not gone back to normal like they did with my great uncle. There are some family bonds that will never be able to completely heal, no matter how hard I try; the scars of things said and done are too deep. With those few people, I’ve simply done my best to salvage what I could. I’ve tried to forgive when it was their error, and asked forgiveness when it was mine, but ultimately, that just wasn’t enough for complete reconciliation.

Some may tell you that if a person is no longer a part of your life after you’ve placed, they didn’t need to be there anyway. But that doesn’t make it easy. As an overall rule, I would always suggest you do your best. Do your best at making the best choice for your child, do your best to be forgiving, do your best to be humble and ask forgiveness, and do your best to surround yourself with people that will allow you to feel comfortable in your role as a birth mother.

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Lindsey Olsen

Lindsey Olsen is a birth mother from sunny California, where she currently lives with her husband Steve (also referred to as Bud). She loves singing, going for walks in warm weather, looking out the passenger side window on long road trips, and eating. . .everything. Her favorite things are her family, her faith, her cowboy boots, and food. She has aspirations of becoming a marriage and family counselor so she can help other birth mothers find confidence, comfort, and beauty in their identities as the amazing women they are.

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