The aftermath of placing a baby for adoption is not something that many expectant parents consider. The overwhelming decision of placing a baby for adoption causes a need to live in the moment; birth parents might not consider the following week or the distant future. After placing my son for adoption, I could only focus on the day I was currently living. I could not focus on tomorrow or next week. Thinking years down the line was literally impossible for me to do. I had to live in the present with every ounce of me. While I snuggled my new baby boy in the hospital, I stretched the three days I had with him as long as I could. I willed the universe to slow down for those three days just to give me extra time.
When he was no longer in my arms, I had to only focus on the present day. Focusing on the future was too painful because every passing day meant another day further from the time I was with my birth son. I often pondered the question, “How do I move on with my life without really moving on?” This is a complex question because it emphasizes the need to let go of the situation but not forget. That can be difficult, especially in an emotional situation. It has almost been eight years since I placed my sweet baby boy into the arms of another, and I have moved on without moving on. I want to share what has worked for me in hopes that you, too, can move on without truly moving on.
Let Yourself Grieve
I cannot not emphasize enough the importance of allowing yourself to grieve. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to cry or even sob. It is okay to talk about your birth child. It is okay to have really happy days followed by really down days. This is all part of the healing process. Is it hard? Yes. But it is necessary. It is part of the healing process. Without grieving properly, you might find it harder to move on.
Be Open to Love
I am not just talking about romantic relationships. Be open to love anyone in your life that is supportive of you. You will lean on these people in your darkest hour. They will not judge or condemn you for your choices. Let them in your life. It is easy to push out people when we are hurting. The best way to move on is to surround yourself with those who love us.
Meet new people. New friends will be amazed at the beauty of your adoption story. Share with others about your experiences. You will be amazed at the lives you will touch with your story. If you do find a romantic love after placement, be honest with him or her. Talk about your experiences. Those who truly love you will help and support you as you move on.
After the placement of my birth son, I was given the opportunity to begin helping other birth mothers. This service allowed me to look at my own situation and really evaluate how I felt about my placement. Serving others took my mind off my own hurt and allowed me to focus my attention on someone else who was hurting. After almost eight years, that service has turned into some great opportunities. I can now share my stories with the world in hopes that I can help someone else.
Remember Who You Are
You might not be the one raising your child, but do not forget who you are. You are their birth mother or birth father. You played a significant role in where they are. You provided them with an opportunity to have a family. You helped design their life in a way that only a birth parent could. Not seeing that child every day does not take away who you are.
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Remembering who I am prompted me to look at the big picture. I was C’s birth mother. I played a significant role in the amazing young man he is becoming. Remembering who you are will give you comfort and peace. It enables the heart to know that your birth child will always be with you, and you will always be with him or her.
Moving On Without Moving On
For a year after the birth son, I cried every single day. The second year, I did not cry as much, but I talked about him every single day. As months and years have passed, I do not cry about him as much or talk about him as much. I have moved on without truly moving on. I have married and had a beautiful little girl. I have moved states and jobs. Bought a home and sold a home. While I have moved on with my life, the picture of a sweet 8 lb baby boy will always stay with me. Three special days in the hospital will continue to be three of the most sacred days of my life. While I might move on after placement, I will never move on because I will never forget.