The adoption process can be a long and emotional one for both the birth parents and the adoptive ones. For birth parents, even if they’re certain that their decision to place their baby for adoption was the right one, they’re still likely to experience intense feelings of grief, doubt, or denial after placement. We have five tips to work through those feelings and start on the way towards a healthy, happy life.
Don’t Be Afraid to Feel
Being angry, sad, or regretful after adoption is completely normal, and ignoring them will do you more harm than good. For the first few days or weeks after the adoption is complete, take some time to let yourself process your feelings. Maybe take some time off and feel free to cry if you need to.
Don’t be surprised if those feelings resurface every once in a while, especially during major events like the child’s birthday or holidays. The turmoil of emotions will get easier as time passes and your confidence in your decision takes root and grows.
Have a Plan
Don’t let yourself wallow for too long, though. Let yourself feel the emotions, and then move on with your life. One of the best ways to do that is to have a post-adoption plan. Staying busy will help take your mind off of your emotions, so write down a list of goals that you want to accomplish now that the adoption is complete, and begin actively working toward them. Maybe it’s volunteering or pursuing a new career or going back to school. Try to find something to fill your schedule that will challenge you with obtainable goals and give you something fulfilling to look forward to each day.
Talk to Others
One of the most important parts of birthmother after adoption care is realizing that you are not alone. Share your feelings with your friends, family, or other people you trust.
If you don’t want to talk to them, consider talking with a counselor or joining a support group for birthmothers. Sometimes being able to talk about shared experiences will help you heal.
Share Your Story
In a way, this ties in with talking to others, but in addition to joining a support group or seeing a counselor, you might consider starting a blog or a journal documenting your experiences with adoption and dealing with post-adoption emotions. You’ll become part of a wider adoption network and help others who are struggling with the same things as you.
Consider an Entrustment Ceremony
If you’re in an open adoption and you feel like you need closure, you may want to talk to your child’s adoptive parents about doing an entrustment ceremony. This is a formal ceremony symbolizing the passing of parental responsibilities from one set of parents to another. For some people, it helps to ease their minds a little and provide the closure they need to move forward.