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4 Stages of the Adoption Grief Process

Emotions of Adoption Grief, Loss and Other Common Emotions During the Adoption Process While placing a child for adoption can be amazing for your child, it doesn’t mean the process for you will be easy. It will be challenging and, at times, emotionally intense. Here’s what you need to know. If you are facing an […]

Emotions of Adoption

Grief, Loss and Other Common Emotions During the Adoption Process
While placing a child for adoption can be amazing for your child, it doesn’t mean the process for you will be easy. It will be challenging and, at times, emotionally intense. Here’s what you need to know.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, adoption may have entered your mind. There are many things to think about before placing a baby for adoption. Among your many other questions, you might be wondering about the emotions of “giving your child up” for adoption. You might have questions like:

  1. How does it feel giving a child up for adoption?
  2. If a mother puts her baby up for adoption, how is she going to feel after? What types of emotions are common?
  3. How do you know if adoption is the right choice?

These questions are common, and because the emotions of “giving a baby up” for adoption can vary significantly from one woman to the next, finding the answers can be challenging. Below are some common emotions that birth mothers experienced when deciding if placing their baby was the right decision. You will find exploring these five emotions of adoption will be helpful as you decide what you want to do with your unplanned pregnancy.

There is no right or wrong way to feel. This is a personal exploration and personal process. Many mothers discover placing a child for adoption offers their child a mountain of love and devoted parents.

But, while placing a child for adoption can be amazing for your child, it doesn’t mean the process for you will be easy. It will be challenging and, at times, emotionally intense. However, many mothers have discovered their sacrifice is worth it when they see photos and videos of their child living out their dreams.

If you decide to move forward with this unplanned pregnancy option, you might encounter these four common emotions during the adoption process.

1. Denial and anger

As you probably know, an unplanned pregnancy can bring with it a whirlwind of emotions. As you struggle to accept the reality of your unplanned pregnancy, you may find yourself feeling a range of emotions, from numbness and disbelief to anger and frustration. Take it from these expectant mothers:

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was pissed that my birth control didn’t work. I was pissed the biological father basically abandoned me and told me to go have an abortion.”

“I felt stupid. I was 16 and terrified to tell my parents I was pregnant. I felt shame, anger, and just wanted it to go away.”

Being caught between anger and denial is common. It is hard to accept that you are pregnant when you didn’t plan for it. However, what helps many prospective birth mothers is to realize that, while you can’t “fix” your past actions, you can plan a solution. You can explore what is best for you and your baby. When you begin to take control, your denial and anger will diminish.

Anger and shock can reappear at other times in the adoption process, too. You might experience these feelings of “giving a baby up” for adoption off and on throughout your pregnancy and adoption plan —and that’s OK. There may be times when you feel angry that you aren’t in a place where you are ready to parent this baby. In the final days and weeks leading up to delivery, you might find yourself in denial that the baby is really coming. These feelings are normal and often a natural part of the adoption grieving process.

Sometimes denial and anger is the mind’s way of protecting you from the grief of “giving a child up” for adoption. An adoption specialist can help you work through these feelings of “giving a baby up” for adoption so you can move forward through the stages of the adoption grief process in a healthy, positive way.

2. Sadness and depression

Early in your unplanned pregnancy, not having a plan or a solution will invite sadness and sometimes that can lead to depression.  Several birth mothers shared that they often wallowed in sadness and depression for weeks, especially as they struggled with what to do with their unplanned pregnancy. These mothers shared the emotional uncertainty led them down a dark path.

They found though, as they began to explore parenting and adoption as options, they felt a sense of empowerment, and the clouds of sadness soon gave way to progress.

It doesn’t mean you have to have everything figured out to combat sadness, but it is important to carefully explore your options.

Here are some ways you can explore what to do next:

By exploring your options, you will navigate through the initial sadness of an unplanned pregnancy.

Of course, you will likely experience feelings of sadness and depression during the adoption process, too. Your experience will be unique, so we can’t tell you exactly how it feels to go through the adoption process. But we can tell you that most birth mothers experience a period of grief after “giving up” a baby for adoption.

Understand this: postpartum grief when placing a baby for adoption is common and normal. You love your baby, and this is a loss for you. Feelings of sadness are to be expected as you process through the loss of a child to adoption. Fortunately, there are many wonderful adoption specialists who can help you work through these feelings. They can share with you how to deal with adoption grief so you can reach a place of acceptance and move forward with your life in a healthy, positive way.

3. Fear

Fear is one of the most common emotional effects of “giving a child up” for adoption. Many women considering adoption are afraid they aren’t ready or able to be the kind of parent their child deserves. This is a tough reality to explore. It is hard to say:

Michelle, a birth mother, shared, “It takes a strong person to explore adoption and selfless person to make the decision. It really is the most loving decision a parent can make.”

Choosing adoption can help you take control over your situation and alleviate some of the fears you may have about your future. When you choose adoption, you won’t have to worry about affording the high costs of parenting or having the time to dedicate to your baby (perhaps as a single, working parent). But choosing adoption may also introduce new fears:

What birth mothers like Michelle found helpful is imagining the life her child would have through adoption. Remember, your adoption professional will guide you through every step of the process. You get to choose the perfect adoptive parents for your baby — parents who will provide your child with all of the love and opportunity you want them to have. As a result, your child will grow up loving you and appreciating your adoption decision. And when your child has a wonderful life full of amazing opportunities, you can feel good about your adoption decision, making it unlikely that you will regret “giving a child up” for adoption. You can learn more about what adoption means to a child by watching this video.

4. Guilt

It isn’t uncommon for mothers to feel guilty “giving a baby up” for adoption. Pressures from disapproving aunts, uncles, friends, or parents only amplify this guilt. Many birth mothers shared they had some family members against adoption, and they shared some of the comments were judgmental and hurtful.

Family members might say, “No one will love your child as much as you will.” This seems logical at first, but this argument falls apart on closer inspection. Here is why:

It’s also possible that some of the guilt associated with a birth mother “giving a child up” for adoption stems from the language we use to talk about this decision. The words we use can influence how people feel about “giving a baby up” for adoption.

Consider the words “give up”. “Giving up” sounds like quitting, failing and accepting defeat. But what you’re doing when you choose adoption for your baby is quite the opposite. You are not “giving up” or carelessly “giving your baby away.” You know better than anyone that when you “give a baby up for adoption,” it’s a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s an intense sacrifice — all because you love your baby and want to give them the best life possible.

You should never feel guilty for placing your baby for adoption, and you shouldn’t think of this decision as “giving up.” While you will see this language used commonly throughout adoption articles (including on this site), know that this is not the preferred way to talk about adoption. Instead, you are “choosing adoption for your baby,” “making an adoption plan” and “placing him or her for adoption” — with a great amount of bravery, love and sacrifice.

Exactly what it’s like to “give a child up” for adoption will be different for every prospective birth mother. However, most women agree that this process is rarely an easy one. The good news is you have already taken the first step to prepare yourself for the journey ahead by learning more about how it feels to “give a baby up” for adoption. Remember, you don’t have to deal with these complicated emotions alone. Your adoption professional will be by your side every step of the way. Reach out to one today for the emotional support you need and deserve.

Emotions of AdoptionGrief, Loss and Other Common Emotions During the Adoption Process While placing a child for adoption can be amazing for your child, it doesn’t mean the process for you will be easy. It will be challenging and, at times, emotionally intense. Here’s what you need to know. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, adoption may have entered your mind. There are many things to think about before placing a baby for adoption. Among your many other questions, you might be wondering about the emotions of “giving your child up” for adoption. You might have questions like: How does it feel giving a child up for adoption? If a mother puts her baby up for adoption, how is she going to feel after? What types of emotions are common? How do you know if adoption is the right choice? These questions are common, and because the emotions of “giving a baby up” for adoption can vary significantly from one woman to the next, finding the answers can be challenging. Below are some common emotions that birth mothers experienced when deciding if placing their baby was the right decision. You will find exploring these five emotions of adoption will be helpful as you decide what you want to do with your unplanned pregnancy. There is no right or wrong way to feel. This is a personal exploration and personal process. Many mothers discover placing a child for adoption offers their child a mountain of love and devoted parents. But, while placing a child for adoption can be amazing for your child, it doesn’t mean the process for you will be easy. It will be challenging and, at times, emotionally intense. However, many mothers have discovered their sacrifice is worth it when they see photos and videos of their child living out their dreams. If you decide to move forward with this unplanned pregnancy option, you might encounter these four common emotions during the adoption process. 1. Denial and anger As you probably know, an unplanned pregnancy can bring with it a whirlwind of emotions. As you struggle to accept the reality of your unplanned pregnancy, you may find yourself feeling a range of emotions, from numbness and disbelief to anger and frustration. Take it from these expectant mothers: “When I found out I was pregnant, I was pissed that my birth control didn’t work. I was pissed the biological father basically abandoned me and told me to go have an abortion.” “I felt stupid. I was 16 and terrified to tell my parents I was pregnant. I felt shame, anger, and just wanted it to go away.” Being caught between anger and denial is common. It is hard to accept that you are pregnant when you didn’t plan for it. However, what helps many prospective birth mothers is to realize that, while you can’t “fix” your past actions, you can plan a solution. You can explore what is best for you and your baby. When you begin to take control, your denial and anger will diminish. Anger and shock can reappear at other times in the adoption process, too. You might experience these feelings of “giving a baby up” for adoption off and on throughout your pregnancy and adoption plan —and that’s OK. There may be times when you feel angry that you aren’t in a place where you are ready to parent this baby. In the final days and weeks leading up to delivery, you might find yourself in denial that the baby is really coming. These feelings are normal and often a natural part of the adoption grieving process. Sometimes denial and anger is the mind’s way of protecting you from the grief of “giving a child up” for adoption. An adoption specialist can help you work through these feelings of “giving a baby up” for adoption so you can move forward through the stages of the adoption grief process in a healthy, positive way. 2. Sadness and depression Early in your unplanned pregnancy, not having a plan or a solution will invite sadness and sometimes that can lead to depression.  Several birth mothers shared that they often wallowed in sadness and depression for weeks, especially as they struggled with what to do with their unplanned pregnancy. These mothers shared the emotional uncertainty led them down a dark path. They found though, as they began to explore parenting and adoption as options, they felt a sense of empowerment, and the clouds of sadness soon gave way to progress. It doesn’t mean you have to have everything figured out to combat sadness, but it is important to carefully explore your options. Here are some ways you can explore what to do next: How each option would positively affect you and your child? What does parenting look like? What are the pros and cons? What does adoption look like for your child? What ere the pros and cons? By exploring your options, you will navigate through the initial sadness of an unplanned pregnancy. Of course, you will likely experience feelings of sadness and depression during the adoption process, too. Your experience will be unique, so we can’t tell you exactly how it feels to go through the adoption process. But we can tell you that most birth mothers experience a period of grief after “giving up” a baby for adoption. Understand this: postpartum grief when placing a baby for adoption is common and normal. You love your baby, and this is a loss for you. Feelings of sadness are to be expected as you process through the loss of a child to adoption. Fortunately, there are many wonderful adoption specialists who can help you work through these feelings. They can share with you how to deal with adoption grief so you can reach a place of acceptance and move forward with your life in a healthy, positive way. 3. Fear Fear is one of the most common emotional effects of “giving a child up” for adoption. Many women considering adoption are afraid they aren’t ready or able to be the kind of parent their child deserves. This is a tough reality to explore. It is hard to say: I am too young. I struggle with my other children currently as a single parent. I am not ready to be a parent. I want my child to have both a mom and dad. Michelle, a birth mother, shared, “It takes a strong person to explore adoption and selfless person to make the decision. It really is the most loving decision a parent can make.” Choosing adoption can help you take control over your situation and alleviate some of the fears you may have about your future. When you choose adoption, you won’t have to worry about affording the high costs of parenting or having the time to dedicate to your baby (perhaps as a single, working parent). But choosing adoption may also introduce new fears: How does the adoption process work? How will I know what to do? Will my child have a happy life? Will they be loved by their adoptive parents? Will they hate me for choosing adoption? How will I react to ‘giving my baby up’ for adoption? How am I going to feel at the hospital? What if I regret giving my child up for adoption? What birth mothers like Michelle found helpful is imagining the life her child would have through adoption. Remember, your adoption professional will guide you through every step of the process. You get to choose the perfect adoptive parents for your baby — parents who will provide your child with all of the love and opportunity you want them to have. As a result, your child will grow up loving you and appreciating your adoption decision. And when your child has a wonderful life full of amazing opportunities, you can feel good about your adoption decision, making it unlikely that you will regret “giving a child up” for adoption. You can learn more about what adoption means to a child by watching this video. 4. Guilt It isn’t uncommon for mothers to feel guilty “giving a baby up” for adoption. Pressures from disapproving aunts, uncles, friends, or parents only amplify this guilt. Many birth mothers shared they had some family members against adoption, and they shared some of the comments were judgmental and hurtful. Family members might say, “No one will love your child as much as you will.” This seems logical at first, but this argument falls apart on closer inspection. Here is why: Hundreds of waiting couples have all the love to give but no child to share it with. When given the opportunity to love a baby, they do so with all their heart. We love people we have dated intently just as much, if not more sometimes, than we love biological family. We love our friends, and sometimes friends are closer than family. We love our pets, and while humans shouldn’t be compared to pets, it does show that we love many things in life, and we love them often with all our heart. When a couple is given the opportunity to be parents, they will love your child with every ounce of their heart. More than you could ever imagine. It’s also possible that some of the guilt associated with a birth mother “giving a child up” for adoption stems from the language we use to talk about this decision. The words we use can influence how people feel about “giving a baby up” for adoption. Consider the words “give up”. “Giving up” sounds like quitting, failing and accepting defeat. But what you’re doing when you choose adoption for your baby is quite the opposite. You are not “giving up” or carelessly “giving your baby away.” You know better than anyone that when you “give a baby up for adoption,” it’s a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s an intense sacrifice — all because you love your baby and want to give them the best life possible. You should never feel guilty for placing your baby for adoption, and you shouldn’t think of this decision as “giving up.” While you will see this language used commonly throughout adoption articles (including on this site), know that this is not the preferred way to talk about adoption. Instead, you are “choosing adoption for your baby,” “making an adoption plan” and “placing him or her for adoption” — with a great amount of bravery, love and sacrifice. Exactly what it’s like to “give a child up” for adoption will be different for every prospective birth mother. However, most women agree that this process is rarely an easy one. The good news is you have already taken the first step to prepare yourself for the journey ahead by learning more about how it feels to “give a baby up” for adoption. Remember, you don’t have to deal with these complicated emotions alone. Your adoption professional will be by your side every step of the way. Reach out to one today for the emotional support you need and deserve.
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