Young woman crying in her living room, wondering how she will heal post-adoptionWhen you choose to place your baby for adoption, you provide them a stable and loving future. Adoption isn’t an easy decision to make, so you may find yourself wondering, “How will I feel after placing my baby for adoption?” It’s a common question for birth mothers to ask as they plan for life after adoption.
Even though you might feel comforted knowing that you made the right choice for yourself and your baby in a tough situation, it’s common to have feelings of grief, loss, or other complex emotions after placing a baby for adoption. Also, postpartum depression (PPD) impacts many women after they give birth. Combining that with placing your child for adoption can add to the feelings that you’re experiencing.
Here are some suggestions for how to help you heal post-adoption as a birth parent.

Be Honest With Yourself

You may be feeling shame, guilt, or grief as you think about your child. These are normal feelings that birth mothers often experience after placing their child for adoption. Facing your feelings is important.
The grieving process takes time, and it looks a little different for everyone. Be patient with yourself as you walk through this time. Don’t ignore your feelings. It may be good to write down how you’re feeling in a journal. Research shows that writing down your feelings can boost your mood and sense of well-being. It allows you to let go of some difficult emotions rather than keep them pent up inside.

Be Honest With Others

As important as being honest with yourself about your feelings, it’s also important to express your feelings to others. Hopefully, you have a good network of support where you can share your feelings with people you trust.
If you don’t have any support from your friends and family, reach out to your adoption professional. Lifetime Adoption provides the emotional support and the counseling you need during your pregnancy, adoption placement, and beyond. You might also try Lifetime’s Peer Support Program. It was specifically created so that you can connect with a birth mother who has already been through the adoption process. It can really help to talk with a woman who’s been where you’re at right now.

Embrace Open Adoption

Today, open adoption is more common than closed adoption. This is because open adoption allows you to stay in contact with the adoptive parents and your child as they grow up. In addition, open adoption can help you heal after the adoption placement because you have peace of mind knowing your child is in a loving home. Open adoption also gives you lots of choices such as:

  • You can choose your baby’s adoptive parents: After finding just the right adoptive family, you can meet with them to get to know them personally.
  • Your child will know you: Your child can know you’re their birth mother and that you chose adoption because you love them. You’ll be able to send texts, emails, phone calls, or even visit with them, depending upon the agreement you make with the adoptive parents.
  • Your relationship with your child into adulthood: Today, many adopted adults have great relationships with their birth parents due to their open adoption.

Take a Step Forward

Healing also comes through stepping forward in your life. Get back into your life, or start over if you want. Focusing on your personal goals, such as going back to school or getting a new career, can help you heal post-adoption.

If you’d like to go back to school and earn a degree, you can apply for a birth mother scholarship to help you achieve that goal. Get involved in your community or church by volunteering. Sometimes serving others brings healing to your heart. Take good care of yourself as you move forward. Some of the ways you can do this include:

  • Eat healthy foods: Make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink lots of water and avoid sugary drinks because they can make you feel sluggish and tired.
  • Get regular exercise such as walking, or an exercise or yoga class
  • Get enough sleep: Try to get at least 7 or 8 hours a night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you might try a guided sleep meditation or take a natural sleep aid such as Melatonin.
  • Relax: Try adding some relaxing activities into your life, like taking a walk or a yoga class. Also, there are apps you can download to help you with relaxation techniques.

Take Your Time

You’ve been through a lot during your adoption journey. So give yourself some time to process. As you do, make sure to take care of yourself, find ways to look for the good in life, and talk with a trusted friend or your Adoption Coordinator.
At Lifetime Adoption, our experienced Adoption Coordinators are experienced in helping birth parents heal post-adoption. They can also connect you with a licensed therapist to counsel you through all the ups and downs you’ll feel during this time.

Finding Ways to Heal Post-Adoption

Like all parents, your desire is for your child to grow up into a happy, healthy adult. After the adoption of your child, you may face a variety of emotions and struggles. You can begin healing by being honest with yourself and others, choosing an open adoption so you can see your child throughout their life, maintaining your health, and eventually moving forward into your new life. Be sure to give yourself time to heal and seek God’s help during this time.

Heather Featherston
Written by Heather Featherston

As the Vice President (VP) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.

Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.

As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.