As a birth parent, placing a child for adoption is a very challenging and exhausting process. While many birth parents have different reasons as to why they chose adoption for their child, most believe that a decison is being made to give the child a better life.
Most birth parents feel that placing their child for adoption puts the needs of the child above their own. However, there can still be a feeling of grief and loss after placing the child.
Grieving the loss of a child can be a traumatic experience for a birth mother or father. Most birth parents struggle with the decision for many years following, if not the rest of their lives. There are a variety of feelings that run through the heads of the birth parents: some may experience guilt/shame, effects on other relationships, identity issues, or feelings about what could have been.
Birth parents need to prepare for the feelings of grief that come with placing a child. Understand the stages of grief is a good place to begin.
Denial: By denying the reality of the placement of a child, the birth parent is creating a shield to suppress the pain of loss.
Sorrow/Depression: As the loss begins to become more real for a birth parent, they may experience an overwhelming experience of sadness.
Anger: The birth parents may be angry with themselves, the adoptive family, or anyone who helped assist them in the adoption process. Anger can be used as a coping mechanism to erase the feelings of sorrow.
Guilt: The birth parent may feel guilty that they did not have the ability to parent the child at the time of birth. They may also feel that they child will grow feelings of abandonment toward them.
Acceptance: Accepting the placement means that the birth parent has finally come to the conclusion that they can integrate the feelings of loss into every day life.
Despite the feelings of grief that arise after placement, there are certain things that birth parents can do to help ease their grief.
Firstly, birth parents should not be afraid to look and ask for support from others. Seek support from family members, friends, specialized support groups, counselors or other medical professionals.
Birth parents should also seek out educational resources. Finding information about adoption from articles, websites and books helps the birth parent better prepare for the adoption process.
Starting a blog or journal is also helpful to birth parents. If you feel like you cannot talk to anyone, this allows you to express yourself in a different way.
Finally, if you are really struggling with the loss of a child, maybe think about starting a ritual or tradition to honor the child. This could include celebrating their birthday, lighting a candle for them, or having a special song that reminds you of the child.
Overall, birth parents should know that feelings of grief and loss after placement are completely natural. Asking for help through this difficult time is not shameful, and birth parents may find that people, including the Adopt Connect staff, are more than willing to help.