Someone I love very dearly is in the process of making the decision to put her baby up for adoption. It is incredibly painful and heartwarming to watch all at the same time. I would do anything for this person to protect her from harm’s way, but I can’t make this decision for her. I can’t take all the painful emotions away from her. I can’t do the hard tasks for her. I can’t make the decision for adoption for someone else.
When I chose adoption, I faced many obstacles. I knew very little about adoption, and I was venturing out to make this decision on my own. I lost people I loved, experienced betrayal and heartbreak, and ultimately ended up learning that there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for my child. I was so proud of myself for standing up for my son and making the best decision for him, but I also felt shame that I couldn’t handle parenting myself.
Watching the Decision for Adoption
The guilt and shame that is involved with the adoption process is incredibly difficult to watch, let alone experience. There are so many emotions that come along with choosing adoption, and they can be incredibly difficult to navigate. I found ways to cope while I was going through my adoption decision. Some of the tools I implemented were self-care, taking breaks, and letting myself be an emotional wreck when it was necessary.
Don’t Forget Self-Care
Self-care involved taking care of the basic hygienic functions for me while I was going through my adoption decision. Making sure I was bathed, that my teeth were brushed, and that I continued to eat seemed like impossible obstacles to overcome at times. Waking up in the morning was the worst. I would open my eyes and think to myself, “Another day?” I was terrified every day to face what was in front of me. Yet, I did it. I may have been afraid, but I didn’t let that stop me from taking the necessary steps towards choosing adoption and taking care of myself, no matter how hard it was.
Take a Break When You Need It
Taking breaks was sometimes an hourly thing while going through the adoption process. I had phone calls to make, appointments to keep, and decisions that needed to be made. In between these, and sometimes during, I would have to step away to give myself a breather. I had to get re-focused when I felt overwhelmed so that I could continue to move forward with the tasks that were in front of me. For the most part, those involved in the adoption process totally understood my need for breaks, and graciously excused me when I took them.
Fall Apart from Time to Time
Being an emotional wreck was something that couldn’t be compromised throughout the process for adoption. I had to let myself experience the grief, loss and pain without letting it swallow me. I could only feel that massive amount of emotions that I was experiencing in bits and pieces. I was not only dealing with choosing adoption for my six-month-old son, but I was also facing moving away from my home and being disowned by those I had once called family. The pain was exhausting, and while I had to feel it, I could only take it little bits at a time.
Love Yourself, Love Your Birth Mother
Watching someone I love choose the same decision that I made once is ripping my heart out for them. It brings back memories of what I went through, and reminds me of why I spend so much time focused on healing in my own life. It is so important to be supportive of those you love when they choose adoption, because there is no way for you to know exactly what heartache they are experiencing if you haven’t been through it yourself.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.