When I starting parenting, I thought it would be a special blessing that would be challenging but also bring me great joy. While there were times of great joy, the challenges were much more difficult than I anticipated them to be.
I was a mother for six months before I choose adoption. Parenting was amazing, but the hard parts were just too difficult for me to bear. I was a single mother with a baby who wouldn’t sleep, depression that wouldn’t quit, and a full-time job that took me away from my son for 12 hours daily. Needless to say, I gave parenting everything I that I was able to give it at the time. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.
I didn’t know what I was going to do, and then it occurred to me: I could choose adoption for my baby!
Why Adoption After Parenting Can Be Difficult
There are many reasons why it can be difficult to choose adoption after parenting. Adoption after parenting requires a role transformation from custodial mother to birth mother. There will be a different grieving process for the woman who has initially chosen parenting than the woman who chose adoption from the beginning of her pregnancy.
Some of the challenges that a woman who chooses adoption after parenting will face include experiencing difficulty in transitioning her bond with her child, changing her parenting lifestyle, and potentially losing the support of friends and family members.
- Transitioning the bond between mother and baby. Once a woman has made a decision to parent her baby, she gives herself permission subconsciously to bond with her baby. Perhaps this woman settles her baby’s head on her lap and stares lovingly into his or her eyes. Or, perhaps, she feeds her baby from her breast to nourish it. Maybe she enjoys watching her baby grow and develop. What bonding looks like for every mother may be different, but the result is the same. Parenting a child implies that you will bond with that child, no matter how long you have them or what that bonding entails. Adjusting that bond when a prospective birth mother transitions from parenting to adoption can be quite painful for her.
- Changing the lifestyle of parenting the child who is being placed for adoption. There are many resources available to mothers: parenting groups she can join, financial resources she can count on, and relationships that are developed based on the fact that she is parenting. All of these factors play into the equation when it comes to an abrupt lifestyle change from parenting to choosing adoption. A woman must find a way to transition her life from a woman who is parenting the child being placed for adoption, to not parenting that child. A birth mother must deal with the grief of losing the parenting role that she thought she would have for the duration of her child’s rearing. This includes changing her way of parenting that child, no matter however long she has been doing so up until this point.
- Dealing with a loss of support from friends and family. Disappointed or even opinionated family and friends are another reason why choosing adoption after parenting is hard. A woman who was parenting may have found herself with a support system, even if it’s small, during this time. The reality is that some, or even most, of that support system may not be as understanding of an adoption decision as she may need them to be. Losing friends and family, even if only temporarily, because of an adoption decision can be heartbreaking. While a prospective birth mother might know that adoption is the right choice for her baby, others may not understand her adoption decision and judge it differently than how it is meant to be judged.
While the decision to chose adoption after parenting is a bold and brave decision, it is not an easy decision. I am a woman who chose adoption after parenting, and I can tell you that my healing path has, at times, looked like a roller coaster ride. However, healing is more than possible with the right support, determination and self-care.
If you are a woman considering adoption after parenting, please don’t hesitate to make an adoption decision because it may be hard at this time in your life. Instead, think about the long-term quality of life that you are offering to your child by choosing a different future with other parents.
Choosing adoption after parenting can be an option for any woman considering adoption. Please contact an adoption professional to learn more about the specific options available to you.
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.