Birthmothers are some of the most courageous women we know. Making an adoption plan is often misunderstood; viewed by peers as an uncaring act, when in fact it is the opposite – you are putting the welfare of your child above your own needs. Adoption is not about whether you love your child, God instilled inside of every mom the desire to love your children, but it is in essence a parenting decision. The big question is, “Am I ready to be a mom 24/7 to this child and put his or her needs above my own?”
Ambivalence is part of any decision-making process; seldom is it cut and dried. Confusion (Am I doing the right thing?) and pressure from others adds to the emotional upheaval. Shame at being in this situation and in some cases abandonment by the father can weigh you down. Talking with your adoption counselor, sharing your thoughts and feelings, will help.
Realize that adoption is not a one-time event but a life-long journey and one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Once an adoption plan is set in motion, it is normal for you to begin to grieve, sadness, anger, feelings of loss etc. Taking an active part in the adoption planning helps you begin to focus on the reasons you are choosing adoption. For many birthmothers once they choose the adoptive parent/s they experience a sense of purpose and peace of mind. Knowing who will love and care for your child as he/she grows makes a huge difference. You are choosing Love for your child!
After the birth of the baby, reaffirming the decision is critical, even if you have a wonderful relationship with the prospective adoptive parents. It may be helpful to make a list of why you chose adoption and take that with you to the hospital to review – the birth of a baby can be a very emotional time. It’s okay to cry! Envision and plan for how you want to transition your baby to your chosen adoptive family – your adoption counselor will be able to help with this. Talk with your adoption counselor about what to expect following going home from the hospital – grieving is a natural response to loss. Talk about this ahead of time and be prepared so that you can grieve in a healthy way – your child has not died, but your role in this child’s life has. Open adoption may allow for contact with your child, but your role as mom will be different; coming to grips with this will help you to move on with your future.
Open adoption has changed the face of adoption. It offers opportunities for birth parents, adoptive parents, and the adoptee (triad) to continue relationships beyond placement. If you are choosing adoption, be proactive and read up on adoption, talk to other birthmothers, choose an agency/counselor that you are comfortable with. “Be strong and courageous for the Lord thy God is with thee.”
Encouragement for adoptive Parents
“Whoever receives one such child in my name, receives me.” — Matthew 18:5
As we begin to gain a larger understanding of all we have been given through our own adoption into God’s family, we see our calling to love and become like children more clearly. When Christ tells his disciples, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 18:4), he is giving us a clear picture of what it looks like to love God with the best parts of ourselves. Through the miracle of adoption, we see not only how we are loved by our Heavenly Father, but how we can also give ourselves to love others.
Adoption for all parts of the triad, is a Love Choice. The greatest gift that can be given to anyone, is an act out of Love.