I placed my daughter for adoption in July of 2005. I attend a support group for unwed mothers that the agency I was going to had. Not everyone in the group was placing for adoption but I learned so much from the girls that have placed and listening to what worked and didn’t work for them. I figured that I would share some of the things that worked for me and things that may work for other birth parents.
Before I get into them I was researching some things on adoption and I found this article. While I reading through article I found this paragraph and I really liked what it said. I am going to post it here because I think it speaks volumes about how birth parents are looked at by people who don’t understand are choices. Here is the paragraph:
Most people at some time in their lives experience grief when they are separated from a loved one. However, in adoption, there are no standard grieving processes or approved rituals to help birthparents cope. When a well-liked co-worker accepts a new job in a new city, there is often a going away party. When a loved one dies, there may be a religious service, a wake, a funeral, and visits to the survivors’ home by friends and relatives. But birthparents’ grief is distinct from most other types of grief, because it is not always socially acceptable to talk about what happened.
Now on to the ways I coped and ways that others have coped with the greif.
- Journal-I wrote out why I placed her in a journal that I then gave to the adoptive mom to give to my daughter when they thought she was ready to read it.
- Talk to other birth moms-It helped me tons to be able to talk to other girls who had been though it and could tell me that it would get better with time. I never thought the first year would end but each year it gets easier at least it has for me.
- Take one day at at time-There are time where You are going to have to take it minute by minute but know that time will heal the pain. At first the pain is so raw that it is all you can think about but it does get easier I promise.
- Build a support system-I helps to have people who know the whole story and whither or not they agree with your choice they will still stand behind you and listen to you talk. There will be times that just talking to someone and having them not try to answer but just listen helps so much. It makes such a difference to just get the thoughts out of you head and have someone not feel the need to try and make it better but just listen.
- Allow yourself to feel the emotions-I know in the beginning I wanted to run from the emotions I was feeling and not feel anything but by doing that you are going to be making it harder in the long run. Allow yourself to feel and grieve.
- Keep Scrapbooks and/or pictures around-If you were to walk into my room right now the only pictures I have up are the ones of her when she is older. In the beginning looking at the pictures made me feel better but after the first year and even know it is so hard for me to look at the pictures of her while we were in the hospital because I want the baby. I heard from one of the girls in the support group that her child became two different people in her head even though she knew they were the same. She like me wanted the baby and not the child that she is now.
- If you need help ask-Don’t be too afraid to talk to a counselor if you are having a hard time deal with all of the emotions. I saw one quite awhile after I placed my daughter and that helped me so much.