Placing your child for adoption is a major life decision—possibly the biggest one you will have to make in your life—so how do you know it’s right? How do you know how you will feel in a year, or five, or ten?
Countless women have placed their children for adoption and looked back with the confidence that it was exactly the right choice. These women were able to return to the goals they pursued before their pregnancy while getting to see their child grow up in a happy, loving home.
The benefits of adoption are apparent, but the truth is that every woman and every pregnancy is different, and only you can decide if adoption is the right choice for you. If you make an informed and educated adoption decision and make sure you have addressed your emotions, you are much more likely to have a successful and emotionally rewarding adoption experience.
Making an Informed Adoption Decision
Before you make a commitment to pursue adoption, take some time to research the process and implications of adoption. You may also want to explore your other options: parenting your child or terminating your pregnancy. While each option has benefits and challenges, adoption has numerous benefits for you as well as your child.
Researching adoption will also show the ways in which adoption is misunderstood today. A true understanding of adoption will dispel several misconceptions:
- Not all birth mothers are unwed teenagers – In fact, all kinds of women have placed children for adoption. Teenagers, married women with other children, and countless other women proudly carry the title of birth mother.
- Children do not go to orphanages – Popular movies have perpetuated the idea that orphanages still exist, but this is simply not the case. If you choose adoption, your child will immediately go home with his or her “forever family.”
- You get to pick the family – Often, women believe that their child will simply be placed with the first waiting family. In truth, you are in complete control of deciding who raises your child.
- Adoption is not a good-bye – In the past, almost all adoptions were closed, but today, the opposite is true; most birth parents have a very open and rewarding relationship with their child and the adoptive family.
Once the myths are separated from the realities of adoption, the advantages become clear. Some of the benefits of adoption include:
- Control of the adoption – Along with choosing the family that raises your child, you are in charge of just about every aspect of your adoption experience.
- Returning to education and career goals
- Opportunity for open adoption
- Giving a family a gift – Many adoptive parents have struggled with infertility, and all adoptive parents are excited to grow their family; they will cherish your child as much as you do.
- Giving your child a gift – by choosing the adoptive family, you ensure that your child has the life you want for him or her.
Compared to the other options, adoption has the most benefits and the least drawbacks for many women. Women who choose adoption generally have fewer negative feelings about their decision than women who choose abortion, and they do not have to parent a child before they feel ready.
This does not mean that there are not challenges in adoption, though; many of these challenges involve the emotions surrounding adoption, particularly grief and loss.
Coping with Grief and Loss
Adoption is an emotional decision, and you will need time to come to terms with your pregnancy and your adoption decision.
- Do not make a hasty decision – In the initial shock of an unplanned pregnancy, it can be easy to make a decision before thinking it through completely. By carefully considering your options beforehand, you are much more likely to make decisions that will make you happy in the long run.
- Address your emotions – Feelings of sadness are completely normal after an adoption, and you should allow yourself to have these feelings without self-judgment.
- Know that you can change your mind – Until you sign the adoption papers and terminate your parental rights, you can always change your mind and choose to parent your child.
- Seek support – Family and friends can be a great source of emotional support for women pursuing an adoption plan. Adoption agencies also offer counseling for you during and after the process.
The Takeaway: Adoption is Bittersweet
Adoption can occasionally bring with it negative feelings, and it’s important that you address these and make sure that you are ready to handle them. But along with the feelings of grief are also feelings of immense joy and pride for women who choose adoption.
Through adoption, you are empowered with the ability to choose the path for your life and your child’s life. Because of the control that women have over their adoption plans, they are much less likely to feel regret and more likely to feel assured that they made the right decision for themselves and their child.