When a woman is considering adoption for her unplanned pregnancy, there are so many different thoughts and emotions involved. Without knowing what the future may hold, it is common for a pregnant woman to question if adoption is truly right for her.
Oftentimes, these doubts stem from the worries prospective birth mothers have about how their children will feel growing up adopted. It is natural for expectant mothers to have these concerns. Although each adoption situation is unique and nobody can predict the future, there are steps to take and answers based off of previous adoptions to help ease these fears.
This article will explore some of the most common questions prospective birth mothers may face when thinking about their baby’s future and will help provide insight on the possible outcomes of these different scenarios. Contact us with any questions you may have about adoption or your options during your unplanned pregnancy. Until then, continue reading to learn more.
If I Choose Adoption, Will My Child Hate Me?
One of the most common questions a prospective birth mother asks when considering adoption is, “If I choose adoption, will my child hate me?” This thought weighs heavy on the minds of prospective birth mothers while they are researching their options for their unplanned pregnancy, and rightfully so.
Nobody wants to live in doubt, wondering if a child they love so dearly could grow up hating or resenting them.
We would be lying if we said this has never been the case throughout the history of adoption. In the past, secretive, closed adoptions were very common. In many adoptions, children did not find out they were adopted until late into adulthood, if ever. In these situations, adopted children grew up to be resentful and full of animosity, not only toward their biological parents, but also their adoptive families for keeping this secret from them.
Luckily, adoption is completely different today. Long gone are the secretive, predominantly closed adoptions that used to commonly occur. Open adoption is now the standard in domestic adoptions. Open and semi-open adoption allows birth parents the opportunity to remain in their child’s life as they continue to grow. Being able to have a relationship with your child after placement puts an end to any doubts or concerns you may have about your child’s views on being adopted or if they “hate you” for choosing adoption.
The family a birth mother decides to place her child with is completely up to her. Ultimately, she wants to find a family that can guarantee her child will be happily adopted and loved. If she is concerned about potential negative feelings her child may have toward her, she will want to pursue an open adoption with a family that shares the same goals.
To have a lasting relationship with your child after adoption, you must first have a healthy relationship with the adoptive family in an open adoption setting. In order to have a successful open adoption:
- Start by finding a family that shares the same goals for the adoption. This will help eliminate confusion and stress throughout the process, as well as after placement occurs.
- Be open, honest and express any concerns or thoughts you may have. Let the adoptive family know how much you love your baby and how important it is to you that your child knows that growing up. Don’t be afraid to ask the adoptive parents how they plan to discuss adoption and birth parents with your child as he or she grows. Building trust with the adoptive family is important to a continued relationship.
- Establish expectations for the frequency and the desired type of communication. When both sides are on the same page and are able to respect each other’s boundaries, it builds trust and respect.
- Always keep the child’s best interest in mind. Life changes, situations change, and you must be willing to adapt to these changes. Demanding too much or being involved too little can change the adoptive family’s views of you and your intentions.
These are just some of the ways to have a successful open adoption and to form a relationship with the adoptive family. Open adoption does not mean you have to be best friends with the adoptive family, but it does mean you will have involvement with them throughout your child’s life. Keeping a healthy relationship with them will help you have a positive relationship with your child.
As important as building a relationship with the adoptive family is, creating a lasting relationship with your child is equally as important. This is one of the only true ways to end any doubts of fears of how your child feels about you and being adopted. Some tips to build a relationship with your child after placement include:
- Be honest. Some children will have questions and doubts about why you decided adoption was best for them. Explaining your story will help them understand and take away any resentment or anger they might feel. This is something that may take time to discuss, as different ages bring different maturity levels and different questions, but sharing your experience with your child throughout their life will give them a better understanding.
- Be the support your child needs. A great aspect of open adoption is the large support system children receive as they grow up. The adoptive family, the biological family and the extended families of both are able to provide love and support for the child. Being able to express your love for your child goes a long way toward building a relationship with them.
- Respect their boundaries. As your child grows older, their needs and emotions will change. There may be a time where they would prefer their space, so that they can evaluate their life and cope with what it feels like to be adopted.
Building a post-placement relationship with your child is the best way to ensure your child does not grow up to hate or feel negatively about you or their adoption. Talk with an adoption specialist about the benefits of an open adoption and finding a family who shares the same goals and dreams of you being involved throughout your child’s life.
Will My Child Know About Their Adoption?
Oftentimes, prospective birth mothers just beginning to research adoption will ask, “If I choose adoption, will my child will know they were adopted?”
The answer is yes. Here is why.
Unlike adoptions in the past, children adopted today are essentially told they are adopted the moment they are placed with their adoptive families. This ensures that adoption is always part of their lives and is seen and accepted as normal. Talking to children about adoption early has been proven to lower the animosity or anger that can occur when adoptees find out their adoption history later in life.
With semi-open and open adoptions becoming more common, so are discussions between adoptive families, birth parents and adoptees about being adopted. Secrecy is a thing of the past. Now, children find strength and positivity knowing they are growing up adopted. Although there are many different techniques and ideas on how to talk to the child about adoption, it generally works best in stages that match the child’s maturity level as they grow.
Each adoption situation will vary on when and how adoption is discussed with the child. If you are a prospective birth mother wanting to be part of these conversations, your best bet to do so is through an open adoption.
How Will My Child’s Parents Talk About Me?
Throughout the adoptive family’s conversations about being adopted, it is likely there the adoptee will have many questions about their birth parents.
Like most aspects of adoption and life, honesty is the best policy, and this is something adoption professionals emphasize with adoptive parents. Adoptive families will tell your child everything they know about you and your family history. If there is any specific information you want the family to pass on to the child, you can inform them or your adoption professional to make sure they do so. You may also choose to give the adoptive parents a letter or scrapbook that includes important information you want your child to have.
The adoptive parents may tell your child personal stories about the interactions they had with you during your pregnancy, explain what you look like, show pictures and more. Most importantly, the adoptive family will inform the child of how special you are and how much you love him or her.
If you choose to have an open adoption, then you will be able to tell your child about yourself in your own words, in addition to what their adoptive parents tell them about you. Open adoption will allow you to get to know each other directly, which makes it easier to provide any answers to questions your child may have. Many birth parents have a relationship with their child and the adoptive family much like extended family.
The main thing to take away from how the adoptive family will talk about you is that it will be positive. To the adoptive family, you have provided the life-changing gift of your child, allowing them to become parents. They have no reason to speak poorly of you, nor discredit the selfless human you truly are. An open adoption allows you to witness conversations between the adoptive family and adoptee firsthand, proving that a healthy adoption triad is beneficial for everyone involved in the adoption.
Will My Child Understand My Adoption Decision?
As previously discussed, adoptions in the past were very different than modern adoptions. Not only were they almost always closed and kept secret, societal views were very judgmental and negative. It was rare that adoptive families and birth parents would have any sort of interaction or communication after placement occurred. Adoptees would often never find out about being adopted, or they would find out on their own by the time they were an adult.
This would cause anger, shock and resentment toward the adoptive family and biological parents from the adopted child.
Today, society’s view, education and level of appreciation for adoption are much more open. With this level of openness comes increased discussion and awareness of adoption, not just throughout the community, but among adoptees as well. Adopted children grow up knowing how special adoption is and what a beautiful gift they were given by their birth parents. While there are still children who will grow up being adopted in a more closed adoption situation, they understand adoption is a very loving decision that they should be proud to be a part of.
By educating adoptees about their unique situation at a young age, it helps avoid potential negativity about growing up adopted. Informing them young ensures they are aware of their adoption story and who their biological parents are and that they grow up with adoption being a normal part of life. This avoids any shocking discovery or big reveal of a secret, which can create trust issues for the adopted child.
Full disclosure of being adopted also helps adoptees understand the decision their birth mothers were faced with and why they chose adoption.
For birth mothers, pursuing open adoption is the best opportunity to confirm your child understands your adoption decision. Open adoption allows you to have a continued relationship with your child, even after placement. Through this relationship, you are able to fully explain your decision to your child and express that the decision was made out of love, with their best interest in mind.
The importance of being able to discuss with your child the research, thought and emotions you put into finding the best adoptive family, and the sacrifices you made so that they could live their best life, goes without saying. Your child will understand your decision was not easy, and that it was based out of love. They will appreciate your willingness to continue to pursue a relationship as they grow up.
To discuss more ways to make sure your child will understand your adoption decision, speak with an adoption professional today. They will walk you through the steps of adoption and discuss any concerns or questions you may have about how your child will respond to growing up adopted.
Will Adoptive Parents Really Love My Baby as Much as They Would a Biological Child?
Another concern we often hear from prospective birth mothers is whether an adoptive family is able to love an adopted child as much as they would one of their own biological children.
Many adoptive families experience infertility, and adoption is the only option that can help them finally achieve their dreams of parenthood. These families have likely tried medications and treatments, dealt with the side effects, battled with difficult emotions and watched several friends and families become pregnant while they struggle to do so. Adoption provides a sense of hope and relief that throughout their struggles and long journey towards becoming a family, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Many of these families have hoped to begin or grow a family for years. They have researched, attended classes, joined support groups and more, all to be the best they can be if they are finally able to become parents. They invest significant time, effort and finances into the adoption process; allow their lives to be scrutinized by professionals; and wait eagerly for months or even years to be chosen for an adoption opportunity. Their wait only strengthens the love they have to give for the child being adopted.
Love is universal, especially toward children. It is not based around bloodlines.
Although each adoption circumstance or motivation is different, all families hoping to adopt share the same desire of providing love and support for their son or daughter. For prospective birth parents, understanding the difficult journey adoptive parents must take to make their adoption dreams become a reality helps confirm how much adoptive families are willing and able to love an adopted child.
The best way to ensure adoptive families will love your child as much as they would a biological child is to hear it directly from families who have adopted. They will be able to share their gratitude for the opportunity adoption has provided them, as well as express how deeply they love and care for their child.
Trusting the Process
These are only a few of the most common questions prospective birth mothers have when considering adoption. It’s likely you have more, and that is OK.
Realizing the adoption process is centered on positivity, love and support will go a long way in easing any doubts you may have. Testimonials, blogs, support groups and adoption professionals can all provide the reassurance you may need as you research adoption.
An unplanned pregnancy is a lot to handle, especially on your own. Adoption specialists are available to make sure you have the support you need. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options for your unplanned pregnancy.