The decision to place a child with an adoptive family is one many birth mothers come to after hours of counseling, professional and from family and friends. Even with the best preparations for what is to come through adoption, the birth mother is hopefully allowed a second chance to pursue life that otherwise may have ended with single parenthood. Despite the counseling, there is little that can prepare a woman for the possible coming of feelings such as sadness, guilt, regret or grief following a placement.
One the revocation period has passed and the adoption has been finalized, a birth mother will have to come to terms with her decision, knowing it was in the best interest of the child and herself. And yet there will undoubtedly be moments in a birth mother and adoptee's life when the curiosity about one another and what life may have been had the adoption placement never occurred. Adoption loss is, ultimately, the term used to describe the feelings of grief that birth parents may feel after placing their child with an adoptive family.
Natural hormone imbalances can contribute to adoption loss in the form of post partum depression. Follow up post pregnancy care will be important to help identify forms of post partum depression before it spirals into something more. If the grief becomes too unbearable, a birth mother or father can join support groups to discuss his or her feelings. Meeting with a therapist or counselor can really help sort out and clarify these feelings. Identifying goals and milestones can help move from loss and depression to hopefulness and clarity again.
Once the adoptee is of legal age, the birth parents may consider registering with a state search and reunion registry or through services offered by a search agency. Reunion can sometimes bring feelings of hope, and a certain closure to the mystery of closed adoptions. In most recent cases, adoptions are open, allowing the birth parent a window into the child’s life. Sometimes this can be more painful than comforting as the birth parent then has to say good bye repeatedly each time the child goes home with their adoptive parents.
Adoption loss is a very real feeling. Birth parents should find a healthy focus to work towards, ultimately reducing the loss they feel in their lives.
January 11, 2014, 4:19 am
Hi everyone. I just wanted to come back and thank all of you for your thoughtful words, suggestions, recommendations etc. I can't tell you how much it has helped me. The Brodinsky book is the best I have read on adoption so far - from an adoptive parent's perspective I found it really helped...
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