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Advice

Will I Regret My Adoption Decision?

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.

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Advice

What Can I Expect to Feel After I Say Goodbye?

The hospital trip is the most anticipated event of any pregnancy – and often the most emotional. For women who choose adoption, many of those emotions come from knowing that it’s time to say goodbye.

But you aren’t saying goodbye forever. The openness of today’s adoption relationships means that you will be able to see your child grow up and have a relationship with him or her. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to be all smiles after making an adoption decision. It’s completely normal to experience a wide range of emotions, both positive and negative; here’s what to expect if you choose adoption.

Grief and Loss

Adoption is an emotional decision, and you will need time to come to terms with your pregnancy and your adoption decision. Here are some tips for handling the emotional low points of the adoption process:

  • Do not make a hasty decision – Coping with an adoption decision begins before the adoption takes place. In the initial shock of an unplanned pregnancy, it can be easy to make a decision before thinking it through completely.
  • Address your emotions – Feelings of sadness are completely normal after an adoption, and you should allow yourself to have these feelings without self-judgment.
  • 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.

Closure and Acceptance

After you place your child for adoption, it’s time to start looking to the future. If you choose to place your child for adoption, you will not be the one raising him or her, but you will still have a meaningful relationship. Through an open adoption, you will be able to:

  • Let the adoptive family know your wishes – Once you choose a family, you will be able to get to know them before the baby arrives. During this time, you can talk to them about the kind of upbringing you want for your child.
  • Answer your child’s questions – As your child grows older, you will be present in his or her life to talk about why you chose adoption, and that it was a decision made out of love.
  • See your child grow up with the parents you chose – In an open adoption, you will never have to worry about your child or wonder how he or she is doing; you will always know.

Some people believe that an ongoing relationship with the child they placed will make moving on more difficult, but the opposite is true; women in an open adoption have the reassurance of seeing their child grow up in a happy, loving home, and this helps them to achieve closure.

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. Above all, women who choose adoption feel the confidence that they made the best decision for their child.

 

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Advice

Can My Parents Stop Me from Choosing Adoption?

An unplanned pregnancy is a complicated matter, and it can be made even more confusing if you are under eighteen or still dependent on your parents. You may want to pursue an adoption plan that they do not agree with.

What you do after an unplanned pregnancy is a decision that only you can make. At the same time, navigating this situation with your parents can be tricky. Here’s what you need to know about the role your parents play in the adoption process, along with some tips to help you through this time.

Who Must Consent to the Adoption

If you are pursuing an adoption plan for your child, you will be asked to terminate your parental rights after giving birth. As the child’s mother, you have custody of your child until you sign the relinquishment papers – even if you are underage.

In most states, the only people who must consent to an adoption are the birth parents. This means that from a legal standpoint, you do not need to gain your parents’ consent in order for your child’s adoption to be legally valid. Every state has slightly different legal processes, so make sure you understand the adoption laws in your state and know your parental rights.

Regardless of the law, your decision may cause friction with your loved ones. If you can, you should try to help your parents understand why you are choosing adoption, but this is not always possible. Fortunately, there are still ways for you to move forward with adoption if you feel it is truly best for you and your baby.

Choosing Adoption with Unsupportive Parents

If your parents are unsupportive of your decision, they may try to prevent you from pursuing your adoption plan.

If this describes your situation, you are not alone – and you have options. You should always have the right to choose what is best for your child, and an adoption specialist can help you seek emotional and financial support through your pregnancy. You may also want to try talking to your parents with the help of your specialist, who can mediate the interaction and help you come to an understanding with your family.

Ultimately, adoption is your choice and yours alone. Making a decision against your parents’ wishes, however, can be painful and difficult, especially if you are underage or dependent on them. If at all possible, it is best to communicate with your parents and help them to understand that your reasons for choosing adoption are thought-out, responsible, and – above all – selfless.