5 Important Questions You should Ask as a Birth Mother
Whether you have just embarked on your adoption journey or are near the end, you will, no doubt, face some uncertainties along the way. Answers and resolutions may not come swifty, but you can still equip yourself with the tools to prepare yourself for a wide range of outcomes in the meantime. Such preparation begins with asking yourself questions to prompt yourself to seek out information and develop a plan of action.
- What if I change my mind about adoption?
Firstly, know that as a birth mother, you have every right to change your mind up until your state’s allotted time after your baby is born, and that changing your mind is perfectly valid. You should not feel guilty or ashamed for choosing to raise your baby if you determine it’s the best decision for you and your baby.
That said, having doubts does not necessarily mean that you made the wrong decision to pursue adoption, and it is worth checking in with yourself to unpack these feelings. Perhaps you are beginning to form a maternal bond with your child and are having a difficult time imagining someone else raising your baby. Maybe you haven’t found an adoptive family who you think would be a good fit for your child, and you’re starting to worry if you ever will. It’s worth revisiting your reasons for choosing adoption to evaluate if they still hold up.
It can also be very helpful to seek the counsel of friends, family, a support group, or an adoption professional to gain a fresh perspective and more information. Even if you’re currently content with your decision, you might be concerned that doubt will settle in after everything is said and done. In that case, you might want to consider open adoption in order to keep the level of involvement in your child’s life flexible.
- What if the adoptive parents change their minds?
It’s easy enough to anticipate that you may change your mind and decide to raise your baby. It can come as completely unexpected for the adoptive family to change their mind and not go through with the adoption. Remember that the prospective adoptive family is on their own journey that comes with its own challenges. Just like you, they also have every right to change their minds up until placement.
Having the prospective adoptive family change their mind may hurt and make you feel like you have less control in the situation. However, there are several reasons why a family may choose to step away from their original decision to adopt. Perhaps they have recently faced a financial and/or health crisis and are no longer in a position to bring an infant into their lives. If the prospective adoptive parents are a couple, perhaps they are going through a rough patch in their relationship and decide to work things out before proceeding with an adoption. After second thought, they may have realized that they simply are not yet ready to be parents.
Whatever their reason, it’s best to prepare for this type of situation in case it arises. Even if you feel comfortable with the adoptive family you have chosen, it might be a good idea to keep your options open and have a list of other adoptive families who you think would be a good match in the event your first choice is not able to proceed with the adoption.
- What role do I want to play in my child’s life post-placement?
One of the great ways adoption has evolved in recent decades is that you have a greater say in how much contact you have with your child and his or her adoptive family post placement. If you are reluctant about pursuing adoption out of fear that you won’t get to see or hear from your child once they are placed, the good news is that you still have an opportunity to be present in your child’s life by opting for an open adoption. Open adoptions often entail contact between you and your child’s adoptive family in the form of letters, phone calls, emails, video chats, and even in-person visits as regularly as you and the adoptive family are comfortable with.
On the other hand, you might want to completely move on with your life after placing your child and, therefore, do not want any contact with your child or the adoptive family. You might feel that annual updates will be painful or that you won’t feel a connection for your child if you aren’t raising them. Placing your child for adoption might bring you a sense of closure to a time in your life that you would prefer to not be reopened.
Know that all of these feelings are completely okay, and that pursuing a closed adoption might be your best option. Unlike open and semi-open adoptions, you will have no contact with your child and his or her adoptive family. They also will not have your contact information, and you will not have theirs. You may even decide to not have any contact or information shared with them pre-placement and relinquish all handling of the adoption process to the agency you’re working with.
- What do I want in an adoptive family?
When you chose to place your baby for adoption, you did so because you believed it would lead to the best outcomes for both you and your child. Having a say in the type of adoptive family who will raise your child can bring reassurance that you choose wisely. As you go through the process of finding an adoptive family for your baby, put together a list of characteristics that you think are necessary in a family that will raise your child. Along with having a list of must-haves, it’s also good to put together a list of what you don’t want in an adoptive family.
Equally important to having a defined list of qualities you want or don’t want is being open to traits you maybe didn’t consider. You may come across a family that has something to offer that you didn’t even know you needed.
- How will this adoption affect my future pregnancies and children?
You may wonder how your adoption experience will color your view of your motherhood if you decide to have additional children. Will another pregnancy, planned or not, trigger upsetting emotions reminding you of the child you placed for adoption? Will having and raising other children enhance your gratitude for the responsibility the adoptive parents took on when they raised your child? Will your experiences with your future children make you feel like you missed out on seeing your other child grow up? Will having more children inspire you to reconnect with the baby you placed for adoption? Alternatively, if you decide to not have additional children, do you see yourself wishing you would have raised your child? Or will you be grateful that adoption allowed you to live happily without children?
Important Questions You should Ask as a Birth Mother
The adoption process can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster, and it’s natural for some doubt to sneak itself in there and throw you for a loop from time to time. If you find yourself struggling with any of these or other important questions about the adoption process, Adoption Choices of Kansas is here to ease your anxiety and help you find answers you seek.
Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri serves birth parents statewide and beyond, please call us or text us to learn more! Call us toll free at 1-877-903-4488 or, in Missouri call or text us at (816) 527-9800; in Kansas call or text us at (316) 209 2071
Meet the Author: Mary DeStefano is an Ohio native currently living in northern Virginia and works in the litigation consulting industry where she has experience in antitrust, product liability, and mass torts matters. She holds a B.A. in Economics (‘15) and an M.A. in Applied Economics (‘16) from the University of Cincinnati.
Mary is passionate about empowering and supporting those involved in the adoption and surrogacy processes. She finds great meaning in wielding the written word to develop impactful
narratives and to help people stay informed. In her spare time, Mary can be found beach combing and going on other adventures with her dog along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. She also has an affinity for antiquing and loves a good 80’s movie marathon.