Adoption is a forever process, one that brings many emotions, challenges, and precious moments along the way. If you have recently placed your baby for adoption or are considering making an adoption plan, know that this decision may change your life, your child’s life, and an adoptive family’s life forever. By being open, honest, and staying true to yourself, you can make your adoption journey a positive one.
How To Find Your New “Normal”
Navigating through life and finding your new “normal” after you place your baby for adoption is not easy. There will be days you find it hard to get out of bed and times where you feel alone. That being said, there are a few important lessons birth mothers have shared with us along the way. Use them to find the strength to keep moving forward, and to navigate through this new “normal”.
1. Have Confidence In Yourself and Your Decision
This is the most important rule. In order to get up out of bed in the morning you need to have confidence in yourself, and the decision you made in order to give your child the best life possible. When you make the hardest decision of your life: adoption for your child, what a lot of people do not realize is all that goes into making that decision.
2. Allow Yourself To Cry When You Need To
Not all adoption plans are the same; every plan is special and unique to the child and their families. Everyday will not be easy. It is important to let yourself feel your feelings. We are human. Not every day is going to be easy. Just because you have confidence in your adoption, does not mean you are not allowed to let yourself feel any emotion that might come your way. No one ever dreams of having their first child, or any child for that matter, and then placing them for adoption; not raising them yourself. Cry when you need to. Let yourself feel your emotions, no matter what they are, and do not ever feel silly about it. Take them as they come and know that there will be a time where you will find peace with your adoption, and that peace will eventually trump the sadness and pain you might be feeling now.
3. Weed Out The Negative Relationships in Your Life
This is a hard lesson to learn, and sometimes comes with heartbreak. Sadly, you need to be prepared for the ‘haters’. Not everyone is going to understand your decision of adoption. Some people will come out of the woodwork and feel the need to give you their opinions,
“But, you will be an amazing mother!”
“Well, let me play devil’s advocate…”
“But, have you thought of what would happen if…..”
Again, back to rule number one: Have Confidence In Yourself and The Decision You Made. OF COURSE you have thought of the “what ifs”, and that you very well could be/will be/ and are an amazing mother. You have been drowning in your own thoughts of how to make this work in your child’s best interest since the day you discovered you were pregnant. You need to wrap your head around the fact that you and only YOU are going to know what is best. You might lose some people along the way of this journey that you expected to be holding your hand through all of it, and it hurts.
You will have your few haters, but you will also be surprised to see the people who have your back and stand in your corner. You will be amazed at how much stronger your friendships will grow, and how close your family can become.
4. Find a New Hobby
This is so important because after you place your baby with their adoptive parents you are going to have a lot of downtime to think on your maternity leave. This can be a good thing, or a bad thing, but it is important to make plans and stay busy. It does not mean you are not thinking about your child or you are dismissing what happened, it just means you need to give yourself a break. You need to find something that makes you happy and can give you joy while keeping busy. You already did the hardest part; you made the biggest decision for your baby; a lifetime of happiness and security. Now it’s time to do something for YOU! Try a cooking class, an art class, riding a bike, going to therapy to talk out your feelings, writing in a journal, joining a kickball team, planning a vacation etc.
6. Meet New People
Put yourself out there! This goes hand in hand with rule number 5: Finding a New Hobby. You may find someone who has been through adoption as well and be able to relate to a new friend on a new level. Don’t be afraid to go out and meet people; good positive, supportive people.
7. Be Open To Love
Dating again and being open to finding love might be a big fear. How will I ever meet someone who will understand and want to be a part of my unique family? How and when in the relationship do I share my story? You may feel vulnerable, and afraid to open up your heart and take the chance that you can get hurt again. We don’t know what is going to happen, but put your fears aside and be open to love because you deserve it.
8. Do You
After going through this adoption experience you are left with a whole new outlook on life. You just spent all of your energy focusing everything on your child and their future; but remember your own future is just as important. Give yourself the chance to reevaluate your own life. Ask yourself what your dreams are. Ask yourself where you want your life to go. Ask yourself what is going to make you happy, and then go out there and make the change to do so.
If you can survive the adoption of your child, you can conquer anything else you are afraid of! This is your time to live. Drop the guilt, drop the embarrassment, drop the sadness, and drop your fears. Drop whatever it is that is holding you back, and get back out there and live. Live for your child, and more importantly, live and love yourself.