Making an adoption plan for your child is a very courageous, yet difficult decision. Expecting parents often describe a variety of emotions felt when placing their child for adoption. It is to experience feelings such as a sense of loss, grief, and even guilt. These feelings are all common even when you know that an adoption plan will provide a better life and future for not only their child, but for themselves as well. Many times, expecting parents not only have to find ways to cope during the adoption process, but assist their family members as well. It is common that family members will experience the same feelings, and will need help understanding and preparing for this decision as well. Families of the birth parents can feel the same sense of loss, grief, and guilt. Below are steps that families could benefit from and certain tools and steps to help your family adjust to your decision to place your child for adoption.
6 Steps to helping your family adjusts to your decision to place your child for adoption:
- Invite your parents to the adoption agency – Bringing your family members along with you to your adoption agency could give them a sense of feeling involved in your decision to place your baby. It would also give family members a chance to meet your social worker and would be an opportunity to ask questions that they may have which will aid in understanding the adoption process from a professional point of view.
- Bring your parents to doctor appointments– Much like bringing your family members to an adoption agency, allowing family members to come along to doctor appointments could help them feel involved with the progress of your pregnancy and development of your baby.
- Share your feelings- It is important not to shut off from family members. Include your family members in your feelings. They too may have similar feelings and can become a great support system for you. A great way to do this is by writing your family a letter that explains your thought out decision and feelings toward why you chose this adoption plan. At times it helps to share your goals and dreams and how these would not be achievable given your choice to parent your child.
- Educate about open adoption- Open adoption allows birth parents and family members to stay involved with your child’s life. Educating your family members about open adoption could help them feel at ease. Your family will be better prepared to help you and understand your feelings if they feel prepared, informed, and educated. To read more about open adoption visit the AFTH Blog!
- Find a local support group- There are many agencies, and even online groups, that offer support to birth parents and their families. These groups will offer the support that you and your family may need to cope and understand your decision to place. These groups are designed to help birth parents and their families come together to share similar feelings and experiences through their own adoption stories. A great resource is birthparentmeetup.com. Here you can find what cities in the United States have birth parent support groups. Also, check with the agency that you are placing though. Many times, agencies will offer support groups as well.
- Establish Rituals- According to Childwelfare.gov, having rituals is a great way to not only include your family members with your adoption, but help them cope and understand even more why you made the decision to place. Birth parents may find it helpful to create a tradition that honors the child and the decision that was made. Birth parents also may choose to establish other ongoing or finite rituals, such as commemorating certain days or milestones in the child’s life, such as the child’s birthday or a high school graduation or writing a letter to the child. Including your family in these rituals is a great way to keep family members involved.
Unfortunately, sometimes when expecting parents make an adoption plan for their child, their family members are not on board with the decision. In these situations expecting parents may not receive the love and support needed to get through this difficult decision. This blog post will explore those situations and provide expecting parents, who are choosing adoption, with alternative ways to receive care and support during their adoption placement.
There are many tools available to help your family members adjust to and understand the decision of placing your child for adoption. When the adoption plan has been made, there are also many ways to keep you and your family members involved in your child’s life. With open adoption, you can send letter and even have visits at least one time per year. Reassuring your family members that they will still be involved with the child’s life may help them understand your adoption plan better. Like birth parents, family members will have to cope with the loss from the adoption as well. With the help from support groups, keeping family members involved, educating the family on open adoption, and keeping them involved with your own feelings will help them understand your decision to make an adoption plan for your child.