Navigating the adoption process will likely raise many questions for birth mothers. While working closely with birth mothers on their personalized adoption plans, we answer many questions throughout the process. We have found that birth mothers commonly have some questions about what happens after the placement of the baby. Here are a couple of the most common questions birth mothers ask about the time after the baby has been placed with an adoptive family.
Does coping with the adoption experience become any easier?
Often times yes, but it depends. Each birth mother experiences a unique emotional journey during her adoption process. We have seen various ways birth mothers choose to cope with the emotions following the placement of their child. Some birth mothers find comfort in choosing the adoptive family and seeing them interact with the baby. Often times this allows the birth mother to begin seeing the adoptive parents as the child’s parents; and she can take joy in giving the amazing gift—a child and becoming a parent—to the adoptive parent(s). However, some birth mothers find comfort in taking the opposite approach. In some cases, birth mothers prefer to consider themselves as that child’s mother or birth mother for life, whether or not they will be involved in the child’s life later on. For some birth mothers, receiving an occasional picture of the child or a letter update is the best way to cope with the emotions of placing a child for adoption. This can help reassure that the child is loved and being cared for. But again, each person experiences emotions in the adoption process differently, and each individual must learn to cope with these emotions in a way that is best for them.
Many birth mothers also indicate that the emotions associated with the adoption process come in waves—generally the emotions are not constant, but rather there are triggers that prompt an influx of emotions. Numerous adoption programs will provide counseling services to birth mothers, if desired, which can be helpful in the coping process. One of the benefits of counseling is the fact that many birth mothers are able to find the coping mechanism that works best for them.
What will be my role in the child’s life and how do I define the relationship between myself, my child, and the adoptive family?
Ultimately, it is up to you to determine how involved you would like to be in the child’s life. Most organizations have families open to all types of situations, whatever type of relationship you would like. While the titles used in the adoption process are less important than the actual relationship to the child, titles can be helpful when describing the adoption to the child, or helping the child learn how to explain their own adoption to others. Traditionally, the mother that gave birth is referred to as the birth mother, and the father involved is referred to as the birth father. Please note though, that it is important to use positive language when referring to the parties of this process. You can learn more about the proper adoption terms by reading our blog post, Why Positive Adoption Language Matters.
The roles in an adoption, specifically an open adoption, depend on the preferences of both the birth parents and the adoptive parents. An adoption professional can help manage the relationship between parties, and ensure that everyone is satisfied with their role in the child’s life. To learn more about the levels of openness in an adoption, read How “Open” Should My Adoption Be?
Going through the adoption process can present several unfamiliar questions. If you have a question that was not answered above, feel free to contact us; we gladly answer adoption questions 24/7.