Forever Bound Adoption asked several birth parents to share what they wish they had been taught from their agency when placing a baby for adoption. Forever Bound hopes to fill in the gaps and educate birth parents about a wide variety of topics. Forever Bound put together the most common questions asked by birth parents and are now asking for your advice. A birth mother who placed for adoption and has now been married for 5 years shares her advice to other expecting or birth parents. What would you add from your experience?
1. How do I tell my future family (in-laws, children, etc.) about the baby I placed for adoption?
My advice would be to first build up some trust in the relationship. Then when you have established trust, tell them you have something you would like to tell them, make sure they know you are serious and that it means a lot to you, and don’t say it as a joking matter. Also, as you are telling them, share with them why you made the decisions you did and overall be honest about your experience.
As for your future children, I feel and believe it is best if they grow up always knowing about your child you placed for adoption. The more normal you are with the situation, the less awkward others will be about it.
2How do I tell my boyfriend/future spouse about the baby I placed for adoption?
Make sure you are in a serious setting where you fully have their attention. As you are telling them, I would give them the background regarding your situation and tell them why you made the decision that you did.
Also, I would advise, that if they do not accept you after telling them, or if they treat you differently in a bad way, then they are not worth your time; because you want someone who loves you and who can accept you for who are. On a side note, I was engaged to a guy who’s mother thought her son needed to forgive me for having a baby before marriage, and I told her no, he doesn’t need to forgive me, he needs to accept me. (Luckily I did not end up marrying that guy! Phew!)
3. How should I handle questions or comments from others regarding placing my baby for adoption?
I handle different comments or questions differently depending on the vibes and feelings I am receiving from different people. People who seem really genuine I will often share more personal information with. Those who don’t seem so genuine, I will use the opportunity to educate them more about adoption, but will not usually share anything personal.
Overall, I always try to use peoples comments and questions as an opportunity to educate others about adoption and about the experience of a birth mother, because honestly, not many people know much about the adoption experience through the eyes of a birth mom.
4. What would you recommend to be appropriate contact with the adoptive family?
This will honestly depend on the adoptive family and you as a birth parent and what you are all comfortable with. Every family will be different, so this will be something that both parties will have to sort out together. However, if you are meeting with the family during your pregnancy, I would talk to them about continuing that contact after you place your child with them. If they are not comfortable with the same amount of contact, I would try to distance the contact to keep things consistent for after you place your baby for adoption. Also, at some point I would schedule a time to meet with the adoptive family and your therapist to talk about what they are comfortable with as far as contact.
Also, as a birth mom myself, I think it is important to keep in mind that your child you are placing or placed for adoption needs to feel as though he or she is part of the family your are placing them with. So, make sure you respect their boundaries so the adoptive family and your child you placed can establish close bonds and feel like a family!
5. Any advice when my parents are involved?
When your parents are involved, my advice would be to make sure you communicate your true feelings and talk honestly with them about what YOU truly want. I think it is good to share your feelings with them, however, when it comes down to making big decisions, I don’t think your parents should be the deciding factor, but instead there to offer support with the decisions YOU make.
6. What was helpful/unhelpful for birth grandparents to do during the pregnancy and adoption process?
It was helpful for me to have the support of my parents, especially my mom, because I’m closest to her, during my pregnancy. It was helpful that my parents did not advise or try to tell me what to do, instead they told me they would support me in whatever decision I made. It was also very helpful to have my mom with me during the delivery and placement process, I definitely needed someone there to lean on and I’m so glad that she was there to help me through such a difficult time.
An unhelpful example is when birth grandparents try to put their feelings on you. As a birth parent, you are already dealing with a lot, and having to deal with their feelings on top of your own, is not fair to you. Also, it is unhelpful for them to focus on any would-a’s, could-a’s, or should-a’s, it is important that they live in the present with you!