“OHHHHHH!!! He is amazing! You will be amazing parents.”
These were all comments on the first picture my son’s adoptive parents ever posted of him. She posted the picture with the caption:
“Today, our world changed forever. Because of the love of such a wonderful, selfless, and incredibly STRONG young woman, My husband & I became parents. Our family has grown by way more than just 2 feet. Because of this precious baby boy, we have also gained a new family. For someone to sacrifice so much, how could you not love them forever? I know that our journey may not make sense to others, but that’s okay. It’s only our journey to understand….”.
I could never express how much it meant to me that she included me in her caption, but as the comments flowed in my heart broke a bit. I watched as people congratulated them and sent kisses. People were so excited to meet him! And no one cared about me.
After 9 months of pregnancy, 10 hours of labor, and leaving that hospital without my baby, only one person mentioned me… And she was a fellow birth mother.
I’m not going to lie to you. Adoption has been the hardest thing I have ever done. For a long time my heart broke constantly. There was not a single week for many months that I was able to fully function. There are so many things I wish I had known before I made this decision. So, in this article, I want to explain the things no one tells you about placing a child for adoption.
1. YOU WILL LOVE MORE THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE.
Pretty much my entire pregnancy I hated the baby growing inside of me. It was an unwanted pregnancy that was ruining my life. I lost my friends, my credibility in my church, my reputation, and I just wanted it out of me. Two nights before my son was born, I screamed at my mother, who had just finished arguing with my aunt about the adoption, that I didn’t care where the baby went I just wanted him away from me.
Boy, I was wrong.
The moment I heard him cry for the first time my heart filled with so much love, I couldn’t stand it. He. Was. Perfect. His blue eyes, his big ears, his little toes, and fingers… Absolute perfection. All the resentment and anger I felt towards him melted away. From that moment on I wanted to do everything in my power to love and protect him. I would have gladly laid down my life for him. I only wanted to be near him. I finally understood unconditional love.
2. YOU WILL HURT MORE THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE.
No pain will ever compare to the day I signed over my rights and left the hospital. You’re probably thinking “Well, why didn’t you just change your mind?” The answer is pretty simple. I adore my son’s adoptive parents. I knew them long before I got pregnant and they had loved him from the moment I told them about him, unlike me who only did when I met him. They had dished out tons of money for a lawyer, home studies, a nursery, and so much more. They were ready to be the parents they had always dreamed of being. How could I take that away from them?
Regardless, my heart felt as if someone had shattered it with a sledgehammer and I was neither physically or mentally able to pick up the pieces. I honestly don’t think my heart will ever be the same again. Some days I’m OK but others I want to crawl out of my skin. For the first time in my life, I’ve contemplated suicide. These words I’ve written don’t even begin to cover the hurt you will feel. Though I’m told it gets better. (Update: It does get better.)
3. YOU WILL DISCOVER WHO TRULY LOVES YOU.
Want to know who truly loves you unconditionally? Place your child.
I have lost so many relationships because of my choice to place. Friends have abandoned me because all of it is too heavy for them. People at my church no longer trust me. Co-Workers have decided it was their job to judge me. But out of all this, the most painful is when family leaves you. I have some family members who have decided that I have betrayed them and the relationship has been ruined since. Needless to say, unless they decide to change their tune, I may never see or speak to them again. That hurts. A lot.
4. PEOPLE MEAN WELL… OR NOT.
The Bible tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death. When you choose to place be ready to hear a lot of both. For some reason, people don’t know when to be quiet. Everyone feels the need to give you their opinion on YOUR choice. Good or bad, it gets really old, really quick and every comment goes one of two ways.
“OH! What a selfless thing to do! I’m so proud of you.”
” How dare you! You abandoned your responsibilities. You’ll regret it.”
Ugh. Sometimes, you get to the point where you will want to tell them “Unless I initiate a conversation about my child, DO NOT talk about it.” Honestly, if I wanted their advice I would have asked for it a long time ago. If I talk about my kid I don’t want to know your opinion on my, (again) MY choice. I want you to shut up, look at the pictures like you’re happy, and tell me what a beautiful baby I made.
5. EVERYONE GETS TIRED OF LISTENING.
Adoption is emotionally draining for everyone involved, including the adoptive parents. As a (birth) mom you want to brag about your kid or cry on someone shoulder when you’re having a rough day. Unfortunately, your go-to people will eventually get burnt out. My go-to people are my parents. They were so strong during my pregnancy. But, eventually, it started to wear them down. Not only were the taking on the heartbreak of placing their first grandchild but they were taking all of heartbreak as well. My mother finally told me she couldn’t take it anymore.
I can’t be mad at her about it. Just like we get tired of people talking to us about it, our rocks get tired too. That is why I strongly urge all birth moms to find someone with no emotional attachment to the situation to talk to. Going to counseling is a must. Counselors not only listen but they offer advice and point of views that are actually helpful. Another good resource is birth mom support groups. There are many birth mom support groups on Facebook that are awesome!
All of this being said adoption is a beautiful thing. Although I am hurting, I am at peace knowing that my son is safe and loved. He is being raised by two amazing people who will love him unconditionally and give him the best life possible. While sometimes I regret my decision and wish I had made the choice to parent, I realize I did the right thing. Not for me but for my boy. I am blessed to have an extremely open adoption where I get to play a big role in his life.
I hope this helps you prepare you for what is coming. I didn’t write this to persuade you to change your mind, I wrote it prepare you. There are so many resources for adoptive parents but no one ever cares about the birth moms. I also hope, that if you are looking to adopt, already have adopted, or even just have a birth mother in your life, you would read this and be conscious of what you do and say. What you would consider a little comment can send a birth mother spiraling for the rest of the day.
Be strong birth moms! You are amazing!