What advice would you give someone considering placing a child for adoption?
What I would say to someone considering placing their child for adoption is to really explore it and don’t draw conclusions or make assumptions about what adoption is because everyone has a different experience with it and I think it can be a great way to provide a really stable home for your child and a loving home for your child.
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I think there’s maybe some misconceptions about what adoption involves or what it’s like afterwards and I think you know, you hear a lot of horror stories about it. You hear the bad things but you don’t really hear the upside of it.
I would say the main thing is to really think it through. Think through all the details because you’re going to be really up and down with your emotions. You’re pregnant and you’re going to have hormones and different things happen throughout the process. So you really want to have even something maybe that you’ve written down that you can go back to and refer to and say, “Okay, this is what I was thinking at this point. This is why I thought adoption was the best decision”, and so on those days when you’re having a really hard time, maybe before the adoption or after the adoption, you can go back and say, “No, actually this is what I thought at this point in time and this is gonna be the best thing that I could choose.” So I think writing things down is really important thing to do.
Also, I think writing down goals that you want to accomplish. When I was going through the adoption process and I was getting more and more heavily pregnant, I had given myself different things to do and one of those things was decorating my room. It was even something so small but it was a project that I could throw myself into and so that I didn’t constantly dwell on the fact that I was pregnant and having to find a home for my child. It was something that I could almost escape into and it was a healthy project that I could put my attention towards and afterwards I had something to show for it. So it’s having little goals to set for yourself.
Things that you can do, what you can achieve, even during the process or after the process would be really helpful because you obviously want to not forget about who you are and why you made that decision in the first place. You want to take care of yourself and put time and effort into yourself because you’ll feel a lack afterwards. You will feel like a part of you is missing for a little while and that’s normal. That’s another thing as well, is to know that it’s normal to feel the grief, it’s normal to feel like everything’s not okay and to just let yourself go through those emotions. To not bottle it in but to talk to someone about it, I think it’s probably really important just to have everyone around you. There are people who know you well enough and care about you and love you and can just say, you know, “I’m here for you and if you need to eat just a tub of ice cream while we watch Netflix for hours on end and that’s okay.” Just to let yourself go through the process of the pain and also the healing. I think healing is really a part of coming to terms and moving forward in life and I think to have that healing you have to really be able to forgive yourself in away. I think for me, I really struggled with that because I wasn’t really willing to forgive myself for a few years. I could have probably healed a lot quicker had I just forgiven myself and decided that it was okay what I chose and it was the best and to really be okay with being okay.
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I always tell them to trust their gut, that we have an intuition for a reason and if it says adoption is it then great, and you have peace with it then great, follow that. If you have chosen adoption but it’s not feeling right then don’t do it, figure out another route, figure out another path, explore parenting again and see how that can make it work or if you’re set in adoption and feel good about that but you’re not feeling the adoptive parents for whatever reason, that there’s some kind of situation or red flags are popping up then again, explore another family. Just trust your gut, that’s the biggest thing. It will tell you what you should do.
MAKENA LEIGH PORTER
So first of all for any expectant parents. Know and be okay with your decision. Always have that confirmation. Don’t make a decision blind-sided. Make sure you know what you’re doing. Go talk to other people, I mean, if you can’t find them, they’re there. And for those who are going to place, enjoy it, enjoy the moments. Smile more, it’s not a terrible thing, you should be proud of what you’re doing and to not give up cause it’s really easy to give up and it’s super, super easy to get through it.
Really think it through. It’s a lifelong decision. It’s a decision that you will feel a different way about every day. Some days I am so proud of myself, I think I did the best thing in the world and then some days, I just missed her. I still think I did the best thing in the world but it’s a harder day, I miss her. I wish that she was calling me Mom instead of someone else. I wish that I was the one tucking her in, not the one seeing pictures of her being tucked in. So think it through, make sure this is what you want but at the same time understand that your hormones are going to get in the way.
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In that I have the most beautiful family. My daughter’s adoptive parents and I have the best relationship I could imagine. I have these people that invest in my life just as much as they invest in hers and I get to be there to answer the questions and frankly I get to be the rebellious fun aunt. We get to break the rules. We get to eat cookie dough when she’s not supposed to or stay up later than she’s supposed to. I get to have fun with her whereas I may not have had that if I was parenting her. It does pale in comparison to raising your own child but there are benefits. Also, I got to go on. I’m getting my doctoral degree and I never would have been able to do that as a single mom. In that I’m able to go on and help birthmothers in the long run. That’s something you don’t know what you’ll be able to do if you choose adoption. You don’t know what you’ll be able to do if you parent either. It’s just something you need to make sure is right for you and really just do some soul searching and see what your priorities are. If your priorities are that your child get the best care and you realize that you might not be able to provide that then adoption might be for you. Just really research it. Really feel it out and see if this is something you might be interested in.
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The advice I would give to someone considering placing would be find out as much information as you can about it. If you do decide that adoption is right for you, hopefully you’ll have that great connection with the adoptive family and you’ll know all you need to know about them. I think adoption is amazing. I think despite the fact there’s still a lot of misconception out there about adoption, I know that can sway people away from that decision, the stereotypes and stigmas that are out there about birthmoms can make it really difficult.
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Consider all your options, every single one. Do research. Look up birthmother stories. Dig through adoption forms. Read adoptee stories, I think that’s so, so important. Especially adult adoptees, you don’t really hear too much from them and when you do they’re kind of just pushed off the side, so I think that’s really important to know every aspect of everyone in the triad when you’re considering placing. Pick an agency that advocates for you and help you look at every option. Even if you’re set on adoption you want to find someone who really rallies around you and helps you look through everything.
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Know what you’re getting yourself into. Talk to other birthparents beforehand. Look at the adoptive couples and what they want. Look into counselling beforehand. Get some counselling before you even go into that direction, to make sure that it’s something that you can live with. Write a lot to give your pros and cons. My biggest advice is to make sure that you can find peace with your decision and it is something that you really truly want to have to go through because it’s definitely a journey that you’ll be walking for the rest of your life.