Cosmopolitan magazine is doing an article on adoption and the following is a Q&A they asked me to do. If you’ve ever wondered about the birth mother’s experience, read on!
How old are you now? 28
How old were you when you placed your child for adoption? 16
How old was your child at the time? Newborn
Did you have any other children before you placed your child for adoption? Have you had any other children since? I’ve had one child since the adoption, and I also have a step-child.
Please describe what lead to your decision to place your child for adoption. Why did you feel adoption was the best option? What were the pros and cons when you were weighing your options? I hadn’t heard much about adoption, but I thought it could be the best choice so I looked into it with the help of my mom. I thought it was best because I wanted my child to be raised in a two-parent home with responsible, mature adults. The pros all leaned toward what adoption would mean for my daughter – that she’d have more opportunities and be raised in the best circumstances. And for me – that I could pursue to finish school and become a responsible, mature myself. The cons were that I’d have to endure a lot of heartbreak.
Did you ever consider alternatives to adoption? What were they and what kept you from choosing those? I considered all alternatives, but in the end adoption is what felt right. I didn’t think abortion or parenting would be the best option.
How involved was the birth father with your decision to place the child for adoption at the time? What is your current relationship with him? He was initially against the adoption, he wanted to parent. But he wasn’t necessarily capable of that (addictions, in and out of jail). He wasn’t around when my daughter was born but did want to maintain contact with her through an open adoption. We speak rarely now but I we see what each other are up to on social media.
Who did you discuss the decision with and how did they respond? I discussed it with my parents initially and they were very supportive. I talked about it with my family and friends. Some couldn’t understand why I would choose adoption but most were supportive.
What were your biggest fears about adoption? Regret. I feared that I would want to go back on my decision despite knowing it was best, just because it would be hard and I didn’t know if I was strong enough to let go. But it turned out okay.
Describe the process of finding the agency and going through them. Or, if you didn’t go through an agency, describe the process of finding the family to place the child with. It was actually the father’s mom who helped orchestrate finding the family. I had only just begun looking at parent profiles when it came to my knowledge that there was a couple she knew who wanted to adopt. When I met them, I knew right away. They were perfect.
How big of a part did you play in deciding which family you would place the child with? If you chose a certain family, what made you choose them? They were genuine and very kind, but funny too. They were so great I kinda wanted to be a part of their family!
Did you have any stipulations? Like, you only wanted a closed or open adoption, or other boundaries you wanted to set? Please explain. We agreed on a semi-open adoption: letters and photos with visits until she turned two. I also asked that they would let her have a sibling – and they adopted a little boy a few years later.
Did the family you placed your child with have any boundaries they wanted you to follow? Not really. We had discussed our expectations beforehand and followed those well.
What were some aspects (physical or emotional) of placing your child for adoption that surprised you? Physically, when my milk supply dried up because I obviously wasn’t breast feeding. No one discussed that with me and at 16, I found the whole process weird. Emotionally, the process was so difficult but I expected it. Although I didn’t realise how long the pain would last and I didn’t help myself in the healing process because I didn’t really talk to anyone about all the grief I felt.
Did you ever have a change of heart or start second-guessing your decision to place your child for adoption? Please describe. The night I came home from the hospital I had a horrible nightmare that my daughter had died and it really threw me. As hard as it was, I never wavered in knowing I had made the right decision.
Describe the day and process of the child going from your home to the family’s home. This is best described in my book, Placing Bets. It was soooo emotional. Here’s the link.
What is your present relationship with the child LIKE, if any? Currently we don’t have contact, but I have left it up to her if she wants to meet me in the future. I really hope she does, but if not that is okay too. Whatever she wants is most important.
What is your relationship with the family like, if any? I get a letter and photo from them every Christmas. I keep meaning to contact the adoptive mom and let her know about some of the things I’ve written. I have a feeling she would gladly receive any contact I made.
Do you still think about the child at all? If so, how? All the time, I write about the adoption process a lot so it comes up often. She is 11 now and I wonder about what she is like and if we will one day meet.
What are your feelings about YOUR decision now that it’s passed? I’m really happy that I chose what I did. I have had an incredible journey since the adoption and I know she is an amazing young girl. She’s so talented and full of life. In my own little way, I’ve impacted someone’s life for the better, which is cool.
If you could change anything about your adoption experience, what would it be? I would have found someone to help walk me through the process post-adoption. I kind of lost my way for a while.
What advice would you give other people considering placing a child for adoption? Everyone has to choose what is right for them and their child. Adoption is a really great option that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Image by Nisha A.