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How do birth mothers cope with adoption?

Choosing to place your baby up for adoption is a big deal. There are plenty of good reasons why mothers choose adoption, but no one should ever suggest the decision isn’t large or difficult. Even when you know adoption is best for both you and your baby, it’s normal to experience moments of doubt or regret. So how can you cope?

A 2018 study from Baylor University looked at the different ways birth mothers adjusted after their adoptions. It found that birth mothers’ levels of satisfaction often changed over time, and it found that two things tended to lead toward a better post-adoption adjustment. Those were the birth mother’s career and her involvement in an open adoption.

Birth mothers who work full-time tend to be more satisfied with their adoptions

While the study found this was the case, it was unclear why women who worked full-time jobs would be more satisfied. Even though they weren’t sure, the authors offered some guesses:

  • Full-time careers offer the women a sense of personal worth
  • The women find reward in their successful careers
  • Women who work long hours and struggle to make ends meet may be reminded their decision was correct
  • The women realize they wouldn’t be able to offer a child the time it deserves

It’s also possible that women who work full-time are simply busy more often and have less time to reflect on their past choices.

The reasons may be unclear, but the study was clear about the positive links between full-time employment and satisfied birth mothers. If you are concerned about how you might adjust after your adoption, this suggests you may want to think about the work you’ll do.

Birth mothers tended to be more satisfied when their adoptions were open

Baylor’s study reinforced what experts have seen for years. Open adoptions help ease birth mothers’ worries and anxiety.

Most adoptions used to be secret. But that’s no longer the case. Most adoptions are now open, meaning they allow for contact between birth mothers and the adoptive parents. This helps birth mothers see the child will be raised with love. Then, after the adoption is completed, birth mothers and adoptive parents may maintain an agreed upon level of contact. This could be anything from photos and letters to calls and visits.

The right adoption can help

As other birth mothers will admit, placing a child for adoption is tough—even when you know it’s the right thing to do. But getting the details of the adoption right can help. With experienced counsel, birth mothers can make the choices that are best for their babies and for themselves.

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