Will my child hate me for giving her away? Of all the fear and uncertainty a woman considering adoption has to process, this question is probably the most haunting.
It is a completely normal fear, but it is rooted in misunderstanding about adoption. We want you to know:
- Adoption is not giving away an unwanted child.
- Adoption is not taking the easy way out.
- Adoption is not avoiding responsibility for your actions.
- Adoption is not a selfish choice.
Adoption was once considered shameful. It was conducted in secret, and children grew up knowing little to nothing about their birth history or why their birth parents made this choice. Many children discovered they were adopted later in life and were left with gaping holes in their identities. Even though birth mothers of the past may have chosen adoption to give their children a better life, these circumstances led adoptees to feel anger and resentment.
Thankfully, attitudes about adoption have changed. The truth is that adoption is a loving choice made with the best interests of the child in mind. Most adoptions in the United States are open or semi-open, so adopted children grow up knowing what adoption truly means. They have a chance to see that they are loved by their birth parents as well as their adoptive parents.
By choosing a Christian open adoption, you set your child up for a hopeful future. You can select the perfect Christian couple to raise your child with the faith and values that you wish for her. You may even choose to stay in your child’s life by keeping in contact and forming a special bond with the adoptive family. In this loving, supportive environment, your child will see that you did not “give her away.”
There are several things you can do as a birth mother to make sure your child grows up understanding the loving sacrifice you made for her:
1. Choose an open Christian adoption plan.
Through open Christian adoption, you not only provide your child with a current medical history, which is important for her physical health but also her personal history. She will grow up knowing where she came from, and this will help her shape her identity.
2. Select the perfect Christian adoptive family.
One of the benefits of an open Christian adoption plan is that you get to select your baby’s parents. You can get to know them and their vision for your baby’s future. The perfect family will be different for each birth mother. Choose a family that shares the values you want for your child.
3. Make a plan with the adoptive family.
It’s considered best to start having age-appropriate conversations with children about their adoption stories as early as possible. Decide together how your child will learn her adoption story. Create a plan for how you and the adoptive family will address your child’s questions and help her navigate her feelings.
4. Let your child take the lead.
Open Christian adoption plans look different for each family. For some Christian adoptive families, the birth mother is involved beyond periodic updates and photos. She may even have a special relationship with her child that includes phone calls and visits.
If this is the path you choose, you may decide to have open conversations with your child about her adoption story. Let your child take the lead and answer her questions as they come. Don’t push, and try not to be offended if your child is upset. Everyone processes their feelings in their own time. The best thing you can do is to be there for your child when she is ready.
5. Leave a legacy.
You may also decide that it’s not in your child’s best interest to have a relationship with you, and that’s OK. Even so, you can still leave her a legacy. Write letters or keep a journal that you may one day share.
While your fears about your child’s reaction to her adoption are reasonable, they are not the rule. Expect that your child will have complicated emotions to work through, but it doesn’t need to end in hate and resentment. By carefully selecting the right Christian parents and building a trusting relationship with them, you give your child every opportunity for a positive self-identity and a true understanding of what her adoption means.