After reading the blog of a fellow author Anna Glendenning at families.com I began thinking about the guilt many birth parents experience after making an adoption plan and some ways they can overcome it.
What is Adoption?
Glendennig defines it as a life changing experience for three different groups of people. The Adoption Triad consists of birthparents, adoptive parents, and the adopted person. In the past, each of the members of the triad were seen and treated as parallel lives and often disconnected. Today, society is changing and in many ways has come to understand that all the members of the triad are valuable and important to each other, not only at the time the adopted child is placed, but for the entire lifetime of the child. Accepting the loss and working through the grief doesn’t mean birth parents forget the baby they placed for adoption. It doesn’t mean birth mothers or birth fathers don’t experiences times of feeling sorrow or regret for their loss. Acceptance means birth parents allow themselves to move forward with their lives and integrate the loss into their future lives.
Where does guilt come from?
Expecting mothers and fathers, experiencing the difficulty and emotional stress of an unplanned pregnancy often face deep feelings of shame for being in the situation in the first place. When parents make an adoption plan for their baby these feelings of shame can be even greater in part due to a lack of understanding from their friends, family and society in general. Shame about the fact parents are faced with an unexpected baby may lead to feelings of unworthiness or incompetence about becoming parents.
Birthparents with supportive friends, family members, or professional counselors may come to terms with their decision over time and be able to find a deeper understanding. With compassion and support birthmothers and birthfathers may come to realize what happened was not something to feel shame and guilt over, but a real and honorable decision to give their baby life and a loving family to grow up with.
Recipe For Healing
Add a dash of Garlic because grief is pungent and present long after you think it should disappear, allow yourself this space to grieve and be sad during this difficult time
Add 1 Ugly fruit because Understanding without compassion can be one ugly mess! Understand where you are in your grief process and be compassionate towards yourself.
Add 2 TBS of Iodized salt and avoid putting salt in the open wound that may be your heart right now, avoid being around harsh or judgmental people. Initiate conversations with supportive friends and family or others who have gone through a similar experience.
Add 1 cup of Lemon zest because this process can be bittersweet. Love yourself and avoid using negative statements like I’m a bad person.
Lastly add a pinch of Thyme for that little extra boost. And make sure to surround yourself with loving and supportive friends to help keep you going.
Notice the letters in bold throughout the recipe and know that guilt is an integral part of adoption but with support and time it can be something you overcome.