1. After placing your child, allow yourself to experience the feelings that you are feeling and don't let anyone tell you when you should stop grieving or "get over it." We have to work through our own emotions at our own pace. So what if it doesn't match up to where someone else thinks we need to be. It's our experience, not theirs.
2. If you feel as though you are having a difficult time with your placement, talk to an adoption counselor or therapist. Talking out your feelings and/or problems with a neutral person can be so relieving and helpful. He or she can give you helpful hints on how to better deal with your grief from a professional stand point. You can also look up local birthparent support groups in your area.
3. Keep scrapbooks, pictures. and memorabilia. Remember, even though you placed your child with an adoptive family, he/she is still YOUR child. It is OK to have pictures of them around. It has helped many birthmoms be able to look back and see how far they have come in their journey. *
4. Say lots of prayers for God to keep watch over you, your child, and his or her family. Having a strong faith will carry you through the difficult periods and even help during the happy times as well.
5. Don't look at adoption as a loss, but rather as gaining another really special family. You are extending your family even further with your adoptive family. They will love you so dearly as if you were of their own flesh and blood. *
6. Be open about your adoption. The more you talk to people about it, the more confident you will feel. You will also be AMAZED at how many people are somehow connected to the adoption triangle. There are also so many people who have a negative perception of adoption. Sharing your story may teach them that adoption is a very positive process and is fulfilling to everyone involved.
7. If you do not feel comfortable talking with others about your feelings and story, journaling is an excellent outlet. Just getting out what is inside can help you tremendously in sorting out what should come next in the choices you make in the future. It is also another way to look back and see how far you have come.
8. Keep an open mind. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself. Talk to your adoptive family about your needs and wants. If you don't want as much contact, let them know. If you want more, find a tactful way to talk to them about it and ask for it, if possible. You will never know until you ask. In most situations, either the birthparents or adoptive parents are hesitant to push the envelope and open up about visits, letters, and pictures. But once one side at least attempts to ask for a bit more then you will know what direction to take from there. You will also build a trust between families with communication. But all in all, keep an open mind. *
9. Think positive. As hard as it may be at times, each day is one day closer to a reunion. Try to think about happy moments with your child, whether during pregnancy, in the hospital, through visits, or even just through pictures and letters.
10. Finally, take everything ONE DAY AT A TIME! No need to rush feelings and emotions. Also no need to rush life. Take time to cry and grieve, but also take time to laugh and enjoy the life of being a birthmom.
* Notes tips that are more relevant for birthmothers participating in an open adoption.