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A Lifetime of Grieving and Healing

A Lifetime of Grieving and Healing: A closer look at Post Placement Counseling and Care for Birth Parents 


When a parent places their baby for adoption, they embark on a unique, complex journey of grieving and healing. They have experienced a profound loss. Being separated from one’s child, one’s baby, is not natural on a biological level. If all is right in the world, it’s not the way things are supposed to go. Even if a parent feels they are making the best possible decision at the time, grief and trauma typically can’t be avoided. 


It’s often said, this type of loss is ambiguous. It lacks closure, especially if, hopefully if there is continued connection between birth parent(s) and child through open adoption. How do you grieve someone who is still living? Someone you still have a relationship with, but in legal and practical ways, you are no longer their everyday parent. 


It’s also a type of loss where much of society fails to recognize the validity of grief. Birth parents through domestic infant adoption may hear, “You chose this, why are you so upset?” This is called disenfranchised grief. Birth parents are often left to grieve and process this loss alone. Instead of casseroles arriving at their door, as might typically happen when a loved one dies, there are no condolence cards in their mailbox, no event like a funeral to mark the loss and wrap the griever in tender love and care. 


For these reasons, it’s even more important birth parents are provided quality, long term access to counseling and support groups. Quality – a therapist who is adoption fluent and understands this type of loss well. Long-term – there should be no limit on the number of sessions as it pertains to navigating grief related to adoption. This type of grieving is a lifelong journey where support is likely needed on and off for years. 

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