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Grief and Loss in Adoption

Upset woman sitting on sofa alone at home

Pregnant and considering adoption? It’s important to understand the emotional effects of adoption after placement. Even if adoption feels like the right decision for you, you might still experience feelings of sadness. You may actually experience a wide range of emotions as you consider adoption for your child. These can include denial, sadness, anger, guilt and shame. You might experience these feelings during your pregnancy or maybe not until after your baby is born. For some women the feelings might surface after making their final decision. Each person’s experience is unique.

Here are some common grief reactions:

Emotional Reactions to Grief

  • Overwhelmed
  • Worried or anxious
  • Guilty
  • Ashamed
  • Angry or irritable
  • Hopeless
  • Numb or empty
  • Lonely

Physical Reactions to Grief

  • Inability to sleep/insomnia
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Crying
  • Tightness or heaviness in chest
  • Lack of focus or concentration
  • Headaches

What to Do About Your Grief

It’s important to remember that everyone experiences grief differently. You may feel some, all or none of the reactions listed above. If you are parenting other children, they may also experience feelings of grief. It is important that you talk with a support person or your counselor about whatever feelings you are experiencing. Your Cradle Counselor will listen to you with understanding and help you work through these feelings. They are available to talk while you’re considering all your options, as well as after an adoption plan is made. Contact The Cradle at helpline@cradle.org or 800-CRADLE4 (800-272-3534).

If you have thoughts of hurting yourself please seek help immediately by calling 988 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline), 911, or by going to your nearest emergency room.

Perinatal/Postpartum Depression 24-hour support crisis line: 866-364-6667

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