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What We’ve Learned from Cradle Birth Mothers


The Cradle often sits down to speak with birth parents about their adoption journeys. We hear about the hope, the sadness, the fears and all the complex emotions involved with placing a child for adoption. They tell us of difficult choices and difficult moments, but also of the love they have for their children and their children’s adoptive parents. They provide advice for other expectant parents considering adoption, but also want to give adoptive parents insight into what being a birth parent is like. Thank you for sharing your stories with us!

On the grieving process after placing a child:

“All I had was time to think about it… The only way I really got through it was because I threw myself into so many things. That’s my advice: To just distract yourself, because there is no real way to get over it but time. I kept having to remind myself I did the right thing. He’s in a better place so I should be in a better place.” – Rebeccah

“There is grief and there is loss. And you need to understand and expect that. You should never walk into something like this and say, ‘I’m going to come out of this unscathed.’ That’s not the case, and I don’t think it could ever be the case. There are stages of grief. Don’t fight it. Work through it.” – Carrie

“There are a lot of emotions you go through, a lot of life tests you go through. It can drag you down but you just keep moving forward.” – Jessica

“I found that you have to go through a grieving process. It was explained to me that I would grieve like I had a baby who passed away. My counselor helped me with those feelings. Knowing your child is happy and healthy is what makes it worth it.” – Anonymous

“I worried, how could I do this to everybody else? My parents, my family, the birth father and his family. I just kept telling myself that this is what was best for my son.” –Rebeccah


On feeling judged for choosing adoption:

“I felt like I had to defend my decision. I was angry for being judged. I was like, ‘you don’t know the full story, you have zero idea about what the process was like, what I went through. Instead of asking me you come up with these conclusions, myths and fears.’ [My husband] said, ‘we know why we did what we did. We don’t need to defend it.’ But that’s another reason why I share, because I want people to know how it happened.” – Lisa

“I want to show my parents that I did the right thing and picked the right people. I’m afraid they don’t understand that. I want to show my dad I did the right thing, and I want him to be proud of me.” – Rebeccah

On thinking about their open adoption relationship:

“I worry about the future, but I’m hopeful and it warmed my heart to see pictures of me and my son on their wall. It acknowledges to everyone that I am a part of their family.” –April

“I’m not the type of person that reaches out and asks. It takes a lot to work myself up to a meeting because I’m scared. I wish I could express that to the adoptive parents better. So that maybe they would be more willing to set them up. I’m so nervous about initiating because it feels like I’m asking for permission to see my son.” – Amanda

“Part of the reason it’s so hard to reach out to birth parents is because we are afraid we are going to be rejected, to be told no.” – Megan

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