Years ago, adoption almost always meant sending your baby off, never to be seen or heard from again. This sort of closed adoption is becoming less common, with most birth parents (and adoptive parents) now opting for some degree of open adoption, in which the birth parents continue to have some direct or indirect contact with the child over the years. This type of adoption is generally easier on birth parents in an emotional sense, but it can still bring up challenging feelings. Here are a few tips to help you deal with those feelings after an open adoption.
See a counselor.
There is no shame in seeing a therapist, especially during this challenging period of your life. Look for someone who has specific experience working with birth parents during and after adoption. Your therapist is someone you can share your feelings with as they come up and who can also give you strategies to handle your emotions as they come up day by day. You may start by seeing a therapist once a week and then graduate to visiting just once a month as you get a better handle on the situation.
Respect the boundaries.
The boundaries put in place by your adoption contract are not just there for the adoptive parents' privacy. They are also there to help protect you. Whether your boundary is that you are able to call once a month, visit once a month, or just get pictures in the mail each month, make sure you adhere to them. Sticking to these restrictions will help you adapt to the adoptive situation and will make it seem a consistent part of your everyday life.
Focus on other things.
It is important to think about and process your adoption, but some birth parents tend to get "stuck" in this stage, making it their everything. This is not healthy. This is a time for you to move on and focus on other things. Enroll in school, find a new job, or work on developing new passions and hobbies that you enjoy. This will help you remember who you are other than being a birth parent, which will help keep your emotions stable.
Navigating life after an open adoption can be challenging, but a good therapist can help you immensely. Follow the advice above, and above all, remember to give yourself some grace. This thing you've done is difficult, but you'll make it through. Reach out to birth parent counseling services to learn more.