What Happens After Adoption?

When deciding to place a child with an adoptive family, there may be a lot of unanswered questions about what will it be like after the adoption. Here are some basic facts to give you an idea of what to expect.

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“The entire team at ANLC made me feel welcome, safe, protected and loved. I did not, for even a moment feel, less than, or at all judged, for choosing adoption. That to me was so awesome I can’t even explain it…” – ANLC Birth Mother

What Happens After Adoption

Going through the adoption process and placing a child for adoption can take quite a bit of thought and mental energy. Birthmothers spend a lot of time creating their adoption plan and preparing for the hospital. But what about what happens after adoption? Some women leave the hospital and realize that they have not thought about or prepared for the days, weeks and even months after placing your child. Here are some things to consider as you navigate life after adoption.

Rest and Processing Feelings

Coming home from the hospital after the birth of your baby is probably one of the hardest parts of the entire process. Not only are you beginning to heal physically, but your journey to healing emotionally is beginning as well. And I think this is one of those times where it can get worse before it gets better. Give yourself grace as you navigate daily life after adoption. There may be days where it feels unbearable and there may be days where it feels manageable. Healing ebbs and flows.

It is common to have many different emotions. You may feel really sad because you are grieving a loss. You may feel fear that you will never get past this and that you will never feel better. Or you may feel at peace that you made the right decision even though it was hard. These are all normal things to be feeling and thinking. There is no right or wrong way to feel. But allowing yourself time to process through whatever you are feeling is the only way you will be able to move forward.

And don’t forget to rest! You have just given birth to your baby and your body is going to need time to heal and feel normal again. Postpartum can be hard for a number of reasons, but try to take it easy and rest as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

You should know that there is light and the end of the tunnel. Give yourself grace and be patient as you take the much deserved time to rest and process through your feelings.

Getting Updates/Having Contact

Depending on what type of adoption you decided on, you may begin the phase of receiving picture updates and having contact with your child’s adoptive parents. This new phase after adoption is a unique experience for every birthmom. Some birthmother’s find comfort in seeing pictures of their child. It can aid in the healing process to know that your child is being loved and taken care of. You likely came up with a plan or schedule of sorts and were able to set the frequency of how often you will get updates.

But for some birthmothers, seeing their child and having contact after adoption is too painful. And that is ok too. You have to do what is best for you and you should not feel guilty for not being ready for updates and contact. Sometimes it takes time to be ready for that next phase after adoption, and there are birthmothers who do not want any at all, no matter how much time passes.

You need to do what is best for you and your healing journey.


After adoption, you may find yourself wanting to talk with someone, specifically a professional who specializes in adoption. There are not only counselors, but life coaches who can help you process and share practical steps you can take towards your future. There is absolutely no shame in getting the help you need to move forward and navigate life after adoption. Adoption Network has created great relationships with a number of adoption specific counselors. You may want to talk with someone right after the adoption, or it may be years before you are ready to take that step. When you are ready, Adoption Network has a list of counselors and life coaches who are ready to talk with you.

Goal Setting/Future Planning

As you move forward in your healing journey, you may decide that you want to plan for your future and set goals for yourself. Our Adoption Advisors are able to help with creating or updating resumes, tips and resources for setting goals, and of course cheering you on as you move into your future. We have witnessed birthmothers get new jobs, go back to and graduate from school, move into their own apartments and so many more exciting things.

If you are in school or interested in going back to school, Adoption Network has a Scholarship Program specifically for birthmothers. You can click here to learn more about it and apply.

Using Your Voice

As part of your healing journey, you may find that sharing your story gives a feeling of purpose to what you experienced. This may be sharing your story with another woman going through the adoption process. Adoption Network has a program called Birthmom Mentors. These birthmoms share their story with women in various stages of the adoption process to help them feel less alone, answer questions they may have, and to add to their support community. If this is something you would be interested in, you can reach out to your Adoption Advisor and let her know.

You may also want to use your story and your voice to educate others about adoption and advocate for birthmothers and the birthmother experience. There are still many myths and misconceptions about adoption and you may want to use your voice and experience to educate others and help them to understand adoption from the perspective of a birthmother. Adoption Network has a private group of alumni birthmothers who help us educate and clear up misconceptions by sharing their personal journey and experiences.

Many birthmothers find pride in using their voice to make a difference. It can be a really empowering experience after adoption.

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