5 Common Emotions During the Adoption Process

Did you know that women who choose adoption for their child often experience many of the same emotions?

Did you know placing a child for adoption is one of the most courageous acts of love a parent can make for their child?

If you are pregnant and thinking about adoption, it is comforting to know thousands of mothers have been where you are now. It may also be comforting to know that many of them shared the same emotions during the adoption process. This article is a compilation of these thoughts and feelings, so you can better navigate through the journey ahead.

Life is always easier with an emotional roadmap that helps you explore the adoption process. This guide to the emotions of adoption will help you understand all the complex feelings you may experience when placing a child for adoption.

While the emotional roadmap will be valuable, it is important to keep in mind that when you “give a baby up” for adoption, the emotions being experienced will vary, as they have for every birth mother before you.

During the adoption grieving process, you might experience a wide range of feelings, from numbness and shock, to sadness and anger, to joy and excitement — sometimes all at once. This variation is normal. Adoption Answers has helped hundreds of Texas women through their own individual emotions of “giving a baby up” for adoption, and we can help you, too. To learn more about placing your baby for adoption in Texas, call our 24-hour hotline at 1-800-659-7541.

In the meantime, here is what you need to know about how it feels to go through the adoption process.

How does it feel “giving a child up” for adoption?

It’s impossible to say exactly how it feels to “give a baby up” for adoption. The adoption journey is highly individual, and the emotions you experience along the way will vary. That being said, most birth mothers do go through an adoption grief process. This process involves a number of different emotions, which aren’t always experienced in any kind of order. These emotions can include:


Finding out about being pregnant when you didn’t plan it is emotionally overwhelming. Sometimes it is so overwhelming that it seems easier to remain in denial, hoping the pregnancy goes away or t that the pregnancy test was wrong.

One birth mother who placed her baby for adoption said, “When I saw the positive test, I certainly wasn’t happy like they show in the commercials. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I walked around for weeks thinking, ‘I can’t really be pregnant.’”

The birth mother continued, “I eventually realized it wasn’t going away, and I had to be an adult and take a hard look at my situation. Was I ready to be a single parent? Was I ready to explore adoption? When I began to take control of my decision-making, my denial faded away.”

Accepting an unplanned pregnancy is no easy feat, but it is often the first step in the adoption grief process. Only once the feelings of shock and numbness wear off can you begin to make a plan for how you want to move forward.

Anger and Sadness

After the initial shock wears off, anger and sadness are common feelings of “giving a baby up” for adoption.

Anger is when we feel overwhelmed with emotions. It is the body’s attempt to try and release the buildup of all these emotions. If we stay too long in the anger cycle, it eventually leads to sadness and sometimes hopelessness. Some women even report experiencing depression during the adoption process.

As one birth mother, Lisa, indicated, “The first few months of my pregnancy was a roller coaster of emotions. I was upset my birth control failed. I was angry my boyfriend dumped me. I was terrified to tell my parents, because I was 17. I didn’t know how they would react. I was not ready and I was terrified at the thought of becoming a mother at 18. If I chose to parent, I knew my dreams and my child’s dreams would be sacrificed. I was lost, scared and afraid. I felt alone.”

Experiencing even a few of the emotions Lisa did would be stressful for anyone. But all of those emotions colliding at once can feel overwhelming.

It is helpful if you have someone to talk to that isn’t judging you. That’s where Adoption Answers comes in. Our adoption counselors are available 24/7, and we can help you sort through your emotions so you can make what you feel is the best decision for you and your baby.  


Some mothers feel guilty “giving a baby up” for adoption. They worry that others will see their decision as “giving up” or “giving their baby away.” Sometimes, these feelings are compounded when disapproving family members make negative comments about adoption and birth parents.

As birth mother Michelle says, “I felt guilty that I wouldn’t be my child’s mom. I mean, I would always be his biological mom who loved him dearly, but I wouldn’t be his everyday mom. I felt guilty for this. I felt guilty I wasn’t old enough or ready to be a mom.”

So, what do you do when you feel that type of guilt?

One way to ease the guilt associated with a birth mother “giving a child up” for adoption is to change the way you think about this process. While it is common to use language like “giving a baby up” for adoption, this language carries negative connotations of “giving up” or “giving away” your child.

In reality, mothers who choose adoption do so after careful thought, out of a deep, selfless love for their baby. Adoption isn’t “giving up” at all — it’s giving your child an amazing gift with wonderful parents. Instead of saying you are “giving your baby up” for adoption, think of your decision in terms of “placing your baby for adoption,” “making an adoption for him/her,” and “choosing adoption” for your baby. You will be surprised at how this small shift in language can ease any guilty feeling of “giving up” your child for adoption.

Michelle says, “I realized as I picked the adoptive family that I had nothing to feel guilty about. In fact, I realized I was making the greatest sacrifice in the world for my child. Adoption was something I should be deeply proud of, I was choosing a better, more amazing life for my child. I was choosing for my child to have a mom and dad who would be there for him every day, a family that could send my child to college, so he could passionately follow his dreams, wherever they may take him.”

Michelle continued, “Once you get to know a couple, and as you begin to imagine what your child’s life will be like with them and how much your child will gain by being adopted, it will transform the guilt into a deep love, gratitude and happiness for your child and his new mom and dad.”

Many birth mothers are able to face the guilt and transform it by realizing the love and opportunities adoption offers their child.


Prospective birth mothers often have three primary fears when exploring adoption:

1. Will an adoptive family love my baby as much as I would?

This is a reasonable question, and one that is best answered as you get to know the adoptive family. As you learn about them, you will more easily see and feel the type of life your child would have with them.

One birth mother shared this: “My mom was squawking in my ear about how we don’t give away our family and that no one would love the baby like we would. Once I saw videos of the adoptive couple, I knew in my heart my mom was wrong. As I got to know the family, as we laughed and shared stories together, I knew they were going to fill my child’s life with so much love. Just so much love.”

2. Do I have to make my mind up today?

Some prospective birth mothers are afraid they will be pressured into an adoption decision before they are ready. At different stages in the process, women might ask:

  • What if I’m not 100% sure about adoption? What if I change my mind partway through the process?
  • As my due date approaches, I’m feeling a little uneasy about my unborn baby’s adoption. Are these doubts normal?
  • How will I react to “giving my baby up” for adoption when I get to the hospital? Do parents ever regret “giving up” their child?

Please know that Adoption Answers respects every woman’s decision. We know that adoption isn’t right for everyone, and your adoption specialist will never pressure you into any choice you don’t want to make. You should also know that you can change your mind about adoption at any point during the process. Contacting us and starting an adoption plan never obligates you to follow through with adoption. The adoption decision isn’t made until after the baby is born, when you complete the legal adoption paperwork.

It is smart to explore adoption to fully understand the process, to fully understand the benefits for both you and your child. We always want you to feel 100% confident in your choice when the time comes to make your final decision, and we will work with you throughout the process to gauge how you are feeling, provide counseling and ensure you are making the right decision for you.

3. How do I know the adoptive family is a good family?

Adoption Answers works only with the very best Christian adoptive families. All of our couples go through an intensive screening processes to make sure their families are stable, loving, have a great relationship, and will make exceptional parents. This process includes background screens, references from family and friends, reviews of the family’s financial stability, in-person interviews with the prospective couple, and more. It usually is a process that takes months to properly evaluate and screen adoptive families.

Furthermore, you will get to choose the perfect adoptive parents for your baby. If you want, you can tell your adoption specialist exactly what you’re looking for in an adoptive couple, review Christian adoption profiles, and get to know the family yourself to ensure they are the perfect fit for you and your baby.

The emotions of “giving your child up” for adoption are complex. This may be the most emotionally difficult decision you will ever make in your life — but, over time, the grief of “giving a child up” for adoption will begin to fade. As you watch your child grow up in a happy, loving home, you can begin to find peace and even joy in your adoption decision.

To learn more about placing your baby for adoption in Texas, contact us any time at 1-800-659-7541.