Grief & Loss in Adoption

Feeling sad is a perfectly normal reaction to anticipating a loss. Adoption might feel like the only option you have or you might feel like adoption is the best plan for you and your baby. 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.

Below you will find a list of some common emotions and reactions when grieving, but it’s important to remember that everyone experiences grief differently.  You may feel some, all or none of these things. 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 or 800-CRADLE4 (800-272-3534).

Common Grief Reactions



*Worried or anxious
*Angry or irritable
*Numb or empty

*Inability to sleep/insomnia
*Changes in appetite
*Nausea or vomiting
*Tightness or heaviness in chest
*Lack of focus or concentration


If you have thoughts of hurting yourself please seek help immediately by calling 911, going to your closest Emergency Room or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Perinatal/Postpartum Depression 24-hour support crisis line:  1-866-364-6667