Sometimes adoptions don’t always go through as expected. There are times, even when working closely with the expecting mother, that the mother will change her mind and want to keep the baby. This is what we call a failed adoption. Don’t look at it as your failure to be parents or the mother’s decision to parent as being a failure – it simply means that the adoption plan didn’t go through. As difficult as that might be to accept, legally, it’s her right and remains her right until the baby is fully placed for adoption. To prepare families for the process and to help ease the pain if it happens to you, I’ve compiled my top 5 tips for surviving a failed adoption:
Don’t share that you’ve been matched.
When you’re matched with an expecting mom, it can be exciting to want to share the news with others. However, we highly recommend that you don’t with too many people. If the mom decides she wants to keep her baby, then there will be plenty of untangling to do mentally, physically, and emotionally, without including others.
Avoid personalizing the baby.
Families have bought baby things, got a nursery ready, picked out names, and personalized items for their adopted child, only to have their world torn apart because the expecting mother decided to parent her baby. To avoid such heartache, it’s important not to get too ahead of yourself while the mother is still pregnant. Until she decides to go through with the adoption plan, that baby is not yours, and you’ll have to accept that.
Don’t throw a baby shower.
In addition to personalizing the baby, it’s best not to throw a baby shower until the baby is placed with you. . If you throw one and the adoption plan ends up not going through, you’ll have an entire room filled with gifts that others bought that you’ll not only have to stare at but have to decide what to do with. On top of that, you’ll have an entire group of people you’ll have to share the heartbreaking news with. For these reasons, we recommend not throwing any showers until the baby is fully yours.
Grieve your loss.
Allow yourself to grieve should an adoption fail. You must say goodbye to the baby you were hoping for before you pick up and start again. Some families can move through the process a little faster than others, and that’s OK, but take some time to fully heal from the experience. By grieving your loss, you’ll be able to move forward with your adoption plan with a fresh perspective and excitement about working with another expecting mother.
Don’t punish your new match.
A lot of times, after a family has gone through a failed adoption, they’ll naturally start pulling away from their new match, fearful that she will also change her mind. Be mindful of separating the two situations and remember that this is a new match; she is not the one who changed her mind about the adoption plan. This expecting mom deserves your attention and enthusiasm like the first. Be sure to grieve the last experience, so you don’t carry old hurts into this new adoption situation.
I hope these tips helped you gain even more perspective about the adoption process. Remember that when you’re looking at adoption, you gotta start somewhere.
If you haven’t already, take the first step and learn about adoption and all that comes with it by taking the All About Adoption 101 course.