Blog// LGBT Adoptive Parents

How to Move Forward After a Failed Adoption

Adoption is an incredibly joyous thing, but the path to a successful adoption can be quite rough for some parents. The unfortunate truth is that sometimes adoptions fail for a number of reasons: the birthmother changed her mind and decided to keep the baby, the birthmother couldn't go through the process after all, she chose a different couple, or some other unforeseen reason. A failed adoption can be incredibly difficult to deal with, but there are ways to move forward.

Allow yourself and your partner to grieve.

This is the first stage, and it happens as soon as you receive the heartbreaking news. Grief is a process you need to go through to heal and have the courage to move forward with the adoption process. Your partner is your biggest means of support during a failed adoption. Both of you need to allow yourselves to feel anger, betrayal, and loss. These emotions are normal, and everyone deals with them differently, so be sure to give yourself all the time you need to feel and process them. It is important to deal with it instead of letting it eat you up inside.

Stay busy.

If you let yourself be sad for a long time, you are going to create an endless circle. Find something to keep yourself busy and to free your mind from thinking about the failed adoption. Revive some of your old hobbies or find a new one. Try to take dance or cooking lessons with your partner or think about taking a short trip together to decompress.

Receive help from friends and loved ones.

Your true friends love you and they want to help you, so talk to them. Sometimes, after a failed adoption, you just want to be alone. That is also normal. Take your time, and when you feel ready to talk, your friends will be there for you. Visit your friends at their home just to change the surroundings. Go to the restaurant together and treat yourself with anything you want to eat. Do it often as well as other things that used to make you happy. If you don't feel like talking to them, maybe you should think about a support group or counseling. It always helps to share your experiences with others who have gone through similar things. Also try searching for personal blogs and articles on the topic. There are many others who have found their way after a failed adoption, and their stories could provide great inspiration for you.

Avoid making spur-of-the-moment decisions.

The intensity of what you are feeling may cause you to make rash decisions. You might feel the need to vent your feelings in a letter or phone call to your adoption agency, which you have every right to do, but it’s best to wait a week or two first to let your emotions cool down. It is normal to feel angry, but it’s also important to know that while failed adoptions happen for many reasons, the adoption agency usually has no way of knowing in advance that a particular adoption will not proceed.


Don't dwell on why this happened to you. Instead, think about what you have learned from the experience. When you feel ready to proceed with the adoption process, think about how you’ll communicate with future birthmothers and the red flags to watch out for. The adoption counselors here at LifeLong will be happy to talk with you about this issue and help you come up with the best way forward.

Don't give up.

It may be especially difficult to stay optimistic at a time like this, but you should never give up hope! Your goal is to build a family and you should never give up on this. If you’re still feeling scared of experiencing another failed adoption, be sure to give yourself enough time to heal before moving forward.

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