Adoptive Parent Resources / Navigating Your Adoption Journey

Coping with a Failed Adoption

Coping with a Failed Adoption

Sometimes a planned adoption fails. It could happen for a number of reasons. Maybe the expectant mother changed her mind and decided to parent, she couldn’t go through with the adoption after all, her parents or the birthfather offered to support her, she chose a different family, or some other unforeseen reason.

Unfortunately, adoption plans do fall apart occasionally. Even though you were aware of the possibility, it can still be utterly devastating if it happens to you. While you may feel shocked, angry, and even betrayed, especially if you’ve developed a relationship with the expectant mother, it is important to remember that expectant mothers not only have the ability to change their mind, they have a right to do so.

It may be hard to believe, but you can get through this! Many other adoptive families before you have done just that and went on to have successful adoptions, so we encourage you to stay strong and don’t lose hope. Here are some suggestions for getting through this difficult experience and holding on to your dream of adopting a baby.

Take some time.

This is a loss, and grief is a totally acceptable reaction. You may need to take some time to work through your feelings before you’re ready to continue moving forward with the adoption process. Keep in mind that you and your partner might not grieve in the same way or for the same amount of time, so you may need to give each other some additional time and space.

Get answers.

If at all possible, try to get answers from your adoption coordinator about why she changed her mind. She is not at all required to provide an explanation, but any information you are able to get may help you better understand her decision and provide some closure for you to cope with the loss.

Lean on your support system.

Being open about your feelings with your partner, friends, and family members will allow you to get the support you need and move forward in a healthy way.

Join a support group.

One of the best ways to get through a difficult situation is to connect with others who have gone through the same thing. Look for a support group specifically for parents who have adopted or are waiting to adopt a baby. Chances are you will find others who understand exactly what you’re going through and will be happy to provide you with support and encouragement.

Talk to a counselor.

If you’re still having difficulty coping after some time has passed, consider talking with a counselor. This could help you better process the experience and continue your adoption journey in a better mindset.

Don’t give up.

Lastly, and this one is important, don’t give up hope! It may be especially difficult to be optimistic at a time like this, but so many other parents who have successfully adopted will tell you that the hard times will pass. When you find the baby who is truly the right fit for your family, it will all be worth it.

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