Adoption: How Risky Is It? 

adoption-how-risky-is-it

adoption-how-risky-is-it“Sometimes good things fall apart, so that better things can come together.” – Marilyn Monroe

On a single day last week, one client called in tears to tell me that the expectant mother with whom she had been matched  — who was due in two weeks — had changed her mind, while other clients texted me with overflowing joy that their adoption papers had been signed and they were the proud parents of their baby girl. I wasn’t sure how to feel and found myself walking around in a daze.

Of course, I felt elated for my family who just adopted, but also felt very heavy —and even a little responsible — for the loss my other client experienced, something I have never personally gone through. I know the responsibility isn’t mine to carry and yet, as a guide to my clients in this process, I feel it all the same. I get emotionally invested alongside them.

As a consultant, I find myself only wanting to write about the “happy-ever-after” side of adoption, where everything goes smoothly: you have a quick match, your baby is born healthy and you bring her home without issue. Yet, there is a risk to adopting a baby (I always review these with my clients), as there is anything in life, which even the most seasoned professionals can’t avoid. So, I’ve decided to write about it.

Failed adoptions, also referred to as fall-throughs, or change of heart, happen about 20%-23% of the time, according to my own research. The statistic for miscarriage has a broader range, according to the Mayo Clinic, of 10-20% (or higher) and much higher when you consider divorce, which is about 40-50%.

So, do we embark and take that risk because the beauty outweighs the “what ifs?” Obviously, nobody enters the adoption process thinking that a fall through will happen to them, yet they are told that an expectant mother has every right to change her mind. So when it does happen, you’re never really prepared.  No matter how much you are reminded not to get too attached, or to be careful about who you tell about your news of a match…really? Are you going to deny your potential child the happiness and joy that comes along with the ENTIRE journey??  I know I love telling my child how excited I was when his birth mom chose me. How do you NOT? How can you protect your heart when it comes to a baby that has a very good chance of becoming your child?

No matter the statistics and no matter the loss, a failed adoption never feels good for anyone involved, especially the hopeful parent. How do you trust again? How do you recover financially? Instead of coming up with the answers myself, here are a few great reads…

How to Deal With a Failed Adoption (America Adopts)

10 Steps to Coping with a Failed Adoption (Adoptive Families)

Healing From a Failed Adoption (Adoption.com) (where I came across my opening quote by Marilyn Monroe)

I choose to believe a fall-through, no matter how painful, is a blessing, and that what happens in the end is meant to be. Everyone I know personally who has experienced this pain has moved forward and ended up with the child they know in their hearts was meant for them.  Blessings occur in strange ways…sometimes the journey is difficult…but worth it!

I wish you many beautiful blessings.hope-rg-adoption-consulting

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Marcy March 29, 2017,

    The beautiful symmetry of your story is that our first match ended in the mother deciding to parent, just around two weeks prior to her due date. About six weeks later, we were matched with our baby girl’s mama, our girl was born a week later, and we just finalized on March 14. I don’t wish the pain of fall-through heartbreak on anyone, especially this particular pain to which some would say hopeful adoptive parents aren’t entitled because it is a good thing when parents decide they are in fact able to parent (it IS possible and reasonable and just to feel all of these things at once: happy for another yet sad for yourself and frustrated with the financial loss that it often entails). Anyhow, I don’t mean to presume that we were the finalized couple, but even if we weren’t, thanks for being part of our journey, Becca!

    • Rebecca Gruenspan March 30, 2017,

      Such beautiful words, Marcy. It’s never easy for anyone involved and yet, you were certainly one of the families I thought of when I stated, “Everyone I know personally who has experienced this pain has moved forward and ended up with the child they know in their hearts was meant for them. I’m so happy for you and your beautiful family and honored to have been part of your journey.

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