“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
This was the one article I have put aside and avoided writing over and over again. This is such a tough situation.
On one hand, parenting by the biological parents should be celebrated and supported (in most cases); on the other hand, we, the potential adoptive parents, experience a loss similar to those who have been pregnant and had a miscarriage.
Failed adoption matches come in all shapes and sizes. My husband and I experienced four before we brought home our first child.
The first was probably the most dramatic. A woman and her partner who were addicted to drugs used us from the very start. Once she had her baby, she left the hospital to feed her addiction, got arrested, and from prison told our attorney that she “already had 8 kids, what’s one more”. For the better part of this baby’s life, he was in foster care and she was in prison. To say we were brokenhearted was an understatement.
The next failed match was a young high school student who chose us as potential adoptive parents and met with us. It was a nice meeting, but we were warned . . . the guidance counselor had called the agency and said that she wasn’t going to place — she had been given a baby shower. I think this young girl was just making sure she looked at all her options. I felt happy for her in a way — but still crushed because no matter how much people tell you “don’t get excited” — you do — you get excited. Then, your dream doesn’t happen . . . and there you are again: sad and the arms that want to cradle a baby are empty. Your heart aches.
Our third failed match was quite a unique situation. A couple was having twins, and they thought they could only handle one infant — so they were considering placing one child with us. We knew this wasn’t ideal . . . and were not surprised when they decided to parent both. This was an odd one because we truly felt relieved that the siblings were not going to be separated . . . but still . . . another loss for us.
Then our fourth match that failed . . . this was the one that my husband Matt and I held each other and wept. This was going to be our child . . . what happened? Why God, why?
We have had another failed match since these . . . and what I have learned from each and every one is to:
Let others console you.
You know the people in your life who are extremely empathetic and comforting. The ones that know just what to say when you are sad and give you just the hug you need. Go to them. Stay away from the people in your life that say, “well, that’s life – just deal with it”. Sometimes we need to hear those words and those friends and family are helpful at other times. Not this time. Go to the comforters. Let yourself cry. Mourn your loss.
Take a nap.
Yes, you read that correctly. Take a nap. Sometimes it’s the only thing that helps me when I am down. It’s an escape. And honestly, it’s something you can do now that you may not be able to do once your baby is home with you. Give yourself rest. Emotional journeys are exhausting.
Talk to God.
I had a nun once tell me to “shake your fists at Him!” It’s okay to tell the Lord you are sad, you are hurt, you are angry. Go to Him. You don’t always have to go to Him happy. Ask Our Lord to take away your pain and to help you understand that He is going to bring you the child that needs you; the child that will enable you to serve Him by being his or her parent.
Do not give up hope.
You will be tempted to give into despair. This is not the will of God. Over and over again we read in Scripture and hear very holy men and women say — “be not afraid”; “do not worry”; “be strong and courageous” . . . have faith in your adoption journey. We can only take one day at a time. Today, as much as you can, dream of the day you will hold your baby. Smile at others once you have let yourself grieve.
Know that the Lord hears your prayer and loves you. Keep praying for women facing an unplanned pregnancy; keep praying for orphans in our country and all over the world. Keep your heart open to adoption.