10 Steps to Coping with a Failed Adoption

A failed adoption can be difficult for prospective parents to deal with. Follow these steps to manage your grief and move forward after you have healed.

A sad couple grieving over a failed adoption

1. Take time to grieve. You may need to experience the stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Take time off work if you can. If you don’t want to answer questions when you return, have a friend or colleague let your coworkers know that. And postpone making any major decisions for a while.

2. Accept help. An adoption that falls through is emotionally shattering; you may need the comfort of others. If friends or family invite you out for dinner, say yes. It will feel good to vent about what you have been through, or to talk about something else entirely.

3. Talk to a mental-health professional who specializes in grief, loss, adoption, and/or infertility.

4. Realize that people grieve in different ways. While your spouse may want to get back to work, you might feel lost, stuck in your grief, unable even to go out for an evening with friends.

5. Don’t try to figure it out. No one can know what is going on inside someone else’s mind, so there isn’t much point in trying to analyze why an adoption fell through. It can happen for many reasons.

6. Deal with the child’s room in your own way. While some can’t bring themselves to look at a child’s room after a failed adoption, others find comfort sitting in the room to remember and grieve.

7. Get out of the house. Going to see a funny movie helps. Long walks, a concert, or revisiting a hobby can also be therapeutic.

8. Express your feelings. Consider writing how you feel in a journal, or in a letter that you might — or might not — send to the birth parents.

9. Have a sit-down with your agency or attorney. If you have residual questions about why the adoption failed, ask them. See if there is anything to be learned.

10. Go slow. You will likely be dubious about resuming the adoption process. You may be cynical about birth parents, bitter about your experience, and resentful that you have to begin again. It’s scary to face the prospect of new birth parents and, possibly, another failure. But if you truly want to adopt, give yourself time to heal, then move forward.

Glossary of Grief

  • Failed adoption: One that falls through after referral or matching, but before the birth parents have terminated their rights.
  • Disruption: Means the adoption fell through between placement and finalization.
  • Dissolution: When an adoption has been finalized, but the child is returned to foster care or is adopted by another family.
  • Wrongful adoption: When an adoption agency, attorney, or facilitator suppresses information that would have caused the adoptive parents to decline the adoption.


EVERY STEP OF THE WAY
Free newsletters to guide you through the adoption process — from application to home study to waiting and beyond.

Adoption Attorneys

Shelley B. Ballard, PC
City:
Chicago
IL
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Practice State(s):
IL
Attorney Name:
Faith Getz Rousso, Esq.
City:
Garden City
NY
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn
Practice State(s):
NY
Sogand Zamani, Zamani & Associates
Attorney Name:
Sogand Zamani
City:
Washington
DC
Practice State(s):
DC, MD
Essex Richards, P.A.
Attorney Name:
Robert S. Blair Jr.
City:
Charlotte
NC
Practice State(s):
NC
Woodruff Law Firm, P.A.
Attorney Name:
Jennifer Woodruff Douglas
City:
Lake City
AR
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn
Practice State(s):
AR
Jennifer Fairfax, Family Formation Law Offices
Attorney Name:
Jennifer Fairfax
City:
Silver Spring
MD
Practice State(s):
DC, MD, VA
The Kern Law Firm PLLC
Attorney Name:
Jennifer K. Kern
City:
Claremore
OK
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Practice State(s):
OK
Law Offices of Jeanne T. Tate, P.A.
Attorney Name:
Danelle D. Barksdale
City:
Tampa
FL
Practice State(s):
FL
Fiddler Osband LLC
Attorney Name:
Rachel Osband
City:
Edina
MN
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Practice State(s):
MN
Adoption Legal Services of Oklahoma
Attorney Name:
Charles Watts
City:
Oklahoma City
OK
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
Practice State(s):
OK
Attorney Name:
C.J. Lyford
City:
Lafayette Hill
PA
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Practice State(s):
PA
Herrin & Leach, LLC
Attorney Name:
Nathan Leach
City:
Indianapolis
IN
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
Practice State(s):
IN
Gillespie Law Group, LLC
Attorney Name:
Genie Miller Gillespie
City:
Chicago
IL
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Practice State(s):
IL
Messerli Kramer
Attorney Name:
Gary A. Debele
City:
Minneapolis
MN
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
Practice State(s):
MN, WI
Horn Law Group, LLC
Attorney Name:
Margaret Moriarty
City:
Toms River
NJ
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
Practice State(s):
NJ
TruAdopt Law
Attorney Name:
Celeste E. Liversidge
City:
Pasadena
CA
Adoption Routes/Programs:
U.S. Newborn
Practice State(s):
CA
Mark R. Iverson P.S.
City:
Spokane
WA
Practice State(s):
ID, WA

See all adoption attorneys >


Copyright © 1999-2022 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

More articles like this

Newsletter

Top