Ask AF: How to Cope with the Disappointment of Not Being Chosen by an Expectant Mother

"Our adoption profile was shown to an expectant mother, and she selected a different family. We knew this was a possibility, of course, but feel disappointed. How to cope?" Readers offer advice.

Q: Our adoption profile was just shown to an expectant mother, but she didn’t choose us to adopt. We’re happy that she found the right family, and know that we couldn’t have expected to be selected on our first showing, but can’t help feeling a little sad. Any tips for coping with the feelings of disappointment when you aren’t chosen?

Members of respond:

“Oh, man, we have been shown and not picked So. Many. Times. Two years of waiting (with two failed matches). I don’t know if you believe in God or fate or whatever, but thinking, ‘That was not the child meant for my family‘ became a helpful mantra. There were two instances, in particular, when we felt like we were an awesome fit, and weren’t picked. Hang in there. If you get several rejections, it is always worth checking in with your agency to see if they think there is any reason for not getting picked. Maybe something in your profile comes across wrong, or the rejections had absolutely nothing to do with you (one time we were told the expectant mother was looking for a family that already had children. Nothing we can do about that!). We’ve been told we are continually ‘runners-up,’ which is a bit frustrating, but at least our profile is appealing…. It’s a wild ride.”

“I’ve adopted twice through foster care, and am trying to adopt again. Both my girls were legally free children I found through online photolistings. I have probably inquired about 100 kids between the three adoptions. Most of the time, I never hear anything back, but time and time again I’ve been told they chose another family. The first time was definitely the worst; I was so convinced they were going to pick me, it was such a let down when they chose another family. It was definitely easier the subsequent times. Now I look at my daughter and think back to that first little girl, and am so unbelievably grateful they didn’t choose me. If they had chosen me for that other child, I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to raise the daughter that I have, and I just cannot imagine a world in which I wasn’t her mom.”

“I can relate. We went through that a number of times, too, and it is so hard in the moment. I thought of all the reasons we probably weren’t chosen. Then we were chosen, and all the reasons I’d come up with for not being chosen were the exact reasons our son’s birth mother chose us, and we even had wonderful discussions about some of them in the hospital. When it is the right situation, it will just feel right and make sense.”

“We were not chosen many, many times. Our profile book would go out to 5-15 expectant moms each time, and we weren’t chosen more times than I can count. Yes, it stings when you’re not, but just remember that eventually you WILL be chosen, and hopefully it will all work out wonderfully. I truly believe that my daughter is my daughter because she and I were destined for one another. I have heard the same from so many others who have adopted. Just know that it might not be this time or next time (or the next), but that’s because it has to be right.”



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