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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

Scared of Adoption Failure Statistics? Don’t Be: Adoption Can Have a 100-Percent Success Rate
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One of the great fears one has when entering the adoption process, especially if the route chosen is domestic adoption, is the risk of having an adoption failure. In my search for adoption statistics, I found at most domestic agencies, the rate of these failed adoptions was around 20 percent.  That sounds risky, right?  Well, when I got married, the odds of a divorce were 50 percent.  For three years, while I was trying to conceive, the risk for miscarriage of a healthy woman in my age group—20- to 30 year-olds—was 20 percent.  The lesson? Put the numbers in context, and then, know that sometimes in life you have to look beyond the statistics and follow your heart no matter what.

Moving Past Fears of an Adoption Failure
My husband, Paul, and I knew the risks of an adoption failing when we selected domestic adoption.  It scared us.  We just ended our infertility journey with a miscarriage. But Paul and I came away from it a stronger couple, and knew we could make it through whatever obstacles we were to face in the adoption process.

We knew that we could hold back our emotions with potential birth parents out of fear of it failing and possibly miss moments of our baby’s pregnancy and birth, or we could leap right in and emotionally expose ourselves knowing that this baby may not become ours.  We chose to jump right in, as we didn’t want to have any regrets about the adoption experience later in life.

For our first adoption, everything was textbook perfect. The birth parents seemed to read our initial fear and on our very first phone call they joked that they “would never come rapping at our windows years down the road demanding their child back.”  In the end, everything worked out wonderfully and we adopted my first son, Keith, only three months after we turned in our adoption profile.

Finding a Adoption Match
When we pursued domestic adoption for our second child it took nine months before our profile was selected. The situation was very similar to our previous adoption. There was still two more months left in the pregnancy for us to get to know the potential birth parents even better. I talked to the potential birth mother directly on the phone at least once a week for those two months.  Over the course of those discussions I got a feeling that the relationship between the potential birth parents was rocky. Without them telling me directly, I eventually figured out this was the main reason they chose adoption for their baby.

About a month before the birth Paul, Keith, and I flew down to the potential birth parents’ home state and spent a weekend with them. Keith was only two years old and oblivious to the purpose of our trip, which was a blessing in disguise looking back on the situation.  Our weekend was lovely as we spent time with the potential birth parents discussing everything under the sun.  By the end of the weekend, all of my possible fears of things not working out were laid to rest. I was sure it was all going to happen. I knew I was going to be back with these birth parents in a month to get a new son.  Once we flew back home I was eager to wash all the newborn clothes, clean up the future nursery, and busied myself with other “nesting” tasks to prepare for our new baby. I happily told everyone that I was expecting a new son soon.

I continued to talk to the potential birth mother every couple days to see how she was feeling as it was near her due date.  I would jump whenever my cell phone rang.  I knew that when she was going into labor we’d have to rush to get ourselves on a plane as fast as possible. I didn’t want to miss any time with my future son.

The Phone Call That Changed it All
I was out with friends on a play date at a local museum when I received a phone call from the potential birth mother. My heart was racing as I asked, “Are you in labor?” She started crying and said, “Yes. But I need to tell you something.” She continued to say that she and the birth father had worked out their differences and decided to raise this baby together.  I was numb and could only say, “Okay.” Through her sobbing she kept repeating that her decision had absolutely nothing to do with me.  She said she adored me and knew I’d get the baby I deserved soon.  I told her very calmly, “Thank you for telling me about this decision now.  I am sure you will love your baby with all of your heart.  I pray that you have an easy delivery, that he is healthy, and that you will all be very happy.”  I stoically said goodbye and she said, “I am so sorry.  Goodbye,” and cried as she hung up. It was all over in about 60 seconds.

When I hung up, my legs gave out from under me and I collapsed to the floor.  All my emotions came out and my body began heaving from my crying.  My friends had no idea what had happened on the phone.  All I could spit out was, “She changed her mind.  There’s no baby.”  I barely recall them assisting Keith and I to my car.  I called Paul and honestly don’t remember what I told him.  I am not sure how he understood anything as I couldn’t stop sobbing.  My friends followed my car to make sure I made it home safe.  Paul was home by then, waiting for me.  For the rest of the day we just held each other and Keith and cried and cried and cried.  It was all we could do.

Mourning Our Loss
Before going through a failed adoption I would have assumed it would have felt just like a miscarriage.  In actuality, it didn’t.  Sure, there were similarities of shock, anger, and sadness.  Yet the reasons for those feelings were not for a death as with a miscarriage.  In a failed adoption there is still a living child in the world and you are grieving that that particular child is not in your home.  With a miscarriage you do not know if you will ever get pregnant again.  Adoption has a 100-percent success rate if you stick with it.  Even if you experience a failed adoption, you know that you will still end up with a child—just not the one you anticipated this time.

I knew there was nothing different I could have done to change the outcome of this failed adoption.  I looked back for red flags, but could not find any.  It was just the way it was meant to be.  Logically, I knew all of this, but my heart was aching.  I kept secretly hoping the birth parents would be overwhelmed with the baby, realize their mistake, and call us to come take the baby home.  This thought consumed me for at least a month after the phone call with the birth mother.  I knew I had to clear my mind.

With the money Paul and I saved to use to travel for our adoption, we spontaneously traveled to Mexico for a week to be pampered at a five-star all-inclusive resort with Keith. It was the best cure for us.  We reconnected and appreciated the family we currently had.  During that entire trip, I didn’t cry once for the child I thought our family was missing.  We returned home ready to move on with life and pursue our second adoption.

Healing Myself after the Failed Adoption
When I thought about another potential birth parent selecting our adoption profile, my stomach turned. Immediately I assumed that the next potential birth parents were going to lure me in and break my heart again.  I knew that was an irrational thought, as Keith’s birth parents did nothing of the sort. It was then I realized that I was not mourning the loss of the baby anymore; I was mourning the trust that I lost in people.

Someone has to work hard for me to lose trust in them. This failed adoption changed all of that and made me a cynical person, even thought I knew it wasn’t a fair way to be, especially toward any potential birth mother.  They didn’t deserved to be judged on the actions of others that came before them.  I grew weary and wary of answering the phone—for the fear of having to deal with a potential birth mothers. (We did not have Caller-ID at the time so anytime I picked up the phone there was the possibility it was our adoption agency.) 

Day by day I took time to try to heal myself., trying to find who I was before the failed adoption, so I could be the best wife and mother to Keith and my future child. Around two months after the failed adoption, the phone rang and I answered it.  I have no recollection who it was, but I do remember after I hung up I realized I wasn’t afraid to answer it like I had been. That’s when I knew I was finally healed.  Not 100 percent, but enough to move on and be myself once again.

A Happy (Adoption Journey) Ending
Just two weeks later on Valentine’s Day, Paul and I received a phone call that a baby girl had been born the day before and we had just been selected to be her parents.  We immediately flew to her and had our new daughter in our arms the next day.  It was 13 months from the time we turned in our profile until we adopted her.  Those months were some of our hardest times, full of more challenges than I could ever had imagined adoption would bring us.  From the beginning Paul and I knew the risks and accepted them knowing we could weather through anything. I am so glad we accepted those risks in order to get the children we have today.

Do I still think about that baby from that failed adoption?  Absolutely.  I truly hope that he and his parents are happy.  Am I still sad we didn’t adopt him?  Not at all. Ask any adoptive parent and they will tell you that their child through adoption was always meant to be theirs.  I can look at my beautiful daughter and know that she was to be in our family.  We were meant go through that failed adoption to learn about patience, trust, and appreciation of our family.  All of those things helped us be better parents.

A failed adoption is never an easy situation, whether it is before or after the birth.  I have friends who held babies at the hospital, had babies in their homes, or traveled across the world to meet a child, only to have the adoption fail.  All of us were afraid when we chose adoption that there was a chance we’d have one or more fail.  I, like thousands of others in the adoption community, took this chance, dove in, and I am now reaping the benefits of facing my fear. Being a parent to my children made it all worth it.

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beautiful.. My husband and I had a failed adoption last year. We had bonded with this child he called us Mommy and Daddy. We still miss him and pray for him. But, we know we will get the child we are supposed to love. Sometimes it is difficult during the wait, but it will be worth it when we can hold our baby.

By Happygirl2012 on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 at 2:45 pm.

My husband, 3 yr old son and I have experienced a failed adoption. Yesterday. I sought this blog out to gain perspective. We chose a private adoption after our first adoption’s circumstances.

We went through an awful experience with our 3 yr old’s adoption that was intended to be private until the state got involved and had foster care step in to the situation. We weren’t even trying to adopt. It all started because of an email. After a year of hearings, lawyers, social workers, foster care licensing, birth father stepping forward n reunification orders, home studies, and tears…. Our son officially was home with us, his family. A tragic experience with the most beautiful ending.

We thought this road would be easier. 25 yr old Birthmom with a 7 yr old. Mother was dying of cancer. She has no job or financial support. She’s had successful adoption experiences within her family. Her family was supportive of the adoption. We had a wonderful wkend visit and we all were comfortable with the plan. She was calling n texting me several times a wk. asked if we were excited for our baby….I was the first person she called upon labor….. We were also half way across the country. Our plan was to arrive 5 days before the due date unless baby came sooner. He did n was delivered within the hour of admission to hospital. We were set to head to the airport the the first available flight. Everything changed when she went to a hospital that was not in the adoption plan due to geographic reasons and the nurse pushed her to hold the baby despite her not wanting to stating ” he needs his mom”.... In that moment our lives derailed.
I’m still processing it all. My 3 yr old son asked why we weren’t going on the plane. Last night he said I miss baby brother. All I can say is I do too.

By Sue shine on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm.

While I am sure it can be devastating, I think getting hopes up before everything was legal and final was the mistake here.  It ruined your trust in people?  You go into it KNOWING the expectant mother can decide to parent at any point and need to be prepared for that.  Baby isn’t yours until the court stamps the paper and the fake birth certificate is issued (any document that gives fraudulent information is a fake, even if legally condoned). 

I’m not trying to be mean, but it just seems that you and some of the other posters are so hell bent on obtaining a child you fail to acknowledge that these children were not yours to begin with.  The mothers and fathers have every right to decide to parent because its their child.  Getting all upset about it just makes you look possessive and dismissive of the amount of stress and pressure the expectant parents were under.  At some point, they realized that they could parent their baby and anyone looking to adopt needs to understand that from step one and not get all upset and dramatic about it when and if it happens.

By Hailey on Friday, May 30, 2014 at 11:48 am.

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Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel


I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
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