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Dealing With a Loss in Adoption
Failed Adoption at the Holidays
My husband and I just experienced our first failed adoption 5 days before Christmas. After years of infertility along with years of unsuccessful treatment and 3 miscarriages, we were matched with our birthmother September 27. I knew it was a risk to my already fragile heart, but at 37 years old with no living children, I was ready to be a mother.
We made a visit to the birthmother’s home state, and she told us in person ‘I will never break your heart’ and ‘once I make up my mind, I never change it.’ She has been in and out of prison several times and has 3 children already who her mother takes care of. Her smile was so warm; I was just sure I could trust her.
Over time, we even got a cell phone for communication with just her, and occasionally texted back and forth. She was inconsistent in her communication, always waiting for us to initiate it, but I chalked that up to the general chaos of her life and pregnancy hormones. Her other 3 children live 12 hours away from her and she hadn’t seen them since August, so I also figured that was on our side. She proudly showed us pictures of each of them when we met her.
I nested more and more, installing the car seat, taking parenting classes, taking leave off from my job and telling EVERYONE we knew. We were having a baby boy! Three days ago, we loaded up our SUV with every baby thing he could need, since due to the interstate compact and the fact that government businesses and law offices are closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s, we would be gone nearly a month. I told my mom and dad we were telling them the name of their first grandchild when we got there, and we headed out on the road. We planned to spend a few days with family before we drove the 11 hours to her home state.
When we were a half hour from our family’s house, after 3 hours on the road, we got a call from the adoption agency; there was an ‘inconsistency’ in the paperwork and we needed to ‘sit tight’. They knew we were traveling that day. I was thinking well, she already told us she wouldn’t change her mind, both in person and in a letter she hand-wrote to us, so it’s not that, just must be part of the inconsistency in communication we had noticed in the birthmother over time. Forty five minutes later, the social worker called back - they had ‘accidentally’ received some faxed medical records from the birthmother’s doctor, and they had called the office to confirm what they said. The records said 1) she was not placing the baby for adoption and 2) do not send my medical records to the adoption agency. And this after the social worker had been texting back and forth with her earlier that SAME DAY that we were on our way, we were excited, we had all the baby’s things ready. For all intents and purposes, she had intended for us to drive the full 15 hour trip and then tell us at the hospital that she had changed her mind. Of course, we will never know the truth. There is no closure.
We walked in and told my in-laws the devastating news, then I had to call my parents. My mother burst into tears, which I had no clue how to handle. We spent the rest of the evening, 5 days away from Christmas, texting everyone the news. My husband is a medical professional, and he had taken time off from his practice and told all his patients over the last 3 months. Now he gets to tell hundreds of people the same damn story over and over about how she conned us.
So, we drove home yesterday. It was the saddest drive of our lives. I had carefully thought about how I would enter the house. SO many triggers were there. I had believed that the next time I walked in, I would be holding our son. I closed the nursery door and didn’t look in. Then I found some things I didn’t want to look at. I ended up throwing them as hard as I could into the nursery and slamming the door, scaring my cats.
I smashed the cell phone we talked to her on with a hammer, hitting it over and over. Now, I sit here in my pj’s, 2 days away from Christmas, broke and broken-hearted.
â€˘ Making the decision to grow your family through adoption
â€˘ Keeping your spirits up during the wait
â€˘ Letting go of preconceived notions about bonding
â€˘ â€śWhat ifâ€¦â€ť â€“ a mother responds to a pre-adoptive parentâ€™s most secret worry