Healing From a Failed Adoption

Tips on moving on and learning to trust again.

Jessie Lundell August 13, 2014
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When my phone rang and I saw it was our caseworker, I knew the baby boy we had been hoping for was not going to be ours. For the past two months, we had been trying to build a relationship with an expectant couple who had made an adoption plan for their baby boy. There were a lot of red flags that we experienced with this couple. But because of their age, living situation, and strained relationships with their own parents, trust was not something that came easy for them. Through it all, we felt that we could maintain a relationship with this couple after placement. It would not be easy, but we could do it.

The next day we posted on Facebook, “‘Sometimes good things fall apart, so that better things can come together.’ – Marilyn Monroe. This rings true today more than ever. The expectant parents who were planning on placing with us have made another adoption plan for their baby.” We sent out a mass text to our family and close friends. “A & D have changed their adoption plan, baby boy will not be joining our family.” Their phone calls started coming in, it was all I could do to push ignore. I didn’t want to talk, I couldn’t talk without crying. Our family didn’t understand. They couldn’t. I immediately sent another text. “I can’t talk about anything right now. I’ll call you in a few days.”

Grieve Your Loss

I kept wondering how I could be so sad about something that I never had, something that was never even mine to loose. I knew the expectant couple could change their minds at any time, and I respect that. I want them to have that option. But at the same time, I was so heartbroken.

Find Support

The only people I wanted to talk to where those who knew what I was feeling. “My people,” my friends who I have met through adoption and have experienced this heartbreak. Facebook messages, emails, cards, and friends stopping by without calling were a blessing. Thank you for not asking the details about our failed placement but offering a listening ear if I wanted to talk.

Hope for the Future

“Better than Yesterday.” That was my motto. That phrase pushed me forward for the first few days. I cuddled our little girl, told her how much I loved her, and celebrated everyday life. We went to children’s museums, to the park, and out for ice cream (more than once). I called our caseworker, got our profile online again, and told her we were ready for another go.

We have since met with an amazing expectant mother and father and are building a relationship with them and their families. We are hoping and planning to add a little one and their birth family to our family. We realize that adoption plans can change and our hearts can break once again. If that happens, it will be okay. I will be okay. I will grieve the loss of something that was never mine. I will grieve the loss of new friendships made. I will turn to my friends for support and love. But most of all, I will have hope for the future and the joy that it holds.

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Jessie Lundell

Jessie loves CrossFit, competitive waterskiing, cooking, and eating dinner as a family every night. She is the mother, through adoption, of one very active 2-year-old and a new baby boy! Jessie and her husband are the chairs over a local adoption group, United for Adoption, and enjoy advocating for open adoption and educating the community about adoption.

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