A failed placement is a devastating experience for prospective adoptive parents. It is often a complex situation, and some parents feel they do not have the right to grieve the loss of a child who was never theirs. However, adoptive families who are expecting a particular child get attached both mentally and emotionally. If you are going through a failed placement right now, you should know that you are entitled to your feelings of grief and loss. Below you will find some suggestions to help you cope with a failed adoption placement.

Process Your Grief

It is crucial that you allow yourself to work through your grief. Just like any other significant loss, this process is different for everyone. The key is to allow it to happen naturally in the way it presents in your life. You may want to cry, scream, or just spend time alone processing the emotions. There is no correct or incorrect way to grieve. You may even find it useful to seek professional guidance in dealing with your pain.

Welcome Help

Friends and family can be very comforting in times of loss. If they offer to keep you company, invite you to lunch, or simply to sit silently with you, you should accept their support.

Take Time for Yourself

Spend time doing things you enjoy. Perhaps it’s a hobby you love, or simply taking long walks. Consider going on a vacation. Do something life-affirming that creates positive emotions for you.

Connect With Your Spouse

Don’t allow this loss to come between you and your significant other. Use it as an opportunity to grow and process your grief together. You and your partner may grieve in very different ways, and that is OK. People handle things differently. You might be very open and display your emotions easily, while he or she prefers to quietly mourn. Respect each other’s methods of grieving. Try to understand that just because your partner isn’t expressing emotions in the same manner as you, it does not mean he or she is somehow immune to the pain.

Don’t Overanalyze

It’s normal to wonder, “why?” However, you will drive yourself insane incessantly mulling over this question. Sit down with your adoption agency or attorney and have a discussion. Ask questions, and determine if there are any lessons to be learned. Then, let go of it.

Hold on to Faith

It’s difficult to have faith when your dreams have just been shattered. Keep reminding yourself that your baby will come to you at the perfect time. This experience is teaching you patience. When your child is finally in your arms, you will know that you would have waited as long as necessary for that baby.

Talk About It

Share your experience with others, both in and outside of the adoption community. This will help you, and it will help others experience similar circumstances, know that you are not alone. For those unfamiliar with adoption, it helps them understand the complex nature of adoption.

Keep Going

The sun is going to come up tomorrow regardless of how you feel. Take a shower and go through your daily routine. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and move forward. Things will improve in time. You may complete your daily tasks on “autopilot” at first, and that is fine. Eventually, the heaviness of grief will begin to lessen.

Go Slow

You may be understandably skeptical about new birth parents for fear of facing another failed placement. You might be bitter and resentful, so it’s important to allow yourself time to heal before moving forward with another match.

A failed adoption placement can be a life-altering experience. It is a real risk with any adoption scenario. While there is no way to entirely avoid this potential outcome, Destiny Adoption does everything possible to avoid these situations and help our adoptive families work through their grief when it does occur. Contact us today for information and assistance. 


Author: Destiny Adoption Services

Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.