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Failed Adoptions

Dealing with the Emotions and Costs

· Adoption Stories

Adoption is a delicate process. There are emotions on every side of it. However, one of the toughest experiences that a hopeful adoptive family can experience is certainly a failed adoption. It’s not uncommon, and with open adoption, the birth mother has every right to decide to keep the baby, even if her medical and living expenses were covered by a hopeful adoptive family.

Many couples that have experienced a failed adoption liken it to a miscarriage. While thankfully, no actual death was involved, hopeful adoptive parents often experience a death of their dreams. For many, adoption is their only option for growing their family, and this sudden change of circumstance is extremely hard to deal with, especially considering that they have already taken in the good news of being matched. However, families dealing with a failed adoption should note that this is not the end of the road.

Five tips for dealing with a failed adoption:

  1. Take time to mourn and recover. Take time for yourself.
  2. Though it may be hard, consider all those who were positively impacted by this turn of events. Could you imagine this birth mother would feel if she had made the wrong decision? Put yourself in her shoes.
  3. Talk with others. You’re not alone, failed adoptions happen every day. If you’re looking for a community, there are plenty of forums/support groups online with couples from a similar experience. Also, your agency may have access to counseling resources.
  4. Throw yourself at another passion. There’s always something to gain from painful experiences, and sometimes it’s simply the motivation that arises from wanting to let go.
  5. Move forward with adoption. The vast majority of families who decide to continue with the adoption process after a failed adoption end up placing after all.

Emotions are not the only thing at stake with a failed adoption; there is money involved as well. Adoption is not a cheap process, and the simple fact is that some costs cannot be recovered. We spoke with a large agency in the United States and asked them what a failed adoption typically costs a family. While they couldn’t give us an exact figure, since every case is different, this is what they told us.

“First, every couple must put down a retainer; ours is $2000. This retainer is the fixed cost of administering a match and cannot be recovered. Secondly, there is living and medical expense. Typically this is around $3,000. And finally, there are third party costs that are out of our hands, which usually amount to $1000. That brings the total of a failed adoption to about $6000. While this can seem like a lot of money, it is only about 1/5th of the total cost of a normal adoption.”

Looking at those numbers can be daunting. For many of us, regardless of income or occupation, $6K is a lot of money. However, if growing your family is your main priority and you have no other options, then our best advice would be to plan for at least one failed adoption throughout your journey. If it happens, you’ll be prepared, and if it doesn’t that money would be a great addition to a future college fund.

We hope that this post has provided you with some background on failed adoption and some helpful tips to keep in mind as you journey through this wonderful process.

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