Below is a guest post from Kristy, an AFTH adoption professional and new adoptive mother. AFTH staff were recently asked to share any thoughts from their own experiences that might help families facing disappointments and disruptions to provide encouragement at an upcoming support group.
“My name is Kristy. Despite being in the field of adoption for over 11 years, it wasn’t until my very personal experience facing a disruption that I came face to face with a depth of pain and sadness unlike any other. To be clear, it wasn’t just a sadness and aching for myself and the loss we might experience but it brought me face to face with the very real loss for birthparents.
I had every feeling imaginable running through my head for 4 months while we waited for the final outcome to be decided. Through my heartache, it brought me so much closer (though not anywhere near) the intense loss that birthparents experience when choosing adoption. And although that sounds like it wouldn’t have helped me cope during the potential disruption, it truly did. I had to remind myself in the beginning that I was chosen to care for her one day at a time while her biological parents were given time to weigh the heavy decision they had made.
When were in the state of a potential disruption, I heard all those things that people say to try to provide comfort. And even though they are often true, such as, ‘the right baby will find you’ it didn’t ease the pain I was experiencing. I let myself have time to weep and mourn.
Instead of pitting myself and my husband against the birthparents, it actually brought me closer because they were experiencing even more pain and a much heavier decision. Instead of feeling angry, I felt honored to be chosen to love on this little baby and be entrusted to care for her while intense life-long decisions were being grappled with. I often had to check myself in the grief. It was coming from my laying claim on a child who was not mine alone to claim. I needed to remind myself over and over that I wanted to be chosen to be a child’s mother and not feel as though I had ‘taken’ a child from their biological parents. I didn’t want my success to be running down the clock on the revocation period. I wanted to know that my child’s birthparents were as certain as they could be about their decision.
In the end, the disruption didn’t happen however in those moment of fear and sadness that stretched on for 4 months, I didn’t know what the final outcome was going to be. Adoption is hardly ever smooth sailing. It stems from a loss and sadness is a part of the adoptee and birthparent experience and disruptions/disappointments bring that sadness to prospective adoptive parents as well. My journey has truly given me so much more appreciation for birthparents who choose to break their own hearts for the sake of their children and for biological parents who in the end change their mind and decide to parent because of that same pain.
For families who have or will experienced disruptions or disappointments, know that they will become a part of your story, your journey to your child. And in the end, it will give you an increased empathy for your child’s birthparents as well as a deeper level of understanding of all the feelings involved by all the members of the adoption triad.”
Kristy is also a blogger for Adoptive Families Circle. Here are two additional blogs that she has written on the topic of adoption disruptions and disappointment: