My Child’s Loss Isn’t My Gain – We Share in Their Loss Together

Originally posted June 2011 by Rebekah McGee. Rebekah a New York Adoption Consultant with Adoptions from the Heart. She and her husband adopted an infant son from Ethiopia in 2012 after a 2.5 year adoption process. Their family then had two biological daughters in 2013 and 2017. They are a transracial and special-needs family as her oldest child has multiple disabilities.

I believe the best way to describe my current status is: mixed emotions. It is not impossible that we could get a referral in the next couple of months! So much anticipation and excitement is in our hearts, yet we realize creating our family through adoption comes from a huge loss on someone else’s part.

I guess the reality of the “big picture” of our adoption has really started to hit. That although it is going to be a joyous day (for me & Will) when we meet our baby, it won’t be the beginning of his/her life. It will be a bit traumatic for our child who has had way too many transitions as an infant. By the time we meet our little one, the baby will have already gone through a tremendous loss, and we can’t do anything about it. We can start fresh and show the baby a lot of love from that point on, but we can’t go back and erase what happened, or prevent it now. Our baby will come to us because of a huge loss in his or her life and in the birth family’s life as everything familiar is taken away.

So as I guess that our baby may already be born now, I think- wow, could that loss be happening right now? Is he or she dealing with a huge loss that I can’t even comprehend? I sit here too far away from Africa, not able to do anything to protect that little heart from hurt. I sit here knowing that I am inadequate and won’t be the one to heal this little heart that will be entrusted to me, yet trusting that we will have the grace and resources we need for each moment to come. I sit here knowing we will have a long road ahead: an attachment that must be built, the loss of a birth family that must be recognized, and birth culture that must be honored…


Although adoption is gains and losses meshed together, as a parent-to-be I have already gained insight into the lives of vulnerable children and families. I’ve gained a new community of adoptive parents, and I have gained the skills to advocate, bookkeep and manage records that are needed to go through this adoption process!


But I will say, in adoption the child’s loss is NOT my gain. Baby, your loss is our loss. We weep with you and ache with you and we long to accept with a heavy heart the gift that your birth family is giving us. We promise to walk through the future with you as you navigate all of the gains and losses in life and to provide empathy and a listening ear.

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