Musings of a Marfan Mom

When It’s Not You


One thing I don’t think the hopeful adoptive parent community talks about much is when things don’t work out the way you’d hoped, whether that’s not getting picked, or having a failed placement (when the mom and/or dad change their minds about placing their child for adoption).

I think the only time I’ve read about it has been from The R House, where over the course of the year they had both a failed match and a reversed placement (where they had the baby for a few days before having to give him back).

It wasn’t until well after we were waiting for a baby that I realized the national failed placement rate is 50% and that your profile may be shown many times before you’re selected as a match. To this day this process isn’t something any of our agencies have really talked about with us. Our two new agencies (our first one is closing) have both said they generally don’t tell you when your profile is being shown, though the second agency said they’ll pass along regular feedback to us.

At first I was leery of this no notification policy. I have some adoption trust issues right now, after what happened with our first agency. But, I’m beginning to see the wisdom in it.

In March, after about 14 months of waiting, our profile was shown for the first time. Actually, it was shown twice over the course of a couple of days, and not through our agency but through a nonprofit that we are also working with. Ultimately, after an agonizing few weeks of back and forth, neither baby was placed with us (obviously). I felt particularly emotionally invested in one of the babies (ridiculous as that may be because they were never mine), and it still stings a little these 4.5 months later.

Then, over the past week, we’ve been shown twice more. Although usually our agencies don’t tell us, sometimes there are exceptions, and we always know with the nonprofit. What’s the waiting period to hear if you’ve been picked as a baby’s parents like? On one hand, it’s so exciting! We begin to make plans. I do all the laundry. Mentally prepare for childcare logistics. Scout plane tickets. Browse Pinterest. On the other hand, there is this heightened sense of stress and anxiety, especially as it can take days or even weeks to hear back. We may not be kept in the loop well. There’s hope, and a lot of fear.

We weren’t picked for either of the babies this week. While I’m happy for whomever will be adding to their family now, I feel very sad too. And the process is exhausting. I’ve had a 3 day headache and I would prefer to sleep most of today, if I’m being honest. Monday marked 18 months of waiting. It’s hard getting your hopes up only to have them fall just as fast. Several times this week I’ve commented to Mark that I wish I could just feel less, because it would make the disappointment easier to bear. I read this article during the wait though, and I agree with the author that I don’t want to rob myself of possible joy, either. Whenever we do have a successful match and bring home our 3rd child, I want to someday be able to tell them of all the happy preparation we did for them, and not how I tried to block out all my feelings.

I hope that day comes soon.

Today though, I’m taking my boys putt-putting!

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  1. When I was adopted back in 1970, things were so different. All adoptions were closed, meaning the birth mother and the adoptive family had no contact with one another and didn’t even know each others’ names. If a baby came up for adoption, a middle man (agency or social worker) would scour their waitlist of adoptive parents and find a family that looked like a good match. When I was born, my parents had been on the waiting list for over a year. My mom got a phone call, which went something like this:
    “Are you still interested in a baby? Yes? Well, we have a newborn baby girl who we think would be a great match for you. Are you interested? Great! Well, come by tomorrow with some baby things and you can meet her and take her home.”
    And that was it. Absolutely no prep time. Mom said it was kind of like going through an entire nine months of pregnancy in 24 hours.
    My point in this story is to wonder which way is better: to have to endure the wait-stop-wait-stop as you are doing, or to just get a phone call one day saying that you’re getting a baby. Pros and cons to both, I guess.


    marfmom Reply:

    Yes pros and cons to both as far as timing of the match goes, but I’m glad adoptions are much more open now.


  2. I hope that day comes soon too!! Will keep you in my prayers. And I don’t think it’s ridiculous AT ALL to have felt so invested. Although a different situation, I know I felt invested with both pregnancies that didn’t end up being viable …. children who were no bigger than a pea. They were much bigger in my heart.


  3. Personally, I wouldn’t want to know if my profile is being shown. The waiting and uncertainty would be unbearable.


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