Failed Adoption v. Disrupted Adoption (Yes, there is a world of difference)

Recently, I was asked my opinion regarding "failed adoption", the mother of all PAP adoption issues.

Me being me, I figured the person meant the situation in which the AP's fail the adopted child, like seen in the Torry Hanson case, and many just like that one.


The person meant the situation in which the adoptive couple is denied the chance to parent, through adoption, like seen in the 2009 celebrity adoption story, Alex Kingston's Adoption Struggle.  [Alex, for those who do not know, was quite popular back when she starred in NBC's medical-drama, "ER"  She was the English doctor-chick, Dr Corday, who had all sorts of personal problems, thanks to her new-life in the USA...]

"The first time, the birth mother disappeared with the baby. By the time she came back to us, we weren't allowed t[sic] adopt him any more for legal reasons - the mother had moved to a different stat [sic].

"The second time, we were adopting from a wonderful lady in Texas. I went to the scans with her and we were in the hospital for 48 hours when she gave birth - then she decided she wanted to keep the baby and it was devastating."

Despite their bad experiences, the former 'ER' star hasn't ruled out launching another bid to take on the care of a child in future.

She added to You magazine: "I would try again in a heartbeat but my husband won't. Maybe he'll change his mind but at the moment he can't.

"I think people think celebrities get babies really easily, like Angelina Jolie, but they don't hear about the ones who aren't successful because we don't like talking about it, it's too painful."

[From Female First, May 5, 2009 ]

 HMM. Infertility, infant adoption, IVF... "failed adoption".  My thoughts? My thoughts can be found throughout the pages of PPL, however, it just so happens recent posts have been coming from the UK, and the topic has been IVF, and adoption.  [See:  Babies are not the only children worth adopting and the comment Supporting the Suppliers, which follows ]

I think failure in adoption as it is experienced by a PAP and later, by an adoptee, are two very different things.

On that note....I'd like to learn what others think about "failed adoptions", and if we adoptees should feel bad for PAP's denied the chance to parent another mother's newborn. ( Given the studies on maternal separation and the effects of stress (stress hormones) on a newborn, I'm not convinced infant adoption, as it's promoted by many private adoption agencies is in a newborn's best-interest...)

I'm inclined to believe as difficult as it may be for a PAP to face a "failed" adoption, it can't come close to the pain and rejection an adoptee feels when the promise of a better life (through adoption) is broken.

In fact, when looking at some of our Abuse Cases, I wish many of those APs were denied an adoption-plan, in the first place.


re: Failed adoptions

We experienced a "failed adoption"--we were referred a child (not a newborn) whose mother then decided to parent him. How did /do we feel? Disappointed and sad for ourselves. And very happy for the mother and her child. We were happy they did not have to have the pain of separation. We were happy the grandmother stepped in to make it possible for the child to be raised in his family, so that adoption wasn't necessary. Believe it or not, not all APs are selfish idiots who think only about their need/ desire /right (ugh) to parent a child. Some of us really do see it as an option when other, more desirable options, are not possible.
As to why adoptees should feel badl for PAPs denied the chance to parent another mother's newborn, you really shouldn't. But perhaps some empathy for their disappointment, as fellow human beings....much the same way you expect them to feel empathy for mother and newborn.

Empathy for disappointment

Great points... especially the "some empathy for disappointment" factor.

This 'empathy' factor is definitely lacking, especially when decent AP's are grouped into the pathological AP sub-set .. and not so pleased adoptees are lumped into the angry ungrateful bastard sub-set.

Unfortunately, I maintain PAPs and APs get far more sympathy and empathy from the adoption establishment than angry adoptees ever did or do.

"failed adoption" vs. "failed adoption plan"

Maybe this is showing off my nerdy personality, but in my honest opinion, something can only fail if it is already in the process of functioning, or has been for a while. Nothing can fail before it has even started. So we would speak of "failed adoption plans" in the case of someone not being given a baby or child that they had counted on being able to adopt.
While as a failed adoption would be happening if the child adopted, or the parents, or both are very unhappy with the situation (and this feeling of unhappiness would, in extreme cases, form the only common grounds  they could agree on).
Consequently, failed adoptions might end in disruptions. Or, their failure might only become obvious when the child has matured and looks back at his history.


How can a referral be deemed a failure?

Very well put Jared but with that said, SBJ also points out about the pain and empathy.

I guess I am not going to become Miss Popularity with many APs because you are wrong about one thing, until the child is legally adopted, they are NOT your children. Your adoption is not a failure, it never began in the first place. What you (or the PAP of a "lost referral") are in pain about is that the fantasy or illusion of being a parent did not pan out. I am sure you fell in love with the photo. I do realize if you fostered the child and lived with the child for a long period of time, that pain of your separation from the child then is very deep and true.

I hope that after the initial shock was over or wears off, you can see that the child is better off with their biological family. And I mean better off, not by the common definition of "better off", meaning "financially", but better off in the sense that the child will not suffer the issues and troubles that many adoptees face. I do hope that the biofamily was able to parent and judges or social workers deemed that to be true. In turn, I hope that your pain turns into empathy for the child. No one wins in this at all and many have to heal...sometimes all their lives. ill vibes intended.

The loss of a "fantasy" or

The loss of a "fantasy" or dream is what most loss is about. Happiness happens when you accept the imperfections in the life you are given. I am an AP who believed it was always better for a child to be parented by its biofamily. Who am I to judge what makes a good parent? It certainly has nothing to do with economics as I have seen wealthy people engaged in some of the worst parenting. This unwavering belief led my husband and I to return a two month old baby to its biofamily because the unscrupulous attorney did not properly notify the father. Again, who was I to judge? We even reported the attorney to the bar association where she received a public reprimand. My heart broke when I reunited our child with his biofamily, but I was proud that I did what was best and right. All was well and good with that theory until 5 years later the father's girlfriend brought the child back to us because the biomom was in jail for prostitution and drugs and the biodad was also on his way to prison. The boy had been shuttled between the two bio parents in between their drug deals and the child had been molested while visiting his mother's house of ill repute as well as subjected to drug use. He was a completely shattered child. In hindsight, I wish I had had the courage to believe a stable adoptive family is better than bio parents commited to a life of drug dealing and prostitution.

A hopeful AP's perspective

I know this is an old post, but I wanted to comment anyway.

I think we used the term "failed adoption" because the disappointment hurts, feels like a failure, and because disruption just doesn't sound like the right word for what we're feeling. We were matched in January with an expectant mom due in February. She was on a methadone treatment program and was in jail. It was her 3rd adoption plan. The previous 2 babies had been placed with adoptive families. Maybe because she was in jail, she actually carried that little boy to term. And in that close to sober stage, and definitely not high, probably for the first time in any of her pregnancies she started to think maybe I can do this. Maybe I can stay sober. Maybe I can be a good mom. When she gave birth, we didn't get the call as she decided to try to clean up her life. The baby went to stay with the paternal grandmother while she finished her jail term. The agency lady had to go to the jail to even find out that she delivered. For me, it hurt. I was disappointed. It didn't come even close to the pain I felt when my last IVF failed. The failed IVF with ultrasound pictures felt more like a miscarriage. The adoption loss felt like big disappointment. I'm not angry with the mom. I don't think she was trying to scam us. I think she honestly changed her mind. I truly hope that she is able to stay sober. I hope that she has enough family resources to help her raise her little boy. I can't begrudge her the opportunity to have a happy family. I can only send my best thoughts and wishes towards her.

And to the question about whether or not to feel sorry for the adoptive parents, I don't ask for sympathy. Our journey to parenthood has been filled with pain and disappointment and loss. Have compassion for me, have empathy. But don't pity me.

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