HomeWords of AdviceAdoption Loss Advice for Parents

Adoption Loss Advice for Parents

“Breathe, go outside, remember that you’re here on the earth and don’t get lost.”

”Let yourself feel the magnitude because it’s just as big as it feels like it is. Like don’t downplay it. Because I think everybody wants to in some way. I think the ability to give yourself full permission to experience the loss in any way, shape, or form, whenever it comes, however it comes, if you can. And to let yourself not have to forget.”

”Do interim care (the foster care some adoption agencies provide prior to placement after the adoption is finalized)! I might say to forgive myself for making decisions based on the information that I had. Like maybe [I] didn’t make a mistake in saying the first time around, ‘We want to take him home right away.’ But in my looking back on it, I could say to myself, that was a mistake, I shouldn’t have done that, I should have known better the risks. But I actually think we did know the risks, they told us [birthparents reclaiming children] almost never happen, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. We were in a situation with a birthparent who gave all of the signs that that was going to be a wise decision to make. She was very gung-ho, we really connected with her, we trusted her, we trusted what she said about the situation. It was sort of like, we only had the information we had and so…. My advice would just be to forgive [yourself] for making decisions [you may regret later].”

“Make demands, and hold the busy, well-meaning, over-extended [adoption] professionals that are helping you with this to their commitments and make them really work for you and really work for [and support the] birthmother. Get enough support for everyone’s needs but recognize that there is not enough support out there for LGBT or straight families, and seek it out wherever it exists. Seek that community because this is not a journey that you want to go on by yourself or as a couple. Be prepared for it to be difficult.”“Accept the kindness and support that people are offering. Just to be able to cry and say ‘why?’ and to have other people cry and say ‘why?’ with you, ‘why did this happen?’ is helpful…. Definitely don’t suffer in isolation.”

“Figure out a way to honor the loss with community. Whatever community means for you, the person, to ritualize it in a way, ceremonialize it in a way, to have witnesses so that you’re not so isolated and alone in it. Because I think it can be so isolating and alone and probably even more so in queer families. So, to have community around to be the eyes and ears even when you don’t feel like you have them…. [I came to realize that] it wasn’t just my loss. It was this whole community of people who had met her. And so everybody was affected by that loss in a different way.”

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