Many hopeful adoptive parents share a common fear: What if the birth parents change their minds and discontinue their adoption plan?
These scenarios are called adoption disruptions, and because a prospective birth mother can change her mind at any time during the adoption process, they inevitably happen from time to time. For prospective parents, an adoption disruption can be a difficult loss.
However, there are some things adoptive parents can do to reduce their chance of experiencing an adoption disruption and protect themselves in case a disruption does occur.
One of the most important things a family can do to prevent a disrupted adoption is to choose their adoption professional carefully. While no agency can guarantee that an adoption won’t disrupt, agencies that provide birth parent counseling services, contact mediation and disruption insurance can dramatically reduce adoptive parents’ chances of experiencing a failed adoption.
When choosing an adoption professional to work with, carefully consider the steps the organization takes to prevent adoption dissolution. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your adoption agency.
Birth Parent Counseling
An expectant mother who chooses adoption for her baby is making a loving and selfless sacrifice — one that involves a wide range of overwhelming emotions and difficult choices. For these women, experienced, professional counseling services are essential to help them process those difficult emotions and stay committed to their adoption plan.
Experienced adoption agencies employ social workers who are experts in talking with prospective birth parents to help them sort through their emotions, prepare for future challenges and make the best choices for themselves and their children. These adoption specialists are able to gauge birth parents’ commitment to their adoption plan and provide the support they need to stay committed.
When choosing an adoption professional to work with, consider the counseling services they offer for expectant mothers. Here are some questions to ask potential adoption agencies about the support services they offer:
- How does your agency screen prospective birth parents and evaluate their commitment to adoption?
- What counseling services do you offer to prospective birth parents? Are your adoption specialists available 24/7 to answer birth parent questions and help birth mothers overcome their doubts about adoption?
Contact with Birth Parents
Once a prospective birth mother is matched to a hopeful adoptive family, the parents often have an opportunity to get to know each other.
This communication is a very important part of the adoption process and is key to the success of the adoption.
Semi-open and open adoption arrangements have many benefits for all members of the adoption triad. Open, honest communication between birth parents and adoptive parents sets the foundation for a good relationship throughout the adoption process and after the baby is born. Having a strong relationship gives both adoptive parents and birth mothers increased peace of mind and reassurance in their adoption decisions.
Knowing how to communicate with your baby’s birth parents helps ensure that they remain confident in their decision selecting you to raise their child. As you build a relationship with your child’s birth parents, ask your adoption professional the following questions:
- How will we be matched to prospective birth parents? Can you ensure we are matched with someone whose adoption goals and plans match our own?
- What contact mediation services do you provide? How will you help us develop a good relationship with our child’s birth parents?
- Do you provide open adoption education and support during and after the adoption process?
Adoption Disruption Insurance
Sometimes, even after making a great connection with an expectant mother and taking every precaution to protect against adoption dissolution, the adoption still disrupts, leaving adoptive parents devastated emotionally — and, depending on the adoption agency, financially.
In many cases, the money spent on an adoption opportunity is lost if an adoption disrupts. However, some adoption agencies offer financial protection for families in case of a disrupted adoption. These insurance programs vary in the adoption costs they cover, sometimes including the birth mother’s living and medical expenses, legal fees and more.
Disruption insurance programs either roll over the money into a new adoption opportunity or return the funds directly to the adoptive parents, so they can take their time deciding when they are ready to pursue adoption again.
These programs can help eliminate the financial stress of an adoption disruption, and many adoptive parents are attracted to agencies that provide this protection. As you consider your adoption agency options, here are some questions to ask regarding adoption disruption insurance:
- In the event of a failed adoption, do you offer financial protection for adoptive families? What happens to the funds that are already invested in the adoption opportunity?
- If you do provide disruption insurance, will our money be automatically rolled over into a new opportunity, or will the funds be returned to us?
- If we decide we’d like to discontinue our adoption plans or take a break from pursuing adoption, which expenses, if any, will be refunded?
Coping with an Adoption Disruption
While there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of an adoption disruption, and while your agency may provide financial protection in the event of a disruption, nothing can fully protect hopeful parents from the emotional pain of adoption dissolution.
Feelings of grief and loss following a disrupted adoption can be difficult to overcome. If your adoption disrupts, take your time before adopting again. Talk with your adoption professional about your options for postponing your adoption plans after a failed adoption.
If you are part of a couple, give each other time to grieve and ensure you are both ready before pursuing adoption again. It is important for both of you to fully move through the grieving process and come to terms with the loss before pursuing another adoption opportunity.
Adoption disruptions can be difficult to predict and even more difficult to overcome. By choosing the right adoption professional, you can help prevent an adoption disruption from happening to you — and make it easier to overcome any bumps in the road to creating your family.