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Understanding Adoption Disruption

How Often Do Adoptions Disrupt?

Navigating the different stages of the adoption process is all worth it when you get to hold your child in your arms for the first time. But, there is a chance this life-changing experience may not come when you expect it.

Nationally, research shows that 10-25% of adoptions don’t work out. Prospective birth parents may decide not to commit to the placement for reasons like:

  • A change in their personal situation

  • Choosing another family

  • Deciding to raise the baby themselves

The causes for a disrupted adoption vary depending on each situation and how far you are in the process. This also determines whether it’s an adoption disruption or adoption dissolution.

This guide will define the two terms and show you how American Adoptions has the resources to help you cope with a disrupted adoption. You can get more free information online now or when you call 1-800-ADOPTION today.

What Is the Difference between an Adoption Disruption and Dissolution?

Adoption disruptions can occur at any point in the adoption process until the prospective birth mother signs their official consent and the revocation period has passed.

The adoption decision becomes permanent only when:

  • The baby has been born 

  • The birth parent signs the legal paperwork consenting to the adoption

  • The revocation period passes

  • The adoption is finalized in court

Prospective birth parents have a legal right to change their minds about a placement for their child up until that revocation period.

Adoption dissolution is slightly different. This can occur after the adoption is legally finalized. An adoptive placement ends, resulting in the child's entry into foster care or placement with new adoptive parents.

When a disrupted adoption occurs, you may have already invested significant funds into the process. Working with a professional that offers financial safeguards is crucial. That’s why American Adoptions protects your finances.

How American Adoptions Protects You during an Adoption Disruption

Most adoption professionals will make it seem like adoption disruptions are extremely unlikely, but that’s just not the case. That’s why hopeful adoptive families can be surprised when one does happen.

American Adoptions is transparent about the challenges of the process, which is why we provide adoption disruption insurance if your adoption is disrupted.

Although other adoption professionals rarely acknowledge the risks of a disrupted adoption, we are the frontrunners for financial protection with our Risk-Sharing Program.

Where Do the Adoption Funds Go When an Adoption Disrupts?

With most professionals, your money is gone for good. This leaves you with the emotional pain of a disruption and a drained adoption budget — but not with us.

To ensure you have another chance at adoption (if you choose to pursue another), your money is refunded directly back to you. Since its inception, this adoption disruption insurance has refunded 100% of the lost fees in 98% of those families’ adoptions, including:

  • Living expenses

  • Medical expenses

  • Legal fees

  • Our agency costs

  • Processing fees

This financial protection gives you confidence and security when an adoption doesn’t work out, and it has saved families more than $4.6 million since 2009.

Although we can’t eliminate emotional losses, our adoption disruption insurance eliminates financial ones.

Why American Adoptions Offers Adoption Insurance

“Adoption is not cheap,” Danny, an adoptive father, said. “There is no way around that. And to set aside that amount of money with the potential of a disruption, you know, eating away at that budget and then having to start over, it would be a deal-breaker for a lot of families.”

Andie and Danny were paired with a family six weeks before the baby was born. After flying out to meet the family for the birth, they were there for the labor to cut the cord and even share skin-to-skin contact with the child.

But, on the morning of discharge, their adoption social worker came in and said the birth mother had changed her mind.

“It was literally the hardest thing,” Andie said.

“That was the worst day of our lives,” Danny said. “These things are real. These things happen.”

The adoption disruption did not set Andie and Danny back financially. They saved $3,200 through our adoption disruption insurance program. So, they started the process over, welcoming home their baby boy, Cooper.

“I can't imagine my life with anybody but Cooper,” Danny said. “To think that we had another opportunity that failed before that, it's almost like it happened on purpose.”

“Because of adoption, we're a family,” he said.


Although we take every possible precaution to prevent adoption disruptions, it’s inevitable that some of them don’t work out.

To learn more about how we limit disrupted adoptions and about our adoption disruption insurance program, you can get free online adoption information now or talk to an adoption professional at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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