An adoption disruption is a uniquely discouraging experience. Let’s not sugarcoat things: It can be devastating. The fact that so few people, in the grand scheme of things, have also experienced this pain can add to it, bringing on feelings of isolation alongside the heartache.

If you are a hopeful parent who has experienced an adoption disruption or are currently going through one, you know exactly what we are talking about. In over 25 years of service, American Adoptions has helped create thousands of families through adoption. We have also walked with hundreds of hopeful parents through the disappointment of a disruption.

Everyone is different. The way you cope with your disruption and find healing will be unique to you. With that in mind, there are some healthy ways to respond that our adoption specialists have identified over the years and some not-so-healthy reactions to avoid.

Ultimately, this is your journey. Healing takes time. Don’t rush yourself, and give lavish amounts of grace. Some days will be just plain bad, and that’s okay. We promise that other days will be better, and there is hope at the end.

Give Time for Grief

This isn’t something most people can bounce back from quickly. You may need to walk through each stage of grief before you are ready to move forward, and those individual stages can take time. One of the worst things you can do for yourself and your future family is to rush into another adoption situation before you are truly prepared.

Don’t be hard on yourself. You may need weeks, months or longer to process and heal from the pain of an adoption disruption. However long you need, that’s okay.

Anger Is Normal

No feelings are off limits after experiencing an adoption disruption. Many people are uncomfortable with anger. It may cause them to feel guilt or shame because anger is associated with negativity. But anger is a natural feeling, and in this situation it should be expected.

Acknowledge all of your feelings instead of trying to repress the more extreme ones. By acknowledging them, you create the space to work through the emotions and towards a healthier place. Even though anger is normal, you don’t want to get stuck in it.

Reevaluate the Practical Issues

Your first priority is emotional recovery. There are other things to consider, too, once you have reached a mental and emotional place where it is healthy to consider them. This includes things such as finances and starting the adoption process again.

Does your adoption agency have financial protection for families who experience disruptions? If so, how does that work? If not, should you consider a new agency that will provide more protection?

It may seem cold to think about money right now. But, eventually, it’s something that you will need to think about. Otherwise, the effects of the adoption disruption could spread out from your emotional life to your financial wellbeing, too.

Turn To Your Support Network

An adoption disruption can feel isolating because so few other people have experienced one. One way to fight off the loneliness is by surrounding yourself with loving, encouraging family and friends. Research has shown that company lifts the human spirit. Tap into this resource when you are beginning to feel despair over what has happened.

A Few Things to Avoid

Just as there are healthy ways to respond to an adoption disruption, there are also some unhealthy reactions. We want to emphasize, again, that all of these responses are totally understandable in such an emotional situation. But if you can avoid the things listed below, you may find yourself in a better situation.

Blaming the Mother: As we said above, anger is a normal response to an adoption disruption. However, it’s best to avoid holding onto that anger and letting it simmer into lasting resentment. Any expectant mother who chooses to parent is making an incredibly challenging decision. It’s understandable, and expected, that you are hurt by this choice. However, allowing those feelings to stay with you will only make healing more difficult and make your next adoption process more challenging.

Blaming Yourself: Conversely, it’s natural for hopeful parents to blame themselves after an adoption disruption. What did I do wrong? Here’s the truth: an adoption disruption isn’t your fault. In most cases, it is nobody’s fault. That can be hard to accept, because assigning blame is a way for some people to find closure. But when it comes to healing after an adoption disruption, the blame game won’t get you very far.

Pulling Away From Loved Ones: You may need space to grieve privately. If so, take the time you need. Make sure, though, that you eventually come back to your friends and family for support. Isolating yourself and trying to fight through this alone can lead to a pretty dark place. Seek out the people who make you feel safe, loved and encouraged.

Talk to an Adoption Specialist Today

Our adoption specialists are ready to talk. Call 1-800-ADOPTION or contact us online at any time to speak with a professional. This call is always free, and we can help answer questions about an adoption disruption or moving forward with a new adoption process.