Sunday, July 17, 2016


Getting a call that an adoption will not proceed – that the birth parent has changed her mind about the adoption – is devastating.

How do I know? It happened to me when I was trying to adopt. TWICE!  The first time, the birthmother, who was here from England, got homesick. We had spoken to her for about two months. She was due in two months. She called to let us know she had returned to England and was going to try and work things out with her family and the baby’s father. I don’t know what happened. Only that we never heard from her again.

The second time , after we had gone to the hospital to see the baby on the day she was born, the birthmother’s family and friends convinced her they would help her raise the baby. The attorney was the one who broke the news to us.

Both times, I was devastated. I felt as if I had miscarried. I felt as if I would never adopt. But I was wrong. I adopted my first daughter in 1987 and the second one in 1991. The right kids found me.

Even so, I remember those feelings so well, when a client calls to tell me that the birthmother has changed her mind or disappeared. I remember withdrawing for a few days, contemplating if it was something about me or something I said, of taking time to think  through my desire to be a parent and whether I could do the adoption thing (the ads, phone calls, etc.) again. In the end, I knew I would have to gather the strength to start all over again.

Over the years, through my own experience and the thousands of individuals and families with whom I have worked, I know adoption works. I know it is a process and that the stars must align in the right place and order. I have heard so many adoptive parents say how amazing it is that the right child had found them. That they were meant to parent that particular child. I, too, believe that.

So, in a dark moment of wondering whether adoption will work for you or if you are meant to parent at all –focus on your desire to parent and that adoption is an option that works. Take the time to process your feelings towards the birthparent…remember that  there are adoptive parents and adoptees who have those titles because there are so many wonderful, caring and brave birthparents who make adoption plans and are emotionally able to carry them out .

An adoption may fall through, but it does not mean you will not parent. It means it wasn’t the right situation for you or the child. If you are struggling with understanding what happened, hesitant to start again or if you should do anything differently next time, discuss this with your adoption agency, adoption homestudy social worker or local counselor.  And never lose sight of your goals.

Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. She has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled adoptive parents and parents-to-be, and has trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program from March 1992 to March 2015. She is Head Writer for, member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and has a private practice in New York City. She was a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. Follow or reach her at ADOPTION MAVEN BLOG or EMAIL.