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Coping with a Failed Adoption

Tips for keeping the dream of a child alive after a failed adoption…

Allow your friends to help you.
Most of us love to serve others in their time of need but feel that we are "putting someone out" if they desire to return the favor. But, do yourself and your family a tremendous favor-accept the help! Welcome the hugs, the tears, the prayers, the food, the work relief, the babysitting offers, and, if warranted, the monetary aid. As your friends begin to call you and the neighbors visit, think about your needs so that your support group can put their love to work. Nobody knows what to say when these types of incidents occur. Give your loved ones something useful, practical, and helpful to do instead.

Let your partner grieve in his or her own way.
Some men believe it is a sign of strength to go back to the grind immediately after loss. But you don't care for your wife by leaving her alone to grieve; you show withdrawal and insensitivity. So tell your colleagues at work to cover your meetings; ask your golfing buddy to mow your lawn. As for you, just be with your wife. Don't talk unless spoken to, don't caress unless she asks you to, and don't have the TV on in the background. Your presence will convey your commitment and your silence will honor her loss.

Though your husband may not break down in tears five times a day, don't underestimate his pain. Do not expect him to embrace his male friends and collapse into sobs. It may happen, but it is not likely. Know which of your friends will listen and hold you and which ones will, unfortunately, want to solve your problem. Seek out women who have been through miscarriages or infant deaths, or other couples who have suffered failed placements. Their wisdom will be invaluable to you as you try to imagine your future.

Almost anyone who has considered adoption has considered God to be a part of the equation. When you face infertility or loss, the acknowledgment of a higher power is inevitable. The inability to control our environment and, consequently, our circumstances leads us to the ultimate question: is there a God? And if so, why would He allow this to happen? The key element here is that God is a player in grieving, whether He is ever identified as one or not. If, like me, you believe that God is sovereign, why hold back your feelings-he is aware of them!

It's a mistake to think that these suggestions will bring instantaneous and complete relief. Only time will do that. But your approach to grieving can determine whether you are going to be deeply depressed or extremely sad, despondent and bitter or disappointed and frustrated, fearful and doubting or able to trust again. Most importantly, will you be able to dream of a child and re-risk the rejection, the failure, the heartache?