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Why Some Adoption Matches Fail

Pregnant woman using phone in bed

After waiting for months and months for a birth mother to show interest in you, you finally receive “the call”. A birth mom likes your profile and wants to get to know you better (in an open or semi-open adoption situation)! In the adoption world, this is called a match. You are overjoyed and begin to imagine all the life experiences you can’t wait to share with a child. It is impossible to not get emotionally invested at this point.

You’ve spoken to the birth mother several times and feel as if you have a great connection with her. The car seat is purchased, the nursery is decorated and the hospital bag is ready. All of a sudden the birth mom stops returning your calls and texts. You don’t want to think the worst, but your adoption facilitator prepares you for a grim reality; this may be a failed match. Your facilitator or attorney finally reach the potential birth mom to learn that she has, in fact, changed her mind and decided to parent. You are heart broken; experiencing grief as devastating as the years of infertility you’ve previously faced.

When adoptive parent(s) are finally matched to a birth mother, there are immense feelings of excitement and a renewed sense of hope. Embrace these feelings and share your excitement, but also be aware that this isn’t the end of the road. An adoption match is not set in stone and can fall through for a variety of reasons. Here are a few reasons an adoption match may fail and some red flags to look out for.

 What Are Some Reasons Adoption Matches Fall Through

1. A positive, yet no less devastating reason that an adoption match fails is the birth mother or birth parents decide to parent. When a biological parent chooses to raise their child, it can’t be described as a loss; at least for the birth parent(s). However, it certainly feels like a loss for potential adoptive parents. In some situations, birth mothers find a support system that they may not have initially had. Perhaps the birth father, a grandparent or family member has stepped up to provide emotional and/or financial support. In other circumstances, the  birth mother may have sought out counseling and found the strength and support she needed to make a different decision. Regardless, the most important factor to consider is the hope that the child will be raised in a stable home, filled with love.

2. Another reason some adoption matches fail, is less benign. In some cases, a birth parent never had the intention of creating an adoption plan, instead they use their pregnancy or fabricate a pregnancy as a means to obtain money from vulnerable prospective adoptive parents.

Assistance and guidance in avoiding adoption scams are one reason working with an adoption professional can save you time, money and heartache in the long run. An adoption facilitator, like Everlasting Adoptions has years of experience working with birth mothers. They know the red flags to look out for that could indicate a possible fraudulent situation. They also perform some extent of birth mother vetting before matching them with adoptive parents. Nonetheless, adoption scams still happen. Here are a few red flags to look out for when you are matched with a birth mom:

  • Avoidance to share personal information, like proof of pregnancy, phone number or address.
  • Direct and urgent requests for money.
  • Over eager to bond, while knowing little about you.
  • Reluctance to speak with your adoption facilitator or attorney.

It is important to be aware that adoption scams do exist, but not to have extreme paranoia regarding every birth parent. Most birth mothers simply want what is best for their babies.

3.  As the relationship progresses, either the birth mother or potential adoptive parents decide the match isn’t right for a variety of personal reasons. There are so many factors that are involved in this life changing decision, that it would be impossible to list all of the reasons why a match can fail for personal reasons. It can be difficult to accept when a match fails this way, especially when the other party is not privy to the exact reasons why. Just know that a relationship of this magnitude, that can potentially last a lifetime, needs to be thoroughly considered and both sides should feel 100% confident in their decision.

There are no concrete statistics on what percent of adoption matches fail because it is such a difficult number to obtain. It is important to be aware that these situations do occur, but in no way reflect a failing on the adoptive parents’ part. It is devastating and the loss should be mourned, but it is even more important to not lose hope in the process and that the right birth mother and baby ARE out there. 

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