{Honestly} guest post: The pain of failed adoption

by Erin Carson

Adoption, to me, was supposed to be a magical thing. Ever since I was a little girl I had hoped to have the chance to adopt a child. I don’t know if it was my little girl obsession with the movie, “Annie”, or if it was my mother’s incessant request for a “happy family” (which I therefore thought everyone in the universe deserved) but since I was young, I wanted to adopt.

I also had the dream of having biological children, and lucky for me I was able to do that. River was born and I was as happy as a clam to be the mommy of such a wonderful little boy. And since that dream finally came to fruition, I moved on to my next one of finding him a sibling through the process of adoption.

It was long and tedious, with paperwork, meetings, home studies, and a lot of ‘hurry up, then wait!’ periods. This was fine with me, and the magic was still alive knowing that I was doing all that I could to find my baby.

But then time went by. Like, LOTS of time.


Not only time, but also rumors that my international adoption in Nepal might not happen.  Then, after all that time and effort (and telling myself if I just keep waiting and updating things it WILL eventually happen) the US State department closed the doors to Nepal, and said that no US citizen is allowed to adopt from that country any longer. This is even if your papers had been there for way over a year and you’d already given the country of Nepal thousands of dollars. It was done. It was over. That dream of ours was finished.

I mourned. Although we were never matched with a child, I lost Nepal and the dream of a beautiful Nepalese baby in my arms. I also lost so much time, money, energy and effort thinking, hoping, and praying about Nepal. The one thing about adoption that I truly believed was that if you kept persisting you would find your child. I never thought that something like the “US State Department” could come in and squash my dreams.

Yet, here we were.

Next Step

With the Nepal dream aside, I began looking for another one. I found one in Rwanda, but with that beginning to look a little sketchy I also decided to look closer to home. Just days after the failed Nepalese adoption, we began the process of adopting domestically. I was searching for something different — something that wouldn’t hurt so much, something where I could have a different form of control, something that the US state department couldn’t touch.

I charged forward. Everything was ready to go out to agencies around the country within a month and a half. With our new home study written, birth mother profile created, and mindset altered we began our wait to be matched… again.

It didn’t take long. A couple months into it we were picked by a birth mom. Everything seemed perfect. The agency we were working with was wonderful, the birth mom seemed sure, and everything was going beautifully. So I planned. I bought plane tickets, booked a hotel, I searched long and hard for a birth mother gift.

The day came when the baby girl was born, and the agency suggested that very soon after I speak with the birth mom on the phone. She told me more than once not to worry, and that she is going to go through with the adoption. In turn I tried to assure and thank her by saying, “Thank you for this gift. Thank you for trusting me with your daughter, I promise I will give her all that I have.”

The next day the birth mom signed the papers. I got pictures, BEAUTIFUL pictures of my baby. I was ecstatic, showing the pictures to everyone I knew. I had a baby shower two nights before we were to leave. All my friends were there- celebrating at my favorite Indian restaurant with food, laughs, and lots of pink. I was on top of the world.


At work the next day as I was preparing to leave, I got the call. My husband told me to sit down, and for about 10 seconds I had no idea why. Even after he said the words, “she changed her mind”, I just didn’t believe it; I was in shock.

I ran. I left work, and I cried. I felt like someone I loved so much just unexpectedly died. I felt like my world, as I knew it, was over.

And honestly, it was.

I could tell you the rest, each detail, each feeling, each thought and question that ran through my head after that moment.  How I felt that it was so unfair since I had been waiting for so long, and now, again, I was not just starting over, but grieving for a baby I saw, I loved, and in my heart was mine.

But I won’t. Instead, I want you to know how I got through it. During this time of what felt like I was dying/going nuts/diving into depression, I personally found solace in my loved ones.

I know everyone is different. Some people look to a higher power, some people look to other not-so-healthy options, and some people look inward, which is what I typically do. But this time, in utter sadness, I looked to friends and family. And boy… did they come through.

One left work to come and be with me, one brought me a case of beer and her time, and a few days later many friends surprised me by all coming over to be with me and let me talk. I had an outpouring of support at work, on Facebook, through email and letters. My mom even flew out from Colorado to be with me.

I could never have done this alone.

For those of you who have been through one, two, or five failed adoptions you know how painful it can be. It still hurts me to think of that time. I still pray for that baby girl that I lost, along with my Nepalese baby and the next baby boy match that failed a month later. Those children will always have a special place in my heart. It’s not a place I visit often, because the hurt can still be too much, but it’s a place that I never want to forget, either.

For those of you who may someday experience this, please know that you are not alone. The pain you will feel will turn your heart upside down. But please, please know that if you are persistent, that pain will eventually be replaced with the love of your child that was meant to be with you. Even in those dark days, with the support of your friends, your family, your God, have them remind you that things, even horrible and painful things can have meaning. You just have to believe.

Today’s guest post is by Erin Carson, who adopted Autumn domestically after two failed matches. She blogs about her life and family at The Carsons’ World.

My little piece of magic


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One comment on “{Honestly} guest post: The pain of failed adoption

  1. Anna says:

    my heart aches for you. that pain. I am so happy you were surrounded by community, we all need others in our life to cheer us on and sometimes come alongside us and hold us up.