I have spent a lot of time lately delving into the world of adoptees and birth parents. I am an adoptee, so it's been important for me to hear other adoptees share their voices as well.
I have heard so much from the adoptive parent side, like most of us, and felt it was time to HEAR the other sides of the triad. It has been a huge, eye opening experience to say the least!
One of the topics I have come across in several forums is- "Failed Adoption". This is what hopeful adoptive families, adoption professionals and others refer to as a match that happened between an expectant parent and hopeful adoptive parent that didn't take place. Most often it is a match that was "failed" when the baby was born and the expectant parent chose to parent their child. Now most of you are probably thinking to yourself....soooooo... that's what it is. I was in the same boat as you up until a few weeks ago.
What I have come to realize is it wasn't a failed match. It was a broken match. Again, you may be thinking, tomato tamato, but trust me there is a BIG difference. Let's break down these two words.
Failed- something that is not functioning properly or not achieving its end.
Broken- interrupt, separate or disturb.
Similar words, yes. Same, no!
Here is the juice of the story. When we refer to an adoption placement as a "failed match", we communicate that it's a failure for the expectant/biological parent to choose to parent their child. This isn't a failure. This is something to be rejoiced over!
When we refer to an adoption placement as a "broken match" we are communicating that the match that was intended to take place was broken and will no longer happen.
Adoption is hard. It's emotional. Heartbreaking. Joyful. Full of happiness and loss. These things and more are natural feelings and emotions to have when going through this process. It's ok to get excited at the possibility of becoming parents through adoption. But understand that this baby is not yours. You are pursuing adoption with an expectant mother with the end goal as adoption, but that may change. Guard your heart. Love her well. Support her.
We have to change our mindset from- she isn't a means to an end to have a baby. She is human. She is a mom. This is her baby, until she CHOOSES to place that baby in another person's arms, which may never happen. She may become empowered to parent through outside support, resources, job changes, family changes, etc. and that is ok. That is her choice to make.
When we view her as a mom who is doing what is best for her baby, no matter the outcome, we can love her well and say "We are here and willing to parent your child if you choose us to do so. If not, that is ok. You are strong, you are worthy, you are valued and we want what is best for you and your baby. We trust you to make that decision".
Super hard words to swallow, but when we do better, we become better and empower others to also do better. We change the lens in which the world views adoption and that is better for everyone.
-Mallory Fogas, Owner of Arrow and Root
-Instagram @arrowandroot or @forevermrsforgas