adoption loss.

By August 7, 2012 3 Comments

Last month, our good friends experienced the loss of an adoption. I am thankful that the Lord has allowed us to be there with them, even though not physically (the internet is a precious gift to a missionary). What I didn’t expect was how quickly the pain and emotions of my own adoption loss could come back. It has officially been two years and my loss has had resolution and healing yet I found myself remembering every single detail.


I guess what I realized is that time doesn’t really change anything. They are and always will be your children. Time just makes it a little better.


I am not sure why I feel compelled to write this blog post right now, but for the past two weeks it has been on my heart, trying to get out. So here goes a few thoughts about adoption loss.


Adoption loss is real. I am not trying to elicit some sympathy or guilt from anyone. But just like there are many people that don’t understand the mystery of adoption yet, there are even more people that don’t understand adoption loss.


The pain is real.


When you conceive a biological child, you start to fall in love with them while they are in your womb. You try and help daddy fall in love with them too, by having him feel baby kicks, read to baby, talk to baby. Baby is born and you hold them in your arms and you know you are supposed to love them and die for them. The bond is amazing.


The bond of adoption is similar yet different. We weren’t pregnant this time. We met our girls after Thanksgiving and less than three weeks later they were living with us, three kids, five million duffel bags and a whole ‘lotta other baggage. The bond comes a little slower, but it comes. As you fight for your child, prepare for your child, make a new road for your child – – before you know it, you love them and you would die for them, just like a biological child.


When a mother and a father lose a baby in the womb, the grief is there. The loss is there. The pain is there. When a baby dies after birth, the pain feels unbearable, the loss is real.


When an adoption fails – – it feels like your child has died.


It doesn’t matter why the adoption has failed. Please don’t get caught up in the reasoning. Sometimes adoptions fail because the court decides to change things. Sometimes the adoption fails because the birth parent gets their act together. Sometimes the adoption fails because the adoptive parents realize they aren’t capable of continuing the adoption.


It doesn’t matter why or how the adoption fails.


What matters is that it fails.


And it hurts.


It hurts like death and loss and grief and more. You can’t think about tomorrow, you don’t know how to get through today. You don’t understand why the Lord had you fight for that child or those children and then take them away. You had built a dream that included these children forever in your home and part of your family.


It makes absolutely no sense.


And you have to grieve just like the mother that loses her baby while in her womb. Or the mother that gives birth to her baby only to have her baby live for an hour. Or the mother that loses her child to some disease at a young age.


The bottom line is, the grief is still the same and the loss is still the same.


So why write a blog post about it?


To educate, I guess.


Please understand that when someone experiences an adoption loss, they are in fact grieving the death of a child to a certain extent. They are going through all the normal stages of grief. Please don’t try and say, “it is better this way. What if…” If someone lost a biological child, I highly doubt the choice of comfort would be, “it is better this way.”


Don’t try and figure out why. You don’t need to know why the adoption failed. If and when we are ready, we will tell you. We don’t need any answers or solutions or feedback. Treat it like it is…the loss of our children. Just be there and comfort…listen…hug.


I hope this blog post is encouraging, not depressing. If you know someone that has experienced adoption loss, be there! Don’t stress about what to say. You don’t need to say anything. Just be a friend because that is the most powerful thing you have to offer right now.


AAAANNNDDDDD that’s the end of my soapbox. Speaking of always being a mama, my oldest two daughters turn 7 and 9 this month. When I became their mama, they were only 4 and 6. Amazing, isn’t it? ♥


Marie Klein Burtt

About Marie Klein Burtt


  • Carrie, Reading to Know says:

    Yes! Yes! Yes!!!

    We had our own adoption loss prior to Jack and it does hurt. Tremendously. And no one really understands. I totally get this (despite the fact that your situation was different). As you say, it doesn’t matter why it failed, the fact is that it failed. And it hurts. And you go on remembering. Yup!

  • Cgtedybear says:

    AMEN to all you said Marie and I would add that the extended family also grieves. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Shannon Fisher says:

    Thank you, Marie!  Thank you for saying it so clearly!  I am so sorry your big girls aren’t with you!  I know they were so loved and sheltered by you…May God comfort and bless you!   ~Shannon