A “match” occurs when a birthmother or birthparents have chosen the adoptive parents. A match is said to have “failed” when the birthmother or birthparents change their mind and decide to parent. Most of the time this occurs after the birth of the child. In Texas, birthmothers cannot relinquish their parental rights until at least 48 hours after delivery. They can take longer, but they cannot sign the papers until 48 hours has passed. Until the papers are signed, a birthmother can decide to parent. Once the papers are signed though, there is no going back. No 30 days to change her mind, like in some states.
Well, that is a little cut and dried isn’t it? Let’s just be up front and admit that a “failed match” is heartbreak. It is sad. It is full of grief. It is a loss. You cannot help but get excited – a birthmother has chosen YOU! And then your world crashes in. The words coming out of your mouth are wishing this woman well, and wanting the very best for this child, but your heart is screaming NO!
How do you cope? You grieve. You cry.
- Let your friends and family help you.
- Know that each of you will grieve in your own way. If one partner isn’t crying, that doesn’t mean they aren’t grieving. Be there for each other.
- Know that some people, not knowing WHAT to say, but wanting to offer comfort, will invariably say the wrong thing. Forgive them.
- Don’t give yourself a time table to “feel better”. Every person and every situation is unique.
Hope Family Julie and Steven Saal chronicled their adoption journey and their failed matches on their blog “Life is Simple, It’s Just Not Easy“. Often, the best resource we can offer is someone who has been down the road before you.
Hope Cottage is the oldest nonprofit, non sectarian adoption agency in Dallas. Since 1918 Hope Cottage has been building and nurturing strong families through counseling, education and adoption services.
If you have questions about adoption, please call Hope Cottage at 214.526.8721.
If you are a woman facing an unwanted pregnancy and would like to talk to someone about adoption, please call Hope Cottage at 1.800.944.4464 or 214.404.4546.