the proverbial they

“We decided to go with someone else.” is the dreaded phrase adoptive moms fear to hear (something bio moms never worry about).

Adoptive Parent Translations:
‘You are not good enough for my baby.’
‘You have too many children already, you don’t need another.’
‘You are not exactly what we were looking for.’

WHAT?!? However you slice it, it is rejection plain and simple! Imagine someone telling you bio mommies out there that you are not allowed to give birth because *they* are not sure you will quite measure up. Imagine your reproductive freedom and privilege was stripped from you just because you were not exactly what *they* envisioned. The difference between a mom like me and a bio mom is that the bio mom can have a baby whether the proverbial *they* agree or not. I, on the other hand, am at the mercy of *they*.

The rejection power of *they* is exercised every time a hopeful adoptive parent has their profile pulled. It is exercised when referrals are revoked, and profiles are not chosen. It is a very scary uncertain proposition that we enter into every time we allow ourselves to be considered for a child. Although I am willing to do it to grow my family, I do not look forward to any part of the choosing ritual associated with adoption.

A while back, one of my dear friends was told that her family’s profile was being considered and that the bio mom had narrowed it down to them and another couple. Their newly found hope was crushed when they were informed that they had ‘come in second.’ As if that is any comfort to a woman whose arms are still empty. She and her hubby were assured that they were so awesome that they would be the back-up if something fell through with the bio mom’s first choice!

Some would argue that we should be more concerned with the happiness of the family chosen because the child’s well-being supersedes the sadness of the family who was not. Okay, sure. We are happy that the child has found a home, but that in no way negates the sorrow of our own loss. Why are adoptive parents expected to be less hurt and more generous when they lose a potential child than bio parents? I don’t get it. Loss is loss. It is personal. It has no time limit. It is necessary for growth.

I have a friend who recently lost her newborn baby to SIDS. The tragedy happened two months ago. So for those around the situation, I am sure it has seemed like a long time. When we are not directly a part of the loss, it is easy to detach ourselves from the everyday emotions that come. But for her, it was yesterday. And that will remain for a very long time ot come.I do not know what it is like to lose a living breathing baby that I alone gave life to. But I do know something of agonizing loss. I know that it does not disappear or dissipate overnight. We learn to compartmentalize over time. We learn to find meaning in the loss so that we can grow.  We learn to move onward and forward for the sake of our family. But the loss remains.

So who are *they* to say “your baby is in heaven, you should be over it by now” or “it was only a miscarriage, you’ve had them before” or “you already have enough kids, let someone else adopt the baby.” I guarantee the *they* who say those things have never experienced significant loss, especially the loss of life. And that makes their ignorance less important to me. Mostly, I feel sorry for *they* because I know better. Hopefully, my experiences play some small role in helping others know better too! That helps validate my own loss so that *they* have no power over me.


  1. Preach it girl! Scripture says, “How will they know, lest you tell them…” I say that it’s true. Why should *we* just ignore and walk away from comments like that…how will they ever know different or know that those comments are so much more insensitive than they will ever realize! You are so right!!! I love how you put those thoughts into words…so well written!

  2. When you have brushed shoulders with “they” at least once, it makes it easier to spot “they” and to avoid them if necessary. But when the “they” are invisible, it makes it even more difficult. This rejection came from a nearly invisible source and I applaud you for not being angry but instead dealing with the emotions honestly. You inspire me!

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