Living with the Grief of a Failed Match

Some situations in life we sit back and think “oh well, THAT would never happen to us” and others you immediately worry that “it will happen to us”. I read about failed adoptions, failed placements, and failed matches when we started our adoption journey – and they quickly became one of the biggest fears.

This failed match felt like the loss of a baby. A piece of our hearts ripped from our chests. I did not struggle with infertility. I did not experience miscarriage or loss of a biological child. The failed match that my family experienced back in July of 2016 was a different pain than hearing from a doctor that I cannot carry another child. A true loss. For six weeks we were led to believe that we had found our baby through adoption. We heard the words “you’re family has been chosen” – A statement that we waited and dreamed of hearing for months. We anxiously awaited the phone call to meet the expectant mom. We were invested financially to an extent. Our hearts fully committed. Our dreams of this meeting expectant mom, of this baby, our travels, the relationships, our experience was so vivid and so exciting. After 6 weeks of dreaming and planning, our dreams quickly ended – we had been duped; we had been scammed.

Eventually, we did find our baby. Our daughter came to us just a few short weeks after moving past that heartbreaking situation. But I still think about that baby… and her mom. I pray they are healthy and happy. The scam doesn’t make it harder or easier but has made it difficult to move forward. The situation felt so unfinished, incomplete. At the time, it was difficult to see how this was supposed to be part of our story. That this was part of His plan. It was hard to believe that at the end of this we’d be able to say “this situation lead us to our daughter.”
Grief is unique and individualized. It is a process and a journey in itself – and often there is no expiration date. Just like the adoption journey, we all take and live experiences differently. I have met many people who speak about their failed situations and they quickly follow up with “well we have our baby now so it’s fine” or “well it all worked out.” What is fine is letting yourself feel, grief, process, identify, and live that incomplete match. You don’t need to backtrack the pain, discredit the anger or ignore the severity of why things didn’t work out. The grief and loss of this failed match still sneaks up on me today –  I feel the pinch in my gut and that lump in my throat. That is natural. That is healthy. I recognize that those feelings may never go away and that doesn’t discredit my gratefulness for my daughter now. But that is grieving. That failed match is still part of our journey and our story.


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