One of the biggest fears for hopeful Christian adoptive families is matching with a birth mother, forming a special bond, and then learning the birth mother has changed her mind. You begin to dream and plan for your new future as a family, and then one decision brings it all crashing down. It is not common for a birth mother to change her mind, but it can happen.
If you experience this kind of loss on your adoption journey, it’s human nature to wonder what you did wrong. You may wonder, is adoption still part of God’s plan for your Christian family? You might even replay different scenarios in your head. If you had done or said something differently, could you have prevented this from happening?
Acknowledge that these thoughts are normal, but then dismiss them. When a birth mother changes her mind, it hardly ever has to do with the adoptive family. There is nothing wrong with you or with her adoption coordinator.
Adoption is a matter of the heart, and a birth mother’s feelings can change as the details in her life change. The most common reasons why a birth mother changes her mind are centered around the circumstances, the people, and the support she has in her own life.
4 Common Reasons Why a Birth Mother Changes Her Mind
1. The father of the baby changes his mind about being involved.
Being a single parent is difficult, and many birth mothers choose adoption because they cannot imagine a future raising their baby alone.
The news of an unexpected pregnancy is difficult for fathers too. The birth mother has no choice but to deal with the reality of her circumstances right away. However, a father who initially wanted no part of this future may come around once he has had time to wrap his mind around becoming a parent. If he decides to make the commitment, that might be all the birth mother needs to feel confident about parenting her own child.
In some cases, the father does not know about the adoption in the first place. The father has the same rights to his baby as the birth mother, so he may want to claim his parental rights.
2. The birth mother gains financial support.
Financial insecurity is another reason birth mothers choose adoption. If that changes, the birth mother may now have the resources she needs to parent her child. This may happen if she finds a new job, secures housing, or qualifies for government assistance.
3. The birth mother gets support from family or friends.
The adage that it takes a village to raise a child is just as true today as ever. With a reliable support system, the birth mother may find that she can now parent with confidence. She may have family members who have decided to help her financially, offer her a place to stay, or help her raise her baby.
Sometimes family members decide to adopt the baby, and that is the best option for that family.
4. It’s a birth mother’s right to change her mind.
It is always a birth mother’s right to parent her child. The birth mother is in control during the entire adoption process, and her feelings may change as her pregnancy advances. She may feel differently about her choice when she starts to feel her baby move inside her or when she finally meets her child. She might be surprised by how strongly she feels bonded to her baby.
This is the reason for the revocation period before an adoption can become finalized. Depending on the state, birth mothers are given from two days to up to six weeks to change their mind about adoption.
Moving Forward After the Birth Mother Changes Her Mind
If the birth mother changes her mind because her circumstances improve, this will be a bittersweet turn for you. You might be happy for her, but her good fortune still creates a loss for you.
Take time to grieve your loss and pray for God’s healing. It doesn’t matter that the child was not legally yours when the birth mother changed her mind. It won’t hurt any less. Some adoptive parents who have been in your shoes compare this pain to the grief parents feel after enduring a miscarriage.
Lifetime Christian Adoption is here for you. We can refer you to counseling, support groups, or other resources for adoptive parents. You will be in a better position for a successful adoption if you give yourself time to heal before presenting yourself to another prospective birth mother.
Each Christian adoptive family grieves in their own way. Some wish to hold off on pursuing another match. Other families want to find the next match as soon as possible. Whatever you decide, this is not the end of your adoption journey. Your child is still out there waiting for you. Lifetime Christian Adoption will put your family back into the active group as soon as you are ready, and we will never burden you with additional startup fees.
Remember that it is a rare occurrence for a birth mother to change her mind. Lifetime’s reclaim rate is incredibly low (3 to 4%), so if you happen to experience this unlikely situation, don’t let that stop you from pursuing God’s call to adopt.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”