How to Support a Loved One Through Loss in Adoption
The big question is, how do you support a loved one when they experience a tragic loss during adoption? Experiencing the loss of a potential child when an adoption falls through, making the tough decision not to complete an adoption, or even coming home to an empty nursery is something that we wish no one would ever have to endure. There is NO greeting card or gift, for loss in adoption.
From our experiences during our adoption, there are something’s that can help ease the pain and heartache of a devastating loss.
First, acknowledge the loss. Something very real just happened and it hurts. There really is no politically correct way to approach someone you know who has just experienced a loss. But yet, talk to them about it. Acknowledge their feelings and reassure them their feelings are justified. This is especially true when reoccurring anniversaries of these tragic events happen each year. Be with them and cry with them on those anniversaries. Love them.
Sometimes you may not feel comfortable talking about the loss with them. So instead, lend your listening ear. Listen to your loved one. Hear them. Understand that they need to release their pain so that they can move forward. The adoptive parents will be in a dark place. Talking about what happened, how it feels, and how they plan to move forward will help them tremendously.
Something so simple that really doesn’t require much but can have a huge impact is to offer to pray for them. Knowing that someone out there is helping boost their spiritual needs is very lifting. We had what seemed like an entire community praying for us, and it was a huge help. Having a spiritual light in our journey and our life, helped us get through the toughest and darkest of times.
Sometimes all we need is a distraction. In those dark times you may not want to leave your bedroom, the couch, or your house…period. If you’re family or friends of the adoptive parents, get them outside of their home. Go shopping, go for coffee, or really anything to get their mind off of the situation at hand. Do something fun, that can fill that dark space in their soul with some light.
One of the best things you can do is to have no expectations. Minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day can change. The emotional rollercoaster the adoptive parents are on can change directions in a split second. Asking them how they are doing in the at 9AM and asking them an hour later will surely have two different answers. Seeing a commercial on television with children in it our someone asking how the adoption process is going could trigger the emotional rage. Don’t expect that the adoptive parents get back to normal within a certain time frame. Healing takes time and time heals all wounds.
These are only a few things that can really help a family. It is very hard making it through the darkest times in adoption.
It’s uncommon to have one failed adoption. I can say that we had an unheard of and unseen adoption journey. Eight failed adoptions were laid before us. In three years, eight attempts to start our family were spoiled. But we did it! Through faith, strength, determination, and an unfailing love we have made it almost to the final step of our journey. But is a journey really ever over? Adoption continues on even after the paperwork is finalized and the decree is in hand.
Adoption carries on for life.