Thursday, October 13, 2011

The heartache of a failed adoption and a choice.

I talk often here on my blog about the blessings and miracles of adoption. The joy and fulfillment that it brings to the lives of children and their adoptive families. I feel so blessed to be able to say that my family and I have seen and felt these blessings first hand.  

And yet on the flip side, couples can often times experience heartbreak and disappointment when they choose to travel down  the road of adoption.  It can often times feel as if you are on one big emotional roller-coaster that continually seems to dip, make harsh, unexpected turns and ultimately spins you around in every direction. More specifically, what I am speaking to today is about the heartache of a failed adoption. 

Such is the case with our family and what we have experienced this week.   We received heartbreaking news yesterday when we learned that we were not selected as the family to adopt the two little sisters we have been working, praying and hoping to adopt for the past 5 months. (You can read more about all of that by clicking here)  This was our first time to try a state adoption.  We were nervous about even going down this road because we have always heard such horror stories from families who adopted through the state.  But after meeting these precious girls, we just knew in our hearts we had to try.  The girls are in foster care in East Texas (an area of the state where the hubby and I grew up). The Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Region 4 adoption unit (who had narrowed their search down to us and another family just 2 weeks ago) convened on Tuesday of this week and at this formal staffing, they decided to not choose us -or- the other family.  This came as a complete surprise not only to us, but the adoption agency representative we have been working with throughout this process.  In fact, our adoption representative told us us that she has never seen this happen in other state adoption staffings---where the adoption unit schedules a formal staffing with their entire team assembled (after already thoroughly reviewing homestudied families), narrowed the search to 2-3 families and then after all of that, opt to not go with any of the families they've selected to be presented at the staffing.  Unfortunately for us, we are now included in this rare incidence.  

Instead, the DFPS adoption committee made the decision to flush us and the other family out, reopen their search on the TARE website (a place where families can search for waiting children in Texas), ask for new families to submit homestudies for the girls and choose an adoptive family from this new search.  To say that we were shocked and devastated by this news is an understatement.  We knew that there was a chance we might not be selected, however, we at least took comfort in knowing that the other family would hopefully be the perfect fit for the girls and they would finally be out of foster care and with their forever family.   Our adoption representative told the state caseworker when she called to deliver the news that we were out of the pool of candidates..."You won't find a better family than this to be the adoptive parents to these girls."  Now whether or not that is true, we sure feel that way in our hearts. 

This decision by the DFPS adoption committee only prolongs the girl's already 15-plus months in foster care.  They will continue to be a part of the 6,000 (plus) children in the state of Texas who are growing up in the foster care system.  Given the amount of time this new adoptive parent search will most likely require, these sisters will most spend their Thanksgiving (and possibly Christmas, too) in a foster home instead of with their forever family.  Whereas sadly, if they had selected the other family or ours this week, they would be spending both of these holidays with their new family. 
It's hard to fully express how I am feeling right now.  We are confused as to why they didn't feel we were a good match for the girls.  From what we were told by the Executive Director of the foster home where the girls are living, we met all the criteria they were looking for in the adoptive parents.  In the back of my mind, it's hard to not be worried that maybe they didn't choose us because of our faith.  There has been so much negative (and utterly false) press about our church in the news these past few weeks claiming that we are not Christians and this has caused us great concern about the potential impact it might have had on this adoption.  One of the 3 criteria that was set by the foster parent is that they wanted the committee to ensure that they place the children in a strong Christian home.  This quite frankly is the only criteria for our family that could have been debated by the committee.  Did some members of the committee somehow misconstrue these false teachings about our faith and presume that because we are Mormon, we are not Christians?  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Surely bigotry was not a factor in their decision? Or were there concerns because we live so close to the Mexico border-- a place that some on the committee might have felt isn't the safest place for the girls to be raised?  My mind is racing with all the possibilities of why this placement failed for us and the girls.  While we will most likely never know what was behind this decision, or what politics may (or may not) have been involved, we are choosing to put our trust in the Lord.

I have cried all the tears I think I have these past 24 hours.  I have felt anger, betrayed, sadness and just a whole gamut of feelings--you name it, but as I sit here today and write this, I am ever so slowly beginning to feel a sense of peace about it.  I know in my heart that the Lord knows what is best for each and everyone one of us and some times what we desire the most in this life and what we pray most earnestly for is not always going to be answered the way we think it should.  This isn't easy for me to accept, but I know I have to.  I have faith that the Lord is the Master gardener in our lives and He sees the big picture for each of us.  For our little family, this master plan  may include another child coming to our home or it may not.  If I allow bitterness, anger and resentment to settle into my heart, it will only harm my happiness and that of my family.

I am reminded of something I read not long ago that has specific meaning to me today in light of our failed adoption....
"Tribulations are frightening.  And yet, the Lord said: 'Be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.  The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.'
The kind of gratitude that receives even tribulations with thanksgiving requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit, humility to accept that which we cannot change, willingness to turn everything over to the Lord--even when we do not understand, thankfulness for hidden opportunities yet to be revealed.  Then comes a sense of peace." 
-Bonnie D. Parkin, "Gratitude: A Path to Happiness"

And so it is with our (nearing) 10 year journey of trying to grow our family...I am left at this fork in the road having to make a choice.  I can choose a path of bitterness, anger and resentment about the fact that we have suffered another failed adoption or I can choose to take the path my Heavenly Father would want me to take.  The path that He expects me to take.  One that includes forgiveness, understanding and a greater amount of faith.  As I prayed fervently last night to have this burden lifted, I knew in my heart what path I need to take.  I need to follow the Savior's example of love, charity, faith, forgiveness and optimism.  There is no question, we are experiencing tremendous heartache, disappointment and bewilderment with this failed adoption, but as I look around me with a prayerful heart, I see all the many, many beautiful blessings I have been given.  I may not fully understand why this adoption failed today, tomorrow or even next year...but I think someday, I will.




  1. I am so sorry to hear this! I was really praying that you guys were going to get be the forever family for those little girls. Know that I will be praying for your family. From what I have read of your blog, you are a very strong and faithful women and I know that your faith will help guide you through this difficult time. God bless!

  2. oh, jennifer. i am weeping and grieving with you right now. my heart is broken for your darling family at this disppointing news. wish i could hug you! praying those sweet girls have a miracle and get a HOME soon.

    i want to share a sweet poem that my dad gave me after our first big disapponting blow:

    "Disappointment -- His Appointment"
    Change one letter, then I see
    That the thwarting of my purpose
    Is God's better choice for me.
    His appointment must be blessing,
    Tho' it may come in disguise,
    For the end from the beginning
    Open to His wisdom lies.

    "Disappointment -- His Appointment"
    Whose? The Lord, who loves me best,
    Understands and knows me fully,
    Who my faith and love would test;
    For, like loving earthly parent,
    He rejoices when He knows
    That His child accepts, UNQUESTIONED,
    All that from His wisdom flows.

    "Disappointment -- His Appointment"
    "No good thing will He withhold,"
    From denials oft we gather
    Treasures of His love untold,
    Well He knows each broken purpose
    Leads to fuller, deeper trust,
    And the end of all His dealings
    Proves our God is wise and just.

    "Disappointment -- His Appointment"
    Lord, I take it, then, as such.
    Like the clay in hands of potter,
    Yielding wholly to Thy touch.
    All my life's plan in Thy moulding,
    Not one single choice be mine;
    Let me answer, unrepining --
    "Father, not my will, but Thine."

    {Edith Lillian Young}

  3. Jenn,

    I'm so sorry. I can't even begin to comprehend the sorrow you and jody are feeling. no platitudes will be given, they won't help. just know that you will be in my prayers.

  4. Thinking of you and wishing I had the answers.

  5. Jennifer, I am SO sorry to hear this and really puzzled as well by the adoption committee's thinking and protocol. Was Pastor Jeffress on the board or something?

    Nevertheless, I admire how graceful you are in handling the disappointment. Hugs!

  6. I am so sorry that you did not get the chance to adopt those girls. On a more positive note, just know that God is trying to put the most PERFECT child or children in your life. I hope that your religion wasn't a factor in their decision as you seem like an incredibly kind and loving person.

  7. Jen, I am so very sorry to hear this. All i could think when I read it is that you must have another little spirit waiting to come to earth just for you. I have a testimony that families are created by Heavenly Father - not by adoption agencies or case workers. It is a beautiful magnificent miracle to witness and a road full of trials of faith for those of us who have to find our children. I know you are strong and I know you are hurting, but most of all I know you are faithful and will be soo blessed. I guess this is just one of those things that we will never probably understand now. I am glad you are feeling some little bits of peace creep in. You are in my prayers and thoughts. Lots of love.

  8. I have been following your journey on your blog and was so sorry to hear this news. I know it is difficult for you to know now that it is meant to be. Pray and keep strength - there is a child/children out there that are meant to be in your forever family. I know it will happen soon and in an unexpected way. Just know that any child that would join your family would be so lucky! You are so sweet and God has a special plan for you. Hugs to you!

  9. Oh, Jen! I have been away from your blog for quite some time trying to move across the country and settle into new life. I was so sad to see this today, as I was "catching up." I know that you have strong faith in the Lord and in His will, and I know that you and your family will continue to be blessed as you continue to trust in Him. That doesn't make it easy, though! I hope you are still feeling the warm, encircling arms of all of those who are grieving with you through this process and, most importantly, of your Heavenly Father. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your wonderful family!!!

  10. Jennifer, I am so heartbroken for you. How could anyone look at you and your family and not think you are anything but precious, loving parents?!? I came here today for an update and expected to see some good news. Needless to say, I am shocked and saddened.

    Yet, my sweet friend, you remain an inspiration to me as a friend, wife, mother, and Christian. I can't help thinking something even more wonderful is in store for you.

    Your faith and love of life is unshakeable, and for that, I am proud of you. So very proud! I pray you find that peace (if you haven't already), and your heart continues to heal. And, hopefully, it's some comfort to know that there are so many of us that love you, are thinking about you, and are praying for you.

    Thinking about you,
    Amy (Warren) Gootee

  11. I am so sad to read this, but want to say that I know you and your husband a destined to parent more children... Something tells me that you and Jody and Noah will add to your family soon! I know my parents went through at least four failed adoptions after me before finally adopting my little sister from China, it's a devastating time but know you have many MANY people praying for you and your family! You will make it through this and come out stronger on the other side, I just know it,


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