Clearly, I remember that April evening when I was sitting in the living room at my in-laws, receiving a private message from our adoption page on social media. It wasn’t uncommon to have old friends reach out to us there, and so when I saw it was from a friend we’d left behind a couple of moves ago, I opened it with anticipation of hearing an update of her family. What I received was completely different and it would be a big change. It was an inquiry to know if we were still looking to grow our family through adoption. She had a friend who was expecting but was not ready to parent another child. Would we be interested in adopting her baby? We talked immediately.

We connected with the birth mom and learned all about her family, her situation, and her desire to place the baby girl in our home. With weekly, and then daily communication, we learned that the baby girl was a baby boy. We planned, prepared, hired legal representation in both states, ours and hers, and made arrangements for our son to spend a few weeks with Grandma and Grandpa while we navigated interstate adoption. The day before he was born, I was talking to the potential birth mom via social media. She stated she was uncomfortable, possibly having contractions. I had been having a niggling feeling that perhaps she was changing her mind. So, I asked her. She stated plainly that she still wanted to place the baby, but that now that the baby was a boy, the father was having second thoughts.  

I messaged her later that evening and received no reply. Since it was the 4th of July, I didn’t put a lot of weight in the lack of response, and I tried to put it out of my mind while we celebrated it with our family. Ready to drive out at any moment should she be in labor. The next morning, we still hadn’t heard, so we packed up and drove home to wait some more.  

When we were reaching our hometown, I happened to open social media and see that she had, indeed, given birth. She had decided to parent him, and we were heartbroken. We understood why it would be hard to place that sweet baby, but we felt betrayed by her lack of communication of that change. My husband, in particular, was angry, devastated, hurt, and betrayed. We grieved for a long time. We never got the closure of hearing that she that change of mind, that she chose to parent, and we know that while we weren’t owed anything because she was fully within her rights, but hearing the words would have brought us the needed closure.

We grieved as we would any loss. We let it go, and in time we were able to move forward in our adoption journey. It changed us in every way. We still have hope and love for adoption, but we are also wary, more cautious, and less trusting. We hope nothing but the best for this mom, whom we know must have struggled daily with the decision to place her child. We feel that she could only know what was the best choice for her and her family.   

Karla King is a passionate open adoption advocate, adoptive mom, foster mom, wife, reader, avid creator of food, a stay-at-home mom, and Christian. She loves taking care of her family, supporting others on the adoption journey, and watching the world through her children’s eyes.