The adoption process can terminate at any time. Many aspiring adopters drop out during the early phases of training, while others carry on undecided for a little while longer before deciding adoption is not for them, and that’s all OK. What is not OK is when the breakdown happens at the very end of the introduction period when the parents have just started to know their children, but sadly it does happen.

Introduction is that magical period when the new aspiring family gets to meet the children they have been matched with and have chosen to adopt. They have chosen to adopt. The children involved have no say in the matter, as it’s often the case with adoption. They don’t know this family, but they must trust all the adults around them when they say that these people will become their new mum and dad.

Even at this stage, after having spent just a few weeks getting to know the children, the adoptive family can still pull-out. They can walk out without so much of an explanation.

All this freedom must be great for adopters. Imagine the possibilities. But where does it leave the children? How would you explain to a 1st grader and his younger sibling who are still dealing with the loss of their birth family, who after living for several months with their foster family learned how to trust grown-ups again, that they hadn’t been lied to, again.

I understand that breakdowns do happen, and often parents are left with no other option. But when a placement breaks at this early stage, is it fair to look for someone to blame?

I still can’t understand how that can be justified, and how prospective parents get to walk away scoff free. I cannot reconcile how if someone hurts a dog the law can prevent them from ever owning a pet again, but if someone hurt a child this way, well, it gets filed as another failed match, an unfortunate event, move along.

If I take a minute to recollect myself I can see the paradox in all this: would it have been preferable if the prospective family did “the right thing” and carried on with adoption? And if so, better for who?

It would be wrong to guilt trip someone into adopting a child, as it’s very unlikely that the guilt would resolve into love over time. Eventually, they’d realise they have become victims of the adoption process, and that realisation would translate in resentment. Many of these children come from families that abused and neglected them, the worst thing that could happen to them is to be given to a new family who never really wanted them in the first place.

It seems I found myself at some sort of impasse. Neither side is wrong, and there is no right solution. But if that is the case, why does it make me so angry?

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