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This Week’s Teachable Moment: Seeking Balance

Posted Mar 02 2010 4:47pm

Okay, so I have another teachable moment to share this week.

Last week, I met with a dear friend who is fully up to date our adoption plans. She is someone who has been with me throughout every stage of this journey. While we were having coffee, she mentioned to me that she recently heard about several adoption reversals and that those stories made her worry about me.

Now, I know that adoption reversals are a very real fact of the adoption process. Many people have shared stories with me about birth moms who changed their minds about giving up their newborns. In most of the cases I’ve heard first hand, these adoptions were reversed before the adoptive families met the babies because they were pre-birth situations.

My friend, however, insisted that she saw some show (she couldn’t remember which talk show it was because they all seem to be the same) that this is a very real phenomenon and that I should be really, really cautious about the whole thing. She was referring to situations where the pre-adoptive parents had had a chance to take the baby home and spend several weeks with the kid only to learn that the birth mom wanted the baby back. And I know that those things do happen. I’m sure that it is absolutely heart-breaking, but given my friend’s advice, I wanted to get a sense some more information before I launch into hysteria mode.

So this week, I visited a leading adoption website. and I learned a few things. According to this site, the vast majority, between 80 and 90%, of all adoptions are successful. However, when an adoption ends before it has been legally finalized in a courtroom, it is called a “disruption.”  

I also learned that “less than 1% of infant adoption are disrupted” but the older a child is, the higher the disruption rate can be, according to National Adoption Information Clearinghouse disruption rates can range from 3 to 53 percent.” Yikes!

I think that those stats, particularly the 53%, are horrible. And I can’t imagine being in that situation and I hope I won’t ever have to. But I also think that there is a lot of misinformation about adoption, promoted by the media, which winds up creating this air of suspicion about adoption and that pisses me off.

I don’t know. I’m still pretty green in this process. I am just trying to maintain my balance. And I desperately  need a balanced view of the adoption journey. These weekly columns help me  figure out where that balance is.

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