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Adoptive Family Loses Baby—What About Bitterness?

On day five, the birth mother “revoked.”

Leah and Nate had held the child, comforted the baby, fed the baby, and then carefully dressed the infant for the cold weather before handing her back to Megan*.

They also made sure the mother had diapers, onesies, plenty of newborn clothing, and a supply of formula. They transferred the new car seat into the birth mother’s car.

Different states have different adoption requirements.

Leah and Nate were in a state that allowed birthmothers to revoke within five days.

This was the fourth failed adoption they had experienced. They had been in communication with a birth mother, and she disappeared at the last minute. Another mother changed her mind. Another mother never showed up.

There is a little sadness when Leah talks about the baby they nourished for nearly a week, but there is no bitterness.

“Megan was getting pressure from many sides,” Leah said. “Her family members, and a lot of complications. So much going on in her life. We don’t want to be part of the pressure. We want her to know we are here.”

And Leah truly has been there for this birth mother.

In the eight months since the baby was born, Leah and her husband had continued to stay in contact with Megan. They have provided avenues for Megan to receive counseling. They have helped her get a cell phone as well as other services.

“It is not just about getting a child for our family or growing our family,” Leah is sincere as she speaks. “This is also about these babies and moms. Adoption isn’t always the end goal.”

Leah appears to truly believe what she is saying.

When asked where these philosophies come from, Leah smiles and laughs, self-deprecating. “That’s just who we are.”

She is including her extended family in the “who we are” comment.

Leah’s family includes a sister who has spent years involved in foster and respite care.

“She has given me a lot of support and a lot of wisdom,” Leah said. “You are to love that child because you are supposed to love that child right now. You are meeting their needs at that time. It doesn’t dismiss the love because the time you have to love them is short. That kind of understanding from my sister has been helpful.”

The extended family has been involved in adoption. There are presently eight adopted grandchildren.

“Our family has shaped who Nate and I are,” Leah said. “A lot of people don’t get to experience what we have. In the open adoptions and failed adoptions, too, we get to talk to these moms and who they are and what they do, and we are part of their journey, as well. You get to see their lives and how they are, and you get out of yourself.”

“If you have to be in control, maybe adoption is not for you. If you are willing to be in the moment and love who you need to love when they need loving, then you are needed.”

*names changed