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How to Find Hope When Everything Seems Lost: What Our Third Failed Adoption Taught Me About Resilience and Letting Go


When the baby isn’t due for another 8 weeks, a Sunday morning call from your adoption agency can’t be good news. 

It wasn’t. 

“Unfortunately, she fell at work yesterday and lost the baby.” 

I couldn’t even process it. I managed to say, “Oh my God. Is she okay?” All I could think was that a fall bad enough to end the life of a baby would be a fall bad enough to hurt the mom.

Our attorney didn’t have more info; she’d just found out herself. She did say that in her many years in the adoption world, a loss this late in a pregnancy had never happened to her before. 

Given the rough ride we’ve had to trying to adopt, that wasn’t entirely surprising to me. 

I got off the phone and told my husband. He stared at me, gave me a big hug, and said, “I am so sorry. Are you okay?” His compassion hit me right in the heart; I allowed a couple of tears to fall. 

Honestly, I was sad about the loss of the baby we had hoped to adopt, but I was sadder for the birth mom, who certainly went through an absolute nightmare the day before. Her loss was just awful; incomprehensible

Actually, so was ours. It wasn’t really just this loss, but rather, this loss triggered the feelings of all the other losses and compounded them. 

Hit with the horror and sadness of the whole thing, I wondered if we should just give up on trying to have a child; if something was telling us that we’d be awful parents and we just shouldn’t do this. 

In my heart, I knew that wasn’t the case. I don’t want to give up. I won’t give up. 

So, I did the only thing I could think to do: I came up with a plan to regain my hope in the journey forward. I hope it helps you when you are close to losing hope, too. 

1. Feel the loss. 

I have coached a lot of people who have become sick or depressed. Want to know the #1 factor in common? 

They’ve gone through some really emotionally painful times, but either have not allowed themselves to express the sadness and pain, or are afraid of doing so because it will make them “weak.” 

Bottling up emotions is never a good thing. I know that, but my first instinct in this situation was to detach from the sadness and push it somewhere deep inside. I think I felt that if I allowed myself to truly feel the pain of all this loss I’d never come back from it, that it would wash over me like a tidal wave. 

Answering to this instinct, I only allowed myself a couple of tears with my husband, not because he wouldn’t comfort and support me, but because I just didn’t want to give in. However, I knew that it wasn’t good for me to deny my feelings, so I defied this fear and put on a sad movie on Netflix, allowing tears to stream down my cheeks until I had no more tears to cry.

I suggest you do the same. Find some way of getting the emotions out of you. If you are angry, pound some pillows or take a kickboxing class. If you are sad, find a sad movie and cry it out. You’ll feel better, both emotionally and physically.

2. Admit that it sucks. 

Listen, there are moments in life that suck. I mean, hardcore, there’s-really-no-other-word-for-it suck

It’s okay to admit that; the truth is the truth. Trying to deny that life just stomped all over your heart doesn’t make it somehow less painful. 

Honor the truth. Honor the place in you that’s sick of it. You have my permission to not be positive for a little while; it’s okay to admit that you aren’t okay

However, put a time limit on this phase. Don’t allow yourself to mire in the negativity; honor it, acknowledge it, and move on. 

3. Look for the lesson in the situation.

Do we know why bad things happen? Not really. However, I’ve seen enough in my life to know that there seems to be a rhyme and reason for things, whether or not we understand it. 

A good way to help yourself to move forward in a positive way is to find a lesson in the bad experience. In my case, I have to believe that there was a reason that we were not supposed to adopt that child. If I am truthful, in my gut, that match never really felt 100% like a match to either my husband or I. We just didn’t feel like it was going to be “the one.” 

Maybe that was our instincts preparing us for this; maybe it was our intuition trying to tell us that there is a better match for us. 

Truthfully, the lesson I finally learned from this experience is that I really have little control over the things I think I have control over, and I have to just let go and believe that the right things are happening. I feel more peaceful in the process since I’ve realized that. 

I know it’s hard, but try to do the same in the bad experiences in your life. What can you take from this? What lesson would empower you to step forward from a better place?

Trust that you can find it. 

4. Connect with gratitude

When going through a tough time, it can be very easy to only see the bad or difficult. However, there is often more good than bad, even on the bleakest day. 

Make a list of everything you are grateful for. Make a copy of this list and put it on your phone, your mirror, the dashboard in your car, or wherever you will read it and remember how crazy lucky you really are. 

Not only will you feel better, but being truly grateful for all that’s right in your life is one of the more powerful ways to raise your frequency and start connecting with better experiences. 

5. Finally, try to reconnect with optimism. 

You’ve been kicked by life, but the key is to find a way to get back up and keep on going. The easiest way I’ve found is to reconnect with optimism by remembering a time in my life that was particularly happy. Once I allow myself to fully dive into that memory, I start to feel that sense of happiness sink into my cells. Suddenly I know - I know - that I can have those kinds of fulfilling experiences again. 

The more I do this, the better I feel. The better I feel, the more I can see that it’s very possible that I just lost one thing because I am moving in a direction that is better suited for what I really want for my life. 

Just know this: It’s true that we can’t know why any bad or sucky experience happens, but we can choose to have faith that there is a reason. By holding on to that belief and combining that with optimism, you’ll feel renewed hope, even after a devastating loss.

Before you know it, you’ll end up with an experience that is fulfilling and perfect. I know you will. And I know I will, too. 

Update: I wrote this article last week, about 2 days after we got the call. I started implementing all these steps, and low and behold, we got a call that another birth mom chose us! Even better, this really does feel like our match. So, fingers crossed, this is the one. :)