“Failed” matches, child removals, and disrupted placements: Devastating and invisible losses during the family-building journey for LGBTQ adoptive parents
Reproductive loss, which includes miscarriage and nongestational loss, such as adoption loss, is rarely recognized as part of the family-building journey. Such loss tends to be even more invisible among LGBTQ individuals. The current study examines the experiences of 80 LGBTQ individuals who experienced adoption-related losses (i.e., failed adoption matches, child removals, disrupted child placements), with attention to how these losses impacted them and what enabled them to move forward. Participants who pursued private domestic adoption experienced failed matches (i.e., birth parents deciding to parent or choosing another family) both before (n = 21) and/or after (n = 24) a child was born. Participants who pursued public domestic adoption experienced child removals involving reunification with birth parents (n = 14) and other birth relatives (n = 18), as well as disrupted placements initiated by parents (n = 10) and children (n = 7). Failed matches, child removals, and disrupted placements were typically experienced as “crushing” and invisible losses. They were often followed by a period of grieving, and sometimes prompted adjustments to the type of matches or placements participants would consider (e.g., to mitigate the likelihood of future similar losses). Moving forward from adoption losses was facilitated by support from partners and those who experienced similar losses, knowledge or hope regarding the children once in their care, and finally being placed with the child(ren) whom they ultimately legally adopted.
Journal of Family Nursing
Goldberg, Abbie E. and Allen, Katherine R., "“Failed” matches, child removals, and disrupted placements: Devastating and invisible losses during the family-building journey for LGBTQ adoptive parents" (2022). Psychology. 287.