Failed Adoption wasn't the end of my story! It was the beginning of having my dreams come true. Child welfare calls an adoption that ends before it is finalized a disrupted adoption. My adoption was finalized and later dissolved through an adoption dissolution, and I was put into the foster care system.
Sometimes life is shocking! Anyone who has been in multiple placements in foster care or gone through an adoption disruption knows this. Maybe you were brought to a new country where you did not know the language, and you did your best to blend in. Maybe you did your best to try to fit into a new family and find your place, but it was all so uncomfortable! Maybe no one took the time to explain this new life to you or to just sit with you to make sure you felt safe. Or perhaps you did not feel free to be yourself or to explore your new world. You probably did not feel safe to share your thoughts or feelings with anyone around you — they were all strangers. Feeling so lost for so long is hard! I know just how you’re feeling.
I was in the same spot feeling all alone and like no one cared. I felt like I was the only one who was adopted and the adoption didn’t work out. The gray clouds of life covered over any glimpse of a bright future. The waves of anger kept hitting me as I tried to find my way into this new life. I needed someone to explain to me that I was not the only one and that there is still hope for the future. But in the middle of it, all I felt was alone and like it was all my fault.
If you find yourself in this same situation, do not give up. I know it feels like you are a piece of driftwood being tossed back and forth, back and forth by the waves — not sure where you will land. Even though it feels hopeless, I learned no matter what, there are people who want to support you. You just need to be brave enough to advocate for yourself. Talk to a school counselor, a family friend, or even your neighbor. If you share honestly the struggle you are having, people will show up to listen and support you.
I know it is sometimes difficult for someone to realize what you are going through because you are always trying to cover your tears with a smile. While living with my adoptive family, the day came for me when I could no longer cover the tears, and they came rushing out like a river. I couldn’t pretend things were okay anymore. I needed help. One day I was brave enough to reach out. The next few weeks were very difficult as I was moved between a group home and my first adoptive home numerous times. I still don’t understand exactly what went on, but I knew I was braver than I had been before and was ready to fight for a better life.
There are a lot of misconceptions about adoption and foster care. Families who adopt or do foster care are usually made up of loving parents who are willing to listen, love, sacrifice and support their adoptive children as if they were their own. Sadly though, failed adoption is not uncommon. While there is hope after failed adoption and foster care placements, we should do all we can to prevent it. One way to do this is by properly training and screening of prospective families. From my perspective, these families need more extensive training in trauma-informed care and diversity. They should have a willingness to understand their child’s culture of origin and a commitment to parenting them no matter what difficulties arise.
After a failed adoption I entered the foster care system which is when my new life began. I went from not being sure if I could survive another day to graduating from high school, attending college, being a student-athlete, working a steady job and dreaming of a bright future. I now have a family to help me navigate through life which is especially important when you have a language barrier and are from another culture or country. I love my family and appreciate them for their support, encouragement, and unconditional love.
If you are feeling hopeless because of a failed adoption or foster placement, do not give up! Find your voice and advocate for yourself. You will quickly find others who want to support you.
Yeshi is a 2018 All-Star, Starting her senior year at St. Martin’s University working on a degree in Social Work. She spent 18 months in foster care in Washington State.