Dropped adoption: a friend, family member, neighbor, or co-worker is struggling. How can you help them? What can you say to help them feel better? Whether you have close ties to that someone or they are an acquaintance how do you find those words? It was easy to find something to say when the news was exciting. When a birth mom had chosen them or a foster kiddo up for adoption was placed with them. Now, it feels awkward, especially if you accidentally put your foot in it without knowing the situation had changed.
When someone passes away there is the go-to statement of “our condolences” or “our thoughts are with you”. If an adoption is dropped, there are no obvious words. Our adoption fell through and I heard over and over again “it wasn’t to be”. Whether I generally believe that or not, it made me feel a thousand times worse. In the pain of the moment, those words felt like they were essentially justifying the loss of that child. As a result, I would not just feel the sadness, but the anger as well. I couldn’t yet understand why it didn’t work out, and may never.
There Is Nothing You Can Say
Just know there is literally nothing you can say. There are no perfect words that will make it hurt less. A simple “I’m sorry” is enough. It may seem pretty straightforward, but that is all it needs to be. If the someone is needing/wanting to share their story, be there to listen. Give them that opportunity. Don’t “try to fix it”. It hurts, but feeling the pain is part of the healing process.
What You CAN Do
Food. The healing magic of food can do so much. Follow through not with words, but with food. Care for them by simply dropping something off or sharing a meal. The night our fears were confirmed a friend brought us pizza and left it on the front porch. A neighbor invited us over for a huge meal they had prepared just for us the next night.
Community. Food and community are directly connected. The healing process started for me when I was reminded of the supportive community and love I do have in life. It may seem simple, but it is enough because it is a place to start.