Readoption After
Domestic Adoption

Sometimes couples begin the adoption process domestically, only to decide they need to undo it later. This is often called rehoming or readoption. It is a hard decision but one that may have a number of causes, many of which have nothing to do with the child. At Lifetime Adoption, we have assisted in a number of these cases and while challenging, the goal is always to ensure the best home and family for the child.

Theo and Michelle adopted Adaline at birth, only to call Lifetime Adoption two years later asking how they could find another adoptive family for her. Their coordinator asked if Adaline had any special or medical needs and was advised that no, she did not. Did she have any behavioral needs? No, she was fine.

A bit confused, the coordinator finally asked why specifically they wished to find a new family for her. Michelle shared that Adaline was simply ruining their marriage.

Apparently, Theo and Michelle were struggling after dealing with years of fertility treatments. Turning to adoption they thought would be the answer to building their family and fixing the cracks that had started to appear in their marriage. However, as is often the case, a new baby only exacerbates relationship problems. Now they were at the point where they felt sure Adaline was the cause of their failing marriage. They believed that finding a new family for her would return them to where they were before they began pursuing a child.

We were working with several families who were ready to adopt Adaline and we presented profiles to Theo and Michelle so they could choose the new parents. They spoke to a few couples before deciding on one who lived a few states away. The four adults met along with Adaline, and over the course of a few days, the new family got the time with her to confirm that yes, they indeed wished to adopt. After another week of a transition plan, Theo and Michelle signed the adoption papers and Adaline went to her new home and family.

Theo and Michelle did share the change with Adaline’s birth mother after the adoption was complete. They included information and photos of her with her new parents, paving the way for the new family to continue the agreed upon updates.

Readoption after a domestic adoption is more uncommon than after international adoption, but it does happen. Parents cite several reasons for pursuing a new family for their child adopted domestically including:

  • Health of a parent
  • Death of a parent
  • Unforeseen special needs of the child
  • Relationship issues
  • Failure to bond
  • New marriage or relationship

With a change like this, often we see a greater chance of a positive outcome when the child is under three-years-old. The older the child is, the more the child’s own feelings and perceptions will come into play, often causing distorted thinking and trauma.

Often, parents considering readoption or rehoming are concerned about being judged. In these situations, everyone, including the adoption agency, has to operate in what is in the best interest of the child. It takes a lot of courage to reach out and ask for help, especially after going through the adoption process in the first place. When everyone operates with the child’s best interest in mind, it ensures that whatever has brought the original adoptive parents to this place, the outcome will indeed be what is best for that little boy or girl.

One thing to consider in the case of readoption of a domestic adoption is the ongoing contact with birth parents. Often, domestic adoption includes some form of annual update or in person visits. The birth mother should be carefully informed of the change and the new adoptive family should commit to continuing the agreed upon post adoption contact.

It is important to also receive information about the child’s life including pictures and mementos so that the new family can honestly relate and preserve the child’s story inclusive of the time they were with the first family.

If you are considering a readoption for the child you adopted domestically, please reach out and discuss your options with a caring coordinator at Lifetime. You can learn about your options and the process, including resources that may be available to assist you in the meantime.

You can learn more about the readoption or rehoming process or call or text anytime.