Adoption Following Years of Infertility Treatments

As many as one in six couples are diagnosed with infertility, causing what can turn into a major life crisis. Generally couples will seek medical advice following one year of trying unsuccessfully to conceive a child. Many years ago adoption was almost the only option for infertile couples, however today there is a virtual plethora of high-tech interventions and other lower-tech options to treat infertility. While each individual-and each couple-differs in their overall willingness to undergo years of medical treatments for infertility, it will generally be tied to finances, emotions and other religious factors. Couples involved in infertility issues can feel isolated, and depression is common. Adoption may be explored briefly when infertility is first diagnosed, however most couples go on to try medical intervention for a period of time before coming back to the idea of adoption.

How Infertile Couples Feel About Subsequent Adoption

Some couples feel that because they have spent so much time, energy, and money in their quest to have a biological child they have somehow devalued an adopted child, or that adoption was the second best available option. Couples are often counseled to "resolve" their infertility issues prior to deciding to adopt, however this is not as easy as it sounds. As we all know, there is no criteria in our world for becoming a biological parent, while prospective adoptive parents may feel they have to prove themselves, and may feel defensive about the coming adoption home study. Couples who still have strong emotions regarding their infertility should find an adoption agency they feel comfortable with, and who allows honest expression of feelings with no penalty in the adoption process.

When Adoption Becomes an Option

Most infertile couples reach a sort of breaking point following a period of infertility treatments. It is not emotionally or financially possible for most couples to proceed simultaneously with infertility treatments and adoption proceedings, therefore a choice must be made. Many couples need to spend some time grieving about the biological child they will never have prior to deciding to adopt. Couples will either accept their infertility as a definitive diagnosis, then move on to adoption or will simply put having a biological child on the back burner while they pursue adoption.

Feelings Following Adoption

Adoption provides a sometimes last opportunity to be a parent. It can surprise many adoptive parents when they are overwhelmed by sadness for the biological child they were unable to have even following a completed adoption and a child in their home. Acknowledge those sad feelings and understand that you are not being disloyal to your adopted child. Work on improving communication between husband and wife, especially if one of you appears to be more involved in the infertility process.

How Will You Know When Those Feelings Have Been (Mostly) Resolved?

You may suddenly realize in the course of a perfectly ordinary day, that your extreme grief over your infertility has lessened and is not uppermost in your mind at all times. When you are able to embrace the differences between adoptive and biological parenting, you will know you are making progress, and when you are not unwilling to share your child's adoption story with him or her in age-appropriate ways, you will be well on your way to healing. When you realize that your life is full of joy and energy rather than a constant state of sadness, you will be able to fully embrace being a parent, no matter how it came about. Adoption can bring you the baby you and your partner have always wanted, and you will suddenly find that you have created a family.

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