Time To Reassess

There comes a time when a couple makes the decision that fertility treatments just aren't working. Meantime, the urge to hold and nurture a child is stronger than ever. You decide to adopt.

Experts have identified this decision as a healthy part of coming to terms with the idea that biological children don't seem to be destined. The couple may feel a sense of relief that the long, hard, painful, and expensive road of fertility treatment is at an end. But is it?

Adoptive parents are no longer writing off fertility treatment. Some couples who adopt may decide to continue trying to produce a biological child of their own. But this is not an easy decision.

Double Commitment

Going both routes, adoption and trying to conceive (TTC), is a double commitment to two complicated processes requiring great emotional fortitude. It can be helpful to seek counseling if you find yourself at the crossroads of adoption and TTC and want to travel both paths at once. Be forewarned though that many adoption agencies don't permit couples still in the thick of fertility treatments to adopt children. That's why some prospective adoptive parents hide the fact that they are still TTC from adoption agencies.

Even though you've chosen to adopt, it's probable that you are still grieving over the fact that you have no biological children. Don't expect the feelings to evaporate once the adoption process is underway. Feelings are complicated. The mourning process can last a long time. But it's okay to feel grief, even as you prepare to love an adopted child.

Even after the child arrives, you may not be done mourning. There is nothing wrong with this, so be kind to yourself. Denial isn't going to do anyone any good, not for you, your spouse, or your new adoptive child. What you feel is valid, because all feelings are valid. The main thing is that you recognize and accept your feelings.

Best Time?

If you find that your grief is so deep you turn inward, it's possible that this is not the best time for you to adopt a child. You've waited this long, wait just a bit more so you can heal and be the best mother possible to an adopted child. A mother needs to be strong enough to provide emotional security to her child. You don't want your child to take on the role of comforting you in your grief. You need to be there for him or her. If you don't think you can do that just yet, wait a bit and reassess in a few months time.

On the other hand, if you think you're really ready to be there for your child, to give him or her strong emotional support, and also feel that whatever happens with the fertility process will be okay—because you now have a child—it may be okay to continue with your quest for a biological child.

Some social workers specializing in adoptive family counseling are concerned that couples still trying to conceive may not be committed to the adopted child. They fear that a couple will conceive during the adoption process and then refuse the adoptive child. Then too, couples fear that if the agency senses their grief over infertility, their application may be rejected. An open atmosphere and deeper understanding of the issues should be cultivated by those involved in the adoption process.