Often in conversation when someone mentions their struggle with conceiving, the following response is, have you considered adoption?. I’m sure many who are reading this have been asked this question or may have even asked it themselves.
There’s a problem with this mentality.
Adopting a child will not fill that void.
I’ve read countless adoption blogs and listened to numerous stories of couples sharing their journey to grow their family when other ways have failed. They recount their struggle with infertility, coming to the conclusion that the next viable option must be adoption.
This is where I, and many other adoptees, struggle. I am not implying that those who have struggled with infertility should not pursue adoption, it may end up being an option for them. I am saying, however, there is often a lack of acknowledging and processing one’s own sense of loss and grief due to infertility before deciding whether or not to adopt.
There is already a high risk of unspoken expectations placed upon adopted children by adoptive parents; expectations of fitting into a family dynamic that the child has no biological relation to, differing sets of traits that may never mesh well together. This rift may result in a sense of resentment towards the adopted child, placing pressure on the them to mold their behavior to what is considered acceptable within that family dynamic. When there is no gap between processing infertility and going through with an adoption, this risk has the potential to increase greatly.
Don’t think this is true? Just ask an adoptee.
A couple needs to work through the many emotions surrounding infertility first. The pain, grief, and loss can be heavy and debilitating. Finding healing may look different for everyone; support groups, therapy sessions, finding a creative outlet. Nothing will completely take away that loss, but processing the feelings surrounding it are so very important. Adoption is messy and complicated, emotional and heartbreaking. It may be a step to grow a family, but it is not a solution to infertility.