In order to begin the adoption process, your spouse and you have to overcome adoption fears. When couples undergo years of unsuccessful infertility treatments, they eventually have to make a choice: to stop trying to conceive and live a life without children (if it is primary infertility), live with only having one child (secondary infertility-although some families have more than one child and suffer from this), or to enlarge their children through the adoption process.
It is perfectly natural to have fears to overcome about the adoption process if you are not familiar with it. Many times, one partner in the relationship is more ready than the other to begin investigating adoption as a way to grow their family.
As a mother of both biological and adopted children, I hope to calm some of the fears that you may be experiencing.
I Cannot Love a Child Who Isn't My Own
In order to overcome this adoption fear, you must internalize the truth that an adopted child is your own child. A biological child grows under your heart, and adopted child grows in your heart.
Another way to overcome this adoption fear is to think of all the people in your life whom you love who are not related to you by blood. Do you have a sister-in-law, aunt or uncle who married into the family whom you love? How about a best friend? A stepbrother or stepsister? There are many people in our lives who mean the world to us with whom we share no DNA.
An Adopted Child Will Not Look Like Anyone in Our Family, Especially Our Biological Child
Another adoption fear is that your adopted child will not resemble you. That is most certainly true if you adopt a child with an ethnicity different than yours.
To overcome this adoption fear, think about all of the people that you know who have biological children that do not resemble them at all. Surely you know a few.
My brother and I are one year apart and look absolutely nothing alike. In fact, teachers did not know we were related until Back to School Night when my mom would introduce herself and the teachers would recognize her as my mother.
My twins, whom we adopted, look nothing like each other. And they share the same DNA!
My Family Will Not Accept An Adopted Child
To be honest, this is a difficult and unfortunate adoption fear to overcome without open and honest dialog with your family.
If you come from a family that harbors prejudice, adopting a child of a race different from yours may be an issue. You do not want your child to grow up thinking that family does not love her because of who she is. This may not be the right option for you, unless you are willing to cut ties with your family or limit contact with them.
Your family may have adoption fears to over come themselves. They may be afraid that they cannot love an adopted grandchild as much as a biological one. You need to talk about that openly.
My Child May Be Born With a Problem
Another adoption fear to over come is that your dream baby-a full-term healthy cherub-may not be the child born to the birthmother. An unanticipated problem may be discovered upon birth. If that is the case, you do not have to adopt the child if papers are unsigned. Just as a birthmother has the right to change her mind about making an adoption placement, you also have the same option.
That does not mean that you will not have your heart broken if you choose this path. Keep in mind that women who give birth may unfortunately have children born with health problems and love them unconditionally.
My Adopted Child May Have a Health Problem Develop After the Adoption is Finalized
There is no guarantee when you give birth that your child will be healthy and perfect, no matter how well you take care of yourself during your pregnancy. You need to understand this if you are to overcome this adoption fear.
I know many people who gave birth to healthy children, and as they got older, they got sick, developed life threatening allergies and cancers, had heart issues, had developmental delays, speech delays, or needed physical or occupational therapies. Two healthy parents do not necessarily create a perfect and healthy baby.
If you are still unsure that you can overcome your adoption fears, speak to parents who have adopted successfully. Then ask yourselves these questions before you come to a final decision
1. Do I want a pregnancy or a baby?
2. Do I want to continue to spend thousands of dollars on infertility treatments that are not working or do I want to adopt with the guarantee of a baby?
3. In five years, visualize your life. Are you happy being childless? Are you happy having only one child? Now visualize it in ten years, fifteen years. Do you see yourself happy with your choices?
In the end, only your spouse and you can make the final decision to pursue adoption to grow your family. From my personal experience, adopting my twins was one of the best things my husband and I decided to do (and their big sister will agree with us). I wouldn't change the joy of raising them for all of the money in the world.