Do You Still Dream of Having a Bio Child Even After You’ve Adopted?

Dawn Davenport


how do you know if you're ready to move to adoptionLast week’s Creating a Family radio show was about how infertility can affect parenting. We received a number of questions from adoptive parents that still dream of having a child by birth. The conversation continued on my Facebook wall and became quite heated. Some adopted parents were horrified that others could still be trying or wanting to conceive, while others felt better knowing they weren’t the only one with these feelings.


I read the discussion on my Facebook wall with great interest. I think it is entirely possible to be totally satisfied with parenting by adoption and still miss pregnancy or breastfeeding. I can also understand missing seeing your features or personality in your child, although most adoptive parents do see some of their mannerisms and personality in their children. But I become a little uncomfortable when the yearning seems extreme. How much is too much before you hurt the precious child that is yours?

I don’t know exactly, but I do know that some couples caught up on the medical treadmill that is infertility are so focused on getting a child that they jump immediately onto the adoption treadmill. I think it is important to slow down and give yourself time to grieve the losses of infertility before you assume that adoption is the right path to parenthood for you. Parenting through adoption is different from parenting through birth– not worse, not second best, just different. Your child, regardless how she joins your family, deserves parents who want her for who she is, not because she is all they can get. Take the time to make sure you are that parent.

Are You Ready To Adopt Quiz

Answer the following questions honestly. No one is going to see your answers so forget about political correctness and answer how you really feel.

1. Do you spend time imagining the child of your dreams– the perfect (or not so perfect) combination of you and your spouse’s genes?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

2. Do you long to be pregnant or see your spouse pregnant?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

3. Does it bother you that future generations of your family will not be related by blood to you and your ancestors?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

4. Does it hurt you to see a pregnant woman or nursing mother?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

5. Do you find it hard to talk about your infertility without crying or intense emotions or do you avoid talking about your infertility at all?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

6. Are you furious at God for inflicting you with infertility? (Why not boils or locusts for goodness sakes!)

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

7. Do you feel like you are less of a woman or man because you can’t biologically have a child?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

8. Do you feel pressured to hurry up and get past infertility and get on with adoption and the rest of your life?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

9. Do you get angry at the thought of having to prove yourself worthy to adopt?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

10. Do you wish you could skip all the adoption education and just jump straight to the part where a child is in your home?

___ Frequently ___ Sometimes ___ Seldom

Adoption professionals and psychologists strongly recommend that infertile couples resolve their infertility issues before they adopt. Resolution doesn’t necessarily mean that the grief entirely goes away, but it’s a matter of degrees. Many parents I interviewed said they knew they were ready to adopt when they wanted to parent more than they wanted to be pregnant. When you can answer sometimes and seldom to the adoption quiz questions then it is time to go forward and find your child through adoption.

If you are struggling pre or post adoption, get help from a therapist that specializes in infertility. We give suggestions on how to find one on the Coping with Infertility page or on the Parenting after Infertility video.

Image credit: Nicholas_T

21/07/2009 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 27 Comments

27 Responses to Do You Still Dream of Having a Bio Child Even After You’ve Adopted?

  1. This is a great post and that quiz is a great idea. I just wrote a post on my domestic infant adoption blog today about this very thing… for some time I would have answered frequently to a few of those quiz questions. But not anymore. Not at all. And it feels so good!

  2. Avatar Dawn says:

    The Longest Wait: You can find out about show topics by signing up at the bottom of any page of this website or you can send me a request at dawn @ spaces)

  3. Avatar WiseGuy says:

    Adoption has been not in my options right now…it is not out of despise, but because I still have belief in my chances….thanks for the thoughtful post…


  4. Avatar Dawn says:

    Good point. I think the ever increasing technological options in infertility treatment make it harder to know when to say “no more”. I talk with people who were very content with their decision to adopt and feel fully content as parents through adoption, but are now reconsidering going back into treatment, sometimes years later, because infertility treatment has evolved to now present them with the option of becoming pregnant.

  5. Avatar Dawn says:

    Note that the quiz did not have a space for “never”. I do think that many very content adoptive parents every once in awhile look at a pregnant woman with longing. Not all do, but some. We humans are such unique creatures that it is hard to say “always” or “” and have it apply to everyone.

    Michelle, yes your feelings are normal for many people; and yes, they can pass; and yes, you can be a terrific mother to an adopted child someday and feel totally content–if that is what you choose. But if you are still answering often to many of the questions in the quiz, I don’t think you are ready yet. For some people getting information on adoption and talking with adoptive parents can help with their readiness. I strongly recommend you, as well as anyone else, check out the discussion board at the Creating a Family Facebook Group titled “Do you ever truly feel like “Mom” of “Dad” with an adopted child”.

  6. Avatar Kellie says:

    Thank you for this post! I 100% agree with you when you say that you must grieve from infertility before jumping into adoption! I have always said that too, and we honestly felt ready to adopt because I felt ready to say GOODBYE to pregnancy. I think people rush adoption and hope that will get them pregnant, or hope that the baby will fulfill their emptiness. No, you must be whole! If you still feel empty, then you need to wait until you feel whole before jumping into adoption. Or else, that pain carries on.

  7. Avatar gabrielle says:

    I am doing both…I think you have options and you have to use them. In the end, I will be the parent of someone…someday

  8. Avatar Amanda POTTER says:


  9. Avatar Heather says:

    We have adopted two children and now desire again to have one by birth but not for the pure biology of it but because we cannot afford the upfront 20-30K needed to adopt again.

    Infertily treatment is covered by our insurance with very little out of pocket expense and I find myslef questioning if I even want to go through all of that process again (we tried it with insurance covg before adopting).

    At this point we have decided that we will adopt an embryo if we do proceed with infertility treatment. That way all of our children will still be adopted but I will have the pregnancy experience and will have more control than I feel I would have with domestic adoption.

  10. Avatar Eddie K. says:

    Sadly, I am ready, but my husband is not. I know from listeining to a number of your shows that this is common and I am trying to follow your advice, but it is not easy. My husband loves your blog, but I’m hoping he doesn’t see this one. Please consider addressing this topic in another show–SOON.

  11. Avatar Michelle says:

    Thanks for this! I know that I’m not ready because I still long to be pregnant and have a hard time seeing pregant woman without thinking I wish I coud do that. My question to you is, are these feelings normal? And do they ever go away? I’m afraid that I will always have these feelings and it scares me because I want to have a baby and shouldn’t care HOW it happens?! Thanks so much

  12. Avatar Kristin says:

    Great post. I imagine it will be very valuable for someone in that phase of the adoption journey.


  13. Avatar Tara says:

    This interesting, it absolutely bothers me to see pregnant women. My brother’s wife had a baby 2 weeks ago and my sister is pregnant and due in September and the pregnancies do effect me, but does that mean I’m not ready to adopt? Actually made me think that what I’m envious of is that they get to parent soon, and I don’t want to put it off anymore because of biology.

  14. Avatar Sarah says:

    I think it is a personal decision. For us I had to mourn the lack of fertility, and put that chapter of my life behind in order to move forward with adoption. Of course my infertility is such that the chance of conception is lower than low. That makes the decision pretty clear cut. But I guess technically I am trying, because I am sexually active 😉

    If I had unexplained infertility then I would probably keep trying to conceive and pursue adoption. It would be a sort of limbo. I do however think that adoptive parents in the process of adoption should disclose the fact they are trying to conceive to the agency or any potential birth families.

    I think you just have to do what is right for you and your family.

  15. Excellent post–I read about this quandry a lot. Sometimes, I think it depends on how far you are willing to go medically–I think doing fertility treatments may make it harder to say goodbye to a biological possibility. It’s a very personal thing.

  16. Avatar Liddy says:

    Wonderful post. I have to agree with the others, that it is hard to say, ‘no more’. While we have not gotten to the point, since we are on a financial break and a doctor-mandated break.

    I’ve had people say to us, “Why are you going to go through with fertility treatments? Just adopt.” However, it took a long time for E and I to even accept that this was not going to be an easy journey. That it was going to be a different path.

    Stopping by for an ICLW visit…
    No. 95: The Unfair Struggle (male-factor infertility, good friends, neighborhood rumblings)

  17. Avatar chrissy says:

    I love reading and hearing your show!

  18. Avatar Lisa RM says:

    Great post. I think our society as a whole really needs to have a discussion about family- what it means, what makes one, and how can we as a society support them better. I think there’s so much stress put on the “right” kind of family (define right as you want) that anyone who deviates from that is seen with a serious stigma, by themselves or others. The important part is to raise the next generation the best that we can, not to exclude people or force them into a mold.

  19. Here from ICLW…

    I think the yearning goes beyond adoptive vs. biological. Now pregnant with twins conceived through treatments, I will probably never know what it’s like to have a normal low-risk pregnancy, and though I wouldn’t trade these babies for anything, I still wonder.

    I also will probably never know what it’s like to parent a singleton, to decide to get pregnant and then actually get pregnant, to conceive a child in my bedroom instead of a lab, etc. It’s not that I don’t accept how I got to this point, but just as I had many years to imagine “normal” paths to parenthood, most adoptive parents anticipate biological family-building before adoption ever enters the picture. We can’t erase the past, even if we’re still happy with the present and future.

  20. Avatar The longest Wait says:

    Thank you for this. We have been looking into adoption, but I didn’t feel ready. Now after taking the quiz, I know that I’m not ready. My husband took the quiz and is 100% ready. I will go back and read your blog on the Reluctant Spouse and Family. I am the reluctant one for sure. I need more time to get over or even get close to getting over this infertility business. Thank you fo not making me feel bad for not being ready or thinking that they are equal. And how do I find out about new shows?

  21. Avatar wifey says:

    Thanks for the thought provoking post. As of right now, my husband and I are pursuing both. We have both always felt drawn towards adoption and discussed it before we discovered our ttc problems. It just feels like the right time to us, although we are in the very beginning stages. I am also starting treatment with clomid. If we go for more aggressive treatment, it will be years from now since we’re on the young-ish side.

    I think, no matter what, I’ll always feel at least a little jealous of pregnant women, regardless of whether or not I ever experience a full-term pregnancy, because even if I do get pregnant, I’ll be a worried, anxious, neurotic mess.

  22. Avatar Michelle says:

    Thank you for this thought provoking post. I think the quiz is very enlightening. Adoption is definitely something I am considering. I do not feel that I have to be pregnant but the whole adoption process scares me.

  23. This is such a great thought provoking post. I’ll admit that there are a few sometimes in there for me (2, 7, 8, 9), but I do feel that we’re ready to adopt. I find it difficult being so young (25) and far from menopause because I think people take our commitment to adoption less seriously given there are still so many years in which we could hypothetically conceive. I wonder if seeing something like this would help people understand just what we’ve decided to do.

  24. Avatar Mrs. Gamgee says:

    My Beloved and I are just beginning to talk about a timeline for our ttc journey… as in, how long will we keep trying before looking at adoption? It’s something that I know certainly won’t be decided quickly or even easily, but for both of us, building our family is the goal… and it doesn’t truly matter how it happens.


  25. Avatar mary says:

    We adopted 4 siblings (ages 6-13) seven years ago after infertility treatments. All 4 kids were diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and it has been a huge challenge for me to bond with them. I have not enjoyed being a parent. Now, they are having their own children and I am mourning, once again, not having bio children. I thought I was ready to adopt but I don’t know I would have done this again.

  26. Avatar Geochick says:

    I wish I had found this quiz when DH and I were discussing adoption! I know I dragged him into it before he was ready *ahem* so I’ve been told. 🙂 For me, it hit halfway through the homestudy and we had to take a short break so that both of us could work through some of the grief that was hitting us. Even though I’ve never felt the longing to “be pregnant” (I just knew I wanted a family) I definitely went through a period of mourning the fact that I can’t get pregnant. I noticed on comment #4 that the poster mentioned that if she had had unexplained inferility she probably would have kept TTC while adopting. That’s definitely something I had to come to terms with given that I have unexplained infertility. My solution is to take BCP’s while we are going through the adoption process. I can’t wonder every month…I must admit – taking BCP’s after being diagnosed infertile feels a bit funny!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑

Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.