You’ve been doing infertility treatment for so long, and you are weary. Your heart and body are both ready to be done with this process. Leaving this routine behind and transitioning from infertility treatment to adoption feels scary and overwhelming, much like when you were starting treatment. How do you process the transition from infertility treatments to adoption to build your family?
There are no easy answers to the next steps for building your family. If you consider the transition from infertility treatments to adoption, there are a few considerations to think through the process.
Are You Coping with Your Emotions?
When you were diagnosed with infertility, you likely had to face and manage many emotions. You might have even found support and help develop tools to help you cope. That’s fantastic. Finding tools to cope now with the feelings of leaving infertility treatment behind should not be unfamiliar to you. However, now is an excellent time if you haven’t taken the time to process your feelings about your infertility diagnosis and leave treatment to consider adoption.
How to Work Through the Emotions
You can do a few things to start processing how you feel about transitioning from infertility to adoption. If you have a partner in this experience, invite them to join you in the conversations too.
- Let yourself feel the emotions as they come. Label them and find a safe person with whom to talk about these feelings.
- Find a couple of healthy outlets that energize and refresh you, like exercise, regular socializing, gardening, etc.
- Look for a coping tool that helps you process the feelings. Some folks like to journal their thoughts and feelings. Others prefer to process with a safe support group.
- Engage in whole-person self-care – healthy eating, prioritize sleep, regular exercise, and spiritual practices.
- Consider therapy – with your partner or alone.
- Be honest with your closest circle of support about what you need and when you need it,
- Educate yourself about the losses of infertility and how you can actively participate in your healing.
Are You and Your Partner on The Same Page?
Transitioning to adoption is a giant leap for anyone who has been on the infertility treatment path. Be patient if your partner is not as ready as you are to take that leap. Keep each other talking and be willing to ask and be asked honest questions.
If one of you processes significant life issues slower than the other, giving each other some space is essential. When you can talk, ask clarifying questions and be willing to sit with the lack of answers at that moment.
Some couples find it helpful to individually seek out counsel from trusted confidants before talking to each other. Often, those same couples then circle back to each other and seek counsel together where they can include each other and thoughtfully address concerns or issues. Finding a couple’s therapist to see you individually and as a couple can be helpful now and as you continue to walk toward adoption.
Are You Educating Yourself?
Most people start learning about adoption by exploring the different types of adoption they can pursue. This process leads to educating yourself about choosing the right agency or attorney. But the learning doesn’t stop there!
Adoption brings a host of new issues to consider once you’ve worked through how to leave infertility treatments behind. For example, when pursuing adoption to build your family, you should also be learning about:
- Your family of origin’s parenting styles
- Trauma and its impacts on a child
- Raising a child of another race
- Open adoption
- Parenting a child who had prenatal exposure
Exploring your thoughts and feelings about those issues can help you craft the path forward in a united way.
We also highly recommend that you consider learning from the lived experiences of all voices in the adoption constellation. Our online support group is a great place to start learning from adult adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents who have also been through infertility.
Are You Surrounding Yourself with Support?
Transitioning from one path to another in any aspect of life can be challenging and overwhelming. It would help if you found the people in your life who can be patient, open-minded, and supportive while you navigate these changes. That type of community consists of long-time friends, sisters, and other trusted confidants for many women.
Find Friends “Who Get It”
Finding new connections with people who have walked the same transition from infertility treatments to adoption will also give you a support network that “gets it.” Many women find that relying upon friends with a wide variety of different life experiences works only if those women are focused on support and not caught up in comparisons. The “pain Olympics” are exhausting when you are just trying to carve out a path forward for your family.
Find a Support Group
A new adoption process can prompt many questions, fears, and feelings of overwhelm for many prospective parents. Your agency or attorney might have information about in-person support groups to walk this journey with you. When networking with these groups, you and your partner will find that you are not alone. It’s also quite lovely to have a friend or two drowning in the paper chase with you – you can commiserate over coffee or tea between group meetings.
As we mentioned previously, the CreatingaFamily.org online support group is a varied and active community made up of adoptive parents, adoptees, birth parents, and foster families walking these paths. Connecting online is convenient and easy to access if you cannot find an in-person prospective adoptive parent group.
Leave Room for Mixed Emotions
The emotional impact of changing paths from infertility treatments to building your family by adoption is significant. You may feel glad to be done with jabs, medication, and doctor visits one day. Next, you might feel completely stressed and anxious by the copious amounts of paperwork your prospective agency requests. It’s okay – both extremes are normal and valid. Mixed emotions over significant life changes should be expected, even if they are stressful to process.
As we said earlier, feel it all and find a healthy way to cope with it. Just take the transition one step at a time and be patient and gentle with yourself. Normalize your mixed emotions by recalling how you managed during your journey through infertility, which often felt like a rollercoaster. Finding your emotional coping tools, educating yourself, and creating a support network that walks with you positions you and your partner for a balanced and healthy transition to the adoption experience.
How did you transition from the emotions of infertility treatment to adoption? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Image Credits: Ron Bulovs; Md saad andalib; South African Tourism