Adopting After Infertility

by Raina Cowan on April 29, 2017

In the film Lion, there is a scene in which the main character “Saroo” ( really “Sheru”, meaning “lion” in Hindi, played by Dev Patel) about to embark on a trip back to India to find his biological family, tells his adoptive mom Sue (played by Nicole Kidman) that he’s sorry she wasn’t able to have “children of her own”. To this she replies that they could have had biological children but chose not to because she and her husband both believed there were already “enough people in the world”.

Most people pursuing adoption do not have such noble aims, although many may have thought positively about adoption prior to their own reproductive challenges. Most simply want to parent a child and didn’t realize the path to parenthood would be so complicated. This is not to say that some people don’t have difficult pregnancies or terrifying medical ordeals bringing a child into the world because some do. It’s more that adopting after medical treatments and/or assisted reproduction adds another “leg” onto an already weary journey.

Adoption agencies are well aware that many prospective parents have already endured a lot. While not insensitive to this, they need to know that you are able to move forward, that you have “resolved” the grief over the “would be” biological child or children so that you can form a healthy new relationship with an adopted child. This includes babies lost to miscarriage and stillbirth, although of course they will always be an unforgettable part of you. Adoption agencies may refer you for counseling if they feel you could use some assistance working through the grief and loss. Even if you are adopting without an agency, you may find the process itself brings up some feelings of otherness or loss that are beneficial to explore before moving forward. I specialize in helping people with this.

Here are some additional resources you can turn to if you are nearing the end of assisted reproduction or infertility treatment, or if you’ve already started pursuing adoption.

The book Adopting After Infertility by Patricia Irwin Johnston is specific to this subject:

Adopting After Infertility

Johnston also has a useful questionnaire and can be seen presenting here:

Unsung Lullabies: Understanding and Coping with Infertility

Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Being Infertile and Start Living Again

There are several articles and blogs on the topic. One is:

Disclaimer: The information in this article should not be used in lieu of professional medical advice, assessment, diagnosis or treatment. The use of this website does not imply or establish any type of therapeutic relationship. Further, any links in this article are for referential or informational purposes only.