Adoption and TTC

Mourning Process

Sometimes the quest for getting pregnant seems to be at a dead end and couples opt to adopt. Most experts see this as a natural stage in the mourning process for the biological children a couple knows they will never have. However, the current thinking is that this is not a hard and fast rule. Couples who have decided to adopt do not necessarily have to give up on their attempts at conceiving a biological child.

How can a couple know if they are good candidates for walking both paths (adoption and conception) at once? It isn't easy, and you're not going to be able to decide on your own. This kind of dual commitment requires some counseling. The problem is that some adoption agencies will not allow parents to adopt if they are still in the process of trying to conceive, and as a result, prospective adoptive parents may hide this fact from an adoption agency.

Complicated Feelings

The mourning process over the biological children you don't have can be lengthy. The feelings can't be turned on and off like a light switch. The feelings are also complicated. That means that couples who have decided to adopt are not always or even usually done mourning. And that's okay.

Couples have a right to their sadness, and it's okay to continue to feel sad after you've adopted a child. You may even feel sad that you didn't give birth to your adopted child. Denying feelings is not good for anyone in the family. All feelings are valid, but the main thing is to know yourself and how you're feeling.

If you are so sad that you feel a need to be nurtured, then you may not yet be ready to adopt a child. You may need to wait a bit and allow for more time to heal. You need to be feeling complete enough to give a child what he needs. His role is not to comfort you; your role is to parent him. If you aren't feeling ready to take on that role, than you aren't yet ready to adopt.

If you feel ready to nurture a child, and have the attitude that whatever happens with your fertility attempts you've gotten your baby, it may be okay for you to continue trying to conceive. Social workers have the concern that a couple will not be fully committed to the adopted child if they have not accepted the fact that TTC (trying to conceive) is at an end. They may be afraid that a couple will conceive during the adoption process and refuse the prospective adopted child. They are afraid a couple is still in the active stages of mourning as they bring the adopted child into their home. For these reasons, couples still trying to conceive may hide the fact during the adoption process, for fear their application will be turned down.

It is hoped that social workers connected with adoption agencies will learn to listen to couples with more of an open mind about their desire to continue to conceive during the adoption process.

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