Standing face to face with the reality of infertility is among the most trying times a couple may ever experience together.
While these couples watch friends and family members having children, they often feel it is just them who can’t get pregnant. What they don’t realize, however, is that they aren’t alone, as 1 in 6 couples are diagnosed with infertility every year.
People choose adoption for a variety of reasons, but it is estimated that between 11 and 24 percent of couples pursue adoption after exhausting infertility treatment options.
This decision should be made only after they find emotional closure and move on from the hopes of adding to their family biologically.
Psychologist Dr. Janice Sidelnik relates this shift of feelings to “crossing a bridge.”
“Crossing the bridge is much easier with this acceptance, even though our prior history will always be an important part of our lives,” she said. The adopting stage is then much healthier once those conflicts, including the disappointment many couples feel while using infertility treatments, are closed up.”
After experiencing an emotional setback such as an exhaustive, unsuccessful infertility treatment, some couples find it hard to believe that they will ever be parents.
For these couples, Sidelnik and American Adoptions recommend counseling, which will emotionally prepare them to fully embrace parenthood through adoption.
“Counseling can assist in the process of coming to acceptance in whatever way works best for them, whether it is tied to their religion or personal philosophy on life – whatever is meaningful to each individual and as a couple,” Sidelnik said.
Once they move beyond infertility treatments and toward adoption, couples should be prepared for a complete shift in their way of thinking; the question is no longer “if” they will become parents, but “when?”
If you and your spouse are interested in adoption, it is never too early to begin preparing. In addition to researching adoption, journaling can also be helpful in processing the various emotions experienced during this time.
“Journaling is an alternative to having the words actually come out of your mouth – it’s something you can go back to and reflect on again and refine the process in black and white,” Sidelnik said.
Whether seeking a counselor or journaling one’s thoughts, it is important to understand that each individual will process through his or her emotions about adoption differently. Only once both spouses “cross the bridge” from infertility will they truly be ready to pursue adoption.
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