What if a Spouse is Struggling with Adoption?

The Importance of Being on the Same Page

A couple is only truly ready for adoption when both adoptive parents have emotionally moved on from their infertility. However, it is not uncommon for one spouse to be ready while the other spouse is still struggling with adoption.

During the grieving process, an individual may experience the following emotions:

Withdrawal – Withdrawal occurs when a spouse wants to avoid talking about infertility or adoption altogether. Of course, everyone has periods of time when they do not want to think or talk about certain things, but if this is a constant pattern, there is often an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

Apathy – Apathy is a lack of interest about the upcoming adoption, which is often a result of an individual who hasn’t dealt with his or her disappointment or anger over their infertility. The spouse will engage briefly in conversations about adoption but will rarely offer anything other than small comments or thoughts. The spouse may try to ignore his or her emotions and move forward with the adoption to appease the spouse who is ready to adopt. However, it will be impossible to ignore these emotions forever and may result in other, more intense emotions as the adoption gets closer.

Anger – Anger, which is often fueled by disappointment, is a common feeling experienced among infertile couples. For example, a spouse might feel disappointment when infertility treatments don’t work. This may result in a spouse feeling anger toward:

  • himself or herself for not being able to get pregnant.
  • his or her spouse for not being able to get pregnant.
  • their finances, as each failed infertility treatment costs more money.
  • their infertility doctor for not being able to help them get pregnant.

The Risks of Not Being Ready for Adoption

If a spouse is still experiencing these emotions as the couple enters the adoption process, he or she may unknowingly sabotage the adoption process.

A spouse who is struggling with adoption might be more skeptical of things like adoption fees, birth parent's intentions and the adoption process in general. A spouse may focus on obscure details not within his or her direct control and may put up obstacles throughout the process.

Focusing on minute details may offer the spouse an element of control that he or she was missing during infertility.

Moving Forward

For a spouse struggling with adoption to move on from his or her infertility, communication is the key. The couple must talk openly with each other and identify where each is at in the grieving process.

They should only move forward when they are both ready and excited to add to their family through adoption.

If a spouse continues to struggle choosing adoption, an infertility counselor can help sort through these various emotions and identify their root cause. There are also many infertility support groups, where a spouse may find comfort in discussing his or her feelings with others.

If you have any questions about the adoption process, or if you are struggling with adoption, call 1-800-ADOPTION or request adoption information today.

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