close menu

Get Free Info

5 Steps to Prepare for Adoption after Infertility

Choosing Adoption after Infertility

Infertility is one of the greatest struggles hopeful parents can encounter on their path to starting or growing their family. Exploring alternative family-building methods may not be an easy decision, but many families choose to pursue adoption after infertility.

Adjusting your mentality from wanting your own child biologically to adopting is a big commitment that will take a lot of time and effort. It’s vital for any couple considering adoption after infertility to understand the complex, yet life-changing process ahead of them, which includes:

  • Paperwork

  • Home studies

  • Legal processes

  • More emotional highs and lows

So, if you want to carry out an adoption after infertility, know that this might not always be straightforward. But ultimately, it will be worthwhile. Below is what you need to know before you begin the adoption process.

If you want to speak with an adoption specialist now, you can get free information about infertility support groups and more when you call 1-800-ADOPTION today.

The 5 Steps of Adopting After Infertility

There are many steps that go into adopting after infertility. But, couples must first take the time to work through complicated feelings of grief and loss before they should consider adoption after infertility.

Couples may first decide on other forms of infertility treatments like IVF before they can fully let go of their dreams of having a biologically related child.

They might also consider other options, like surrogacy, before ultimately deciding that adoption is the right choice for them. And, when they do make that decision, they need to be truly excited about the process ahead — it’s not enough to feel like you are “settling” for adoption.

Adoption may not always be right for everyone, and that’s completely okay. But, if you are interested in choosing adoption after infertility, here’s how that decision might look for you:

Step 1: Fully Grieve your Infertility

Even if you ultimately choose to pursue adoption after infertility, you are still experiencing a loss, and it’s one that deserves to be properly grieved. Before making any decisions about how to proceed with your family-building journey, you should first go through the following phases of grief:

  1. Denial. Something that you’ve wanted for a long time is not going to come to fruition, and this can feel unreal. You may continue to pursue infertility procedures like IVF during the denial phase, because you’re sure that this can be fixed.

  2. Anger. At some point, you may start to get mad. You might feel afraid, jealous, resentful or even ashamed as you grapple with infertility. Your anger may even manifest toward yourself or your spouse. All of these feelings are completely natural, but express your anger in healthy ways. 

  3. Bargaining. It’s not uncommon for couples experiencing infertility to think that there is going to be a cure. You may try eating certain foods, changing your lifestyle and completing repeated IVF cycles hoping that something is going to be the change you need.

  4. Sadness. Sadness can manifest in physical pain as well as emotional. You might lack energy and have physical complaints you don’t’ normally have, but this can actually be your body’s way of helping you process and moving toward acceptance in a healthy way.

  5. Acceptance. When you have finally processed and accepted your infertility, it should no longer consume you. You’ll begin to consider other family-building methods and start having those talks about what’s really important to you moving forward. Your infertility struggles will never seem easy, but you’ll be able to accept them and move on. Only once you have reached this acceptance stage should you pursue adoption after infertility.

Keep in mind that everyone grieves differently, and the grief process isn’t necessarily linear. You might not go through all of these grief stages, and you may not go through them in this order.

If you find yourself struggling with this grief process, you are never alone. You might consider reaching out to a support group or an infertility counselor to help you process these emotions.

Step 2: Decide you’re More Interested in Experiencing Parenthood than Pregnancy

After you’ve fully grieved your infertility, you’ll start thinking about what was really important to you about conceiving in the first place. Was it to experience a pregnancy? Or, is it more important to you to experience parenthood?

If you are still concerned about not being biologically related to your child, you may not be quite ready to consider adoption as an option yet. But, if you truly want to have a child to love, guide and watch grow up, you may be ready to start adopting after infertility.

Step 3: Get on the Same Page with your Partner about Adoption after Infertility

When it comes to infertility and adoption, you and your partner should be completely on the same page. Not everyone grieves at the same pace or in the same ways.

It’s not fair to refrain from voicing your concern if you aren’t sure you’re fully committed, nor is it fair to push your partner to consider other family-building methods before they are ready.

The two of you are a team, and both of you will need to be in the same headspace to complete your family.

Step 4: Determine Which Kind of Adoption after Infertility you want to Pursue

After you’ve determined that you and your partner are both fully committed to pursuing adoption, there will be many questions you have to discuss and answer together, such as:

  • Do you want to adopt a baby?

  • Do you want to adopt an older child?

  • Do you want to adopt a child with disabilities?

  • Do you want to adopt a child from another country?

Your answers to these questions will help you determine which type of adoption after infertility is best for you to get more information about. The three main forms of adoption hopeful adoptive families engage with are:

  • Domestic Infant AdoptionIn a domestic adoption, you and your spouse will adopt a baby from a prospective birth parent within the United States. They will choose their child’s adoptive parents based on the adoptive family profiles that closely resemble their wants for the child. Once a birth parent selects a family, they can maintain an open adoption relationship for the rest of your baby’s life.

  • International AdoptionIn an international adoption, you and your spouse will adopt a child from a foreign country. This process varies greatly depending on which country you choose to adopt from.

  • Foster AdoptionIn a foster care adoption, you and your spouse will adopt a child who has been legally cleared for adoption within the foster care system. A state judge has already determined the children’s parents are not fit to have responsibility for their child, and their parental rights are taken away. These children are usually older or have one or more disabilities.

Researching these different types of adoption and determining which path makes the most sense for your family before moving forward is crucial. Adoption requirements, costs and processes can vary based on which adoption path you choose.

If you ultimately decide that a domestic infant adoption after infertility is right for you, then American Adoptions offers many helpful services and programs to help you start or grow your family.

Step 5: Connect with an Adoption Professional

An appropriate adoption professional should be your greatest supporter throughout the adoption process. Ensure that they can counsel you through every stage, including discussions about your infertility struggles and how they can help you feel ready for the huge step toward adoption after infertility.


To learn more about adopting after infertility — or to begin pursuing your own adoption after infertility — you can contact American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

Request Free Information

Join Us Now
Adoption Home Study

Adoption Home Study Process

Learn what a home study is and why you need one to adopt a child.

Read More

Home Study Questions and Answers

While adoption home studies vary slightly from agency to agency and state to state, there are several key elements that are almost always included in every home study.

Read More

Home Studies: State by State

Find a qualified professional in your state to complete your home study.

Read More
Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

Additional Resources

Adoption Newsletter

Did you know that American Adoptions offers a free bi-weekly e-newsletter? Sign up today to keep up-to-date on the latest in adoption news and information.

Sign Up

Famous Adoptions

Learn which famous Hollywood actors, sports stars, politicians and other icons have been touched by adoption.

Read More

Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

Read More