"America's Leading Experts in Reproductive Health"
Child-Free Living or
Adoption are Options
for Many Infertile Couples.
     
 
 

 
   
 
   
   
   
 
 
   
   
   
 
   
 
   
 
 
   
 
   
   
 
Child Free Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(Continued from Adoption and Child Free Living.)

Child Infant Adoption & Myths
on Adoption :
Adoption - Yours by Choice

Adoption cannot solve the problems associated with infertility - it is not a cure for the physical aspects of infertility and neither does it cure the emotional pain. But adoption will provide you with the challenges and rewards of loving and being loved by a child.

Most adoptions are closed adoptions in which the biological parents and adoptive parents do not come in contact with one another. The adoptive parents have only fragmentary, if any, information on the birth parents. Furthermore, adoption agencies make every effort to keep the adoption records closed and unavailable to everyone, including the adoptive parents, the birth parents and the adopted child. Most agencies believe that the clear separation of the adoptive parents from the birth parents is necessary for the adoptive family to be "normal".

What is involved in the adoption process? Many people naively believe that adoption simply consists of walking into an agency and walking away with a baby. Of course, it's much more complex than this. It involves considerable paperwork; asking questions; solving problems; researching; spending money ; and going through emotional ups and downs. It takes time and work but remember that those who want to adopt will always succeed.

These procedures have been designed for your benefit so don't be lured into taking "shortcuts" - these can hurt you in the long run. After all, adoption is not just a means of finding babies for infertile couples, but a way of finding the right family for a particular child.

Each adoption agency has different requirements so you may find that even though you are turned down at one agency, another will readily accept your application.
Most agencies suggest that:

  • The age between the adoptive parents and the child is less than 40 years.
  • The couple should have been married for at least five years to attest to the stability of the relationship.
  • The couple should have a regular source of income.
  • Neither of the partners should have a major illness which may reduce your life-span.

The professional who will be guiding you through this process is a medical social worker, who is fully qualified and trained. Find an agency where you are comfortable with the social worker assigned to you.

You should learn about the requirements for adoption; and the average waiting time for placement. You'll need to decide upon many factors including the child's age and sex - and there may be certain limitations on your choice. Costs vary widely, and you should inquire how much it will be.
Once an agency accepts your application, detailed interviews, both separately and jointly, are conducted. Agencies may ask you to supply references from relatives, employers and friends. Furthermore, an adoption worker will come to your home and evaluate your suitability as parents -

the home study. At some point after the home study period, a child is identified who is or who might be available for adoption. You'll then have to decide whether or not to accept the child - it's finally your choice. If you choose to adopt, there is a supervisory period once the child arrives in your home, and this may range from a few weeks to several years. After a specified period, your child is legally adopted by an adoption decree.

When Adoption is not the answer
Infertile couples are often under tremendous pressure to adopt - friends may tire of your problem and question why you don't adopt if you want a baby so badly; and others who have already adopted may enthusiastically recommend the option to you. But you should never try to force yourself to be comfortable with adoption if the idea is disturbing - this is not a time for selflessness.

There are no set guidelines to determine who should or should not adopt. Remember, adoption does not mean trying to find a baby now to take care of you in your old age; neither is it a method to try to use to keep your marriage together. Signs suggesting indecision could include denial of your disappointment about infertility; persistent fantasies about what life might have been with biological children; and the desire to keep the adoption a secret.

Prospective parents may also have fears that an adoptive child may not measure up to family standards. If you have any doubts, it may be a good idea to temporarily postpone your adoption plans and discuss your anxieties before proceeding further.

Myths about Adoption
Myth: If an adoptive family really loves the child and does a good job of parenting, then an adopted child will not be curious about his or her birth parents.
Fact: Children are often curious about those who play major roles in their lives. Most, if not all, adoptive children will want to know about their biological roots.
Myth: Adopted children are better off not knowing they are adopted.
Fact: Adoptees almost always find out that they are adopted. They then discover that their family has been dishonest with them. Adopted children may build better self-esteem when they have a clearer picture of personal birth origins.
Myth: Once the process of adoption is over, it is the same as having a biological child.
Fact: There are real differences in birth and adoptive families. The adoptive child will have different questions about adoption at each stage of development.
Myth: Adoptive parents make better parents because they want a child so badly.
Fact: The degree of desire for a child does not necessarily make for better parenting.
Myth: An adoptive child belongs to his new family forever and owes them something more than ordinary offspring.
Fact: An adoptee child offers neither more nor less to his parents than a birth child.
Myth: Once a couple has decided to adopt, it is more likely they will become pregnant on their own.
Fact: It is neither more nor less likely that a couple who has adopted will achieve pregnancy.
Myth: Once adoption has taken place, the pain of infertility will cease.
Fact: The pain of infertility often lingers after the family has been established by adoption. Although happy with their adoptive families, couples may still want to pursue having a biological child. Adoption is not a cure for infertility, but it can be a cure for childlessness.
Myth: Prospective parents should adopt only after all possibilities of having a biological child have been exhausted.
Fact: Because of rapid developments in infertility management, there is no longer a clear stopping point for possible infertility therapies.

It is helpful for prospective parents to look into alternative means for starting a family early in their infertility work-up - remember, taking infertility treatment and considering adoption are not mutually exclusive choices ! Just because you are taking treatment does not mean that you are not "committed to adoption"; and just because you are considering adoption does not mean that you are decreasing the chances of the infertility treatment as a result of your "negative attitude". Often, couples pursuing infertility treatment may actually begin to see how an adopted child could be a good choice for them.
Myth: It is extremely difficult to adopt.
Fact: Although the adoption process can be tedious, adoption is possible for most couples.


A good book to read to find out more information about adoption is Nilima Mehta's Ours By Choice, The full text of this book is available at:
http://www.healthlibrary.com/reading/ours/index.htm


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