If you have had infertility problems and are thinking of adopting a child, consider the following while making your decision:
* Successful adoption and long-term parenting requires the commitment of both partners and a dependable support system. The need for a solid support system is even more important for a single adoptive parent.
* There are many adoption options available to Americans, both domestically and abroad. The Internet can be an efficient and useful tool for researching adoption information.
* The adoption application and placement process can be as time-consuming and expensive as infertility treatment. While a U.S. or international infant adoption can take a year or longer, a U.S. minority adoption can take less than a year.
* Some adoption agencies have parental age and other restrictions for infant adoption. If you are in your mid-30s and are considering infant adoption, you may have to weigh agency requirements against your own time line for starting an adoption process.
What are the risks of adopting?
As with parenting a biological child, raising an adopted child confronts you with a list of unknowns. Physical, intellectual, and mental health issues can unfold over time whether your child is biological or adopted.
Adoption poses its own risks and concerns, such as the possibility that an adoption process may not go through, unknowns about a child's genetic and health background, and attachment and behavior issues related to separation or neglect. The birth mother and father may have the legal right to change their minds about placing their child for adoption. In some states, relinquishment is final as soon as the legal papers are signed; and in other states, a period of time is allowed for the birth parents to change their minds.
Are you ready to adopt?
As you prepare for this possibility:
* Spend time exploring adoption options, costs, and time lines before you make a final decision to try or to discontinue infertility treatment.
* Think and talk about questions to consider about adoption.
* Be aware that one of you may be ready to adopt long before the other. Some couples report that it has taken months to years before they were both ready to start the adoption process.
* Before proceeding with an adoption, allow yourselves time to grieve your lost hopes for a biological child.