One thing I hear from people pretty often is, "Have you started to think about adoption?" and "Why don't you just adopt?" And while it is an option to consider when trying to build a family, it's not as simple as "just adopting."
The first step in the process of adopting is making sure you're ready for it. I was told a story once that really opened my eyes to this step in the process. A woman and her husband were at their initial interview with their case worker to open their case and start the process. And the first thing that the case worked asked was, "Have you finished mourning your infertility and your chance of having a biological child?"
That question is the first thing you have to answer, and one of the most important. For most people, we are not ready for adoption until we can truthfully answer "yes" to that question. Adoption should not be thought of as a last resort or a final ditch effort to have a family. If you think about it in that way, you are not ready for adoption. It should be a decision you come to because you are ready and wanting to raise a child, even if they are not biologically yours. Resolve has a lot of material about this issue, and on the subject of the emotional aspects of adoption, they said, " The turning point for many couples is when they realize that they would rather be parents than be pregnant. Often, around this same time, is when the idea of adoption begins to no longer seem like the next step in a series of failures, but rather the first step in an exciting journey that will end in success. When you can embrace it in those terms is when you are emotionally ready to begin."
On Resolve's Facebook page, they asked the question, "What are some of the things you shouldn't say to someone who is having trouble conceiving?" And while there were many good answers, there were a lot about adoption. One member said, "Although we did eventually adopt, there is no 'just' about it. The adoption ride is not for everyone and is every bit as emotional, difficult, nerve-wracking, and expensive as our battle with infertility. And adoption is not a cure for infertility. Having a child in your home is a wonderful blessing but the pain of infertility is not erased by adoption. You must deal with the trauma of infertility before adopting and you must know what while you will be overjoyed, your infertility will still be a part of you." I feel like her word summed up everything perfectly. It is not a cure for infertility. Parents who adopt don't feel like their infertility magically vanishes. It's still a part of who they are.
Once someone is ready, the process isn't as easy as "just adopting." The first, and one of the biggest hurdles, are finances. Private adoption can cost up to $40,000 or more, which is the cost of two or three IVF cycles (Resolve.org, "When Should You Consider Adoption?"). There are cheaper options, but they come with a higher risk of not getting the child, like fostering to adopt, and my Church's adoption service, which usually has a waiting list of about 5 years. Many people don't know how difficult, expensive, and long it takes to adopt a child.
It is not easy to decide on adoption. And it's not easy to adopt. It's a decision that many couples struggle with, and some never decide to adopt. For me, we are not ready. At all. We have not yet given up hope of having our biological child, and will fight for that for a long time to come. And, we may never decide to adopt. Many couples decide to live child-free, and can still feel fulfilled and at peace with their lives.