From Infertility to Adoption: Knowing When to Move Forward

When is the right time to move from infertility to adoption? When do you emotionally feel ready? Will you ever feel ready and must move forward with other ways of creating your forever family! Mardie Caldwell, through her personal experience and over 20 years of working with couples nation-wide, has made it her life's work to bless children needing forever adoptive parents.

IMG 3527How do couples decide to move forward in adoption as opposed to doing donor embryo or IVF?


     We just had our third try with IVF with my own eggs. Our doctor told us that I was a poor responder and the quality of my eggs is not good. He said our only options are either with donor embryo or adoption. I am just trying to work through the loss of both a dream and of the babies we fertilized and trying to decide the best direction for us. I still have such a passionate desire to "carry life" in me, but I am not sure if that will go away once I start the adoption process or adopt. Does it? My fear with trying donor embryo is if it doesn't work, can I take another "failure" after all our losses. My fear with adoption is that it might take years or the adoption might keep falling through. My only experience with adoption is a co-worker with an older child adoption that has not been good. I realize there is no guarantee with either path, but it is such a difficult decision, I am curious as to what led other adoptive parents to their decisions.


Mardie's reply:

     We decided that it was more important for us to be parents than to be pregnant. My biological clock was ticking, and we had to decide what we wanted most in our family. We moved from infertility to adoption and then after our first adoption of our son, we tried some mild infertility treatments again. We didn't have a lot of money to do extensive infertility drugs or procedures. So, we decided that adoption was right for us. The decision to adopt came surprisingly easy to both of us. We always wanted to adopt someday regardless of whether or not we had any biological children. So, it was a true blessing for us.


     The desire you mentioned about "carrying life" inside of you is natural, and I think most women desire to conceive and see their pregnancy go to term and deliver a healthy baby. I still had that when we adopted. I don't necessarily think it wrong to have that feeling.


     We have suffered seven pregnancy losses. We have experienced infertility, miscarriages, a fetal demise, and a tubal pregnancy with twins. In between the losses, we did have one full term birth of our daughter. It is a hard call. I have always told my adoptive parents that they need to work on creating their family, and if they want to try infertility treatments while trying to adoptive parents, they should. I just couldn't imagine using birth control when trying to adopt after all the effort of attempting to get pregnant, and I've never felt I should ask my prospective adoptive parents to do something I wouldn't do.


     Just a few years ago my OB-GYN gently said to me, "Mardie, why are you doing this to your body?" in reference to all the pregnancies and then losing them. I know he just didn't understand the desire to give it one last try. A few months later he discovered pre-cancerous cells in my uterus, and I underwent a hysterectomy shortly after that. Knowing I would never carry a child again was difficult.


     Even with my "oven" (or as my daughter calls it her "first home") gone, I still have moments when I experience "signs of pregnancy" and forget it is not possible for me to carry a baby. After so many years of wanting and trying and planning for babies, old habits are hard to break. I counsel prospective adoptive mothers to pray that if God doesn't want you to be a mother, He would take the desire away. For me, the desire didn't leave me, and we adopted our son. You need to be honest with each other and find a medical professional whom you can trust. The chances of success in adoption are so much greater than with infertility treatments. When comparing the cost of infertility treatments and the cost of adoption, you will discover more help in financing and grants for adoption than infertility. Though the emotional ups and downs are about the same, they vary depending on the adoption route you take. Needless to say, when you look down at a child in your arms and those beautiful eyes are peering back up at you, and you know you are a mom-well, that is priceless.


I always say - Don't give up; there is a baby for you!

Mardie Caldwell

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally recognized authority on adoption. A Certified Open Adoption Practitioner, Caldwell is the founder of the nationwide adoption organization Lifetime Adoption Center LLC, established in 1986. Caldwell has assisted in over 1,800 successful adoptions. She was one of the first adoption professionals on the Internet.


Caldwell's life work has been dedicated to educating and helping birth parents and adoptive parents through teaching, speaking, and resources and as a radio talk show host. 


Author of a number of award winning books, Caldwell has appeared more than 150 times on various networks including NBC's The Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, Dr. Laura, numerous national radio interviews, and is widely sought for print articles and speaking. 


Caldwell is CFO of Lifetime Adoption Foundation, a 501(c) 3 non-profit offering grants and college scholarships to birth mothers, basic necessities, and more.


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