Impact of Adoption on Adoptive Parents: Why Adopt?

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This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway

Why Adoption?

Adoptive parents come to the adoption decision for many different reasons. Some adopt because of infertility, and adoption is their alternative way to grow their family; others adopt in order to add to their family, to help a specific child, or for social justice reasons.

Infertility Issues

Parents who adopt because of infertility have already experienced loss and disappointment because of the inability to have a biological child. In addition, they may have dealt with repeated miscarriages or intrusive fertility treatments. It is only natural for adults to respond with grief to these losses, and they may also experience feelings of inadequacy (“why me?”) and lack of control. Regardless of the exact circumstances, couples and individuals who turn to adoption because of infertility may have already weathered an emotional roller coaster. For those who need help working through the grief of infertility, there are support groups and counselors who specialize in helping infertile couples and individuals. It’s important to remember that both partners in a couple may not resolve their grief at the same pace, and arriving at the decision to adopt may come at a different time for each person.

Making the Decision

Families, couples, and individuals who decide to adopt should always go through a rigorous screening process that encourages self-reflection and consideration about their reasons for wanting to adopt as well as their expectations for the child and the parenthood experience. In approaching adoption, prospective adopters may want to consider their feelings about the following:

How will a new child fit into the parents’ lives and their relationship?

How will a new child affect family dynamics—especially if the family already has children?

What changes are the parents willing to make to ease the child’s transition?

How do the parents feel about “open” adoption, that is, contact with the child’s birth family?

How do the parents feel about welcoming a child from the foster care system or an orphanage who may have experienced abuse or neglect?

In cases of transracial or transcultural adoption—how do the parents feel about accommodating, helping, and promoting the child’s positive cultural and racial identity?

How will the parents inform family members and friends, and how they will deal with questions from family, friends, and strangers about adoption?

How will the parents answer their child’s questions about adoption, the child’s background and history, birth family, and the parents’ reasons for adoption?

How willing and able are they to seek help for themselves or their child when necessary?

Continue to Managing the Adoption Process

Return to Adoption Parenting


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