Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and gratitude for the abundance in your life. That can be difficult to do when you’re struggling with infertility. However, shifting your focus to the idea of adoption or fostering – and truly helping a child in need – can turn your feelings of despair and frustration on their head. The Fertility Experts of UNC Fertility in Raleigh, North Carolina share information on how opening your home, and heart, to a child in need can change their world, and yours.

Alternative Family Building
Simply put, alternative family building is building a family outside of the typical two-parent conception process. People choose to go this route for many different reasons. Some, regardless of their ability to have a biological child, feel strongly that they’d like to open their home to a child in need and turn to adoption or fostering as soon as they’re ready to expand their family. Many people choose to adopt or foster after having biological children. Others find that ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) isn’t right for them, and pursue this path instead. Still others come to the decision after trying and failing to conceive on their own, and quickly discover how, despite their initial heartbreak, something beautiful and unexpected grows.

If you’ve had issues conceiving a child on your own and would like to learn more about options that may help you, please call UNC Fertility at 919-908-0000 to schedule a consultation.

Welcome Home
Bringing a child into your family is life changing and chaotic, no matter how you choose to do it. Those who decide to adopt face a unique set of concerns and questions before they get to meet the child that will become the center of their universe. Some of the most difficult questions that come up include:

– What if the birth mother changes her mind at the last minute?
– What if I don’t bond with the child?
– What if I love my biological child more than my adopted child?
– Can we afford it?
– How will we handle questions from our child later in life?

These concerns are inevitable, however adoptive parents say the questions disappear the moment they meet their child. Of course there will be challenges along the way (raising kids is not for the faint of hear!), but the intense love and devotion far outweighs everything else. Many parents report that they feel it was “meant to be” and that looking into their child’s eyes for the first time erases any doubts they may have had. Be sure to work with a reputable adoption agency, they can provide support and helpful resources throughout the entire process.

The Definition of Giving
Helping a child who has had a tough start in life can be extremely rewarding, and many people feel it is one of the most defining experiences of their lives. There are so many children in foster care that foster parents generally don’t have to wait long to welcome a child into their home. Your state’s foster care agency can provide all of the details on how to become foster parents, but it’s wise to also consider the following as you decide if it’s right for you.

– Patience is a virtue, and one that you’ll utilize time and again. Many foster children have faced serious abuse in their lives and, as a result, don’t know how to function in a healthy, safe environment. They may be angry, sad, resentful…and not shy about expressing those feelings in negative ways. It’s up to you to help them learn how to navigate a more “normal” existence.

– Be prepared for multiple visits from social workers. Their goal is the same as yours – to make sure the child in your care is being cared for properly and treated well.

– In most cases, it’s not a permanent situation. The child you fall in love with may well move on someday. The work, time, and love you pour into the relationship helps lay the groundwork for them to succeed and be happy when they’re reunited with their biological family, which is the ultimate goal of the foster system.

– Make sure you have a strong support system. While extremely rewarding, being a foster parent is also extraordinarily challenging. There will joy and happiness, but there will also be tension and frustration. Having a trusted group you can reach out to when you need a break helps tremendously. Many foster parents find the befriending other foster parents is extremely beneficial.

Love and energy are requirements of the job. Every child benefits from a healthy, loving home where they’re treated well, cared for, and made to feel as though they matter. If you have lots of love to give and energy to spare, being a foster parent may be right for you.

As you reflect this holiday season, you may realize that parenting a child through adoption or the foster care system is what you’re meant to do. Providing comfort and care to a child who truly needs help will turn your world upside down in the best way possible. If you’d like more information or details about local resources, please call UNC Fertility at 919-908-0000.