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A Couple Who Adopted While Coping With Infertility

Are you a couple coping with infertility — and considering adoption? Here’s Kelly James-Enger’s story of adopting because she and her husband couldn’t have biological kids together. James-Enger is the coauthor of The Belated Baby: A Guide to Parenting after Infertility.

“My husband and I went through seven years of infertility,” says James-Enger. “We started with a couple of years of trying the old-fashioned way (fun at first-then, not so much). After two years, we sought treatment from a reproductive endrocrinologist. We spent the next four years in treatment; I had several surgeries, and we did IUI (intrauterine insemination) and five rounds of IVF (in vitro fertilization). I did get pregnant four times, but miscarried every time.”  

Here’s how this couple coped with infertility and adoption. For the full story, click on The Belated Baby: A Guide to Parenting after Infertility, which James-Enger co-wrote with Jill Browning. 

A Couple Who Adopted While Coping With Infertility

Coping wth infertility. “How did we cope?” asks James-Enger. “We pretty much withdrew from the world during much of this time. Only our closest friends knew what we were going through, but even they couldn’t understand the pain we were experiencing. I got good at protecting myself and not putting myself in situations where I would suffer-like baby showers. My husband and I tried to see the humor in things, and watched a lot of movies. I read a lot. Basically I looked for ways to distract myself from the pain we were in. Did it help? A little. But that time in my life just basically sucked on most levels.”

Deciding to adopt. “But here’s the thing — over time, I realized that I really wanted to be a parent. I no longer cared whether I had a biological child, the perfect blend of Erik and me. I just wanted to be someone’s Mommy! Today! I was ready to pursue adoption while we were still “trying,” and when my husband was ready, we started focusing on adoption. We met with social workers, filled out reams of paperwork, and took a ten-week parenting class. We were fingerprinted, our backgrounds checked, our mental and physical health examined, our house inspected.  And we received our license to adopt. A week later, we found out about a young woman who was expecting a baby-and she choose us to be his parents. Ryan was born six weeks later. It took us seven years total to become parents, but he is worth it.”  

How coping with infertility can make you a better parent. “The funny thing, even though I’m a parent, I still feel infertile. I’ll never have a biological child, and I don’t know whether we’ll be lucky enough to add a baby to our family. (Ryan is 3 now and we’ve been trying to adopt again for the last 18+ months.) But infertility made me a more appreciative parent, and made me realize I’m stronger and more resilient than I realized. I’ve made other mommy friends who experienced infertility and they say similar things. In that respect, the suffering you go through to get to be a mom makes you a better one.”

Visit James-Enger’s website, Bodywise, to learn about her company and career as a motivational speaker and journalist.

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Do you have any questions or thoughts about this couple who adopted with coping with infertility? And, does coping with infertility make you a more appreciative – and perhaps better – parent? Read How Adoptive Parents Treat Their Kids Differently to see how adoptive parents treat their kids differently than biological kids.

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1 thought on “A Couple Who Adopted While Coping With Infertility”

  1. You are very courageous to have pursued and succeeded at adoption. The pain of infertility is impossible to impart to those who have not experienced it and most who have eventually get their “miracle” pregnancy. In that way it can be both isolating and frightening – when you realise how low you can go and how different your life is from that of your contemporaries.

    My husband and I have experienced 8 years of 12 miscarriages and 11 ivfs (including 2 donor egg). At the end of all that the doctors then decided it’s because of my husband’s undescended testicle as a child. All that pain and expense and nothing would ever have worked!

    Now we are considering adoption, people say to us, “Oh, but it’s such hard work!”, and “You might as well just enjoy the life you have.” It’s as if, having endured the pain of infertility, society thinks we should not have the opportunity to experience parenthood. It’s like being given a kick in the face after you have already been beaten up. I know it will be worth it in the end, but it really is very difficult when others don’t even recognise that we have been suffering so much over the last 8 years.

    It’s nice to hear that your experience strengthened you for motherhood. I hope you got a brother or sister for little Ryan.