How Infertility Prepared Us For Infant Open Adoption

This post is by Mira Gallaway, a hopeful adoptive parent.

I don’t want to say that adoption was our last choice for starting a family, but to be honest, it kind of is.

We are infertile.

It doesn’t get any easier reading that word even though I’m sure I’ve typed it now over a million times, and read it probably over a billion.


This word has ruled my life for the past two years.

I’ve missed life because of this word.

I’ve missed celebrations because of this word.

I’ve cried because of this word. I’ve lost sleep because of this word,.

I’ve been pitied because of this word.

That word stings a portion of my soul that I never even knew about before, and forces me to grieve a part of my life I had always taken for granted: My future and the family I had imagined.

I never thought I would adopt.


I pictured myself being this beautiful pregnant woman, glowing with all the hormones and knowledge that my body was performing its most primal duty, creating a life.

I planned on ruling my pregnancy. I was going to be unstoppable. I was going to just blow my husband’s mind with my strength.

I wanted a water birth, as water had always been my safe place through my life.

Whenever things got bad I could always retreat to water (usually my shower) and let the water wash the world away from me, wash the hurt off, wash the uncertainty away.

What better place for me to give birth, to bring forth life than in water?

I wanted to enjoy every second of my children, from the moment they were conceived to the last day of my life.

Crafting Ukrainian Easter Eggs, leaving hints on Christmas gifts, carving pumpkins, trick or treating, Christmas caroling around the Christmas tree, preparing for the tooth fairy, reading story books before bedtime—all of these traditions from our families we wanted to share with our children.

I wanted two boys and a girl, just like my brothers and me.

My childhood memories are packed with moments with my brothers that still make me smile or cry, but I wouldn’t change one second of my life with them because I learnt so much about myself from them.

They made me strong.

Our diagnosis was supposed to be an easy one. He with a vasectomy (unsuccessfully reversed) and me, a completely regular young woman.

I was any fertility clinic’s dream come true. It turned out this young and fertile woman was not me.

So after pushing through a total of 10 different attempts in two years including IUI, IVF, and donor FET (if you know what those all stand for then you have been suffering for some time as well), seeing positive pregnancy tests to only end in miscarriage, and then walking away officially deemed Infertile, it was time to re-evaluate the way that our family was going to be created.

My brain was scrambling for a solution.

Adoption: It’s a win/win, and a perfect solution to our problem. Only it’s sadder than that.

Adoption starts with a loss, a huge loss. It’s been said that a baby and mother make an attachment all throughout development in the womb.

With infant adoption—the path we’re pursuing—that attachment is severed, leaving an infant without the only sounds, smell, and warmth that he or she has ever known.

Like the saying goes, the magnitude of that tragedy is not lost to me. That loss is the start to our gain and it makes me want to be that much better.

We will be chosen to parent this child out of a pile of others who are hoping for the same opportunity that we are.

Being chosen means that there are a handful of other loving couples who were not, or we may be the ones whose profile gets pushed off to the side.

We endure mandatory training, mandatory home studies, nonstop scrutiny, mountains of paperwork, and endless insurmountable pressure to be perfect in others’ eyes that may have influence on our future family.

Then you wonder, is this just a scam? Is this a person pretending to be an expectant mother, to play our heartstrings and attempt to take advantage of our struggles?

Is this person going to create an adoption plan with you only to at the last moment decide that they are going to parent their child?

How many failed adoptions will lead to “the One”?

The pain and suffering of infertility has prepared us for the uncertainty of infant open adoption.

Everyone will always say that everything happens for a reason and they are right—only It’s not necessary to say it to someone who is struggling.

It’s not comforting at the time. Let them learn it through living it.

Infant open adoption may not have been our first choice for building our family, but it’s the right choice.

And without infertility we would have never been strong enough to walk the gauntlet.

Mira Gallaway is originally from Alberta and now lives in Ontario, where she runs a successful support group for women who have suffered fertility treatment failures,  as well as an infertility-to-adoption support group. She and her husband are hoping to grow their family through adoption. Learn more at her adoption profile or blog

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