“I did not expect to have to revisit my past traumas and it was very difficult for me. But I knew in the end that this would help me heal and move forward emotionally with the adoption journey.”

Revisiting trauma is not a fun experience. It requires facing fears, vulnerability, and managing vast emotions that may or may not have not been processed. But the reward for working through those issues can be strengthening and awe-inspiring. It will help equip you for the challenges that you may face in life and in your adoption journey.

As embryo donation and adoption continue to grow in popularity, more fertility clinics and programs are requiring some sort of psychological evaluation or home study. The reason for the evaluation is to better prepare families for the exciting yet challenging experience of transferring embryos and parenting children who are not genetically related to them. The process of embryo adoption often requires large decisions, physical sacrifice, and emotional obstacles that can be a great challenge for some families. Embryo adoption professionals equip you with the tools and resources to make those big decisions and help guide you through obstacles in parenting, navigating communication with the genetic family, and speaking with others about your journey.

In a home study, families are evaluated for stability in areas like finances, their marriage, and emotional and physical well-being. The goal is to best prepare a family for a child entering the home and to ensure that the children will be well cared for. Home study providers may ask questions about your background, health, or even past traumas.

The bottom line is that no one has a perfectly clean background or history. Just because you may have been a victim of abuse or made some mistakes in the past, this does not disqualify you from being able to adopt embryos.

Providers want to see that you have effectively processed any grief, trauma, or other issues for not only your personal benefit, but also for the benefit of your future children. Your provider may recommend counseling or other resources to help equip you for parenthood. We all have issues and we all need support, no matter how small.

What do I do if I am having difficulty with revisiting my trauma?

1. Reach out to your home study provider – They are trained, ready, and eager to help you! Let them know how you are feeling so they can help you process or point you in the right direction. Maybe it means taking a pause on the adoption for a little bit, and that is ok! It may even be healthy.

2. Meet with a counselor – Outside help and guidance is always helpful. Sometimes just talking through issues with another person makes a world of a difference.

3. Lean on friends and family – Never underestimate the power of reaching out to those who love you. I bet there are more people who are eager to help you than you think. All it takes is three seconds of courage to text that friend to hang out.

4. Eat healthy and exercise frequently – A healthy body means a healthy mind! Aid your body by doing the right things to maintain health.

5. Reduce stress in other areas – Maybe you have to say no to being the baseball coach this year or volunteering at church. Maybe postpone moving or getting a new job until after the adoption. Maybe it means reducing your work hours. Give yourself the space to heal.

No embryo adoption or donation is without some grief.

Whether it be a match that did not go through, a shipment that had to be rescheduled, pausing your journey because something came up at home, a failed transfer, or even small things like waiting for a match to come, they can all be emotionally stressful or anxious events. We get it. It is hard walking straight into an experience where you may have to revisit trauma or be triggered by roadblocks.  However, you are not alone in this journey and our hope is that one day, this too shall pass. Your journey will be worth it and you will come out a stronger person.

To learn more about embryo adoption or donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.