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It is not only the life with biological children that involves worries, fears and even problems – you will have to go through the same experiences with adopted children. Despite the blissful experience to actually be able to raise children, the grief over the own biological childlessness, however, may last forever.

The beginnings of IVF

Every year, a couple of our acquaintance – in the meantime both retired – goes on holiday to America for six to eight weeks. When they returned from their last stay abroad, we met for dinner.
As they couldn’t conceive children the natural way, they decided in the late 1970s/early 1980s to undergo fertility treatment – unfortunately without success. Back then, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has just found its way into fertility treatment.

Last resort (back then): adoption

Eventually our friends adopted three children and raised them with much love. In the meantime, they already have grandchildren who are living scattered all over the world. For all their delight at the basically positive development, our friends still have to give intensive psychological and financial support to their children as well as to their grandchildren.

Individual journey through life

At the time of their adoption, the children were between two days and four years old. Considering the fact that the children came from various backgrounds (all from difficult family backgrounds), it is admirable to what extent this couple has sacrificed themselves in giving the children a loving family.
Depending on the experiences that the children have made before their adoption, there might be tension in the relationship between parents and children (also with adoptive parents). Our friends have managed perfectly well to make it easier for their adoptive children to have a good start in life. They stand by their children and grandchildren as if they were their biological offspring.

Open wounds

On that evening, however, I noticed for the very first time that especially the woman still suffered from the fact that she had never had biological children. It was the first time that she expressed her feelings with the same clarity. Until then, she always seemed to be just happy with the situation of having children at all. And yet it seems that if the desire for (biological) children remains unfulfilled, it leaves a mark on the soul of those concerned (like some kind of open wound). Luckily, in the meantime there is a broad range of different techniques in reproductive medicine that may help to achieve the dream of having a (biological) child.

Absolute bliss

In the face of her open confession, my wife and I felt slightly embarrassed since we are fortunate enough to have three children of our own and four grandchildren. The evening finally ended as is usual for happy parents (and grandparents): We talked about the concerns and worries of our children and grandchildren and were happy that all of them were actually very well and feeling at home in a family.
Our friends are a good example of how you can give children the security and warmth of a family and stick with them through thick and thin – even though, genetically speaking, these children are not your “own”.


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