Unbearable: The Adoption Angle

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Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

 I think that adopting a child is a wonderful and courageous decision. My husband and I have considered adoption as we talk about expanding our family. It’s an arrangement that helps individuals who aren’t prepared to be parents give their children a loving home and it gives infertile families a chance to have kids. It also helps young kids who have lost their families a chance to find new homes. I’m extremely supportive of adoption.

All of that being said, adoption is not the answer to every infertility problem.

One of the most invasive and inappropriate questions that I’ve ever gotten about infertility is, “Why can’t you just adopt?” Because apparently “just adopting” is this super easy process. Ya know, like adopting a puppy. You drive to an orphanage, sign some paperwork, get their shots and leave, right? Why isn’t everyone doing this?

Except adoption shouldn’t be taken lightly. Just like the fertility process, its a major commitment that can take thousands of dollars and lots of preparation. You have to decide what type of adoption you would like to have, foreign or domestic. You need to decide what age range you’re interested in. Adopting a newborn is an extremely long process with lots of waiting lists and a major monetary commitment. Adopting a child from foster care means that you need to be mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with whatever issues that child has.

Adoption and fertility treatments are two very different paths to take on the way to building your family, but they are not substitutes for each other. People who aren’t intimately aware of a couple’s thoughts and feelings about that process, shouldn’t throw out the adoption angle as if they’re solving all an infertile couple’s problems. I assure you, the couple will not slap themselves on the forehead and say, “My Gosh! How did we forget about adoption? We just never thought about it!” There are different options for each family, but they have the right to decide what’s best for them privately, without anyone else’s input.

Having a baby is a special and intimate experience. I don’t care what anyone has to say about pregnancy. I loved it. I would never begrudge a woman that experience, if she feels the need to have her own child. I don’t think it has anything to do with passing your genes along or knowing your child’s history, more than anything I think that would-be parents are concerned about bonding with a child that they didn’t bear. Of course, there are millions of adoptive parents and children who will tell you that it isn’t a problem. But each couple gets to decide that for themselves. Parents who choose to adopt need to do so because they want to, not because pregnancy didn’t work and this is their next-best option.

Adoption is a special and admirable choice. But that doesn’t mean that those who choose fertility treatments are failing. It means that they are taking a different path, one that they have every right to choose.

(Photo: Thinkstock)