Why Don’t You Just Adopt?
Why Don’t You Just Adopt?
Not long ago, I was talking to a woman about infertility. She was not personally dealing with infertility, but like most people, she knows several people who are. As I was talking to her she said, “Explain to me why people who are infertile are not more open to adoption. I would think that if you want a child so badly that adoption would be a perfect option.” I don’t need to tell you that this issue is one that is a “hot button issue”…it raises all kinds of emotions and people are opinionated about it. What would your response be if someone confronted you with this question?…
We all have to do what we feel like the Lord wants us to do… I think of people I have known who wanted to adopt and I think it is great. My husband is adopted so it is a great blessing in our lives. But it is not quite as easy as people who have not gone through it believe. It is a long process with a huge wait. It is very expensive. Lots of heart break when birth parents back out. I personally knew someone on a waiting list for over 5 years. I know with my infertility, it helped to be doing something to combat it and feel like I was taking action. Just waiting is so hard. Infertility brings up so many feelings and emotions that already make you feel less of a women, having a child that is yours biologically feels like it will help with that loss. Also we all have to do what we feel like the Lord wants us to do with our trial. We had actually gone to LDS Family Services and had most of our paperwork filled out when we decided that we should do In-Vitro and that was the Lord’s plan for our family.
It is about finding our child…not just any child…Certainly, the desire to be a mother and have the blessing withheld brings many emotions. Some may naively feel that adoption is the “magic wand”. Ultimately, it’s not about “a child or any child” it’s about “our child”. The child meant to be with our family. All flesh is in His hands, He knows each of us and has a plan for our family.
On the surface it seems that adoption is the answer and cure to infertility. However, infertility and adoption are two very separate issues. There is the desire to become a mother and feel life growing inside our womb, to give birth (and all that goes with a biological process including breastfeeding), and to nurture a child. Certainly adoption provides a child, but the aching from the opportunity to bear a child is not biologically in the process. In our infertility journey, we wanted to prayerfully consider our options…this included medical treatments. We wanted to do everything within our power so that our Heavenly Father could make up for our inadequacies. We did not want our grief and inability to go through the grieving process to thwart our feelings for adoption. We did not want to go into adoption angry and resenting the process. When infertility treatment ended, we had to grieve!! We needed to grieve the loss of a biological child!! The idea that this child would have my eyes, my husband’s nose, etc.
The uninformed may feel that adoption is an easy process. Just as in infertility, there are hurtful comments: “As soon as you try to adopt you’ll get pregnant”, “so many children need good homes.” The reality is that in adoption, one still needs to wait upon the Lord for blessings. Of all unplanned pregnancies 40% result in abortion, the remaining choice is marriage and single parenting. Less than 2% of women in this situation choose adoption. For every child available for adoption, there are 75 couples hoping for that child. For foster care adoption, children can benefit from a safe and secure environment. The goal of foster care is to reunite families and provide support to troubled families. Adoption isn’t always possible and the process is “opening one’s heart and being prepared to let go”.
After grieving our infertility, we turned to adoption and, thankfully, that is how Heavenly Father has chosen to bring our children to our family in this life. It has been a difficult process. It has been a beautiful journey too. Yet I marvel at the miracle that adoption is in our lives. I have not born my children in the physical sense but certainly have born them. I have experienced adoption labor…praying, bearing the burdens alongside our son’s birthmother, clinging to my faith that despite all the pressures faced by birthfamilies they make the decision to place, letting go of my will for His will, and letting go of “control” essentially over a control of pregnancy and trusting a birthmother. I do not have the outward signs of pregnancy such as stretch marks, but I certainly have stretch marks on my heart.
Adoption doesn’t cure infertility. There are days when infertility sneaks up on me again. Comments about not being a real mother, hearing women share birthing stories, being told I can’t participate because I didn’t give birth, or when I hear women complain about going through a hot summer pregnant. Sometimes the sting of infertility hits at unexpected times. I acknowledge it and try to focus on eternity.
My children have been born in my heart! I do have a testimony that the Lord makes up for our losses. I can appear in court and hear the words declared by a judge that my children are heirs. Then go to the temple to have our children sealed and become heirs. Very powerful and beautiful words and promises. We, as women, are worried about our children no matter what side of the veil they reside. It is about finding our child…not just any child.
Growing our family…To answer that question, I would say that dealing with infertility is a process and it may take some time before a couple is ready to find out how they should grow their family.
For me, as soon as I found out that my husband and I could not have children biologically (ours was an absolute answer), I grabbed hold to the idea of adopting and talked with everyone I could about it. It was going to “solve” my problem and be my lifesaver. But we were not in a good place to adopt yet—we were in school and very transitory, we had no savings, etc. My husband also was dealing with depression and needed to work with a doctor for awhile before getting the right medication. The waiting time turned out to be good for us, because it caused us to slow down and get “settled” emotionally and spiritually first. We were grieving over our infertility and had time to try to understand what was happening to us as a couple. I regret talking with my friends and family so quickly about adoption, because they kept asking us when it was going to happen. What I really needed to do was give us some time to heal first.
Now, after five years, my husband and I are almost ready to start our process of adoption. After research, prayer and a lot of discussion, we feel confident that adoption will be a wonderful way to grow our family! But instead of looking to adoption as a “solution” to our problems, we are seeing it as a separate and beautiful process we’ll be going through together.
Of course, each couple will have their own story. But just as Heavenly Father will help us to grieve and heal, He will also help us know what steps to take to move forward in our lives and families.
Not as easy as many people think…Many couples who are trying to conceive are not ready to give up the hope of having their own biological child and looking at adoption for some symbolizes the last resort. For me I felt that even through the up and downs of fertility treatments I had more control over the situation. We were not waiting around hoping someone would choose us to raise their child and hoping they wouldn’t change their mind after we fell in love with the child. As an older mom (I got married at 36) I thought that no young girl would want to have someone, probably their parents age, adopt their child. I have heard of many friends (much younger than me) who after much expense and many years end up with no child, so I did not want to even take the risk. Some friends have suggested that we go through the government programs which are much less expensive, but most require you become a foster parent and hope you will get a child that is able to be adopted. I could not imagine the grief of raising a child for a certain amount of time and then have them taken back to their family, you truly have no control over the situation. I really admire those who can be foster parents, and I am sure the Lord blesses them with comfort and strength. Every couple needs to decide for themselves after much prayer what they need to do in order to have a family. Adoption as well as infertility treatments are not as easy as they might seem to the general public.
What I actually said…This topic is a loaded one for me…I could go on and on about it, but, for your sake, I will refrain. When this stranger said to me “Explain why people who are infertile are not more open to adoption. I would think that if you want a child so badly that adoption would be a perfect option,” I was indeed caught off guard and found myself searching for just the right answer. Perhaps I could have done a better job at expressing my feelings had I rehearsed prior to the interchange, however, we rarely have an opportunity to rehearse, right? I ended up saying to this lady that adoption does not cure infertility or any of the associated emotions. Yes, it does solve the problem of childlessness. Yet, even after a child joins your family, you are still left to emotionally (and socially, and spiritually, and physically) deal with your infertility. Some couples feel compelled to adopt while others don’t feel that adoption is the right way for them to build a family. I respect both groups of women. That is what I said. I wish it had been more earth shattering or profound, but that is what I verbalized under pressure.
As a side note…oftentimes, I think that adoption is assumed to be the “next step” for couples dealing with infertility, when really, it is one out of many options. Each option should be carefully researched and considered. Even after prayerful consideration, not every infertile couple will choose adoption, just like not every infertile couple will choose reproductive technologies.