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    “Adoption is Not the Same as Having a Child of Your Own”

    Dawn Davenport

    Adoption is not the same as having a child of your own

    We so readily focus on what adoptive parents miss when adopting, we overlook the unique joys of adoption that biological parents miss.

    Last week, I blogged on some insensitive comments posted on an essay about the pain felt by many infertile woman on Mother’s Day.  It wasn’t, however, just the infertile that were maimed by thoughtlessness.  A number of comments by infertile people in response to the questions of why not adopt echoed Maire: “Adoption is not the same as having a child of your own.”

    The statement that adoption is not the same as having a child of your own is both remarkably accurate and remarkably wrong.  The first part—“not the same as”—is quite true.  Adoption and giving birth are two very different ways of creating your family.  Just as New York City and Paris are two different vacation destinations, or chocolate and vanilla are two different flavors of ice cream.

    What Adoptive Parents Miss

    Adoptive parent don’t get to experience the joys and pains of pregnancy and birth.  They don’t have the visual proof of impending parenthood and the communal sharing this elicits.  They miss out on the wonder of seeing a tiny foot or head or butt make waves across the belly.  They don’t get to indulge in the pregnant parent’s favorite pastime–playing Guess the Gene. “Whose nose she will have” or “Will he get grandma’s gigantic feet?”  They likely won’t get to breastfeed exclusively.  The expense of adoption, while often similar to the expense of giving birth, is covered by the adoptive parents rather than insurance.  And then there is the worry about the unknown–prenatal exposures, genetic conditions, emotional state of the expectant mother, and on and on.

    What Biological Parents Miss

    We seem to focus so readily on what adoptive parent miss by not giving birth that we overlook what parents by birth miss by not adopting.  As a mother by birth and adoption, I have often felt a little sorry for people who haven’t adopted.  They have missed so much.

    If you haven’t adopted you haven’t felt the breath holding excitement of “getting the call” announcing that a birth mother has chosen you (domestic adoption) or that a child has been referred (international adoption).  You’ve missed the wonder of meeting a fully formed human being that is your child, complete with all the unspoken possibilities of that relationship.  Oh, and you’ll never have the pins and needles sensation of waiting to travel to pick up your child whether you’re driving across town or flying across an ocean—making lists, packing and unpacking, giggling at absolutely nothing, and worrying over absolutely everything.

    People who’ve never adopted have never felt the overwhelming intensity of first meeting their child.  It’s hard to explain the giddy anticipation mixed with unnamed anxiety.  This combination of emotions helps etch even the tiniest details into your memory forever– the colors, the smells, the words, the emotions.  For me, this moment is one of my “mountain top experiences”.

    Adoption can make the everyday seem miraculous.  The moment when this child that you met only a few months or even weeks before seeks you, and only you, out of the crowd with her eyes.  The moment when you realize that your small developmentally delayed child is now a robust into-everything preschooler, and the quiet pride you feel knowing that but for you, these gains may not have happened.  The contentment in knowing that you took a risk and it paid off.  A feeling of satisfaction unique to adoptive parents when we look around our Thanksgiving table and realize that we are a family created by choice and love.

    Yes Marie, you’re so right.  Creating a family by adoption is not the same as creating a family by birth.  You couldn’t be more wrong, however, about the “child of your own” part.

    What Exactly Is “A Child of Your Own”?

    I’m not exactly sure what Marie and others meant by “a child of your own”, but it implies a desire for a child who looks and acts like you.  A child you conceive will share half your DNA, and while it’s true that appearance and certain characteristics are influenced by genetics, what’s most interesting from research, as well as from my personal experience, is how little of our traits, personality, and intelligence are controlled exclusively by our genes.  (I highly recommend the Creating a Family  show on Nature vs. Nurture).

    A child conceived and born of you and your spouse will be a mixing of two different gene pools, with a unique environment thrown in for good measure.  Your child by birth may be nothing like you at all.  I can honestly say that I am no more similar to my kids by birth than to my kid by adoption.  And for the record, similarities are overrated.  Being similar to a child doesn’t guarantee closeness or parental enjoyment.  In fact, sometimes it means just the opposite.  Also, it’s easy to find similarities with all your kids, if you look for them.

    I suspect that those who made the comments are seeking a feeling of “this child is mine”.  But what they are missing is that this feeling comes through the acts of parenting.  Sure, giving birth is one act, and a big darn act at that, but parenting is made up of thousands of acts each day, and it is the sum total of all these acts of claiming that creates this feeling of “owness”.  Biology has little to do with it, unless you make it.

    I worry a little when I hear the word “own” used in relation to our children.  I am sure that Marie would assure me that she wasn’t using “own” in the possessive sense, but I wonder.  I know that before I had children, and even when my children were young, I thought of them as an extension of myself.  It was only after my children grew older that I completely grasped the concept that I am only along for a short part of the ride.  I can influence and guide, but never own.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all Kahlil Gibran on you, but your kids are never really yours regardless how they join your family.

    I can hear it now, all these things I mentioned that are special about adoption are not necessarily unique to adoption.  Parents by birth can and do have some of these same experiences.  True enough, but doesn’t that help make the bigger point?  I have always realized that I am immensely blessed to have had children by both birth and adoption. I can’t imagine not having had the joy and excitement of doing it both ways.  Neither giving birth to a child not adopting a child is superior; both are special, and both are great ways to have a child of your very own.


    Image credit:  Jonathan_Fenton

    27/03/2014 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 150 Comments

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    150 Responses to “Adoption is Not the Same as Having a Child of Your Own”

    1. RFD AMERICA says:

      Unless you worked with the birth parents and the adoption was agreeable to all parties, you stole the child. Adoptive families are not FOREVER families. A court-order is only good until the age of 18. DNA is forever. Stop forced adoptions by CPS. No child should ever be adopted out if either parent objects. No parent should ever lose the right to contact their child. Thanks to social media, the archaic practice of forcible adoption is no longer permanent. Children are rejecting their government-approved families and fleeing for their biological family.

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        Hummmm,agenda anyone?

      • Jane says:

        How can anyone say that adoptive families are not forever families. Blood may be thicker than water but love is thicker than blood. Children are not carelessly taking from their homes by CPS, they are taking from their homes for a reason of abuse whether sexual or physical, and neglect due to the BIOLOGICAL PARENTS not being able to step up and be parents. Your comments seem to stem from a misguided position or an uneducated place.

    2. perri says:

      thanks for the great article! brings in so much positivity about the whole concept of adoption. i’ve always been terrified with the idea of giving birth and now my health issues may not be able to support it. leaves me with adoption as the way to go. i know there will be loads of things i will miss by not being a biological mother but i’m hoping adoption will be great in its own special way. thankfully my fiance is very supportive of this decision. shall be back with more experiences and comments!

    3. Courtney says:

      What a bunch of delusional whiners. If you didn’t give birth to the child you’re not the mother. That’s a fact. You can in no way love the child as much as a real mother does (I’m not taking about abusove parents so don’t reply with that nonsense). The only reason adopters constantly whine about things people say to them, like this blog post, is because it disrupts their little fantasy. Guess what? No you cannot love an adopted child as much as a biological and no an adopted child is not your own and never will be. Yes, I know you want everyone to continually play into your delusions but I won’t. Some people are brave enough to admit or say the truth to you psychos and they should be commended for that. The reason you fools get so offended by it is because deep down you know they’re right

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        Courtney, please please please NEVER adopt.

        • Clark says:

          She’s cleary just some spoiled immature kid who most likely bullies adopted children at school just to make herself feel good. Well, Courtney, do us all a favor and get lost. Your insensitive ignorance is not wanted or needed here.

    4. Judith Bell says:

      This is true: “Neither giving birth to a child not adopting a child is superior; both are special, and both are great ways to have a child of your very own.”

      Both ways are good, But yes, babies who are in adoption agencies deserve to have family and parent love. So parents who are considering adoption should be cheerful and happy that they doing something more good then giving birth to own child.

    5. Evan says:

      Domestic newborn adopters are vile pieces of trash that should all be shot and put out of their psychotic infertile misery. You all, every last one, are delusional, pathetic, narcissistic, baby abusers. You’re infertile for a reason and it’s not so you can go exploit impoverished people for their children that you want to force into your delusion. Sickos!!

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        Some days it’s really difficult to know whether to approve comments or not. I try to ere on the side of approving because at least it shows the world that these type of opinions really do exist. {sigh}

      • Emily Cee says:

        Wow. First, I am sorry you have obviously had such a horrible experience. Maybe you were adopted and abused, you should take a look at where that anger comes from. You are also sadly misinformed. Not all adoptive parents adopt because they are infertile. The author of this article has biological kids as well as adopted kids. And kids who are adopted don’t necessarily come from impoverished families. And abuse happens in bio families too.

      • Cindy says:

        Evan: whoa!!!!!!! You are one angry sick puppy, I sure hope you never “breed”. As an adult adoptee who found her birthmother, I can assure you that your comment is beyond offensive to all three sides of the adoption triangle. My adoption was a closed adoption and it took a great deal of time (and there was no internet access in 1989 for the whole world) for me to find her. I was the youngest of six children, and the product of an affair with a married man. She already had two children by him, and her decision to give me up was very hard for her, but the best thing she could have done for me. I was never able to look at her as my mother, because she wasn’t there when I needed mothering. I was very lucky and blessed that she made that difficult and unselfish decision. Now, I suggest you take a nap and shut up, you’re a tad cranky.

      • Cheissi Haar says:


      • Christain says:

        THAT HURTS!!!!

        I was adopted when I was a little baby because my real mom didn’t want me, and they are the most loving people you could ever come across, and I love them very much. I plan to adopt later on down the road because I want to give a child the same love and good life my adoptive parents gave me. Heck my adoptive parents are my one and only true parents for I was too young to know my biological parents, and they have treated me as if I was blood related. The love is still there, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s biological or adoption, the child is still your own.

      • Anna says:

        I am not infertile and have a household income of over 100,000 a year. My husband an I choose to adopt because we didn’t see a reason why we should create a new child when there are plenty of other children who deserves a loving home. Don’t be ignorant and say sweeping statements that overlook so many wonderful parents who take care of children who have been born into unfortunate circumstances. They deserve more than that.

    6. Todd says:

      Who the hell says that parents and children have to be blood related to love each other? In 1999 my wife and I adopted a beautiful 14 year old girl some time after giving birth to our first child. This poor girl was abused and neglected throughout her childhood and needed as much love as she could get, and we were more than happy to take her in, even during the joy we experienced at the birth of our own. Since then we’ve cared very deeply about this girl just as much as we do our real daughter. And she feels the same way about us. Being a family is not about having the same flesh and blood. It’s about what’s in your heart. And I have loved my adopted daughter with a passion since the day we met. And she loves me as if I were her real father. She even calls me Daddy, which by the way brought tears of joy to my eyes the first time I heard her say it. So don’t tell me that parents and children have to have the same blood running through their veins to truly love each other. That is just total ignorant nonsense.

    7. unknown says:

      Hello everyone. I found this site just searching for some closure to my feelings. I am almost 46 and childless. I have however raised my two step children. I have lived a double life for many years because I have always wanted a child of my own. I understand the longing or statement of “my Own”. My husband however will go along with whatever my decision is. My issue is I have tried everything medically to have a child but it just didn’t work out for me. My sister-in-law seems to think adoption should be my next step. I guess in some instance I am just selfish because I have spent my entire adult loving and caring and sharing someone else’s children and I just wanted my own. Not only that but how do you choose from one child to another. All children need love. I guess I am also afraid of adopting and that child growing up and one day wanting to know who his/her real parents are. Not only that but my husband if a grandfather now. So to decide to adopt would mean starting over instead of enjoying life at this point. So I feel left out and uncertain on my future.

      • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

        unknown, your first step is to start getting educated on adoption so you’ll better know if this is an option you should consider. Sign up for the Creating a Family weekly newsletter. https://creatingafamily.org/subscribe/

      • Cindy says:

        Unknown: I was adopted at birth and for some odd reason when I was growing up I had several close friends who were also adopted. We all wondered why we were placed for adoption, we all thought of it from time to time, but not that much. As far as I know, I’m the only one who actually searched and found my birthmother. My brother was also adopted, and he has never wanted to know, he has the basics and that’s good enough for him. But here is what you need to know, that child will be YOUR child, I can’t think of my birthmother as my mother, that’s impossible. Your fear is normal and common, but if you and your husband decide to make this decision, your baby will be yours.

    8. Leslie says:

      It’s a shame there isn’t more financial support for both fertility treatments and adoption. Sometimes after spending tens of thousands of dollars to get pregnant there isn’t tens of thousands left to adopt.

    9. Renee Gougeon Gurski says:

      I love this so much!

    10. Lorraine Nowlin says:

      The author is the best type of person who should adopt.

    11. Rach says:

      Adoption, unfortunately is not an option for us.

      If it was, I’d happily have looked into it.

      That being said I did and do want to be pregnant to experience my child growing inside me, getting bigger, feeling it move for the first time and then bringing it into this world.

      I think both biological and adoptive children have their own special qualities and bring something unique to families in their own ways.

      Happy ICLW!!
      #40 http://thegalwho.wordpress.com/

    12. Brandy says:

      This article sounds good, but in reality, there is no substitute for a blood related child. There’s nothing wrong with adoption. To each his own in my opinion. But I would much rather be able to look into the eyes of my own biological child everyday. You can’t love anyone else the same way you love your own flesh and blood. You can love an adopted child, it’s nowhere near the kind of unconditional love that happens with a biological child.

      • Brandy, you couldn’t be more wrong about the love parents feel for their children regardless whether they are adopted or biological. But, if you feel this way PLEASE do not adopt.

      • Melissa says:

        Brandy, it’s closed minded people like you that are referenced in this article. I hope for the sake of everyone, you never adopt.

      • Erica says:

        How incredibly insensitive. There are a ton of people who cannot biologically have their own children, that would love adopted children just as much. I hope you don’t pass you ignorance and hatred to anyone else.

        • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

          Ummm Erica, I hope you caught that the blog was not supporting that comment–hence why the title was in quotes.

      • robin says:

        You have defined yourself with your statement. When you speak of unconditional love that parents feel for biological children, how do you explain the tens of thousands of parents who abuse or neglect their children to the point that their parental rights are terminated? Or the ones that don’t wish to raise the baby they are having? And what of the tens of thousands of adoptive parents who are willing to put in the time, money and effort to take these children into their home, love them and care for them and give them the life they deserve? I have both biological and adopted children- I can attest that I love both of them unconditionally. I understand our choices are not for everyone. With all due respect, each of us can answer only for oneself – that goes for you too. YOU are the one that cannot love a child that is not your flesh and blood unconditionally. That is a perfectly legitimate way for you to feel. What’s not ok is for you to generalize it to everyone else. I’m utterly offended by your post.

        • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

          Ummm Robin, did you read the blog??? If so, you would have realized that the title was a quote that I strongly disagreed with. Hummmm, maybe reading before assuming and posting would be a good idea next time.

      • AliB says:

        This was a fantastic article. Brandy, I’m sorry that your experiences have made you come to this conclusion. Ever since I was a child, I’ve wanted to adopt. I don’t have any fertility issues; adoption is my first choice. I don’t understand why people think that is odd. I don’t get emotional watching birth stories and I usually don’t cry at movies, but show me a good adoption documentary and I can’t stop crying happy tears. Many biological parents do not love their children unconditionally but I am absolutely certain that I will love my children unconditionally, no matter how they become mine.

        • Larah says:

          I am of the opinion that the unconditional love attributed to biological parents is that of ‘you have no other choice’……because otherwise,I would consider the adoptive parent as the one who has unconditional love

      • Jackie says:

        Im adopted. And i have one brother who is my moms biological child and i can day im the favorite. I never think oh thats my adopted mom shes just mom. And i know with certainty that she sees me as her child. I was born by another woman to be delivered to my mother. I chose my mom and she chose me. And after 6 years of foster care it was and still is amazing. What happens if the child looks nothing like you or your husband? Will you love it less? How selfish of you. In reality me and my 2 biological brothers look like each other but we look ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like our birth presents… its kinda strange. But while my mom has blue eyes and i have brown we have the same love and happiness in them. People tell us all the time that we favor each other. It saddens me that people dont see that while i an adopted, im really not. I just to the long way to get to my REAL family. Thw people that created me are not my family. They were more like vessels to carry me to the family i was made for

        • Melanie says:

          Thank you for some insight Jackie. I have a bio child and my husband and I think adoption might be the way we are going to choose to expand our family. My concern is bringing in another child when there is a bio child and how that might work years from now.

          For some of these posters that are making such uneducated comments about never being able to love a child that isn’t blood, not only do I hope you NEVER EVER adopt, but that you NEVER EVER have biological children. To pass on that kind of small mindedness, that kind of language about people you don’t know, to think your primary job as a parent is to birth and that is it, I feel bad for your children.

      • Elizabeth James says:

        This is refreshing and I do not find your comment offensive at all. I, as an adopted person, feel the reverse. For me, there is no substitute for my biological family, who are so much like me. I wish I could have stayed with them, but due to temporary difficulties now long past they were forced to relinquish. I hope adoptive parents realize that as much as they insist their adopted child is their own, there are really no guarantees about how the child will feel when they grow up. They may love their adoptive parents “as their own,” or they may love them differently, or even not as much as, their biological parents. And I don’t see what’s so wrong with being honest about that.

      • Cindy says:

        Brandy; I am so glad that you never adopted a child, you sound like a vicious and cruel troll with such a pathetic life that the only joy you get is posting cruel comments about a subject you know nothing about. I was adopted, and I gave birth to my own children, let me tell you something pumpkin, you are dead wrong. How do you live with yourself?

      • Daniela says:

        You are entitled to your opinion but it is one that you should really keep to yourself. So basically as an adopted person I should feel “less than” and not as special as a child that was naturally born into a family? Super…you did your job and made me feel awful…hope that made your day!

      • moonb says:

        This may be true, at least in your case. But I’ve noticed that so many parents of adult biological children have problems loving them once they’re grown and out of the parents’ control, and may make different choices than those that reflect or are similar to their parents’ choices. Your comment implies that your “flesh and blood” owes you something, or has a lot in common with you, or exists to reflect what you want. This may not be the case. I wonder if love really is a combination of fantasy and projection, control, and hope for rewards later. And how can we even measure love? By numbers? Haha!

      • Teresa says:

        I have giving birth and have also adpoted.one day my mother in law said she didn’t think she could love my daughter the same way she loves her biological grandchildren.i was in shock coming from a woman who is a christian.i looked at her and said that Christ adopted you. So r you telling me that Christ loves his chosen people more then us adopted ones.she didn’t know what to say to that.Christ loves us all the same and it something very spiritual and amazing happens when you look into the eyes of your adopted child.I love both of my children the same and to me they are both mine.one from under my heart the other from my heart.we call her the chosen one and she laughs about it.she always tells her brother that too.just remember I am the chosen one.lol

    13. T.G. says:

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post.

    14. Donna says:

      I’ve been struck by the consistent use of the phrase “adopted child” to refer to anyone who happens to be adopted, regardless of whether or not adoption has any relevance to the specific context of the conversation. It seems to me that people who use “adopted child” consistently must believe that how one acquires a child is a very important bit of information. If it is the defining attribute of a child, then we need to do a better job of describing all contingencies, not just adoption. How should we refer to children who are not adopted? Biological doesn’t really seem to be the correct way to describe children who share their parents DNA. Logically, all children are biological creatures, including those who are adopted. Clearly, we need better and more precise terms to describe children who are not adopted. Here are a few possibilities –

      Conceived in the back seat of an old Ford on a country road before they were married child

      John’s, thanks to a sperm donor, child

      Faulty condom child

      In-vitro fertilization child

      Forgot to take the pill child

      Tried to save the marriage child

      Too much to drink child

      Celebrating a new job child

      Couldn’t say no child

      Oops, I thought you were fixed, child

      Offensive? Ridiculous? Absolutely! A parent’s relationship with his or her child is not defined by any of the circumstances through which that child might have been conceived, but by the love and the bond that exist between parent and child. So it is for the child and parent who happen to be joined through the legal process known as adoption. There is no one path toward creating the magical connection between parent and child. It is only important that the connection exists.

      How your children come to you isn’t important. It doesn’t matter whether they
      ï‚· are put into your arms in the delivery room;
      ï‚· are handed to you high in the Andes wrapped in a big sheet with no diaper and a bad case of cradle cap;
      ï‚· arrive home at one in the morning breaking out with chicken pox and screaming after seven hours in the car;
       walk into your kitchen holding the social worker’s hand saying “You my new mommy?”
      From those moments on, they are your children with all of the joy and pain that comes with being a parent.

    15. Donna says:

      Questions Not to Ask About Our Seven Children
      (Five of whom happen to be adopted)

      Are they all your real children?
      No, some of them are imaginary. We just pretend that we have lots of children. It gives us an excuse to have a messy house.

      Are they your biological children?
      No, some are wind up toys. There are also a few paper dolls and a couple of wooden stick figures.

      Which ones are your own?
      All of them are our own. We walked them to sleep, tucked them in at night, kissed their boo-boos, slept on a cot beside their bed when they were in the hospital, helped them with their homework, changed their bed when they got sick in the middle of the night, washed their clothes, baked their birthday cakes, wrapped their Christmas presents, attended all the concerts, school performances and sports events, and loved them with all our hearts. That makes them our own. How we got them doesn’t have anything to do with it.

    16. Nicole Marty says:

      I read the section titled “What Biological Parents Miss” thinking I might find an explanation of what the biological “birth” parents of a child may be thinking and feeling or “missing” about their child (and hoping maybe I could relate to it). Upon reading the article, I was extremely disappointed in finding that the article avoided the entire issue of birth parents and their grief as a whole. I do not mean to come off as a bitter birthmother, but I really wish adoptive mothers (and families) could be better educated or better know of what it is like to give a child up for adoption.

      • Nicole Mary, you don’t come of bitter at all, just as someone who is new to our site. This blog post was intended to address something entirely different–it was addressing a comment made by a fertile woman about adopted kids not being the same as adopted kids. We have other article/blogs talking about the birth parent experience. One you might find interesting is Who Grieves When an Adopted Child Dies. We have also done a # of Creating a Family show with panels of birth mothers to try to better understand their feelings. You might want to join the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/40688106167/). We have a number of first moms in that group and we welcome their input in sharing the birth mother experience.

    17. ANKUR says:


    18. Karla says:

      I have two children: one of whom I gave birth to and one who I birthed from my heart (yes adopted ). Since the day I brought my daughter home from the hospital as a foster child at two weeks there has been no difference to me in my passionate love if both of my children. Honestly I now forget who is adopted and who is biological.

    19. Von C Von C says:

      I’m very sad to see that Anon feels s/he has nothing to learn from blogs – they are a rich source of real experience, real lives and raw emotions. The world of adoption is complex, has many facets and many of us have learned that there are no experts in adoption, those who call themselves experts rarely are. When we close our minds to learning and discovering how the world of adoption really operates in all it’s aspects it maintains something that is unhealthy and needs reform badly.

    20. Von C Von C says:

      As an adult adoptee who has suffered infertility and who understands adoption from ‘the inside’ and also loved all my parents I would be interested to know the reasons why Dawn decided not to publish my last comment on this post.

    21. Cynthia C Cynthia C says:

      Shannon certainly not all adoptions turn out like you fear! My first adoption of a daughter at 1 yr. old~she is now an adult is a very happy, healthy, well-adjusted, loves her adopted mom, dad and siblings. She has meet her bio-family and is still very attached to us, loves us, and knows many stories of times that thankfully she missed. I know many adoptees are not happy but perhaps you do not hear much about the happy ones. Just wanted you to know we have one in our family.

    22. Lisa says:

      Anon.. Too many of my bio family never even liked me and due to such I didn’t feel a lot of warm fuzzies in return. There is no guarantee in life bio or adopted or landed on planet as a baby on a meteor like superman that people will like, love, respect, appreciate, etc. If you do your best to care for your child and help them get through life then you’ve done your piece. As I tell my kids not everything in life has to be a contest. I don’t have to love one more than another and don’t fear if they should care about bio family. I do know what you are talking about with the barrage of negativity which if we learn from and constructive it’s good but if only serves to hurt then bad but I see you as going to other extreme. You point out it is wrong. But then you say it will make you turn away. Wrong is wrong, Some have this Cinderella concept and can’t distinguish between what should be in a perfect world and what is. There is no more truth that children should stay in bio families than to say all should be adopted. Every story is different.

    23. Lina N Lina N says:

      Very nice article

    24. Lisa D Lisa D says:

      I am glad for the frustrating, terrifying, emotional, in the dark, and sometimes disappointing or heartbroken journey on the way to my children because that is the journey that led to them. If I could go back and trade it all for an easy ride or genetic path I would not. I love them and always will. Grass is always greener on other side for bio or adoptive whether discussing children or adults. Sometimes we learn through watching others and sometimes we don’t believe it unless we experience for ourselves. If you take time to read from others you will see there is no group that has an easy path. There are hard stories on all sides and good stories on all sides. If you find the people who love you and you love someone in life regardless of genetic background you r lucky.

    25. Sieba H Sieba H says:

      Love is a decision and you have to do that with any child at some point.

    26. Korrie S Korrie S says:

      I love the ending

    27. Amelia S Amelia S says:

      Read the article it is actually a rebuttal to that

    28. Dawnmarie O Dawnmarie O says:

      Cherí Howard go read the article. That’s the point, that the child is our own.

    29. Suzanne S Suzanne S says:

      With all due respect to commenters, when I became a mom,, the needs of my child supercede my own. It’s ok if my child who is adopted never loves me as much as I love them. It’s ok if she yearns to find out her biological roots. I didn’t become a mom so I would have someone who loved me, I became a mom so that I could share the love I have in my heart.

    30. Cherí H Cherí H says:

      I haven’t read the article yet, but the title rubs me the wrong way. “…having a child of your own”…that just sounds really bad. When we adopt, the child DOES become our own! I wish the author had said “biological child” instead.

    31. Ali Jayne says:

      What a great article…thank you for writing it :)
      I am in the process of becoming an adoptive parent and often the first thing people say to me when they find out is “did you not want to have (or could you not have) kids of your own?” which is a) very rude to ask someone, and b) a bit sad that the stigma of adoption as something “less than” still exists.
      Thank you for being open and proud of your special role as a parent and family :)

    32. cb says:

      Anon AP – it is nice to read your thoughtful comments.

    33. Greg says:

      I think you are just trying to stir the pot because you know I am blunt, and have said as much before – but sure, I will say it again. No one should adopt when they hold that type of attitude, because adoption is supposed to be in the best interests of the child. That is why they have classes, and counselling, to find a level of peace with them situation, and openness and knowledge about adoption – before they are approved – that is the job of the social worker.”

      I was just pointed out that you were being just as unfair to your side as you were accusing others of. Be fair and point out that Holly’s place of hurt caused her to lash out just as Shannon did.

      I’ve been where Shannon is before and no I was not ready to pursue adoption. For me to be as effective a parent as I need to be I had to be in a better mental place before pursuing. And realize there is another half of the picture that needs to be ready as well.

    34. Anonymous says:

      I’m not judging all adoptees and first mothers, as you are assuming TAO, just the ones that I have encountered through blogs like the ones I described. I have learned a great deal from blogs by adoptees and first mothers who are able to present their views in a fair and balanced way, by which I mean they don’t present adoption as the root of all evil and where they accept that for some people adoption is a valid way of building their families, and that there does not NEED to be other motives-saving the world, providing temporary homes for children whose bio parents are just “having a hard time”. That sometimes it’s okay if a PAP only wants to be a parent. It’s amazing what you can learn when you are looking at a blog that doesn’t assume that you, as an IF/PAP you are not a lower form of life. This is where I have gotten a lot of my information about adoption, and I honour this information. But alas even these blogs are not safe places to learn, because someone from the other blogs always chimes in with opinions that seek to discredit anything that I might have gleaned from this other blog and its authors. The internet is not a safe place for me to learn about these issues, and I’m slowly becoming okay with that. I will get my information elsewhere-from real experts, not just the ones who only put forth facts that support their own prejudices. I wish to have no further discussion with you on these issues. I know where you stand and you know where I stand and that will have to be enough.

    35. TAO says:

      Pretty sure you haven’t read my blog…or you didn’t hear it anyway…nor do I know Holly either…but you have assumed what you will…and yet, I don’t judge all adoptive parents by the same broad brush holding them to same beliefs, and attitudes, or actions, as you have for all adoptees and all first mothers…

    36. Anonymous says:

      TAO-I’m sorry but I will not take your challenge, because I have reached a point where I have learned as much of the lesson that you and the first mothers who regret choosing adoption want to teach me as I can take. And that lesson is this: as someone who is IF and who is physically incapable of offering any future children a genetic connection to myself or my spouse, I can never hope to be “good enough” as a parent. Something will always be missing in our relationship, something that my husband and I are unable to provide due to a physical disability and that our child will always resent us for. This is the message that I have taken away from the “teachings” that you have put out there for people like me to learn from-that no matter how loving and caring a parent you might be capable of being, no matter what other life giving things you might be able to provide for a child, at the end of the day it will not be enough for anyone, least of all the child you have raised and considered your own, in spite of your physical failings. The best someone like you can hope for is to provide a temporary safe place for a child through the foster care system-which of course has the ultimate goal of reuniting all children with their REAL (read: biological) parents-and if you dare to aspire to anything more lasting, then once again you have failed-failed to accept your own defective nature, failed to remember that your child is not truly your own, etc. I would like to believe that the love given to a child by an adoptive parent or a parent through 3rd Party ART is good for something-not to make up for the lack of a genetic or biological tie, but as a force for good that could benefit a child-not because I don’t believe that biological ties are important, but because a loving home and love for a child is all that I can offer-I am not in a position to offer them my genetic material. But from reading your adoptee blogs and certain first mother blogs, all I hear is that the love I have to offer is not enough because the genetic connection is not and cannot be there. My family will be different than other families formed through natural means because it has to be, but to you and others that means that my family is ultimately wrong or bad or should not come into being at all. This fear is deeply rooted in my heart (and I read it as being part of Shannon’s journey, too), but my heart and mind at the same time tell me that even though my family has to be different due to circumstances beyond my control, it can still be a good one. They tell me that I can still be a good mother to a child and my husband can still be a good father to that child, even though we will not be connected to them physically-they will not look like us, sound like us, smell like us, take after us in any genetic way. These beliefs are the ones that keep me going on this journey, and I need to hold onto them, because they help me to overcome the fears that could paralyze me and keep me from resolving my IF grief by moving forward in some meaningful way.
      So it doesn’t help me one bit to hear from first/birth mothers and adoptees who seek to feed on those fears and use them against persons like me when we seek to learn from your stories. Once again, I will use your friend Holly’s example “Stay afraid and don’t adopt”-in any other realm such a comment would be considered bullying-identifying another person’s weakness (fear, physical disability) and preying upon it in order to intimidate them-yep, sounds like Holly’s comment to a T. But I digress. I don’t want an echo chamber as you claim, but I don’t want to be taunted and made to feel like my future family will be inferior just because I cannot give them the “gift” of genetic connection. This is something that first mothers and adoptees are very comfortable in doing when they seek to “teach” (or “re-educate”) those of us who are seeking to build our families in healthy ways through these alternate means, and I don’t find it helpful. In fact I find it harmful. If this is the “take home” message that you want all PAP’s and ART parents to be to absorb and never forget, you can count me out. I know that my family will be different than others-I have no choice but for it to be different-IF stole that choice from me and my husband a long time ago. I cannot offer my future children a full genetic connection to both his/her parents, but my husband and I can give them other things, things that I still believe are valuable and worthwhile. Do I expect our children to be grateful for what we will offer? No-I wouldn’t expect gratitude from biological children either-but I hope that they would be at peace with what my husband and I CAN offer them, despite our genetic/physical failures. I dare to hope that at the end of the day that even if the love that my husband and I will offer our child (ren) will not be “perfect” in the eyes of the world, it will still mean something to our children. No, we will not be as good as biological parents-we can’t be-but there are still ways in which we can be good parents to a child we might be able to call our own. I believe this, and I will not relinquish that belief just to satisfy those who have the privilege of being able to give and enjoy a genetic/biological connection to the children they can call their own.

    37. TAO says:


      I think you are just trying to stir the pot because you know I am blunt, and have said as much before – but sure, I will say it again. No one should adopt when they hold that type of attitude, because adoption is supposed to be in the best interests of the child. That is why they have classes, and counselling, to find a level of peace with them situation, and openness and knowledge about adoption – before they are approved – that is the job of the social worker.

    38. Greg says:

      “As to Holly’s comment – she qualified that was her view and hers alone – she did not generalize to all adoptees…Shannon’s comment wasn’t very nice either but no one said wait a minute to that – did they…”

      Along the same lines Tao, I don’t see you having an issue with Holly’s comments you are just defending them. I think both Shannon and Holly’s comments come from a place of hurt. Though different types of hurt for different reasons. If you want to be fair, I think you need to recognize that fact and take their comments with a grain of salt. We shouldn’t just defend the side that we come from which you are doing the exact same thing you are accusing others of.

    39. Anon AP says:

      Interesting post, Dawn, thanks!

      As an adoptive parent who came to adoption after an infertility diagnosis, I have to say that Amanda’s comment doesn’t feel like an attack to me. Pointed and passionate, yes, but she’s writing about her life and experiences. That tends to give one a bit of energy.

      Anyway, Amanda and Lynn, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I did, however, feel like Shannon was launching an attack on Amanda. This line in particular really saddens me:
      “But I bet they won’t turn that nice hefty inheritance away though when their adopted parents die while they’re licking their wounds looking for their “real mom” like as if the rest of the world doesn’t have pain in their life equal to theirs.”
      What a harsh thing to say to anyone! You may be frustrated and angry, but that really was uncalled for and quite rude.

      Adoption hinges on the breaking and making of families, and it is terribly complex. Even done ethically and in a fully child-centered manner, as happy as all the members of an adoptive family can be, it still started with a sad circumstance that can have a lifelong impact on everyone in the family.

      When I read Amanda’s post, I see her criticizing a system that, rather than helping her adoptive mother grieve and come to resolution about her infertility, encouraged her to put it in a box and adopt a child. As if that were the answer and as if it were some sort of math problem and the negative plus its equivalent positive would make all the pain go away. As a result, it colored the way that her mother interacted with her. It wasn’t fair to her mother or to Amanda that this occurred, right? The pain of infertility is related but separate from the desire and drive to be a parent. One can become a parent, but unless one deals with the pain of infertility and its consequences too, it will lurk there and may well affect the relationship between a parent and child. That’s a problem. Lynn talks about a similar dynamic. Adoption is not a substitute for a biological child, which is the crux of the matter. It’s different! As a prospective adoptive parent it’s a good idea to recognize and embrace the differences and resolve whatever grief lurks re: biological connections before choosing adoption AND be mindful of how it affects your engagement with your child.

      As for what my child owes me? Please. Love and trust are earned. No biological child (biologee?) is obligated to be grateful to their parents, and no adoptee should have that obligation placed upon them either.

    40. TAO says:

      Anonymous #76/79…I have a challenge for you. Read Amanda’s comment and Shannon’s comment back. Focus on this ending comment “Life is full of enough strife and I will be damned if I will go through all of that and give my heart away to a child and never be really appreciated or loved because they all really feel like Amanda deep inside when the chips are down and they are older. But I bet they won’t turn that nice hefty inheritance away though when their adopted parents die while they’re licking their wounds looking for their “real mom” like as if the rest of the world doesn’t have pain in their life equal to theirs.”

      I read Amanda’s as a researched based comment on facts. Yet you eschew Amanda’s and speak of echo chambers (which is what you are seeking here I might add).

      The I read Shannon’s response…specifically the last part as I am preparing to go visit my 88 year old mom…you can do the math to get an estimate of the length of our mother/daughter relationship.

      Now this point of yours: “We are all vulnerable, and we are all trying to learn how to do things better and differently than they were done in the past so that those hurts and mistakes will not be repeated in the future” – you can not, and never can fix the fundamental fact that to be adopted, means we have another family out there. That adoption severed that link and attached us to another family. That is a loss in the purest form, whether it is the best thing possible, a status quo exchange, or, the worst choice. It is what it is. People are who they are but the desire to have mini-me is strong in many, and parenting a child who is not, can’t be parenting a child to make them like you want them to be – acceptance of their uniqueness, or difference to you, is a very valid requirement that is often, not always, completely different than raising your mini-me would be, because even if they are different, you uncle or cousin is like they are and you accept it with ease that you may find hard to do with grace for an adopted child. There are distinct differences…there are seven core challenges facing adoptees in addition to all the regular stuff – openness helps part but not all.

      As to Holly’s comment – she qualified that was her view and hers alone – she did not generalize to all adoptees…Shannon’s comment wasn’t very nice either but no one said wait a minute to that – did they…

    41. Anonymous says:

      Thank you, Dawn for editing and posting my comment. I’m sorry for getting overheated, but when I read Holly’s unfiltered response to Shannon, I guess it triggered me and brought out a side that I’m not proud of. But I still feel that AP’s who want to learn more about the realities of adoption should be able to learn it without being subjected to such cruel responses. Such atttitudes might be okay in blogs such as the Declassified Adoptee, where such words can bounce off echo chambers of similar ideas and attitudes and be affirmed as 100% right, but here where PAP’s and those of us who must turn to ART to build our families don’t need to have abuse heaped upon us just because we are unable to do it on our own through unassisted means. There’s education, and then there is abuse, and Holly’s comment falls under that category for me. From where I stand, she wasn’t trying to educate, she was trying to kick a PAP while they were down. We may be IF, but we are still human, with the same desires and fears as any other person who seeks to become a parent. I want to listen to adoptees and first mothers, but I cannot do so if they do not accept that respect is a two way street. I am finding it harder and harder to find places where such mutual respect is present in conversations about adoption and ART-if you are a first parent or an adoptee, you are pretty much entitled to say whatever you want, without having to care if your words hurt another person, but if you are IF or a PAP or a parent to be through ART, you have to walk on eggshells to keep from offending those on the other side. We are all vulnerable, and we are all trying to learn how to do things better and differently than they were done in the past so that those hurts and mistakes will not be repeated in the future, and when we come together in places where the experiences are diverse, we need to respect one another’s right to be there for their reasons, even if you yourself don’t agree with those reasons. If a PAP or parent to be through ART or 3rd party reproduction is here, they are here to learn, not to be abused or condemned for what has brought to them to this place of education, or to be told that their desire to be a parent is wrong-that is not their place. Thank you

    42. Greg says:

      When people say they loved their parents it doesn’t tell the whole story. Just because they love their parents doesn’t mean they were always supported by them and weren’t hurt by them. At the end of the day be it a biological child or an adopted one when they grow up to become an adult they’ll be their own person. So parents shouldn’t be offended when their kids become adults and have other relationships in their lives especially when they get married.

      I wasn’t adopted by as I get older I am finding I have less in common with my parens than I do my in laws. I also haven’t felt supported completely by them in the decisions I’ve made as an adult such as career choices and the decisions my wife and I have made with our infertilty. Does that mean I don’t love them? No, I still love them. Does that mean I don’t appreciate wharf they did for me as a child? Of course I appreciate what they did for me as a child.

      My only issue with Amanda’s comment is her saying she had fertility issues so she understands. No she doesn’t. She may understand what it’s like to have fertility issues and eventually be able to have bio children. But she has no idea what it’s like to have fertility issues and never be able to conceive a child. That’s like someone who had a father who abandoned her as a baby and was raised by a single mother saying they understood what it’s like to be adopted.

    43. Anonymous says:

      Dawn-if you choose not to post my response to #72 I will understand but I hope you will

      Holly-Since I don’t know your story I won’t presume that your description of your life with your AP’s is anything less than how your described it, but your response to Shannon’s very real fears have all the markings of …[sounding spoiled]! You don’t know Shannon’s story any more than she knows yours, and yet you presume that you are entitled to respond to her in such a self righteous …way. I am getting so tired of hearing from adoptees who respond in such a mean spirited way to those of us who are just trying to learn how to be the best parents that we can be through adoption by learning all of the challenges that could possibly lie ahead.

      Just because you feel resentment at having been placed for adoption, that does not give you the right to treat those of us who might become adoptive parents with such abuse and intimidation. Even if you had the worst AP’s on the planet, that does not give you license to lash out at others who say that your hateful words and wrongful blame of those who are still trying to build their families through adoption have given them second thoughts. All such comments show is that you yourself are nothing more than a self-centered child who seriously needs to GROW up, for your sake if no one else’s.

      As for me, your [response] towards Shannon and the rest of us who will build our families through adoption and other means (besides GOFI) hasn’t discouraged me one bit. You do not speak for all adoptees, and I would venture a guess that some would even be ashamed by your hateful nature.

      I don’t know who my children will be or how they will join our family, but I will learn all I can to do what I can to make a good home and life for them, but how they view those efforts will be up to them. If they turn out to be like you or the nightmare that Shannon described, I will know that no matter what they think, I will have done my best. That’s all that any parent, bio or AP or otherwise, can do.

      Shannon-I hope that you will follow your heart and learn all that you can, no matter where your path towards parenthood leads you. Adoption is complex, but the voices of hate towards those of us who create our families in this way are not the only ones for us to listen to-they just sound louder to us because we are afraid. Take Care and have courage.

      • Anonymous, I’ve chosen to edit ever so slightly your comment because any form of name-calling is not acceptable. I would also add that since your goal is to learn all you can about adoption to be the best mom you can be for your future child, the voices of adult adoptees are an important source of education, even those voices that are strident and seem unreasonable. Their loud and often discordant words have helped to change the way adoptions are done in the US. As George Bernard Shaw said: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” We need their voices as hard as it is sometimes to listen. :-)

    44. cb says:

      “Funny how when the babies are young it sounds all peachy keen then they become adults like Amanda on blogs like this, and the truth comes out.”

      If you actually read Amanda’s blog, you will see that she has a great deal of love for both her families and that she is a very thoughtful individual. She had expanded her family, not replaced one family with another. I am sure both her mothers are very proud of how she has turned.

    45. Lynn says:

      As a an adult adoptee and a mother to both an adopted daughter and a biological son, I both agree and disagree with your post. Obviously, I love both my children very much, regardless of how they entered our family. However, the differences are there. One child entered the family with his roots in tact, whereas the other child entered our family with her roots severed. One child has a mom and a dad; the other child has two moms and two dads. Even if your child has never met the other mom or dad, they are there, as ghosts, living alongside you on a daily basis.

      My daughter cries for her birth mother because she has never met her. She is fortunate to have a relationship with her birth father. We have incorporated a whole other family into our own for the benefit of our daughter. This was not a consideration or even a thought for our biological son.

      What the adopted child gains is obvious — a family who loves him. What the adopted child loses, as Amanda pointed out, is something that mainstream adoption does not like to consider. Although I grew up in an almost idyllic time and place as a closed-era adoptee, I lost so much. I only learned exactly what it is I lost after search and reunion. I carry the pain of a childhood with all those unknowns with me to this day. Every child has a right to know their origins, see people who look like them, and understand the reasons they became adopted. They deserved to be loved for who they are and not because they complete somebody else’s family.

      Unlike Amanda’s mother, my mother has never grieved her infertility. She wanted a clone of herself and as you can imagine, it did not go well. I love her anyway; however, I knew I never lived up to her expectations as a biological child may have.

    46. Holly says:

      You and I agree about at least one thing – You should not adopt. I’m an adult adoptee, just like Amanda, and just like Amanda, I can confirm that is painful, sorrowful and traumatic. I’ll also say (for myself only) that I’m not grateful for being adopted – not even the tiniest bit. I don’t give my adoptive parents “accolades” just for adopting. They were pretty awful parents, as a matter of fact. The “pleasure of [being] broke” was mine BECAUSE OF adoption. I spent much of my childhood without any access to health care, was on welfare, and error my few clothes to threads (and was bullied for being poor) because I’m adopted. Adoption is no guarantee of anything… for anyone. Least of all is that “better life” our natural mothers were promised.
      One last point, Amanda is a well-known, highly educated, and published author on the subject of adoption. Yo could learn a lot from her if you opened your mind a little.
      To conclude: Stay afraid and don’t adopt. You are as wrong for adoption as a person could be… short of a known child abuser.
      Amanda’s blog: The Declassified Adoptee
      She also blogs (among other adoptees) at Lost Daughters.

    47. Lynne Miller says:

      Great post! I can relate to the idea that our biological children often develop into people who don’t much resemble their parents. I see that in my 14-year-old son, who unlike his parents is very comfortable speaking in public and on stage. Environment has a great deal to do with how a child turns out. I was adopted in the 1960s and only found out about my adoption 11 years ago. Just recently I learned about my birth mother’s life and connected with a newly discovered half sister. I am learning what I inherited from my birth mom and her family and searching for my father and his family. I like to think my identity is a work in progress.

    48. Von says:

      As an adult adoptee I would agree with everything Amanda has said here. I would like to see more adoptees share their views, so that people like Shannon can get a better grasp of what it is to be an adoptee and the realities of adoption. Once there is more truth about and potential adopters are better prepared, selected, supported and able to parent children who truly need adoption we will see great improvements in the support and care adoptees receive to deal with the loss and trauma of adoption. Like Amanda I loved my parents and am grateful to them for the opportunities they gave me. Most of my achievements have been due to my own efforts and innate abilities. I had the privilege to meet my mother when I was 50, and my father’s other children, he is long dead. I am thankful none of them raised me, but I have and have never had bitterness despite being adopted.
      May I suggest The Lost Daughters Anthology for some realism and adult adoptee perspective on adoption? Available through Amazon in paperback or e-book.

    49. Shannon says:

      Amanda is the #1 reason I am afraid of adoption. It isn’t that I don’t think I could love an adopted child, I just do not think they could really love me the way I love them. I will never hear the end of I want my real mom, whom is my real mom. Let’s face it I will never feel like a real parent. I get the pleasure of going broke on them with none of the accolades. I love genealogy and no one in our family has ever adopted. We would be the odd man out with little to no support, and I know how my mother in law is, she would be disappointed. God knows she resents me enough for not being able to give her a grandchild. Yes, she is a selfish opinionated cow that would love to run my husband and I’s show for all of eternity but honestly I am afraid of the whole miserable process, the enormous cost that we really cannot afford, and the fact that I have always loved the guessing game and that deep inside would bother me. What bothers me the most is people like Amanda. No matter what you do for adoptees, how much you love them, how much you break your neck to create a real family unit, it’s never enough, you are second fiddle just like adoptees think they are second fiddle to IVF, and the elephant in the room never goes away. I have read waaaay too many bitter birth mom stories and even bitter adoptee stories. Funny how when the babies are young it sounds all peachy keen then they become adults like Amanda on blogs like this, and the truth comes out. Life is full of enough strife and I will be damned if I will go through all of that and give my heart away to a child and never be really appreciated or loved because they all really feel like Amanda deep inside when the chips are down and they are older. But I bet they won’t turn that nice hefty inheritance away though when their adopted parents die while they’re licking their wounds looking for their “real mom” like as if the rest of the world doesn’t have pain in their life equal to theirs.

    50. Laurel says:

      What does an adopted child “miss”?

      What does a kept, biolgical child “miss”?

    51. Angelia says:

      Can’t say it better, Dawn. I love this post and will be sharing it on my FB.

    52. Chrystal Ann says:

      Re: What Biological Parents Miss by Adoption?

      You went on to state what is missed by not adopting when discussing what biological parents miss by adoption. Respectfully, the biological parents miss raising their own child by virtue of adoption. They miss everything in that child’s life and I don’t believe that God put the baby in another woman’s womb for anyone other than the woman that gives it life. Amanda is right on target when she said that adoption should only be for the child not for infertile adults to satisfy their desire to have children.

      • Chrystal Ann, to cover what birth parents miss and to describe their pain (which I’m clearly not the one to do) deserves a blog to itself. In an ideal world biological parents raise their biological children. If only wishing and praying made it so. And yes, you are so right that our focus in adoption should be on the child–not on the adults.

    53. Dana says:

      There’s one big difference. If I have my OWN child, I am not taking away someone else’s child, or contributing to the worldwide kidnapping and trafficking of children whose circumstances I can never be 100% sure I know.

      That’s a wonderful feeling. I would hate to think that I was the cause of anyone else’s heartbreak. To me, anyone willing to contribute to that is not worthy of being any sort of parent. I don’t believe I would so much as sell you a pet rock.

      • Dana, oh my. Would anyone want to think they are the cause of heartbreak?!? I think the hard part is, as you say–with adoption, especially international adoption, but also to some degree domestic adoption, we can never be 100% certain about the circumstances of how that child came to adoption. And you are right, that it makes it a balancing act for parents (first parents and adopted) and professionals. You are also right that sometimes we don’t balance correctly. Furthermore, there are some in this field with questionable ethics who might tip the balance intentionally to influence those circumstances. However, what we know with almost 100% certainty is the circumstances of the child right then and there. We know that for whatever reason a child is living in an orphanage or foster home. We know that for whatever reason a child is not being raised by their birth family. So while no one would ever want to contribute to heartbreak, I ask you: What about contributing to the heartbreak of a child who will be raised in orphanages or foster homes for life, if not for being adopted?

    54. Linda Kats says:

      Missed pointing out the second point….that of being surrogate parents to a child who had first parents (known or unknown)

    55. Linda Kats says:

      while these views are attempting to affirm families created by adoption two main points are missing. 1. Assumption these are ethical and legitimate adoptions, meaning the had no biological family to raise them. Ethical and legitimate does NOT include countries disseminating disinformation to families of origin that their child will have a “better” life in the US or because they are too young and have “their whole life ahead of the.” These reasons are neither ethical or legitimate. Ethical and legitimate adoptions are for children who have no family left to care for them, thus no home. Adoptions have taken on a different meaning and the business of adoption is all about the economics of supply and demand. Adoptive and biological families rely far too heavily on what the agencies and entities tell them. They don’t think about the raging conflict of interest of these adoption businesses. Without the supply (gained from coercion and disinformation to first families) and the demand (promising the moon to adoptive parents, lobbying for adoption laws to favor adoptive parents, and primarily giving adoptive parents the idea that these children don’t stand a chance without them), voila a match made in Heaven. Isn’t it interesting there is never a suggestion to provide resources to the biological family to be able to raise the child inside the biological family of he child. That solution does not fill the ache of infertile people holding their “own” child. The irony is these children are children who were born into a biological family, many of whom could raise their child with about 1/4 of the dollars spent on a typical adoption. These children are never their “own” child. Adoptive parents are being surrogates for the originals parents of hat child. Is that something impossible to grasp in order to better understand the best interests of a child? Those who consider themselves loving parents would want to seek and be sure to protect a child’s best interest not just an interest in filling a desire to be a parent.

    56. Golflin Gortenats says:

      Drop the emotional nonsense for god’s sake. You’re embarrassing yourselves. Why would anyone want to define themselves by parental status? Now you are debating about adoptive vs biological parentage?? GET A LIFE. It’s all opinion and you’re simply making other people miserable. I don’t see how ANYONE engaging in this petty nonsense could be a good parent. Disgraceful.

    57. Love this article! Thank you so much Dawn. When I learned I was pregnant with our youngest, after having adopted our two oldest children… I was worried that it was not possible to love a biological child as much as my first two children. Sounds crazy to some, but adoption never felt second best – it felt like destiny and so perfectly crafted beyond what we could do ourselves. Well, of course our youngest came and was loved and cherished by all of us instantly. Each are so different and loved so fiercely. Thank you again for this wonderful article.

    58. Caroline says:

      Love this. I had a hysterectomy when I was eleven years old (yes, I know it’s young). I grew up knowing I would never have biological children. I was told “You can always adopt” so many times that I lost count. I’m now the mother of 2 children adopted out of US foster care, and soon, we will be adopting a little cousin of mine. Adoption is certainly not second best to giving birth. After we adopted our son, I was asked if I was ever going to have my “own” child (person didn’t know my situation). I said, “No, sometimes I forget that I didn’t give birth to him.” She looked perplexed! Thanks again for sharing your thoughts about this subject. This momma appreciates it!

    59. Lymbo4y says:

      We adopted 5 month old twins then had a bio kid a year later & then had another all within 5 years. When the twins were babies I remember at one point my husband & I were at dinner talking about who certain traits came from. “No that comes from you. But this is me.” and on & on we went. It was a real “aha” moment when the reality that they were adopted & couldn’t have our genetic traits surfaced. At that point, it was apparent that genetics were no longer relevant. We had moved on. Now with four school-aged kids, we marvel at how so very different they all are. None are mini-mes in personality. Only one looks like one of us and it’s not a resemblance to me. I used to wonder when I went out without hubby, who shares their heritage, about how many people wondered if they were my kids or if I was the nanny or a kidnapper! That continued with the bio kids. The coolest thing ever is my youngest often get comments how much she looks like her oldest sister. Three of my kids share dimples, silver eyes that morphed to hazel eyes & the same hair color. One of the twins is not included in that. He is the odd man out.
      As for birth vs adoption, I am not sure which was more nerve racking. Waiting to see if our tumultuous adoption would end with us as parents–or waiting to see if my body would allow baby to be born alive & healthy. Both were ended equally wonderful. One climaxed by meeting the babies then landing in our hometown & realizing the adoption journey was over. The other climax was meeting the newborn babies & realizing the pregnancy journey was over. Having experienced both would I say one was better? No. Would I say pregnancy was cool & I am glad I experienced it? Not really even though I had an easy peasy pregnancy. It was neat, but not life altering. Would have I always wondered what I missed if I never carried a pregnancy to completion? I suppose so, but it was way overrated. I will say if I had never given birth I wouldn’t worry about sneezing/coughing/laughing heartily or have that little belly that will not go away no matter how much I exercise. :)

    60. Naomi says:

      I too have been lucky to be a mom by birth and adoption.

      I’ve always told my kids that everyone needs 2 moms. One to bring them into the world (inside mom) and one to care for them forever (outside mom). Some have 1 person who does both jobs and some have 2 people. Both jobs are important and needed.

    61. Bonnie says:

      This is absolutely accurate and I just love the way you articulate the joys of parenting. Having six grandchildren, three of whom are adopted, I can attest to all your claims. Our family is equally blessed by each of the small individuals who joined us in recent years. We are a wonderful mixture of sizes, shapes, and shades. I cannot imagine our lives without any one of them and am so grateful to the mothers who loved their sons enough to share them and to the mothers and fathers of all six who love and nurture our precious grandchildren. One of our kids has two adopted children, one has an adopted and a biological child, and one has two biological children.

    62. grace says:

      We have been parenting our son for 16 months and we are very much hoping that we will be able to adopt him and his baby sister. I was really moved by Leslie’s comment. It is very clear to me that he doesn’t belong to me. Until the end of last year he was expected to be returned to his family of birth. He still spends almost half of time in his grandmother’s home. And it is very clear to me that I belong to him. I’m the one he seeks out in a crowd. I’m the one calls out for at night. I’m the one he wants to emulate. My biggest worry around the uncertainty of his permanent placement is not that I will lose him, but that he will lose me.

      A privilege I have had as a foster parent was to be able to see my son fall in love with me.

    63. Fatima says:

      This is very touching, educative and informative indeed! God bless you and thank you for sharing.

    64. As always, you nail it!

    65. Excellent and very true

    66. Leslie says:

      I read somewhere recently something that has really stuck with me. The author was reflecting on the idea of possession, and her conclusion was this: we are our children’s much more than they are ours. I’ve been giving this a good deal of thought lately, and it’s true: I think of my parents as MINE. My father, on the other hand, has, from my earliest memories, told me, “I’m glad you came to live with us.” He’s never once expressed a sense of ownership towards me, but those simple demonstrations of love have naught but increased the sense that my parents belong to me, on some transcendental level. Maybe it is because I am an only child, maybe because I have received such tremendous love, and maybe, just maybe, it is because we really do belong to our children…

    67. Sara says:

      This is a lovely post. (here from the creme)

    68. John says:

      Best post written on this subject–ever! I wish I had written it.

    69. Tonggu Momma says:

      I loved this post when you wrote it and I love it even more now that I am rereading it for the Creme.

    70. Ann says:

      Thank you for the beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes and a feeling of peace in my heart. We were just recently legally approved to adopt and are in the process of “the search” and “the wait.” We have a blog at http://babyadoption.wordpress.com. Again, Thanks so much for such a beautiful post. Ann

    71. Niki says:

      My mom is adopted and I don’t think my grandma would love her anymore if she had come from her body. It doesn’t make a difference. Thanks for writing this and bringing it to everyones attention!


    72. Kris says:

      Thanks so much for a wonderful post! I love thinking that we are able to experience somethings through adoption that bio parents can never understand. But we all understand love for children so it always confounds me that they think our love for our kids would be any different than theirs. And to Amanda, thanks for your insight and perspective. I agree that adoptees points of view are often silenced and/or overlooked and I hope we are able to raise our child to speak as freely and openly (and eloquently) as you have. All the best–


    73. James says:


      As one of the few “fellas” on here :-) please feel free to email me if you have any questions from the male perspective. Good Luck….


    74. Suzy says:

      This a beautiful post. The child I carry now and any children I have in the future will not have any genetic tie to me and yet they are my children. The same as the adopted children of friends are very much their children.
      I so wish that we were able to adopt in my country – I would have loved to adopt instead of spending all our money on fertility treatments. I think everyone involved in adoptions from the first parents, to the adoptive parents are wonderful people and the very act of taking a child into your own home, makes them a child of your own.

    75. Krissi says:

      This is an interesting article. Thanks for this POV!

    76. William says:

      My wife and I’ve been discussing adoption for awhile now. I’m the hold out. She sent me the link to this blog. I think I needed to read it and especially all the comments. the blog and comments really spoke to me. We’re downloading a LOT of your shows onto an iPod and going to have a massive listen on an upcoming 10 hour trip. (got the idea from one of the comments on the radio page. ) I’m not sure where we’ll end up, but at least I’m now ready to listen.

    77. Amanda says:

      As an Adult Adoptee and someone who once struggled with fertility issues, I do understand this issue. As someone who spends a remarkable amount of time reading research, I understand why couples feel the way that they do.

      Foremost, it is indeed an extremely insensitive comment to say to a couple with fertility problems “just adopt!” If they wanted to adopt, they wouldn’t be spending thousands of dollars on invasive treatments that cause stress and violate personal privacy.

      Indeed, adoption is not the same as biological birth. Adoptees, even when seperated at infancy, experience trauma and loss. We live in a world that does not understand what it is like to be adopted but seeks daily to tell US how to feel. In all but 6 States, we are a subordinate class of citizens with fewer rights than others. We often grow up our own unique issues and we have two families and a seperate genetic heritage that needs to be embraced and nurtured. Adopting a child presents additional work and acknowledgement that your child has ties to more than just you. If you are not prepared to handle that and will give your child subtle hints throughout his or her life that you fear his ties with another family (closed adoption does NOT eliminate those ties–not should it), or that you are threatened by the things that you could not provide to your child (e.g. biological birth, DNA, facial features, genetic heritage etc.) and those things will not be enjoyed and embraced—as those biologically raised are permitted to, then perhaps adoption is not for you.

      Adoption does not substitute biological birth. Not because adoptees are inferior but because the expectations often placed upon adoption to substitute biological birth and the unique issues adoptees face are ignored or pushed to the wayside in an attempt to enjoy having a family “just like everyone else,” To adopt, you have to be willing to admit that your family will not be like everyone else’s–and that’s because allowing your child to embrace their full identity (pre and post adoption) is what is best for your child.

      Secondly the idea that an adopted child “makes up” for the pain and losses of infertility or the inadequacy that the couple may feel for not being able to produce a child for one another is an unfair burden to that child. Research has shown that more than 80% of couples adopt due to infertility, often as a second and inferior choice to biological birth (per the hoards of couples in these studies interviewed). Research has also stated that often idealized expectations are placed onto children adopted due to infertility, as to how they will complete the idealized family and home. I have wonderful adoptive parents and a good childhood–but it does not feel good to know that I was a second choice or know that if my mother could have birthed children on her own, I would not be in her life.

      25 years after my adoption my adoptive mother has finally sought therapy for her infertility grief. My quest for reunion–which is my right and ability in a search for wholeness for myself, has brought up these issues for her. These are things she deserved to be helped with BEFORE she adopted me–not to suffer in silence with for 25 years. And it wasn’t as “silent” as she thought–I always knew how sad she was. I was a joy to her but I did not “cure” her pain. Research confirms that this is a common experience for many women–no one helped them resolve their pain first. Everyone just said “adopt!” so they did.

      Lastly, it bothers me that Child Welfare is always pressumed whenever adoption is being spoken about and that parents are always the focus (confirmed by research as well). Adoption should only take place when in absolute welfare of a child–not to provide parents with children. Unfortunately, an alarming trend since at least the 1930’s was not to keep original families together with support but rather use adoption to manage dependency. Sometimes when it’s best for a child to remain with its natural family (and of course, not all the time) it means that a couple won’t get to parent. The rest of the world needs to become OK with that because it’s what’s best for the child. Loss of original family should become rare for every child because that’s what’s best for children. Not because adoptive parents are inferior but because loss, for anyone, is traumatic. Adoption should seek to bennefit children only–period.

      My comments are rarely published on pro-adoption sites because my alternative point of view is rarely appreciated by the general population–despite it being founded in research and a passion for child welfare. I hope this website is different.


    78. Amanda says:

      I do appreciate that you have First Mother Forum listed on your list of blogs. I consider its main author a friend and ally for Adoptee Rights. She has fought for decades for the rights and welfare of adopted adults.

      http://www.musingsofthelame.com/ is another great First Mother blog.

      Could I suggest a section for adoptees too? Our perspective is equally as important :-)

    79. Melissa says:

      After the heartbreak of failed infertility treatments, I reluctantly turned to adoption. At the time, I was feeling that adoption was second best but was my only chance at being a mother. I felt cheated out of the pregnancy and birth experience and knowing my baby from the first moments of life. My daughter is now 3 and I have known about her since she was 4 days old and have had her home since she was 8 months old. She is the BEST thing that has ever happened to me. Adoption is such a blessing! I feel honored to parent this child and would not trade her for any other child in the world.

    80. marisa says:

      Excellent article! I really enjoyed the perspective!

      Happy ICLW!

    81. Ursula says:

      As someone who probably would have said that adoption a child is not the same as having one of your own, I really appreciated this post. It actually gave me goosebumps. I think I’m still more in the space of your last post on why I’m not sure I should adopt, but this one really opened my eyes. I never thought about what I might gain by adopting other than a child. DH will be reading it tonight. Thank you again for all you do and thank you for not being judegmental or so sure of what is right for everyone else.

    82. Gail says:

      As an adoptee, I thought this was a wonderful story. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

    83. Colleen says:

      James, I couldn’t have said it better!

    84. Cathy says:

      Thank you for your article, for addressing an often ‘touchy’ subject. Pregnancy and giving birth is understandably personal for women, its quite literally, part of our being. Growing a child is at the very heart of our person, its natural that we would ache to fill that place. But there is another gift that we have that is less recognizable; the uncanny ability to fill the void we see in a childs life with our whole heart. We forget that a mothers heart is an amazing and powerful force. We forget that in filling the void, we ourselves are healed and strengthened. Our lives are enriched in ways we never thought possible when we “claim” a child that needed a mom and declare that we are that one!

    85. James says:

      I thought LONG and hard before I decided to comment on this article/post, because I have been asking myself the same question since right before my son was born. Before I get into why I believe the statement “adoption is not the same as having a child of your own” is correct, let me first say why I believe the title of the article is a bit flawed (still love you Dawn ). In my eyes (and those of my Wife) we do have a “child of our own” and by the way, yes he is adopted. Try to tell this family (particularly this Daddy) otherwise and it won’t be pretty. But I am sure Dawn meant having a “biological” child of your own. And to that I say she is spot on, it’s NOT the same; I would argue that it’s better!

      I can only speak for myself, but I believe many folks who have never looked into adoption have no clue all that is entailed; it’s no picnic ladies and gentlemen. From research, training, doctors visits, travel, failed placements, more research, sleepless nights, un-returned phone calls, daily arguments over stupid stuff with your spouse, attorneys, more doctors, home studies, early mornings, un-announced social worker visits, birth mothers who change their mind, baby shower…ooppps, another failed placement, need to have a baby shower for a girl now. And don’t get me started on the MOUNDS of paperwork for EACH state and for EACH agency. What? Another failed placement? Does that mean more paperwork since the new agency is in a different state? YES!

      I hate to equate a child to a “toy”, but just bare with me for a moment. Remember when we were kids and we were always told to take care of our toys and they would last forever? And remember how you would do extra chores around the house and maybe even odd jobs around the neighborhood in order to save up enough to get that remote control car or doll house you wanted? It may have taken you a year, but YOU do it all by yourself, and cherished that toy more than anything else. Well, I think the very same principle applies to people who go through the adoption process to bring a child into their home. As I have already stated, it’s not an easy journey. In fact, it’s a gut wrenching process that tests not just your faith and your love, but tests your commitment to each other in your marriage, not to mention your relationship with family/friends. But on the flip side I would also argue that because of all the trauma and turmoil that adoptive families go through, the end result is also the most fulfilling and loving experience one could hope for. Would I feel the same way about a biological child? I would hope so, but that is not my reality. My reality is that (especially as a man) it took a lot to get me to the point of actually adopting, and I wouldn’t trade my “adopted” son for a “biological” son EVER!!!!

      If the parents of biological children (as well as those who like to say that adoption is not the same as having a child of your own) were to take a hard look into the thought, preparation, time, and emotional stress in the families that pursue adoption (either foster care or private adoption) they may think differently.

      So yes, I take this lifelong journey VERY seriously. I enjoy all the ups, downs, and sideways because I know what it took for us to get to this point and I don’t take ANY of the gifts lightly nor for granted. Can others say the same? Just my two cents…

    86. Nanette says:

      I love this article! I’m looking forward to adpotion. For years my husband and I have tried to conceive and frankly I’m tired of spending money and feeling grief when the procedures fail to work. Finally it clicked for me, and my husband. We can adopt and find a child who needs us as much as we want and need him/her. Lookin forward to my my God-given purpose, to give love to a child that needs to be loved!

    87. Essie says:

      I think that a persons attitude and perspective are a huge part of the resulting connections they have with their children. I have 2 daughters, one each by birth and adoption.
      A quick story…. I was driving my oldest daughter home from the doctors office where she had been given a second round of antibiotics for strep throat. We were on our way to pick up the prescription and I was thinking, this poor kid, she got my easy susceptibility to strep. It was probably 5 minutes before I realized, ha ha, not very likely she inherited that from me being not biologically related and all!
      We have a lot of differences. We have a lot of similarities. That’s all.

    88. Kyla says:

      Thanks for this wonderful description of family. I am saving it to share with my adopted and biological sons when the time is right. I am not sure I could have described our experiences any better. Thanks.

    89. As an adoptee and a foster mama who hopes to one day adopt I send a Big Virtual High 5!! Great post!

    90. Judy says:

      Hi Dawn,

      Well said (I feel like you were speaking my feelings!). Like you I am also a mother by birth and adoption. I can’t imagine my family any other way and I am grateful everyday.
      Thank you for posting this!


    91. Shanna says:

      Another thing that I love about being a family formed by adoption is discovering my children’s talents. Since I do not expect them to have or lack talents based on my talents I am free to see where they thrive without placing my thoughts on them. My girls are both talented gymnasts, something I was never coordinated enough to be. Watching them as they tumble, flip, and vault always leaves me speechless and with a smile. I look forward to many more years of discovering my daugthers and nuturing their interests and talents as they present themselves.

    92. Jennifer says:

      I love this article! I have five bio children and we are in the process of adopting #6 from Russia. I do want to say there are so many feelings that are similar in both pregnancy and the process of adoption. Several times during this adoption process, my husband and I have felt the excitement, nervousness, love, and anticipation we felt when expecting our other children. It’s simply a blessing either way in “creating your family!”

    93. Joanna says:

      As a parent of my son that was adopted from Korea…the thrill and magic of referral day, makes it one of the best days of my life. Most people have ultrasounds, but those of us in the club of moms to internationally adopted babies, we have that special, special day.

    94. Sam says:

      Wonderfully said. Thank you for reminding us that love has little to do with biological connection and for reminding us that differences are to be celebrated.

      It might sound silly but I like playing the “Guess the Gene” game though my husband and I are adopting. I think guessing is even more fun because there are so many options when your gene pool is the world.

    95. Kerri says:

      This is a great post. Maybe I come at it differently because I’ve never tried to get pregnant. However, I fully agree that pregnancy and adoption are not the same. People who become parents thought pregnancy don’t have to deal with their child’s life before they joined the family. That is both good and bad. Sometimes it’s hard to watch my 9 year old struggle with missing her family in Ethiopia. However, she would not be the person she is today without that family and the 7 years she spent with them. And let me tell you, she’s amazing! I do share her with her family in Ethiopia and always will. However, she is very much my own child and I wouldn’t trade that for anything (except her never to have needed to be adopted.)

    96. Andrew says:

      (as an adoptive parent) I was all fired up to disagree with you because I hear that comment alot. However, I thought the article was thoughtful and well-written. Of course my kids are not my genetic offspring and were born out of another woman’s uterus, but anyone who says they are not “my own kids” has obviously never been around my familiy. My kids know they are adopted and understand the difference between adoptive and birth parents, but try telling THEM that they are not my “own” or my “real” kids, and you’ll see what I mean.
      good stuff, Dawn.

    97. Janet Sherwin says:

      Lovely and wonderful. This point literally can’t be made enough.

    98. Crystal says:

      It is not the same because you don’t experience the pregnancy, growth of the baby, the bonding, the birth. There are lots of unknowns up until the placement and waiting periods are over. Personally we bonded with our son right away. I tell our little guy that our family is special because God and his birthmom chose us and we feel privileged to be his parents. I think parents who make their family through adoption usually doesn’t take the process of having a child for granted. Our son is loved as much as if we had given birth to him…the biggest difference is that we are different races and some people seem to indirectly try to remind us of that through stares, whispers, and comments. It doesn’t bother us baecause we are a family and it is perfect. We have ups and downs with our son just like parents of biological kids have…we are a Normal family and I would not change it for the world. Never thought I would say that I am glad I couldn’t have babies…but then I wouldn’t have my wonderful son. :)

      • Lorisco says:

        I love your post and am in a similar situation. But I think I have a slightly different perspective (as an adoptive parent).

        Most people have a romanticized view of one’s biological connection to others in their genetic family that is simply wishful thinking. I think this comes from people’s natural instinct to want/need to belong to something bigger than themselves.

        The fact is that everyone has a unique genetic “footprint” that is not exactly the same as anyone else living past or present. We have similar traits within biological families and races, but not identical.

        The advantage of biology is that you have some similar traits (which can be good or bad). But as 75% of what makes up a person (who they are) is related to environment (culture, upbringing, experiences, etc) biology is actually the smallest part of who you are.

        So adoption is not the same a having a biological child only because of it lacks the small biological link, but everything else is the same (aside from the actual pregnancy). But I would also add that adoption is a choice to be a parent and love another human being just because you can, not out of an obligation related to a romanticized view of blood connections. Not that all biological parents do this. The point is that once you have a child it’s a choice to love another human being that is much deeper and more lasting than blood connection.

    99. Kathleen says:

      Great post – very insightful and very true!!!

    100. Sam McCormack says:

      Love this article. Thanks, Dawn

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