How would you answer this question from an adult adoptee to those who struggle with infertility?
Why are some people seemingly obsessed with having a biological child? They will spend literally thousands of dollars, be willing to endure miscarriages, be poked and prodded, etc in the name of having a baby that has their own DNA. As an adoptee, I have to tell you, IT HURTS. It hurts to see that people are literally willing to move mountains, go into huge debt, risk their health…..and some won’t even consider adoption. … or to them, it’s a “last resort… I’ve just always wondered why for some, adoption is no biggie and for others, it feels like they’d rather be childless than ever adopt.
Here is one woman’s answer:
What a wonderful question. I will speak to my own experience, as it is the only one I really know. My husband and I did all the things you are talking about in our quest to have a child. We went through every kind of medical intervention imaginable, all to no avail.
Adoption simply wasn’t on our radar before having trouble conceiving. Even though we knew some people who had adopted (even within our family), having biological children was simply our default paradigm, and I don’t believe we are alone in that.
My husband and I had a soft, little dream of creating a person who was part him and part me. I dreamed of being pregnant, feeling the physical manifestation of the love that my husband and I have for one another kick and somersault inside of me.
I don’t think that dream is all that unusual, and for most people, it happens exactly like that. Two people meet, fall in love, and have babies with Mommy’s eyes, Daddy’s ears, Grandpa’s knack for making people laugh, and Grandma’s artistic talent. For us, it felt important to pursue that dream, and when it didn’t happen, to mourn its loss.
I suppose it’s not a great surprise; the salience of biological and genetic ties, the desire to see your features, or gestures, or aptitudes, reflected in those around you, is present in all parts of the adoption constellation, including, from what I have read, adoptees; it’s one of the many reasons for birth parent searches. So we did opt to pursue medical interventions first.
Each of us is different, and this was what we felt we needed to do. So much about our journey to become a family challenged my beliefs, notions and feelings about myself and the world. I say “challenged”, but what I really mean is “shaken to the core”. I had to think, really think, about what so many things meant to me: family, parenthood, femininity, genetic connection, race, religion… so many of my ideas about things seemed not to ring true anymore, and I spent a lot of time sifting through them to see what felt authentic. It felt important to examine ourselves in this way, and we are grateful now that we were given that opportunity for clarity–most people aren’t.
It took time to fully embrace adoption (though once we settled on that, choosing to adopt from Korea felt like a natural choice for us), and trusting that choice has been the best decision we ever made. So for us, while adoption was our “last” choice (our *only* choice, really, to love and raise a child), it was also our best choice. For us, they are not mutually exclusive. It is impossible to imagine cherishing a person more than we cherish our son.
When I think about my infertility now, I view it with a deep and powerful gratitude, because without it, I never would have had the experience of loving my son. And *that* would have been the greatest loss of all. Adoption is complicated and beautiful and messy and wonderful, and has stretched all three of us beyond our comfort zones, but it is my hope and belief that we are all the richer for it.
Both the questioner and the responder gave their permission to have their words shared. Here is some more info about the adult adoptee who asked the question:
My parents adopted me from Korea. I came to the U.S. at 23 months old. They had 2 biological children (both boys) before adopting. To my knowledge, they had no fertility issue but rather felt “called” to adopt. I had a wonderful childhood and am very close to my parents.
When we began “trying”, it was very casual because we had already discussed adoption even before we were married. We knew that was something we wanted no matter what. So when we had issues getting pregnant, we weren’t grief stricken… We adopted our awesome son from Korea and he is so wonderful. I cannot fathom loving any human being more.
How would you answer her question? Why did you go through what you went through to get pregnant?Image credit: evelina zachariou
Add Your Comment
As a Chinese adoptee, I don’t believe international adoption as it is, is a moral and responsible thing to do. Especially as Americans. Many of the countries we adopt from are countries we’ve devastated and deemed unworthy of caring for their children. And the power dynamic of white APs. 44% of adoptions are transracial with 77% of the APs being white. While only 10% of marriages are interracial. Why are people more willing to adopt a brown child than they are to marry one?
Further, as an adoptee, biological children are the ONLY chance I’ll have to have any one who looks like me in my life. Literally everything else was taken, I was removed from my culture, my country, the least I’m asking for is to know what my nose looks like on someone else.
As an adopted person it does sting a bit. While I have deep compassion and sadness for infertility struggles, please respect the other side where those who are adopted can feel less than or have shame. Your struggle is real but so is the other side.
Speaking for myself, it isn’t even about a biological connection. It’s about experiencing pregnancy and childbirth and not having to share that child with anyone. It’s also about not having to manage the sometimes painful conversations about biology, loss, etc that also comes from adoption. It isn’t that adoption isn’t an option, it is simply a secondary option because it is harder then enduring medical procedures for myself.
“I donâ€™t think in such black and white terms.”
I think that has the potential to lead to more confusing to an already confusing situation. It also has the potential to create unrealistic expectations for a kid that doesn’t need that. On top of that you could have a situation where Foster Parents who maybe focussing on other children they’re Fostering where it would take away their time away from those other kids that need it.
That’s why while I support reunification I think too much time is wasted in reunifying that leads to a child aging out of the system. We give too many chances to bio parents in some situations and it ends up hurting the kids.
Thanks for clarifying. I agree with your first paragraph.
â€œBtw many foster parents and guardians love and support their child forever.â€
But thatâ€™s not their role. Foster Parents and Guardians are providers and to a certain extent babysitters. Not that the role isnâ€™t important because it is important but itâ€™s not designed to provide a child with a family for the rest of their lives.:
I don’t think in such black and white terms.
on target. can’t discount lived experience. logic.
Thanks for clarifying. I agree with your first paragraph.
“Btw many foster parents and guardians love and support their child forever.”
But that’s not their role. Foster Parents and Guardians are providers and to a certain extent babysitters. Not that the role isn’t important because it is important but it’s not designed to provide a child with a family for the rest of their lives.
“The one thing I disagree with you on is that adoptionâ€™s role is to provide homes to children and for the adults who adopt them to raise them to adulthood.”
First of all, I was trying to point out the order that adoption should take – i.e. child needs family – family comes along.
“but to love and support them forever”
Just because I didn’t say that, doesn’t mean I meant the love and care stops once the child reaches adulthood. Most parents raise their child to adulthood, then their child IS an adult and starts making their own way in life. It doesn’t mean the love and care and worry stops.
Btw many foster parents and guardians love and support their child forever. I’ve said before that I am considering fostering and that adoption would only happen if it was what the child wanted. If I did end up with a situation where I was the one raising the child to adulthood, I don’t feel that the lack of adoption papers would make me love the child any less. To me fostering wouldn’t be about “building a family” but “being there for a child” and I know that I would be capable of loving that child just as much as any adoptive parent on here loves their child. I know that it is not about *me* (parent) but *them* (child).
You are confused about why people who want to raise other people’s kids go through background checks. It’s not that people who reproduce are better or more worthy of being parents. Parenthood is not a title given out for good behavior and children are not a prize or an object that people have to win or earn. Bottom line is that people who have offspring are expected to take care of them. If you don’t have offspring you have no obligation to raise any. The world would go to hell in a hand basket if we simply stopped requiring people to look after their own children. Its the children that are owed care by the people who create them. They are owed that and the parents are providing what is owed. Now if they can’t and it becomes the state’s job to choose people to raise a kid then the state has to be careful who they assign that responsibility to for liability sake for safety sake. The obligation falls naturally to people who have offspring so of course nobody is to blame but them if they screw up. If adoptive parents screw up there are people to look to to blame like who chose these people? That is the one good thing about adoption – the formal checking that goes on where in donor conception nobody is screening people who want to raise other people’s children so those kids are being shafted and denied do process.
I tried to read all the comments before commenting myself.
It’s reasonable to conclude that if people would prefer to just be able to have and raise their own biological children, then children would prefer to just be kept and raised by their biological parents as well. When it happens that a child is not raised by their own parents then we have to hope that the adults and the child believe that their arrangement is the best available option for both given their equally tragic circumstances of the adults being unable to have their own kids and the kids being unable to have their own parents.
Remember that it will always be more difficult for the kid to process the abscense of their bio parent or bio parents and maternal and paternal relatives than it will be for the adults to process the absence of their bio parents because their bio parents who share their biology have to exist or they would not exist. Real living breathing maternal and paternal relatives are missing from their lives so be sensitive to that
This!!!!!!!! I am adopted and you are spot on.
OK, read the rest now.
If a family has two children – a boy and a girl – and then has more, it is *very* common to be asked, “Why?” or “Don’t you think you have enough kids? I mean, you have one of each.” and questions like that.
If a family has two or more children of the same sex, then everyone asks, “Are you going to try for ?”
If a family has three children with at least to sexes represented, society as a whole seems to think they have the duty to explain to these people how birth control works. I have a number of friends with more than 4 children. You should hear some of the judgmental remarks they get.
So, yeah, the fertile do get judged, just in different ways. Because people are judgmental.
I got to comment 43.
TAO: You rock.
anonymous: I would *never* have that conversation in real life. I do not understand why people go through extraordinary measures to get pregnant. I do, however, understand loss. I can feel sympathy for women who have miscarriages while not understanding why they choose to continue to get pregnant and miscarry rather than adopt.
The hurt is because of a perceived rejection: “I reject your choice.” In the case of the adoptee, it’s even worse, I would imagine, because the rejection is “I reject your life” which is a lot like saying, “I reject you.”
“Greg â€“ you know CB well enough that she did not mean at 18 they are on their own. This is how comments devolve and stop being conversations”
CB and I respect each other enough where if there is a misunderstanding we can work through it without it dissolving and needing someone else to step in to lecture one party. Thank you.
Greg – you know CB well enough that she did not mean at 18 they are on their own. This is how comments devolve and stop being conversations…
“Greg @42. Neither of them are a cure for infertility. A person with IF might undertake those options in order to build their family. Adoption is a resource available for a child who needs a home and that home is provided by parents wanting to raise a child to adulthood.”
I think you get my point that a person/couple can address their infertility through treatments not adopting. We both agree that adoption can be a way that the childlessness left by infertility is addressed but it does not address or cure the infertility has left.
The one thing I disagree with you on is that adoption’s role is to provide homes to children and for the adults who adopt them to raise them to adulthood. To me that is what a Foster Parent or Guardian provides. Adoption to me should provide families to children who need them to not only raise them to adulthood but to love and support them forever. It isn’t just a situation where the child has adults responsible for them until they turn 18 and then the kid is on their own with no one to support them. The adults need to be there for them the rest of their lives, just as any parent is. It’s a lifetime commitment not a short term commitment.
I think it is wonderful that a person can ask an innocent question here. Her question shows me another viewpoint. I am sorry that she feels hurt as an adoptee. We all are hurt by something, usually things either we or the other party doesn’t understand. I wish more people were so open about the questions they have and the feelings they feel, because only then can a real conversation start. When someone is truly seeking to understand, a question should not be taken as an insult, as they may not know the most PC or sensitive words. Besides, the more we understand each other, the easier it is to love and respect each other!
“Anonymous, you are so right that when you are in the trenches of infertility, all you can see is the pit you are in. That is an awful place to be!! Iâ€™m so sorry you are there.”
Thank you very much. I have faith it will work out. One small step at a time. One day you look back & you’ve climbed the mountain.
I apologize for the over-posting.
“I have read every comment and I often wonder if we are inhabiting the same place. I just donâ€™t see the number of attacks that you seeâ€“at least on this blog. I have seen some really ugly stuff online, but not so much here.”
I can see you are trying to create a welcoming space and foster dialogue. You are empathetic. I respect your efforts.
I suspect it’s difficult to “intuit” or “get,” at a gut level, when or why a commenter like Justin or AnonymousIF would react strongly to some of the comments.
My therapist, who herself has experienced infertility, mentioned that if you haven’t been through it, it’s almost impossible to understand.
Infertility is a uniquely difficult experience with which to empathize.
I should recognize & take responsibility for when I’ve placed myself into a situation that is not constructive for me. That’s on me, and not anyone else’s responsibility.
Thanks, Dawn!! I am. My DH has said that he will give me his Samsung Galaxy Four when he gets the Five. Why he gets the better model is beyond me. But he is far more tech savvy than me so hopefully he will make better use of it!
“Adult adoptees routinely lecture to us around here. We are told we must not undergo certain treatments or we will harm our future children. We are told our attitudes will harm adult adoptees. We have been told if we adopt we will exploit birth mothers, and harm their children. We are seen as morally inferior and of suspect character.
As someone who is presently going through treatment, I have lost patience with the accusations of harm.
Iâ€™ve got no more tolerance for adult adoptees telling me they are hurt by my choices.”
Are you talking about on here, this blog?
I for one have never said anything like the above although things I’ve said have been taken out of context. I’ve never seen TAO say anything like the above either.
“Do you know how many personal acquaintances have said, â€œWhy donâ€™t you just adopt?â€ You get this all the time. All the Time. ”
Hey, I’ve agreed with you and others countless times that I don’t like that question “why don’t you just adopt”. I also wince when I hear people say it. And, guess what, if I were standing next to you at the time, I would be helping you explain why it isn’t that simple.
As an adoptee, I do have a tough skin – one has to after hearing and reading stupid statements re adoptees all one’s life and is particularly prevalent online, especially in comments replying to newspaper articles. I have grown to understand that the general public are just people who don’t understand and just need to be educated. Interestingly, some of the most appalling ignorance I’ve seen online has come from those who are considering adoption so I try to be patient and educate them instead of berate them.
“I have a question for you. Which of the following options in your opinion is a cure for infertility: infertility treatments utilizing the sperm, egg and womb of the intended parents or adoption?”
Greg @42. Neither of them are a cure for infertility. A person with IF might undertake those options in order to build their family. Adoption is a resource available for a child who needs a home and that home is provided by parents wanting to raise a child to adulthood.
Also, I know you mean “cure for infertility” in the benign sense, i.e. “cure for childlessness” and it is of course what most people mean, however, in the past, as you are awar, there were times it was used in a less benign way, eg in the 70s, some fertility doctors actually enouraged their patients to adopt because they believed pregnancy would happen as a result and thus those patients chose to adopt for that reason. Now, that is something that I know we ALL hate – the “Just adopt and you’ll get pregnant” myth is a myth that I think I can quite safely say that we all despise. As an adoptee, it makes us sound like fertility totems that are OK until something better comes along. I know that lots of APs also dislike it for that reason too 🙂 As an adoptee, I am glad that it is a myth as it would be extraordinarily unfair on the adoptee otherwise.
Kelli, nice to hear your reply 🙂
I actually don’t mind that adoption is the second choice for many people – I know that it would have been the second choice of my own aparents. Having said that, they never made us feel like we were second best 🙂 Also, they never made us feel that we were their “last resort”.
I do admit that if I read a comment saying “If we HAVE TO, we will turn to adoption”, then that would come across as a bit offensive to any adoptee reading it. However, if the commenter says “we have come to realise that we can’t have biological children but I’m really excited about the thought of adopting”, then even though one can see that adoption is that person’s second choice, they aren’t necessarily considering it second best.
“If these same screening processes were equally applied to fertile couples before they began their process of building their familiesâ€¦.â€
I meant to say in this sentence â€œfertile couples before they began their process of building their families through NATURAL MEANS, not through adoptionâ€. I know all couples who seek adoption, fertile or not, have to submit to the same screening process. And I think that is fair. Just wanted to clear that up.”
This is a genuine question but as far as I know, those suffering from IF do not have to undergo the screening process for any other method of creating a family, eg IVF, surrogacy or donor conception, do they? So, thus they are on equal footing there aren’t they?
As for adoption, the homestudies are about the child, not the parents. As you acknowledge, fertile couples are also subject to the same process. It seems also that homestudies may vary in regards to FC, DIA and IA.
When you think about it, the screening process can also be a positive for an AP because it is also actually a selling point for the expectant mother egm a common question:
“How do I know the adoptive family can provide a safe environment to raise my child?
All prospective adoptive parents must go through intensive background checks. Social workers also work with them in their home several times, to interview them, and observe their home life and relationships to one another. The adoptive parents are also required to provide a State Bureau of Investigation report as well as a child abuse clearance report. They must also provide birth certificates, a copy of their marriage license, physician reports that include HIV test results, etc. All of this information must be completed, before they are placed with birth parents, and should this work not be approved and completed they will not be able to adopt the baby”
The above would make the emom feel more secure that her child is going to a good home and might make her more likely to consider adoption that if the answer to the question:
“How do I know the adoptive family can provide a safe environment to raise my child?
We don’t. They want to parent, that’s enough for us”
Now that last answer may be enough for other forms of assistance re parenting. However, adoption does involve another person making a decision for their child and the future safety/security of that child is an important part of her decision.
“The people in that group, who have all experienced infertility, made me feel validated, supported and understood. They explained themselves so well and with no anger, no judgement, nothing. So, to come on here and see what people have posted here? Wow.”
Were the people on that group going through treatments? Presently? Are they childless?
If so, I commend their responses.
I, and others on this blog, have been judged and preached to just one too many times.
The comment area isn’t a support space for infertility. It’s more of a battle zone where one experiences questioning, judgements, and lectures.
Adult adoptees routinely lecture to us around here. We are told we must not undergo certain treatments or we will harm our future children. We are told our attitudes will harm adult adoptees. We have been told if we adopt we will exploit birth mothers, and harm their children. We are seen as morally inferior and of suspect character.
As someone who is presently going through treatment, I have lost patience with the accusations of harm.
I’ve got no more tolerance for adult adoptees telling me they are hurt by my choices.
You are a happy mother.
It’s difficult to have patience with questions from happy mothers. Very Difficult.
Anonymous, the fact that you perceive this space as a battle field explains why you come out swinging. In answer to your question, yes, many of the people in the group are currently undergoing treatment and many are childless. There are also those who have succeeded with infertility treatment and those that have adopted.
I have read every comment and I often wonder if we are inhabiting the same place. I just don’t see the number of attacks that you see–at least on this blog. I have seen some really ugly stuff online, but not so much here.
I truly get that you feel persecuted and for that I am sincerely sorry. I don’t think you should be persecuted for whatever way you choose to build your family. But just as I can see the place where you are coming from, I can see the place where Kelli is coming from. And because in the Creating a Family support group people were able to not respond out of defensiveness, she actually got an answer to her question. As a result, she understood why people stayed in treatment. Amazing what dialog can do, isn’t it?
“I heard a question of â€œwhy do you want to searchâ€ and reasons why the questioner thought it was stupid.”
Why do you want to search? It HURTS because I”m an adoptive parent.
That’s the proper analogy.
“Again though after years of being on forums, I realise that one needs to get past those little triggers and try to understand the INTENT of a post.”
People with infertility, but without a child, are tired of being questioned.
And people don’t want to be told their actions are responsible for another adult’s hurt.
I’m sure people with children have much more tolerance for questions.
It’s more of an intellectual point if you haven’t gone through treatment, or if you have formed your family already.
But if you’re in the trenches, you’re in the trenches. You don’t need One More Person questioning your your dreams and your decisions.
Anonymous, you are so right that when you are in the trenches of infertility, all you can see is the pit you are in. That is an awful place to be!! I’m so sorry you are there.
“I remember an old episode of the TV show the Golden Girls where the character Rose talks about how in her home community of St. Olaf all newly married couples had to apply for a â€œpermit to have kidsâ€.”
As a kid my mother used to say that she “didn’t understand why all people didn’t have to apply for licenses before having children.” 🙂
One of the things that burns is that we’re treated with heightened scrutiny.
That doesn’t mean we don’t agree with home studies. Of course we agree with home studies. But it would be nice to have this situation acknowledged. It’s just one of the reasons infertility is extremely annoying.
“Actually, it is very common for the fertile to be told â€œYou are selfish for having/wanting your own children, you should adoptâ€. Just google â€œselfish for having own childrenâ€ and you will see countless articles and blog posts by people berating others for wanting their own child.”
WHAT? How many people at baby showers are told that by friends and family? By work colleagues??? No ONE gets told this in person by work colleagues.
“I’m inviting you to my baby shower”
“I’m not going because I think it’s selfish you naturally conceived.”
No one gets told this:
“Good news! I”m pregnant!”
“Why didn’t you adopt?”
But this happens all the time:
“I can’t make a work meeting because I’m going to the clinic.”
“Oh, that’s too bad. You know, I’ve been wondering, have you considered adoption?”
Or a friend:
“But if you don’t care about genetics, why don’t you just adopt?”
Or at church:
“ART is a sin, and I cannot support your choosing to do it. Please don’t invite me to your baby shower. I will pray for you.”
Do you know how many personal acquaintances have said, “Why don’t you just adopt?” You get this all the time. All the Time.
The experience of infertility is a difficult one to understand. Some people say you have to experience it in order to understand it.
Kelli, I think a lot got lost when condensed (which is fine, because I still think it prompted some interesting discussions anyway!). I am glad that you found your right path to parenthood…and I personally see how awesome it is (since DH is adopted) for adopted kids to have an adoptee as a mom or dad. Best to you.
PS: This is way OT, but I can’t usually see comments on my mobile. And then there will be a bunch of comments at once? Is the latter because of moderation, Dawn? (The former could mean I need an upgrade to my ancient “smart” phone!).
foster adopt mama, I usually moderate about twice a day, and you are right that when there are a bunch of comments they all come in at once when I moderate. Sorry, if you’re looking for a good excuse to upgrade. 🙂
“Every child (and letâ€™s face it, thereâ€™s still a little kid in every one of us) wants to feel LOVED and like they were their parents first and only choice. No one wants to feel like they were someoneâ€™s consolation prize. Thatâ€™s all the â€œhurtâ€ comment was referring to…Iâ€™m sorry but it is. I never, ever want my son to feel like he was our 2nd choice or some consolation prize for the biological child we REALLY wanted.”
I appreciate your longer explanation.
It sounds as if the thread post may have misrepresented your question.
You are happy that your parents wanted you and loved you. You were first choice to them. Your son is first choice to you. Everyone is happy.
I don’t understand why you think I could make your son feel like a second choice.
For all you know, his future wife could be sub-fertile, and they will seek out IVF treatment rather then adopt.
This is what I don’t get: Why would you care if adoption is second choice for me?
The primary reason adoption is second choice for me as of now:
I am close friends with a couple who adopted from China. They thought their young child was healthy. She was not. They adopted because they were older and worried about possible health risks to their natural child. They didn’t try to get pregnant naturally.
Either her pre-natal care or early infant/toddler care resulted in brain damage. She has severe behavioural problems due to brain damage. She is now a pre-teen. Her care is expensive and time consuming. She punched a work colleague in the face last year at a dinner party and broke his glasses. I feel horrible for the child, as this behaviour is not her fault. But it has certainly worried me, and has made me wary of adoption.
I am aware many children who are adopted are healthy.
But I would like to be able to give the child great nutrition in a pre-natal environment. I cannot do that with adoption. But I can do that if I get pregnant.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t love a child who was ill, mentally or physically. Of course I would. Pregnancy itself is a risk. But right now pregnancy with good nutrition looks like the better risk. So, yes, adoption is my second choice.
Now, if the stork dropped a baby on my doorstep, I would love him or her to pieces. That would change a hypothetical child into a real child.
But, right now, I have to weigh the risks. And there is no real child in front of me. There is only a hypothetical child. That changes the equation.
My husband doesn’t want to adopt internationally because he is worried about the potential for exploitation on all ends — the birth family, the child, the adopted parents. I can see his point. Language barriers make it difficult to suss out situations. You have to trust intermediaries who are making a profit.
We would both consider adopting from foster care in the States. I wouldn’t be surprised if we adopt an older child from foster care in a couple of years.
I think your sentiment is asking something very difficult of people:
I think you are expecting people to feel the same way about a hypothetical child that one would feel about a real child. Once you meet the baby, things change.
It’s the same in pregnancy. Before birth, the child is, to some degree, hypothetical. Fathers, in particular, often feel different once they meet the baby.
“People by the very nature are curious beings, and we were given voices for a reason. Imagine if no one ever questioned anythingâ€¦weâ€™d still be living in caves if no one had ever been curious, or asked questions, or wanted to understandâ€¦and a sad reality that would be. Without questions you have no hope of ever getting to a place of understanding what someone else is feeling.”
There is a way to ask question if your purpose is to gather information. Asking why an adoptee wants to search for their birth/first family has a very different delivery than the question I used in my example. I have no problem with a question being posed as to why a couple choose to pursue infertility treatments. It was the delivery of the question that caused the backlash more so than the question.
“When we began â€œtryingâ€, it was very casual because we had already discussed adoption even before we were married. We knew that was something we wanted no matter what. So when we had issues getting pregnant, we werenâ€™t grief stricken. I felt the usual emotions of â€œwhy is this easy for some peopleâ€ kind of thing but it wasnâ€™t the kind of grief many women feel over not being able to get pregnant. ”
I think what will help you better understand is that your perspective with your husband is different. Most couples don’t discuss adoption prior to trying to have children because they assume they’ll be able to have children through conception. Also there are a lot of women who have that strong desire to become pregnant. That is why there are a lot of couples who are devastated by infertility whereas you may not have been hit as hard.
We all have different perspectives and desires. One isn’t necesarily superior than another. It has nothing to do with you not being normal you just have a different perspective.
For my wife and I personally we choose to pass on treatments for our own personal reasons. We aren’t sure about whether we’ll pursue adoption but if we decide not to it won’t be because we couldn’t love a child that wasn’t biologically related to us.
“THAT to me is the real point of her post. She is addressing those who couldnâ€™t love and raise a non-related child.”
As I said to Tao it was the approach of the question rather than the intent that brought the reaction. You and I agree that it’s so easy for conversations on a sensitive topic to be misunderstood. Heck I’ve lost count of the times that has happened in conversations we’ve had. 🙂
While it seems unfair that those who want to adopt to have to go through the vetting the reality is it is very necessary. Because there are a few people who have done awful things the rest of us have to go through it. I don’t think it’s discriminatory against infertiles because all people/couples regardless of their fertility have to go through it if they want to adopt. Infertile couples who pursue treatments with their own gametes don’t have to be vetted.
For instance when I signed up to volunteer for my local Big Brother program I went through a vetting process that included an interview and reference checks (yes, I was asked whether I had kids and if I had plans to have kids). I did not mind it because I had nothing to hide and I understood their reasons for it. With the adoption process I have similar feelings we have nothing to hide.
If you want to blame anyone blame the Adoptive Parents of the past that messed things up for future generations of Adoptive Parents.
I feel like there are at least three conversations going on here.
Re: US society being judge-y and dumb about ART and infertility. Yup, they are. People are cruel and ignorant and hurtful. They are wrong when they do that, and some people are very, very good with the verbal knives. They and the adoption as moral high ground over ART people can go hang out together as far as I’m concerned, hopefully somewhere smelly and unpleasant.
Re: this particular person’s question, he or she framed it as a question that has personal interest for him or her. Yes, it contains a personal declaration that it hurts to see people continue to struggle with ART, but I think we can take two seconds and see why his or her situation and perspective warrants a bit more consideration and tolerance than your average CNN commenter. (I pull this out because CNN seems to have a full lock on infertility trolls when any article relating to IVF comes out)
Re: questions for prospective adoptive parents, these aren’t tied to infertility, and I’ve said enough on that point.
If these same screening processes were equally applied to fertile couples before they began their process of building their families….”
I meant to say in this sentence “fertile couples before they began their process of building their families through NATURAL MEANS, not through adoption”. I know all couples who seek adoption, fertile or not, have to submit to the same screening process. And I think that is fair. Just wanted to clear that up.
“You are subjected to scrutiny and questioning that the rest of the world does not need to subject itself.
That does not mean that the writer is against home studies. It means that she RESENTS the implicit accusation of her character”.
Thank you, Anonymous-you “get” it! 🙂
cb-I know you don’t understand this aspect of my aversion to homestudies as they relate to those who are IF, so I have a question for you: How does being in the possession of a fully functioning reproductive system (or pair of them) make a person automatically fit to be a parent? How does this biological reality automatically make my home a safe place in which to raise a child? How does this biological reality automatically make me a better person who would never ever be questioned as to my willingness and readiness to become a child’s parent?
If I did in fact have a fully functional reproductive system (or my husband did) we would not have to answer these questions. It is only because we do not have functioning reproductive systems that we will be asked to answer these questions (and answer them the right way-depending on an incredibly flexible definition of “right”).I believe that, functioning reproductive systems or not, my husband and I have what it takes to be parents-because it takes more that all of your physical bits being in good working order to be a good parent. You have to know what to do with the child after you make them and bring them into this world. Unfortunately, others will be required to judge us on the basis of the fact that we cannot make a baby on our own. In the eyes of some that makes us unfit as compared to someone whose “reproductive plumbing” is A-OK. This is where my issue lies
To put it into another context-let’s look at marriage. All people have a right to marry whomever they choose in this day and age-no matter what gender. Imagine you are on the board of a church who is updating your marriage policies to reflect this new reality. You ultimately decide to have a 2 tier marriage policy-one that states the following:
If a heterosexual couple wants to be married in our church, there is no screening process necessary. All they have to do is let the church know what day they want to use our building to be married in and we will welcome them with our blessing.
However, if a same gender couple wants to be married in our church, we will welcome them but only after they
1. Meet with the minister
2.Take marriage prep courses (for at least a year)
3.Provide 5 letters of reference
4.Submit to a police background check
5.Allow church board members to visit them in their home unnanounced
6.Pay a fee for the use of the church building (that is higher than the ones paid by heterosexual couples wishing to be married)
7.Submit a guest list that must be approved by the church board
8.Submit to a blood test
Do you see how such a policy might be considered discriminatory? How it might make the assumption that one group of people is more okay than another? A church might have its reasons for wanting to take such precautions-and they MIGHT be valid ones, but if they don’t apply those same rules equally to heterosexual couples wishing to be married, that is (rightfully) considered discrimination. I see it as being no different than the hoops that IF couples are forced to jump through in order to become parents through adoption. If these same screening processes were equally applied to fertile couples before they began their process of building their families, I would have absolutely no problem with it.It’s because it’s not that way that I have a problem with it and why it makes adoption seem like a less than desirable prospect right now as compared to ART.
I remember an old episode of the TV show the Golden Girls where the character Rose talks about how in her home community of St. Olaf all newly married couples had to apply for a “permit to have kids”. Not such a bad idea from where I stand-as long as the process doesn’t discriminate 🙂
Greg@43-thank you for asking that question. I was hoping someone would 🙂 🙂
Btw I wonder if the OP adoptee has read the replies on here. It would be interesting to hear her reply. I suspect that she would make it quite clear that her intent was not to discriminate against those with IF and would be mortified to think that people think that she is.
“Fertile people arenâ€™t asked, â€œwhy donâ€™t you adopt?â€ We are constantly asked this question.
Weâ€™re sick of the inequality.”
Actually, it is very common for the fertile to be told “You are selfish for having/wanting your own children, you should adopt”. Just google “selfish for having own children” and you will see countless articles and blog posts by people berating others for wanting their own child.
As an adoptee, it irritates me when anyone, fertile or infertile, is told that they are selfish for having/wanting their own child and that they should adopt. I’ve made that clear a few times on here that I did find that first sentence rather irritating. I have also made it cleear that I have no problem with people wanting to have a biological child, whether fertile or IF.
However, I considered the source and also actually READ what she was trying to say and realised that it wasn’t meant to be an attack on those with IF.
Having said that, after my years of being on adoption forums and 1+ year being on this forum, I do understand how important language is and thus I can see that people were triggered by the first sentence. The one way to absolutely guarantee that one will trigger people is to use the word “obsess”, so if one should try to avoid using it if possible. Again though after years of being on forums, I realise that one needs to get past those little triggers and try to understand the INTENT of a post.
The other thing also is whether people felt she was asking a question to which she wanted a genuine answer (which I believed she did) or whether she was making a statement as to how people should feel (which she did also but more in regards to the question re “why will some people NEVER adopt” rather than saying “people with IF should adopt not try to have a biological child”).
I do think that the question might have been better phrased. However, she was asking the question in general and wasn’t specifically asking the question to those on here. If she had been a regular poster on this blog, she would probably know by now that she would have to be very careful about how to phrase her questions. Even when one is trying to be as careful as possible to get their point across, things do get taken the wrong way as we all know 🙂
Btw in my last post, when I said “original sentence”, I meant first sentence – meant to change it and forgot.
I do just want to say that the word “obsess” rubbed me up the wrong way too. However, I don’t agree that the above post is equal to this:
â€œWhy do some adoptees obsess over finding their biological families? They literally spend years searching for families that didnâ€™t want them in the first place. Itâ€™s like theyâ€™d rather waste their time searching for them when they already have an adoptive family that loves them.â€
because when one reads further down, one can see that she is not really condemning those who suffer from IF but is condemning those who purport to not being able to love a non-biological child.
Again, I do agree that the word “obsess” did get on my goat. That’s because I did have one very well-meaning relative say to me “Don’t be to obsessive with your search, make sure you live your life”.
I felt irritatd when she said that because I hadn’t been too obsessive with the actual search (I pretty much *found* them all with 48 hours), however, I did obsess about HOW to make contact.
So, I do understand the reaction against the word “obsess”. However, I felt that the rest of the post was not meant to be an attack on those suffering from IF but on those who purport to not being able to love a non-biologically related child.
The original questioners comment/question was fairly long so I cut it down. She went out of her way to be clear that she was in no way trying to put down those that tried infertility treatment for many years, but was truly trying to understand their perspective. I wish I had left some of that part of her question in now.
Hi Greg, I hope you read my next (as yet unpublished post).
1) I can understand the reaction to the original sentence – I do. It even rubbed little old me up the wrong way.
2) However, I personally believe that the people she is REALLY addressing are the ones who say:
“I couldn’t adopt because I couldn’t love a child who isn’t biologically mine”.
Now many of us have various totally different reasons why we might not adopt, yet I would guarantee that NOT A SINGLE ONE OF US would consider the above reason to be one of the ones that they would give as to why they aren’t adopting.
THAT to me is the real point of her post. She is addressing those who couldn’t love and raise a non-related child.
I could raise an unrelated child but I don’t want them to have to ever lose their identity, thus to me modern adoption has its flaws as the original premise was for the child be passed off as a faux-biological one rather than a complete human in their own right with their own genetics. I think many of todays adoptive parents are understanding that – their child is every bit their child but they still accept that their child was not born to them and that that is part of who they are.
Others on here hav esaid that they could raise an unrelated child but that the adoptive route is a very difficult one.
So, the one thing I think we are agreed on is that we could love and raise unrelated children. Whether all of us are capable of raising and loving unrelated children without allowing them their own identity is another thing and that is often what our great discussions on here are about 🙂
We tried treatments for a while and moved on to adoption. We both really wanted to adopt anyways, so it wasn’t a difficult decision. However, our adoption journey has been extremely difficult and heartbreaking. We have had some failures, including taking a baby home with us from the hospital, only having to “return” the baby to her mom several days later. There is nothing easy about the journey of infertility or adoption. We are now trying to get pregnant again, mostly because we want a baby that is “ours”, not genetically speaking, but a baby that no one other than God can take away from us, or decide for us that we are “good enough” to parent. It honestly doesn’t matter to me if my child is genetically related to me, but the fact for us has been that adoption has not worked, we have been burned, hurt and taken advantage of. we are moving on…..
Also, I meant to thank those of you who reserved judgement or who didn’t start by presuming the worst about my intentions. To hear “anonymous” describe everything, I am an emotionally unbalanced person who takes personal offense to every person who chooses IVF. That is laughable and I think she was reading WAAAAY too much into my question. I’d also like to say that when I originally posted the question in a FB group where Dawn is moderator, the response was nothing but positive, educational and helpful. NO ONE TOOK OFFENSE AT ALL and it was almost entirely women who are infertile who responded. Almost all of them had gone through multiple rounds of IVF, some had had miscarriages and some had eventually landed on adoption. Their responses were educated, sensitive and amazing (like the one Dawn posted at the top). What I learned out of it all was that 1) I’m not a normal woman in the fact that I never had this huge, overwhelming urge to get pregnant & experience labor. I didn’t feel like my life was incomplete (or would be incomplete) without it. But what I learned from so many who responded was that I was in the minority of women. Most women dream of getting pregnant, how their bodies will change, what it will feel like to have a little life growing inside of them and then to experience bringing life into this world. For them, it’s a huge and very important dream that can only be realized through IVF if you’re infertile. 2) I learned of the myriad of reasons people choose one path over adoption and all were so well thought out. It wasn’t like anyone said “ugh…an adopted kid? no way!” Lol. The people in that group, who have all experienced infertility, made me feel validated, supported and understood. They explained themselves so well and with no anger, no judgement, nothing. So, to come on here and see what people have posted here? Wow.
Let me introduce myself: My name is Kelli and I was the one who asked the question. To start, let me post the original question as I wrote it without anything edited which I think will show more of my intent and tone. Dawn only posted a portion of my question, so here is the full text: “I know this question may offend some so I want to ask as carefully as I can. I am an adult adoptee. My parents adopted me from Korea. I came to the U.S. at 23 months old. They had 2 biological children (both boys) before adopting. To my knowledge, they had no fertility issue but rather felt “called” to adopt. I had a wonderful childhood and am very close to my parents. When we began “trying”, it was very casual because we had already discussed adoption even before we were married. We knew that was something we wanted no matter what. So when we had issues getting pregnant, we weren’t grief stricken. I felt the usual emotions of “why is this easy for some people” kind of thing but it wasn’t the kind of grief many women feel over not being able to get pregnant. This brings me to my question: why are some people seemingly obsessed with having a biological child? They will spend literally thousands of dollars, be willing to endure miscarriages, be poked and prodded, etc in the name of having a baby that has their own dna. As an adoptee, I have to tell you, IT HURTS. It hurts to see that people are literally willing to move mountains, go into huge debt, risk their health…..and some won’t even consider adoption. … or to them, it’s a “last resort”. I guess I want to know from people who only see adoption as a last resort, why you see it that way? Why is a biological child so superior? I’m asking in all sincerity, not trying to be offensive or ugly at all. I’ve just always wondered why for some, adoption is no biggie and for others, it feels like they’d rather be childless than ever adopt. For the record, we adopted our awesome son from Korea and he is so wonderful. I cannot fathom loving any human being more.” As you can see, I wasn’t being accusatory but rather very genuine in my wanting to understand. I wasn’t saying I felt hurt or threatened by all couples who choose IVF (or the like) over adoption. I’m absolutely not threated by anyone’s very personal choice on how to build their own family. And for goodness sakes, I have friends who have gone through the same fertility struggles AS HAVE I. I wouldn’t wish those struggles on my worst enemy. My statement about hurt was more of a general thing. As one poster pointed out, SOCIETY DEEMS ADOPTION A 2ND CHOICE. Can you imagine for a moment how that makes adoptees growing up here feel? Every child (and let’s face it, there’s still a little kid in every one of us) wants to feel LOVED and like they were their parents first and only choice. No one wants to feel like they were someone’s consolation prize. That’s all the “hurt” comment was referring to. I know adoption can be just as high of cost, if not higher. I know adoption is hard and has its challenges. I went through it. The wait frankly was awful & I cried many, many days waiting for our son. I guess there’s no way to explain my feelings without possibly offending someone. I guess it just gets old feeling like our entire culture looks at adoption as a last resort & THAT.IS.HURTFUL. I’m sorry but it is. I never, ever want my son to feel like he was our 2nd choice or some consolation prize for the biological child we REALLY wanted. When adoptive parents tell their friends and family they are adopting, do you know what response they get like 75% of the time? “What? Can’t you have kids of your OWN??” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this very hurtful question: hurtful as an adoptive parent and as an adoptee.
Kelli, I’m sorry now that I cut out some of your question that better reflected where you were coming from. I was trying to be briefer and didn’t anticipate that someone would not grasp your meaning. The fault is all mine.
Greg said: “â€œWhy do some adoptees obsess over finding their biological families? They literally spend years searching for families that didnâ€™t want them in the first place. Itâ€™s like theyâ€™d rather waste their time searching for them when they already have an adoptive family that loves them.â€
Most adoptees would be highly offended by anyone questioning their â€œloyaltyâ€ to their adoptive family. And rightfully so. That question is extremely dismissive of other adoptees perspectives. It judges them the way those who are not adopted unfairly judge adoptees.”
Actually Greg, that question comes up on a frequent basis and answering it is quite simple. It matters to me for this reason _________________. That spurs a conversation…
Funny thing though, is I did not hear any questioning of my loyalty to my family in the question you posed – we have always had two families, whether or not our first family has ever been present in our lives that fact still remains. I heard a question of “why do you want to search” and reasons why the questioner thought it was stupid. It’s a valid question though, because not every adoptee is alike, and making the decision to search is different for everyone.
AP’s are the ones who it seems takes time to wrap their heads around the fact that searching does not mean replacing…not adoptees…
People by the very nature are curious beings, and we were given voices for a reason. Imagine if no one ever questioned anything…we’d still be living in caves if no one had ever been curious, or asked questions, or wanted to understand…and a sad reality that would be. Without questions you have no hope of ever getting to a place of understanding what someone else is feeling.
Reading the OP adoptees post, I think that many posters may not really see what the actual point of her post is – this particualr sentence sums up whom she is really addressing:
“it feels like theyâ€™d rather be childless than ever adopt.”
I don’t think the OP is actually against people using IVF per se (as noted by TAO, the OP adoptee seems to be IF herself). I think what the people she are really adressing are those whose reason for not choosing adotion is “I couldn’t love or raise a child who isn’t biologically related to me”.
Now despite all our differences, I don’t think there is a single person on here whose reason for not choosing adoption is that above reason.
Many of you have given reasons why you aren’t going the adoption route and not a single person has given that reason. Many of you have quite reasonably pointed out the difficulties involved in adoption. Adoptees have pointed that it isn’t always that simple for them.
Even though I personally would find it hard to go the adoption route, my own reason has NOTHING to do with not being able to love or raise who isn’t biologically related to me. I would be more than happy to love and raise a non-biologically related child, I am just not sure that I would choose the dual-identity-creating modern western adoption route – I personally feel I could a love a child without having to make them *mine*.
So, I personally believe that perhaps all of us, even the OP adoptee, are all on the same page in one aspect – we would all be theoretically capable of loving and raising a non-related child. However, in practice, there may be many other reasons why we might not.
Btw, I am on a few other forums – one is a general topic forum that has a parenting subforum. Every now and then, someone feels the need to come on and tell ALL biological parents that they are selfish for wanting to have their own children when there are so many children to adopt. All anyone needs to do is google “is it selfish to give birth to a child” and you will get a vast array of posts by people saying “You are selfish for wanting your own child, just adopt” – something which I think gets up ALL our noses on here as we all know for various reasons that “just adopting” is not that simple for APs, BPs or adoptees.
However, as I said, I don’t really think that is the OP adoptee’s actual point. I think her main question is “Why do people feel they can’t love a child that isn’t biologically related to them” and I don’t think a single person on here would give THAT as a reason why they might not be choosing adoption.
The best example I can come up with for adoptees who are taken back by the backlash to this person’s question is when an adoptee who doesn’t have an interest in searching for their birth/first family asking other adoptee’s this question:
“Why do some adoptees obsess over finding their biological families? They literally spend years searching for families that didn’t want them in the first place. It’s like they’d rather waste their time searching for them when they already have an adoptive family that loves them.”
Most adoptees would be highly offended by anyone questioning their “loyalty” to their adoptive family. And rightfully so. That question is extremely dismissive of other adoptees perspectives. It judges them the way those who are not adopted unfairly judge adoptees.
I just thought I’d throw this out there to people commenting here who are not understanding why their is a backlash to this question.
I have a question for you. Which of the following options in your opinion is a cure for infertility: infertility treatments utilizing the sperm, egg and womb of the intended parents or adoption?
“It appears there is nothing an adoptee can do right.”
We have something in common. There is nothing a person with infertility can do right.
Some people tell me I must NOT adopt, or I am the greatest evil since Hitler.
Other people tell me I must adopt because I will hurt them if I do not.
Others tell me I am a selfish quitter if I remain childless.
It is not possible to achieve all of these diametrically opposed messages.
“You must do X!” and “Wait, NO! You must to the opposite!”
“I guess all good adoptees (if there actually are any) should just mind their Pâ€™s & Qâ€™s and just be those quiet grateful adoptees to have been so lucky as to have been adoptedâ€¦”
I would never tell adult adoptees, as a group, that their very existence hurts me.
Yet, people are being told that by the single fact of our infertility — that we have hurt someone else.
You’re infertile & you don’t yet possess an adopted child = You Hurt Me.
Can’t people see this is frustrating? And hurtful?
“Where I have a problem is where those of us who are IF and who are seeking to adopt are only being subjected to such scrutiny because we have a disability that prevents us from being able to have children through natural unassisted means. If we were able to reproduce through natural unassisted means, we would be allowed to do so without having to meet anyone elseâ€™s seal of approval.â€
Look: People don’t seem to get it.
This thread is an example of the heightened scrutiny that is driving some of us batty.
Fertile people aren’t asked, “why don’t you adopt?” We are constantly asked this question.
We’re sick of the inequality.
Excuse me, I pressed “submit comment” by accident.
In brief: It’s frustrating that not only do people feel they have the right to judge — but there is no “correct” or “moral” thing we can do.
If we stay childless, we’re selfish and judged accordingly in society.
If we turn to ART, we’re selfish and consumerist. Some religions preach it is sinful.
If we turn to donor gametes, we’re selfish, consumerist, and hurting our children.
If we adopt, we’re kidnappers and exploiting the vulnerable and hurting our children. We are accused of actively participating in an immoral system that separates children from their “real” family.
No one thinks home studies are a bad idea. But after the ritualized public humiliation of infertility, some people are reluctant to subject themselves to one more frustrating, public, “judg-y,” experience.
“Where I have a problem is where those of us who are IF and who are seeking to adopt are only being subjected to such scrutiny because we have a disability that prevents us from being able to have children through natural unassisted means. If we were able to reproduce through natural unassisted means, we would be allowed to do so without having to meet anyone elseâ€™s seal of approval.â€
The way I read this — is that a “home study” is one more humiliation.
Just as this thread is one more humiliation. You are subjected to scrutiny and questioning that the rest of the world does not need to subject itself.
That does not mean that the writer is against home studies. It means that she RESENTS the implicit accusation of her character.
Strangers feel able to question and judge people with infertility about their personal decisions. Furthermore, people have a PROBLEMIt’s humiliating.
I think it is interesting the amount of anger I see from those who have pursued fertility treatments. I can completely relate and have felt a similar anger. It is bad enough to have a disease which destroys your dreams of what your future will look like and makes you fell like you will never be a “normal” person with a “normal” family. Then, you feel as if whatever option you make you are disappointing others and being judged by others.
If we pursue fertility treatment we are shallow and more concerned about passing down our DNA than about becoming parents. If we pursue adoption then we are smug and privledged and using our educated, middle class status to steal the babies of those who would parent if we just donated cost of the adoption expense to charities to help them. If we remain “child free” then we are quitters who must have not really wanted a child all that badly.
I do understand why an adopted person would feel hurt and threatened by fertility treatment. Our society does treat adoption as a last resort option. But, I hope the letter writer can understand it is a last resort not because the children are any lesser, but because they are more difficult to get.
Why would the average person spend $30k and 2 years to adopt when they can have a biological child in 10 or 12 months for free? Similarly, fertility treatment is often seen as a less expensive and quicker path to parenthood than adoption.
Finally, I am someone who went through extensive and expensive fertility treatment. When I was asked why I didn’t “just adopt” I explained that there is a much higher demand for than supply of children to be adopted. If I were able to conceive with ART then I was allowing another IF person to build their family by adoption. Once I learned that I would never be able to conceive I quickly moved on to adoption. I now look at the other waiting families on my agencies website. I compare myself to them and wonder which of us the next expectant mother will choose for a placement plan. I hope it is me and at the same time I feel sad that if I am chosen another equally eager person will not be. I am sorry for this long and rambling response, but you can see the question really pushed my buttons (and clearly pushed others buttons as well).
“Finally, I am troubled by some of the anger and judgment that is being directed at the original questioner.”
I am not angry.
I am weary of my choices being questioned.
Amy Klein of Motherloade, New York Times, wrote that it was such a relief to undergo IVF in Israel.
“I had grown so used to the need to justify my choices about fertility treatments in the United States. In Israel, so many things were just assumed. Of course you want children. Of course!”
In Israel no one asked why Amy Klein “was obsessed” with pregnancy. Of course she wants children!
Why do you question it? Of course we want children! Of course!
“â€œFinally, I am troubled by some of the anger and judgment that is being directed at the original questioner. If she feels hurt she feels hurt. We need to respect her enough to accept this as the truth and let her feel that way and be mature enough not to see those feelings as judgment on us personally, but an honest statement of how something makes her feelâ€
Fâ€™inâ€™ A, AnonS.”
I second that.
One thing I’ll say is that she seems specifically to the following:
“and some wonâ€™t even consider adoption. â€¦ or to them, itâ€™s a â€œlast resortâ€”
yet does that apply to anyone on here? From what I can see, many have considered adoption and not just as a last resort. As many of you have also pointed out, it is not necessarily easy. As the adoptee is also an AP who seems to have suffered from IF herself, she may feel that she comes from a position of knowing what the process is like.
Also, even though I as an another adoptee don’t necessarily share her views, I can see that she is not coming from a place of malice but quite the opposite.
In the end, I think Dawn, AnonAP, AnonS and a couple of others “got” where she was coming from and answered accordingly and I think that if the adoptee reads their answers, she will understand where they are coming from.
I suspect that she would be surprised to hear that there are those who consider her views to be along the lines of those expressed by anonymous (Anna’s?/aspiring AP) husband:
“I told my husband about this thread. This was his response:
â€œThe closest analogy are heterosexual couples who feel hurt and injured by gay and lesbian people who are now able to legally marry. They feel hurt by these marriages that they see as degrading the legitimacy of heterosexual marriage. These people see gay marriage as literally injuring their own, specific marriage.â€”
“P.S. If my husband and I were in fact capable of becoming parents through natural unassisted means I would embrace having to go though a homestudy and background checks-itâ€™s not that I mind having to prove my worthiness to be a parent to any child (one that I make or am lucky enough to be able to adopt), but having to do so just because my husband and I have a disability that prevents us from becoming parents through natural unassisted means is not something I agree with.”
As I said in my previous post, your IF is incidental when it comes to homestuday/background checks. EVERYONE WHO ADOPTS has to go through those homestudy and background checks – EVERYONE, fertile or not**.
So I will say it again – EVERYONE who adopts is subject to homestudies and background checks – EVERYBODY.
**I for one certainly do NOT give fertile people adopting a pass. In fact, many of today’s adoption scandals have involved fertile people who have adopted.
But, Anonymous IF, anyone wishing to adopt, with or without infertility in their medical history, is subject to the same questions because IT’S NOT ABOUT THEM, it’s about the child. That’s not discrimination, that’s being protective of children who are already coming out of some form of crisis situation, whether they are yet aware of it or not. When you talk about forcing people who can reproduce with or without medical assistance to go through similar screening, you’re talking about restricting reproductive rights. Two different things, and the latter is one I will always stand against.
You and I have medical conditions that preclude our ability to have biological children. The right to free choice parenthood that come with functional reproductive organs (or those that respond to ART) do not transfer over to adoption. They just don’t. I don’t know how else to say it except to say, once again, that adoption is not about becoming a parent. It is about a child being placed into a safe, warm, loving home with parents who adore them. Yes, when children are born, the biological parents are given the benefit of the doubt. The state has no say in it, and this is a very, very good thing. In adoption, the state has to affirm that the parents are appropriate. This is also a very good thing.
Anyway, we’re off track. Sure, some people probably choose to go the ART route to avoid the screening. That’s their choice, and that’s fine. I’m all about people choosing the best route for them. I wish them luck.
“Anon AP-about what you have said about the necessity of background checks and homestudies for PAPâ€™s-I agree they are necessary. Like the author of the Living Medley blog-I get it, believe me, I do. Children should only be placed into homes where they will be safe and properly cared for by responsible people.
Where I have a problem is where those of us who are IF and who are seeking to adopt are only being subjected to such scrutiny because we have a disability that prevents us from being able to have children through natural unassisted means. If we were able to reproduce through natural unassisted means, we would be allowed to do so without having to meet anyone elseâ€™s seal of approval.”
That’s not true. EVERY prospective adoptive parents is subjected to that scrutiny, whether they are fertile or not. And there are many fertile people who adopt and yes they are subject to the same scrutiny. Those suffering from IF may be asked the extra question of whether they have grieved/acknowledged the loss of not being able to have their own child – experience has taught that it is an important question to ask. That doesn’t mean that a potential adoptive parent has to have “gotten over” their IF, far from it. In fact, those who have acknowledged their grief and accept that they will always have it to some degree might be able answer something like “I probably will always feel grief about my IF struggles but I think my own losses might help me to understand what my child could be going through” and will no doubt find the SWers very receptive to that honesty. I think the SW felt that Living Medley didn’t take that question seriously at the time. Having said that, I read all of Living Medley’s other posts and I think that if she says what she said in a couple of her earlier posts, eg her “time to get to know me” and “further to visa” posts, during her next homestudy, she will probably have no problems being passed.
It appears there is nothing an adoptee can do right.
If they want family preservation to be the first focus before adoption – they are whatever term someone wants to throw at them (anti-adoption, biowhatevertheycallit).
Then the sheer gall of an adoptee (adopted from Korea), who suffers from infertility, who chose adoption (from Korea) over ART (I’m guessing that would make her pro-adoption, but am sure I will be told I am wrong) asks a question regarding what makes “some” go to endless lengths to have a baby vs. “some” who move to adoption instead. So she is what (?) shaming others who have infertility challenges (like she does) and she does all that by asking a question that is near and dear to her heart?
I guess all good adoptees (if there actually are any) should just mind their P’s & Q’s and just be those quiet grateful adoptees to have been so lucky as to have been adopted…
I enjoyed the blog post – thank you.
P.S. If my husband and I were in fact capable of becoming parents through natural unassisted means I would embrace having to go though a homestudy and background checks-it’s not that I mind having to prove my worthiness to be a parent to any child (one that I make or am lucky enough to be able to adopt), but having to do so just because my husband and I have a disability that prevents us from becoming parents through natural unassisted means is not something I agree with.
Anon AP-about what you have said about the necessity of background checks and homestudies for PAP’s-I agree they are necessary. Like the author of the Living Medley blog-I get it, believe me, I do. Children should only be placed into homes where they will be safe and properly cared for by responsible people.
Where I have a problem is where those of us who are IF and who are seeking to adopt are only being subjected to such scrutiny because we have a disability that prevents us from being able to have children through natural unassisted means. If we were able to reproduce through natural unassisted means, we would be allowed to do so without having to meet anyone else’s seal of approval. No one would be looking over our shoulders and into our lives to ensure that the children we brought into this world would in fact be safe or cared for. We would be assumed to be capable of parenting until we proved to be incapable and the damage to our children had already been done. I don’t believe that such a laissez-faire approach to naturally conceived families does the children brought into them any favours. Maybe that is why so many IF couples choose ART over adoption-because we don’t want to be seen as “guilty until proven innocent” just because we have a disability that prevents us from becoming parents through natural means. Until fertile people are made to meet the exact same standards when they pursue parenthood (through GOFI), it is discrimination to apply them only to those who do not have the privilege of reproductive freedom.
“Finally, I am troubled by some of the anger and judgment that is being directed at the original questioner. If she feels hurt she feels hurt. We need to respect her enough to accept this as the truth and let her feel that way and be mature enough not to see those feelings as judgment on us personally, but an honest statement of how something makes her feel.”
Many people feel hurt about many things.
I told my husband about this thread. This was his response:
“The closest analogy are heterosexual couples who feel hurt and injured by gay and lesbian people who are now able to legally marry. They feel hurt by these marriages that they see as degrading the legitimacy of heterosexual marriage. These people see gay marriage as literally injuring their own, specific marriage.”
I’m sure you all have heard the phrase — that one should “just adopt.” As if we can stroll down to Babies ‘R Us and select an adorable infant. Her feelings seems to run along these lines.
If it was as easy as strolling down to Babies R’ Us — we’d all have adopted hordes of children. Fertile people would adopt instead of procreate. Adorable children would be running about our houses and yards — who could resist?
I think it is inappropriate for her to specifically target people who are infertile, rather then targeting the population as a whole. That’s medical discrimination, and I have a problem with it.
She’s saying the dysfunctional bodies of women cause her injury. That’s not right.
She’s not offended by healthy women seeking to become pregnant. She’s only upset with women who miscarry. That’s not right. That’s discrimination.
She may not have thought out the implications of claiming to be injured a woman who has experienced stillbirth. Her right to seek medical treatment should be respected. It is not the place of this woman to insert herself into this decision.
All women’s rights to seek medical treatment should be respected.
“Finally, I am troubled by some of the anger and judgment that is being directed at the original questioner. If she feels hurt she feels hurt. We need to respect her enough to accept this as the truth and let her feel that way and be mature enough not to see those feelings as judgment on us personally, but an honest statement of how something makes her feel”
F’in’ A, AnonS.
I know it’s off topic (sorry, Dawn, I’ll completely understand if you decide to not post it), but I want to take a moment to address the impression that some have that the screening required to become an adoptive parent is unnecessary and/or discriminatory. Intrusive? yes. Uncomfortable? yes. Unfair? No.
It’s important to remember that when you begin the adoption process, you are not a just a parent without a child, you are someone proving your ability to be a caregiver to someone else’s child. The parental rights are either with the parent considering placement or with the state or, in some cases, with the agency managing the adoption. My daycare provider was required to complete all licensing requirements, including background checks and home inspections, before she could mind my daughter even temporarily. We also looked for someone with a background in education. And we visited the place twice with interview questions about how she would handle discipline, illness, etc. We wanted someone to meet those requirements because we are responsible for the care of our child, and we could let some questions lie because if it doesn’t work out, we can always take her somewhere else. You can be damn sure that if this were permanent care, we would want even more assurance that our child would be safe and secure. If we have those requirements and expectations, we cannot deny the right to thorough screening to anyone considering permanent placement for their kid.
This is an amazing question and discussion. We went through 3 failed IUIs and 2 failed IVFs before moving to adoption (we are waiting). Moving to adoption was the most empowering decision we made in the infertility process, and also one of the most frightening because it felt a little like starting over at the very beginning. I think sometimes inertia has something to do with why people stay with treatment. You keep thinking ‘one more ….’ and you’ll get lucky.
If there is one thing that I have learned from infertility it is that we simply cannot judge other people’s decisions. Every single couple / person is different and what works for one set of people just won’t work for another. And it’s their right. If a couple is pursuing treatment for years rather than move to adoption I hope with all my heart that they eventually succeed and I am also glad that they did not choose adoption — because adoption is different and adoptive parents need to feel 100 percent a peace with what it is (and what it isn’t) before proceeding. They owe that to their future adopted children.
Finally, I am troubled by some of the anger and judgment that is being directed at the original questioner. If she feels hurt she feels hurt. We need to respect her enough to accept this as the truth and let her feel that way and be mature enough not to see those feelings as judgment on us personally, but an honest statement of how something makes her feel.
AnonS, I am giving you a standing ovation right now! Ditto to what AnonS said.
AnonAP @12 – a very thoughtful comment from you as usual 🙂
“Greg, Iâ€™m not speaking for the original questioner, but I would assume the reason she wouldnâ€™t ask them this question is because of the lengths people with infertility have to go to to get pregnant.”
I get that Dawn but I would like to see people with this line of thinking hold those who are fertile to the same standards.
“I find the question, with the accusation of â€œhurt,â€ to be problematic. Adoption is held up as the morally superior avenue.
People who are infertile cannot win here. We are morally suspect no matter what solutions we attempt to undertake.”
Exactly, the same thing happens to those who pass on both infertility treatments and adoption. As if we are less valuable members of society.
“Honestly? I never wanted to be pregnant. Iâ€™ve never tried to be. I donâ€™t understand why so many people are so obsessed with it. And, as an adoptive parent, it hurts me too, to know that people will pooh-pooh adoption as second best. So, Iâ€™m with the adult adoptee who posed the question.”
Robyn while I understand your perspective that adoption is pooh-pooh you have to understand that adoption and what comes with it is not for everyone. It has little to do with it being second best and more to do with the challenges that come with it. It works for some people but not all people.
“anonymous, I hear your point from you several comments, but can you see it from her perspective? Is there a part of you that understands her hurt?”
When I first read this thread, I assumed it was click-bate, and a little over-the-top at that. And then you revealed she was a real person.
My response was along the lines of “And she’s not a pre-teen or a teenager? Are you kidding me?”
I need clarification. Is she claiming that she is harmed because adoption from Korea is more expensive then many medical treatments?
Does she think couples should choose the more expensive option? And if we don’t chose the more expensive option, I will, somehow, personally hurt her?
She thinks I am somehow obligated to chose a more expensive option, travel to Korea, pay however many THOUSANDS of dollars, and if I don’t, I will hurt her?
Are you kidding me? Are you serious???
Would she offer to pay for an adoption and travel costs from Korea for me? Many people would take her up on this deal, and if she’s willing, I’ll give her my information!
Does she believe people should spend more money to adopt from Korea? Or she she ignorant of the comparative costs?
And, if so, what’s that about? She should have done 5 minutes of research before telling people she was “HURT.” I mean, come on — this is an adult, not a pre-teen.
Dawn, you are highly informed by these issues. What are the current estimates of an adoption of a healthy 23 month ok from Korea, including travel costs?
Most Americans don’t need to travel for medical treatment, and the certainly don’t need to travel internationally for many fertility treatments.
Let’s break it down in terms of time spent & money expended.
Let’s compare this cost with the cost of, say, an IUI. One of my friends because pregnant after 11 IUIs.
What’s cheaper? 1 international adoption or 11 IUIs?
I would be sympathetic to a minor who is experiencing adoption stigma.
If her harm is adoption stigma — if someone has ever seen her as “less then” for social status reasons because of her adoption, I am very empathetic. If she is harmed because of racial prejudice, I am very empathetic. No one should inflict social harm on this woman.
However, that does not excuse her suggestion that every couple undergoing IVF is doing it for reasons of racial prejudice or adoption stigma is erroneous and offensive. That was her implication of her harm.
But if her harm is the fact that strangers, unknown to her, seek medical treatment? That’s not cool. It’s a boundary problem. If strangers choose to start a family, or remain childless, or adopt, or, for that matter, do cartwheels in bed — it’s not her concern. She should not feel judged, or hurt, or personally impacted in any way by the personal decisions of others.
Let me re-phrase the above. She is clear that those who do not become pregnant easily harm her. They harm her emotional state if they seek medical treatment or advice.
I am not clear at what point she becomes accuses the couple seeking treatment of inflicting emotional damage on her. The initial work up? Dietary changes? Timed sex? IUI? Six months of trying?
My Dh and I went through almost four years of infertility treatments. Six IUIs and three IVFs. One miscarriage. I honestly never wanted to be pregnant (I am a giant wuss), but I really did want to have the biological children of DH and me. Ironically, I was ready to move on to adoption a lot quicker than my DH who is an adoptee. I remember his siblings (who also are adopted but have bio children) not understanding why we wouldn’t adopt since they all (including DH) are very pro-adoption. But I think it is really hard to understand unless you have been there. It is important to realize that IF doesn’t discriminate…it can obviously strike adoptees too and their desire to pursue infertility treatment isn’t (necessarily) a reflection on thinking adoption is “second best.” Another reason we stayed on the treatment rollercoaster for so long is that my state mercifully has mandated IF coverage so my treatments were “free” (financially) and it is hard to turn down treatment when doctors keep saying, “next time will be the charm, I bet.” In any event, we have adopted two beautiful girls and now my DH says that he is grateful for our IF because we wouldn’t have these precious girls without it. I of course can’t bring myself to say that something that caused so much pain and heartache was a blessing but I know what he means and of course would not want any children other than mine. Anonymous, I have to sort of agree with your sentiment…I never really understand how people’s very, very personal family-making decisions could cause strangers pain. Or frankly why it is anyone else’s business, but perhaps it gives people something to “talk” on the internet about. I am sorry that the question poser is struggling though…I can tell you 9000 percent I never think of my girls as “second best”; in fact, recently I had a “pregnancy scare” and cried my eyes out because I do NOT want another child (it was actually shocking after all the efforts I went through to get pg!).
The question itself is interesting though. Because often on the internet, some adoptees constantly challenge people for choosing adoption. Now an adoptee is challenging IF people for NOT choosing adoption. Which is fine because of course adoptees, like all people, have varying perspectives. But it shows again why having strength and support IRL for making your own choices is key (imo).
“They will spend literally thousands of dollars…. people are literally willing to move mountains, go into huge debt, risk their health……”
Sorry to comment again so soon after my long-winded comment earlier, but these words from the original blog post just jumped out at me again and I believe it bears repeating:
For those of us with IF, these factors are a foregone conclusion NO MATTER WHAT PATH we decide to take in order to build a family. We will have to spend literally thousands of dollars whether we pursue ART OR adoption-neither of these options come without a hefty price tag attached.
The only “free” way to become a parent is through GOFI[Good Old Fashioned Intercourse], but that only works if you do not have a disability like IF. For the rest of us who are haven’t been blessed with the privilege of reproductive freedom, we will have to pay (and pay big) in order to get the help we need in order to become parents.
As PWI, we will literally have to move mountains in order to become parents NO MATTER WHAT PATH we choose. That’s another foregone conclusion. With ART, the “mountains” are made out of biological challenges and treatment probabilities of success or failure. With adoption, the “mountains” we must move are made out of invasions of our privacy, intense scrutiny, administrative hoops to be jumped through, homestudies to be subjected to, regulations and expectations to meet, and to top it all off, the potentially changing whims of expectant parents who get to ultimately decide if and when we get to become parents.
The debt is a foregone conclusion NO MATTER WHAT PATH PWI take in their quest to become parents. It’s not as if we are encouraged to save up for future alternatives for one’s family building plans when we are in our childhood,teens or young adulthood. Perhaps when parents are setting aside money for their children to continue their education after high school (or are encouraging their children to set aside their own earnings) they should start setting aside monies that their children might draw upon if they happen to be diagnosed with IF at some later date-for either ART treatments OR adoption-it would be their choice.
Risk to one’s health is another foregone conclusion for PWI who seek to become parents NO MATTER WHAT PATH we choose to pursue. Our physical AND mental health is put at risk by all of these alternative family building options, because in their own unique ways, they all take a toll on a person and a couple. Because they are not easy on us, and things that are not easy take a physical and mental toll. IF is not easy, and neither are the ways that we might choose to take to overcome it in a way that we can live with. Worrying about how to afford these options can cause physical, mental, and emotional stress. Dealing with the grief of IF cause these types of stress. Undergoing all of the physical tests and treatments and waiting on tenterhooks to see if they just might have worked this time causes stress. Dealing with the heartbreak of failed treatments causes all those types of stress. Deciding whether you have the strength and financial means to submit yourself to these treatments again causes all of those types of stress.
It’s the same for adoption- investing all of your resources and putting yourself at the mercy of the adoption system causes physical, emotional, and mental stress. Submitting to invasive questions that violate your privacy causes all of these types of stress. Having to seek references from family and friends to prove your quality of character causes all of these types of stress. Having to childproof your home without any guarantee that a child will one day be allowed to join your family causes all of these types of stress. Surprise visits cause all of these types of stress. Waiting to be approved causes all of these types of stress. Waiting to be matched causes stress. Getting to know an expectant parent (or set of parents) while trying not to get your hopes up in case they change their minds and decide to parent or to choose another couple causes all of these types of stress. Being matched with a baby and waiting on tenterhooks for the birthparents to possibly change their minds after you have already fallen in love with the child they have said might yet be yours causes all of these types of stress. Suffering the heartbreak of a failed adoption definitely causes ALL of these types of stress.
So to the adult adoptee who asked the question while presuming to know about all of the stresses that PWI must submit themselves to if they choose one path to parenthood over another, I hope that my comment will make abundantly clear to him/her that no matter what path we who are IF are left to choose from in our attempts to become parents, we will suffer some kind of physical, emotional, or mental stress. Because the easy way to parenthood has been closed off to us forever, and we are left to pick up the pieces in a way we can live with. No one ever asked us how we wanted to become parents, but we have to work our way through these alternate paths with all of the stresses they entail in the hopes that one day, our chosen path will prove to be worth it in the end.
This question took me by surprise, so I decided I would take a crack at answering it from where I stand as someone who is IF. I have 2 answers to this question-one sincere, one somewhat snarky. I’ll start with the snark, to get it out of the way
Why would I go for ART as opposed to adoption? Because I have (in the name of becoming educated) read far too many blame-shifting birthmother blogs and bitter adoptee blogs that seek to shame and condemn IF persons and couples for seeing adoption as a family building option. They throw around terms like “adoptoraptor” and “baby snatcher” and “kidnapper”, and they use the name of our disability (infertility) as a derogatory slur. They taunt us with cliches like “adoption isn’t a cure for IF” and beat us over the head with tired chestnuts such as “adoption is only supposed to be about finding homes for children who really need them, not for finding children who really want them and can’t make them on their own for whatever reason”.
They promote making adoption even more of an obstacle course for those of us who are just trying to build our families, and accuse us of being insensitive to the needs of the children we may one day adopt because we have committed the “crime” of parenting while IF (PWI)-or at least of having the audacity of wanting to be parents even though it is not possible for us to do it naturally and without interventionist assistance. They project a “holier than thou” attitude that suggests that they themselves care much more for the best interest of the children in question than an “entitled infertile” ever could.
Add to that the prohibitive wait times, financial costs, and intrusive nature of the homestudy process that demands that a prospective adoptive parent or couple prove their worth in a way that a fertile couple is never asked to before they become parents, and the answer should be obvious. I agree with Anoymous #9-if you are a PWI who seeks to be a parent, you just can’t do it right no matter what you do-you will be sure to offend someone who thinks that they know what is best for your path to parenthood (as if they give a flying fig about that at all-all they truly want is to promote their fertilist agenda IMO).
Now for the sincere answer (because I hope the person asking the question was sincere in his/her inquiry):
For me, it all comes down to choice. IF stole the first choice for our way to build a family from my husband and myself-which would be to naturally conceive our children without intervention in the privacy of our own intimate relationship. Having lost the choice that comes with reproductive freedom (which IF also steals from those who suffer from it, we are left to “choose” from the remaining options (and for us those choices are conception through ART, becoming a parent through some form of adoption, or accepting the default position of a childfree existence). These choices are the only ones that we have, and they are ours to make in the context of our limited and limiting circumstances.
To the questioning adoptee, I will let you in on a little secret: all of those couples who line up for ART treatments in fertility clinics-NONE of them really want to be there. If they had another option to build their families by biological means, they would probably take that option in a heartbeat. It’s not as if these services are being made available to fertile couples who just want to build their families in a “trendy” way-the couples who are there are only there because they have been denied their reproductive freedom that they are “choosing” to submit themselves to the physical challenges of ART treatments. Also, for those who “choose” ART treatments, it’s nice to know that in the eyes of some professionals, just the fact that you want to be a parent is enough-you don’t have to be angling for sainthood or live up to some lofty altruistic goals in order to become a parent if you go to a fertility clinic. Such a goal has always enough for fertile couples who conceive their babies on their own).
Yes, adoption is a choice too, and a good one, but I would dare to argue that it’s only a freely made choice for those who are in full possession of their reproductive freedom. For those of us who have been denied this fundamental freedom, it may not be the last resort or second best, but it’s certainly not what we imagined we would have to do in order to become parents.
I will also dare to say that for those of us who are IF, the intrusive and judgmental nature of the screening process come very close to being discriminatory, because we are only submitting to jumping through these hoops because we have a disability (in this case IF). Yes, the screening process is the same for PAP’s no matter what their fertile status, but since these same restrictions are (and probably never will be) applied to fertile couples who can and do make their babies with abandon whenever they want, it seems to me that PWI are being unfairly discriminated against. We would not be sitting there in front of a social worker answering their questions and subjecting to their scrutiny if we could have children of our own. For those who are choosing adoption instead of exercising their reproductive freedom, the scrutiny may be just as challenging, but with all due respect, you do have an escape route-if YOU can’t stand the heat, you have the option of getting out of the kitchen by withdrawing from the adoption process and simply ditching the birth control. We who are IF do not have that freedom, because our fundamental choices have been limited by our disability.
The Living Medley Blog Post should be required reading for anyone who would dare to question the personal choices that a PWI makes in their quest to build a family. Because it is a personal choice that others should respect, even if they don’t support it or wouldn’t choose it for themselves.
I agree wholeheartedly with Greg-until such an intrusive question is applied to the family building choices of FERTILE couples too, it should be seen as discriminatory and even downright rude. I’m sure the questioning adult adoptee was sincere in his/her question, but my family building choices and the choices yet to be made by PWI who are seeking to build their families have nothing whatsoever to do with this particular adoptee and his/her hurt feelings. As an adoptee, he/she has their own family/families-why should it concern them how I choose to build mine?
Dawn-sorry for such a long comment. It took me a few words to articulate my thoughts.:)
“As an adoptee, I have to tell you, IT HURTS.”
“I donâ€™t understand why so many people are so obsessed with it. And, as an adoptive parent, it hurts me too, to know that people will pooh-pooh adoption as second best.”
Can you imagine someone who recently had a miscarriage or a stillbirth reading this thread?
How does this conversation unfold for you in real life?
“I understand you’ve undergone a miscarriage. You should be adopting. What are you thinking? I never wanted to be pregnant. You are hurting me. Yes, you with the miscarriages and stillbirths! You are hurting me.”
anonymous, I hear your point from you several comments, but can you see it from her perspective? Is there a part of you that understands her hurt? I don’t think she’s trying to minimize your pain, but asking for recognition of her pain. I also think she genuinely wanted to understand the motivation of some who suffer from infertility.
Honestly? I never wanted to be pregnant. I’ve never tried to be. I don’t understand why so many people are so obsessed with it. And, as an adoptive parent, it hurts me too, to know that people will pooh-pooh adoption as second best. So, I’m with the adult adoptee who posed the question.
As someone who tried IVF prior to adoption I can tell you that it was much easier than the adoption process. In the province I live in, domestic adoption is a very difficult process with an estimated wait time of 10 years. And we were also told that if we weren’t comfortable with an open adoption, don’t even bother to start the process. International adoption is a very expensive process, and also required a lot of sacrifice on our part (When we received out letter of invitation I had 1 day to tell my workplace that I was leaving). In retrospect, I wish I could have known how wonderful life would be with our adopted son. I can’t imagine loving another child as much as I love him. That being said, I think everything happens for a reason and if we had done anything different, we would not have ended up with our son. But I also believe that couples who endure the emotional rollercoaster of infertility and treatments have a much different appreciation of the joys of parenting – simply because of all of the “work” required to get to the place we are at now.
For context, I’m answering this as someone who is infertile but who chose not to pursue any RE intervention after the initial workup and consult. Our family was formed through adoption.
I think there are two sides to this question, first is why people keep trying to get pregnant and the second, that I think is implied, is why don’t people move to adoption more quickly as an option to grow their families.
This might seem odd, but though these two questions may touch on the same point (how to become parents), the drivers and decision-making are quite different to me. For pregnancy, beyond the biological drive to reproduce oneself – which I wouldn’t go underestimating – there’s the desire to have some degree of control over your life after being told some part of you doesn’t work. There’s the dream of being pregnant (as a woman anyway) and of going through that experience, which is reinforced over and over and over in human life and society. Of giving birth and creating a life and the wonder of holding someone who would not exist were it not for the love you and your spouse have for each other. There’s the hope that maybe this time it will work, maybe this time will be the last time and we can just finally be through the struggle and be just a family.
Moving to adoption is different. To get there from infertility treatment, you have to separate pregnancy and birth and all the lore about instant maternal love upon birth and all those images in the media of clean, slighly tired new parents ogling their new little cutiepie away from being a parent and the joy that it brings for a lifetime. You have to get comfortable (at least to some degree) that you will never be pregnant and give birth and say goodbye to all the daydream imaginings you’ve had since you started trying. It’s a hard thing to do.
And then you have to embrace the adoption process. You have to accept the need for people to go through your life and history and determine your adequacy as a parent and be willing and able to go through training and legal processes. You may be embracing new extended family members through an open adoption. You have to be ready to dig in and understand that adoption isn’t just a method for forming a family, but an event that may have life-long implications for you and your child. You will probably end up having to educate your parents and siblings and friends about adoption as well. If you are open to a transracial adoption, then you have to be willing and ready to take on the additional, marvelous complexity that becoming a multiracial/multiethnic/multicultural conspicuous family brings with it. And you have to do this well and with commitment because that is what is necessary to make sure you can do right by a child who joins your family through adoption. It’s not just about the parents getting to have a baby anymore, it’s about whether you can be a good parent to a son or daughter who, for some reason, cannot be raised by their biological parents. It’s different, and it requires a mental switch and different type of thinking than pregnancy. I think it’s actually a good thing that people pause and decide if that is the right fit for them.
Hopping back a moment, it’s also important to remember that timescales are different. You’ll know if the infertility treatment worked in a month or so, at least for successful implantation. It seems like such a short time…and then time passes and it’s another round (just another month or so) and another round…hope keeps you going, I think. With adoption, you are walking in with the potential for years of waiting depending on the path you follow. Hope keeps you going there too, but your expectations are differnet from the start.
One last thought…don’t underestimate the power of marketing either. Some infertility clinics are AMAZING wtih their marketing.
I for one have no problems with people trying to conceive. I have no problems with people using IVF to conceive, especially when using their own sperm/eggs.
“My husband and I had a soft, little dream of creating a person who was part him and part me. I dreamed of being pregnant, feeling the physical manifestation of the love that my husband and I have for one another kick and somersault inside of me.
I donâ€™t think that dream is all that unusual, and for most people, it happens exactly like that. Two people meet, fall in love, and have babies with Mommyâ€™s eyes, Daddyâ€™s ears, Grandpaâ€™s knack for making people laugh, and Grandmaâ€™s artistic talent. For us, it felt important to pursue that dream, and when it didnâ€™t happen, to mourn its loss.”
What you say above sounds totally noraml and understandable. I’ve looked at my own aparents and thought that they would have made nice (if short lol) children. I feel sad for them that that didn’t happen.
(Btw when looking at the thread about the “switched embyros”, something like thiis::
“My husband and I had a soft, little dream of creating a person who was part him and part me”
crossed my mind – the genetic parents will never see that little person who is part of their loved one, not just them.)
Now, when it comes to using donated sperm/egg/womb (especially when all of them together) vs adoption, then that’s when I would probably be asking the question, then personally I would go the adoption route. Having said that, I’ve said myself that the only adoption route I would go would be via foster care of an older child and only if that is what the child wanted. I would have no problems being a guardian – I know that I could love a child without having to have them “belong” to me.
“I suppose itâ€™s not a great surprise; the salience of biological and genetic ties, the desire to see your features, or gestures, or aptitudes, reflected in those around you, is present in all parts of the adoption constellation, including, from what I have read, adoptees; itâ€™s one of the many reasons for birth parent searches. So we did opt to pursue medical interventions first.”
Dawn, I have often said that those suffering from IF who are mourning the loss of their own biological connection when not able to have their own biological child are often in a unique position to understand that the others in the triad might also feel that loss.
Personally, I think it is about familiarity. I think if you come from a family that was built through adoption then you probably think about it as a normal way to build a family. I did not know any adoptees growing up so it was not a familiar thing for me. When we realized we had infertility and was faced with IVF, I researched adoption. But the truth is, adoption is JUST AS hard, costly (if private domestic or international) as infertility treatments. In the case of domestic adoption, you have to wait to be picked by the birth parent(s), for international the wait is so long in most cases. I also looked into foster care adoption but if your desire is to have a family, you have to be ready for some serious heartbreak – something that a family that has already been through the ups and downs (and downs and downs) of infertility can handle. So, I do think that genetics and having a child that “looks like you” can be a factor, but honestly, I truly felt that adoption would be so much harder emotionally than infertility treatments.
“Greg, Iâ€™m not speaking for the original questioner, but I would assume the reason she wouldnâ€™t ask them this question is because of the lengths people with infertility have to go to to get pregnant.”
I find the question, with the accusation of “hurt,” to be problematic. Adoption is held up as the morally superior avenue.
People who are infertile cannot win here. We are morally suspect no matter what solutions we attempt to undertake.
One of my friends just had serious complications from her pregnancy. High temperature, infection, almost has an emergency hysterectomy.
Considering the risks of pregnancy — why aren’t people who get pregnant likewise judged and questioned for their decisions?
Does anyone else think this question is odd? Is anyone else tired of being judged?
For me (and my husband) our desire to get pregnant and the desire to have a biological child were not the same. We adopted a baby through international adoption once we experienced fertility issues. However, after the adoption, I still longed to be pregnant. The desire for biological ties was not still there, but the desire to be pregnant was. So we did embryo adoption. And I’m really glad we did. Now that I know what I may have missed out on, I can’t imagine any woman (who wants to) not getting to experience pregnancy. I am sad for them. So I say all this to say, I think for some, going through all the poking and prodding is about getting to experience pregnancy, not necessarily wanting to have a bio child.
As embryo adoption becomes more prevalent and accepted, I think others will choose this option as well. Up until recently, the only way to experience pregnancy would be with a biological child. I am so thankful that now embryo adoption is a viable choice for those of us that long to experience pregnancy but do not necessarily long for our DNA to be reproduced. The only reason I would long for our DNA, is I think it maybe would make things easier for our children in terms of processing the fact that they are adopted. I don’t want them to ever feel like they were not wanted by their bio parents or donors.
I might not be the right person to answer because we never did that whole research-assisted conception procedure before we decided to adopt, but I can relate to the grieving and sense of loss.
We had a bio daughter after 2 years of ttc, but due to complications when giving birth to her I am unable to have another natural delivery. It took me 3 years to get over that and come to terms with hacing a c-section next time. The next time didn’t come and we decided to stop trying and adopt instead.
Losing the chance of another child hurt, but not as much as I expected and after just a month I was completely at pease with that even though it was the thought of pregnancy and breastfeeding that helped me get over the loss of giving birth.
Both my husband and I knew even before we started ttc that we would love an adopted child just as much as an homemade one, but we still chose to ttc for several years before making the decision to adopt.
Feelings are rarely rational and it takes time and effort to work through them. That does not mean that the decisions you make afterwards are less worth, they are just different.
Is a real person asking this question or is this a think piece? Why would an adult be hurt by strangers seeking medical treatment? I don’t get it.
I would ask the individual — why do you care if a couple seeks treatment for infertility? It sounds like you see that choice as a referendum on your life.
“As an adoptee, I have to tell you, IT HURTS. It hurts to see that people are literally willing to move mountains, go into huge debt, risk their healthâ€¦..and some wonâ€™t even consider adoption. â€¦ or to them, itâ€™s a â€œlast resortâ€â€¦ Iâ€™ve just always wondered why for some, adoption is no biggie and for others, it feels like theyâ€™d rather be childless than ever adopt.”
I wonder if the writer is hurt by couples choosing to have children via sex rather then adopting?
There may be some misconceptions about medical treatment. Infertility treatments aren’t that painful. The shots are tiny and don’t hurt. You no longer need to do the crazy big intramuscular shots. The health risks and pain of pregnancy far exceed the health risks of a fertility cycle.
I can’t know why people make the decisions they do. Family choices are deeply personal.
Why do people have a particular vision of their lives? Why do people chose particular spouses? Why do some people want five children and others only want one child? There are as many reasons as there are individuals. Here’s some guesses:
Adoption sounds like a more difficult and expensive process then medical treatment to many people.
Being a parent, for some people, is defined by genetics.
Some people see religion as something that is passed down via birth or genetics.
Some people don’t want to adopt because it’s a difficult and stressful process.
Some women want to be pregnant. That biological event is a life moment they want to experience.
Some people envision a “romantic” conception/ pregnancy/ birth experience.
Some people want to announce the pregnancy on facebook, get ultra-sound pictures for the baby book, and they want a gender-reveal baby shower. I don’t understand this motivation.
Some couples are concerned with controlling the pre-natal environment to provide a optimally nutritional environment.
No citizenship issues. No problems flying out of country for family visits or vacations.
The first weeks and months after birth are critical to brain development. Some parents want control over that time for health reasons.
In some families, a non-genetic child will not be accepted as part of the extended “family.”
In adoption, random strangers come into the situation, although with paperwork. People look at your financial history. Your home is inspected. A social worker interviews you.
In medical cycles there is more control. You chose when and where to cycle. You and your partner are the decision-makers over the cycle. In pregnancy, aside from the couple, there is no one else involved in the pregnancy or birth, other then doctors or a midwife.
Some people hate going to the doctor. They would prefer adoption. Some people hate paperwork. They would prefer medical treatment.
I don’t understand why people would get hurt by these personal choices.
A real person was asking this.
Here is my issue Dawn why aren’t these same questions asked of people who had no issues conceiving children? Why do we have different standards and expectations for those who are infertile?
I’m someone who is part of a couple that passed on fertility treatments who are unsure of how we’ll proceed. But I don’t fault anyone who had the same or a different infertility situation who pursue treatments rather than pursuing adoption. Those people are no different than those who are fertile who pass on adopting and instead conceive their children.
Greg, I’m not speaking for the original questioner, but I would assume the reason she wouldn’t ask them this question is because of the lengths people with infertility have to go to to get pregnant.