should-fertile-couples-adopt
Should families that can easily have children on their own adopt a child? Does this hurt the infertile couples wanting to adopt by increasing their wait?

My blog from earlier this week was titled Is it Selfish to Want a Second, Third, Fourth (etc.) Child?.  I received a thoughtful comment from an infertile woman who said she felt it was very selfish for fertile couples to “get in the ‘infant line’ with all of the couples that have no children making their wait so much longer. She objects to couple who are able to have children acting like they are saving a child because they feel it is their duty to adopt an orphan.

I received an email along a similar line from a woman who was waiting for a domestic adoption match.  She expressed a deep sadness and anger at a friend from church who “felt called to adopt” and recently adopted a newborn even though she “already had two children and could easily have had another.”

How Often Do Fertile Couples Choose to Adopt

Anecdotally, I can tell you that most fertile people/couples who choose to adopt, adopt from foster care or internationally rather than through domestic infant adoption. Generally, there is not a “line” of parents waiting to adopt from foster care or through international adoption, but if they are seeking to adopt a child as young and healthy as possible, then perhaps they do increase the wait of infertile couples also seeking young healthy children.

While I agree with the commenter that going into adoption to “save” a child is not the best approach, I think that many parents who are fertile and choosing to adopt are not coming with a savior complex.

Also, keep in mind that most often in domestic adoption, the birth parents choose who they want to adopt their child and some might actively prefer to not place their child with an infertile couple. I don’t think this is common from my experience, but if that is their preference, I want them to have that choice.

Blending Children By Birth and Adoption in the Same Family

I think that families that combine children by birth and adoption face special issues and need to think through the impact of this choice on both their children by birth and by adoption. This is a topic of special interest to some of us at Creating a Family, and we have lots of resources on combining kids by birth and adoption to help these families.

Should Fertile Couples Adopt?

The ethics of fertile couples adopting is a little discussed topic, so, I’ll repost both comments (without identifying info) and see what you have to say.

My husband and I are in the process of adopting our first child. We are waiting for an infant between 0-24 months and adopting internationally. I don’t apologize for wanting an infant because we are young, and we want to experience that piece of parenthood. This process has brought about relationships of varying degrees with many people in the adoption community and one thing that has consistently been repeated: the “Christian families with biological children wanting to affect the orphan crisis in the world and save a child by adopting an infant”.

This gets on my nerves. Sorry it does. My husband and I are Christians and we do realize that our child will indeed be blessed to have a family and certainly the opportunities will be great in the USA. However, I think it poses the absolute wrong example and view to go on the idea that we are saving our adopted child especially if you have biological children.

Your adopted child is already going to be different from the rest of your family but to adopt to save?. And I really see that many of these people like the idea that now people will see their obviously adopted child (from Africa, etc) and know that they are such good Christians. Please don’t think I’m a sarcastic jerk. I’m just being honest here.

And I just feel differently than a lot of people that are adopting. I believe strongly that for the many Christian families with biological children to want so badly to save an orphan to then get in the “infant line” with all of the couples that have no children making our waits so much longer. Its kind of disheartening. Its unlike anything I can quite put into words to tell you what its like to read or hear a waiting family (with 2, 3, 5 children, many times with an infant already at home) complaining about how they just can’t wait to hold their adopted baby, and the wait has been so long, and please pray because I just need my referral of my baby soon. At the same time, our nursery has been empty for 3 years as we wait.

I appreciate what these families are doing, without a doubt. But I would say that of the many families I know through church, groups, and socially that are adopting, we are 1 of 2 that are childless and 99% of the other families adopting with 2, 3, 4, 5 kids are waiting for an infant. So grow your families as big and awesome as you dream of! And save the world by giving a child a home and a family, but save one that’s already here and already an orphan, one that is 3, 4, 5, 6 yrs old, one that childless couples like myself would be uneasy with due to inexperience with kids and want for that baby-experience. That’s my piece. Sorry for the rambling rant. Hopefully I didn’t ruffle too many feathers. This is a subject that is really not too acceptable in the adoption community and if I did share it, I would certainly lose every friend I have in the adoption world.

and

My husband and I have tried for five years to have a baby and gone through all types of treatments that didn’t work. We started the adoption process 20 months ago.  Recently a friend at church, who already had two children and could easily have had another, decided she was called to adopt and quickly got matched and now has adopted a baby in less than a year.  Yes, I do think she is being selfish.  People who can have children shouldn’t take babies away from those who can’t have them. Sorry, but that is how I feel–so sad and angry right now.

What do you think?  Should infant adoption be reserved for infertile couples?

Other Creating a Family resources you will enjoy:

Image credit: US Magazine: Angelina Jolie Reveals Her Six Children Speak Seven Different Languages Among Them
Originally published in 2011; Updated in 2016.