Do Fertile Couples Who Adopt Hurt Waiting Infertile Couples?

Dawn Davenport



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.


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.

14/09/2016 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog | 72 Comments

72 Responses to Do Fertile Couples Who Adopt Hurt Waiting Infertile Couples?

  1. Avatar Ella says:

    We suffer from infertility. We tried adopting via infant adoption but now decided to adopt legally freed kids from foster care. My husband and I are both in our late 20s and looking at older kids and teens. Yes as someone whose infertile,it was hard seeing couples with 3 or 4 kids especially biological kids adopt an infant. All while we couldn’t adopt one infant or have biological kids. However just because you’re infertile doesn’t mean someone owes you an infant.

    Just like these comments above

    “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”

    “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”

    Sorry but as an infertile person nobody owes you their baby. Why won’t you adopt from foster care. Babies aren’t orphans. They get adopted. They’re not in need. There are thousands willing to take an infant. Waiting kids from foster care don’t have this privilege. And you’re not saving any child by adopting them. That’s a bs excuse for you to tell others to adopt already born kids from foster care while you want a baby due to inexperience and the baby experience. My husband and I are infertile. We don’t have any experience but we’re adopting older kids and teens. Nobody needs a baby you want one. You can read and research to prepare yourself. No child including babies come with manuals. Anyone can adopt from foster care. Isn’t it selfish to wait for a child to be born and a woman to mess up just so you can adopt?
    I can’t believe the amount of hatred and disrespect towards foster kids and fertile couples. Infertility doesn’t mean you can be selfish. Infertility doesn’t give you a right to judge others. Infertility doesn’t mean you should dictate what fertile couples do. If you’re telling fertile couples to adopt from foster care or take in older kids, why won’t you do it?

  2. Avatar Anna says:

    As an adoption social worker, I’m understanding, in a sense, of what the author is saying. However, as an adoption social worker, I would hate to think that the only reason you are adopting ANY child is because of infertility. That suggests that a biological child is your first choice and since you aren’t getting what you want, you are “settling.” I become increasingly worried that a couple adopting from infertility cannot enjoy the full process as a special, amazing experience the way a family whom has known the blessings of having a biological child. I also think it is irresponsible to tell a family that just because they have had the experience of parenting an infant at one time, they should not be allowed to adopt an infant. It’s not just the parenting blessings you get from attaching to an infant child in adoption. It is that an infant (or child under 12 months of age) likely has not had the traumas, experiences, and higher numbers of placements of older children (above 12 months of age), which often increase the risks of emotional disturbances, such as attachment challenges, as well as their grief and loss reactions to the entire situation.

    As for the illusion that couples “easily can have biological children,” I think it is important to think about those families whom have had biological children, but it was NOT easy. I have a client whom has experienced such horrendous sickness during her pregnancy, she cannot healthfully carry another pregnancy. She could actually get pregnant, but it would be a long 9-months of being in the hospital sick and lethargic. Just because someone has carried a successful pregnancy, doesn’t mean they can again. Many couples also face “secondary infertility,” where they are unable to get pregnant subsequent times. Should they HAVE to adopt an older child they may not be prepared to parent? That opens another can of worms: We DO NOT want parents adopting a child that they are not prepared to parent for life. The very few dissolutions to an adoption I have been through with my clients have been heartbreaking. Thought I’m sure for the parents, they have created more trauma, conflict, and lack of trust in the world in the children whom had been ripped from their previous country and everything they new, brought to a new world where they were promised the family will love them forever, and then turned away when they were not behaving in a manner in which the parents could tolerate. I would never advocate for a family to take on a child when they do not have the skills, ability, resources, and/or interest to do so effectively.

    Additionally, I also know families whom have been infertile and whom then use a surrogate, which is also an expensive process. So, yes, the child is theirs biologically (often times, that is), but were not carried by the genetic mother. Some couples using surrogates do not share that detail with others, for fear of judgment or fear of their child being treated differently by those who are entitled or unaccepting. So, a family may be raising their biological child, but never have given birth to that child. Why should they be any less able to adopt an infant? Because they already had one? By that standard, nobody should be allowed to raise more than one infant.

    I’m not shocked by the entitlement shown by this author, but I am saddened for it. It shows a very narrow viewpoint and if I were her adoption social worker, we would be having many discussions about these very issues, because it is evident that she just doesn’t get it.

    • Avatar Emily Tanner says:

      When you say ” I become increasingly worried that a couple adopting from infertility cannot enjoy the full process as a special, amazing experience the way a family whom has known the blessings of having a biological child. ”

      This mentality has thrown many good potential parents into the trash, an action that shouldn’t be taken so lightly, and it is. So many children need homes- Whether with CPS, or private adoption, or international. My husband and i applied to adopt privately, and though we met every requirement and had both worked with children and have our masters in child development, we were rejected when they found out we were infertile. Though we were almost completed the process, and found to be exceptional people with a good home to offer and a lot of love, we were rejected. How come? The person above my worker had the same mentality you did, without ever having met us. We actually started the adoption process because we were getting up there in age- I am almost 39. We did not know we were infertile until months later. So the idea we were going to replace someone or wouldnt enjoy the process or love that child unconditionally was like being struck with a brick to the head. I hope you stop judging people based on how ‘able’ their body is, and encourage yourself and others to know families as each individual- know what is in their heart , what their coping skills are, and who they are as a WHOLE being… not just based on whether they can conceive or not-That just isnt worth throwing them away… I can’t imagine there’s so many people willing to adopt that we should be doing that.

      “Why should they be any less able to adopt an infant? Because they already had one? By that standard, nobody should be allowed to raise more than one infant.”

      I agree, whole heartly. But that is another reason ..excuse given to us- That if we tried fertility treatment and got pregnant- we would abandon the adopted child. I was heartbroken to hear this does happen, but that isn’t okay to assume. MANY people have pregnant bellies and still keep their toddlers around.. I know.. I see my brothers family doing it-I have yet to see them want to give any away lol.

      I wasn’t sad to be infertile…I was sad when I was told it effected my chances to adopt.
      That’s discrimination by the way..
      No matter how they want to ice that cake with justification. I was told point blank, a woman who became pregnant while getting matched, would not be turned away- because she could naturally conceive.

      So I beg you and others to look for alternatives, because this mentality is destroying people.

      I sit and think of my own mum. She calls me when she needs help with something. When my mum needed surgery in another city-I was there to drive her. And when she gets older- I will be there for her..and one day sadly and lovingly hold her hand when she passes of old age..or sickness or whatever the future holds..but she will not be alone.

      But I will.
      That’s what you fail to think about when you look at articles like this and judge how petty people are being. You can’t know, standing in a place of privilege , what people go through. Imagine your own family gone- maybe you have children yourself? Imagine someone else decided if they were in your life or not- whether that’s doctors or CPS, or other social workers..just imagine your own pain when someone, with a mentality like your own says- meh.. they won’t understand the specialness of this.
      Imagine your life… How is it? If not yours, someone else you love with children.

      When you say this “I become increasingly worried that a couple adopting from infertility cannot enjoy the full process as a special, amazing experience the way a family whom has known the blessings of having a biological child. ” YOU ARE DISCRIMINATING. Just because someone gave birth, doesn’t mean they appreciate a darn thing, if that were true- social workers wouldnt be in their job, because kids would be with their parents, not adopted out.

      • Avatar Amanda says:

        Ridiculously selfish, thoughtless, entitled comment- typical infertile woman. The world doesn’t owe you a child. I’m sorry but it just doesn’t. I agree completely with the social worker- and she’s the one that actually sees what takes place. Infertile couples settle for adopted children- and as is quite indicative by your comment- carry ponderous feelings of victimhood, resentment and bitterness. Not ONCE in your comment do you even attempt to take a perspective other than your own, or reflect on the opinions of a professional in the field. No, no – that would require an ounce of your being that wasn’t hopelessly self-involved. No, you’re “discriminated” against. You’re going to be “alone.”. God, this is why people don’t want infertile couples getting children… and you’re so utterly lacking in self awareness that you can’t even realize how you come across to others. {Edited to keep comments educational and respectful}

        • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:


          It’s so interesting to me that this is what you gleaned from Emily’s comments. I read her comments several times and while I agree that she spoke from her perspective and lived experiences, I don’t see it as ill-willed or selfish as you see it. I, instead, see a lot of pain and trying to make sense of some of these hard questions and of the labels that make people like her (as she really only CAN speak from her own experiences) feel ill-equipped or unaccepted to consider for parenting. I don’t see it as lacking in self-awareness as much as I see it bearing a weight she didn’t ask for.

        • Avatar Shelly says:

          {Edited to diffuse and keep comments educational and respectful}

          This may be shocking to you, but not all infertile people have the same viewpoint or take the same path. Some are fine being childfree, others may want children but don’t want to adopt. We don’t all think we are “entitled” to someone else’s child. Lumping all infertile people together just so you could attack us was completely uncalled for, as was your whole rant.

  3. Avatar Cathy W says:

    Jen – Quick question, did the Christian couple actually say the words, “because God called them to “save” an orphan…?” Just trying to get some clarity on what was said.

    As Christians we do believe that we are called by God to help the orphans and widows according to the Bible. Maybe this is what was meant by the Christian couple you referred to.

    James 1:27…Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

    I can only speak for myself and say this is why we are adopting and would like to adopt more. Because my husband and I both believe this is what we are called to do. I have known this for my entire life, I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m adopted and now knowing that God asks us to do this, I for one cannot and will not say no. I can’t turn a blinds eye to the orphans of this world. When we no longer can adopt, I will continue on caring for the orphan in one way or another. After all God has called us (all of us) to do this!

  4. Avatar Cathy W says:

    Fertile or infertile, it should not matter. Adoption is about having a family, however that looks to the parents that are adopting.

    I am so grateful that my parents decided to adopt me, (I was 8 weeks old when they did) even though they could still have biological babies.

    Would I ever begrudged parents who have had or still can have biological babies from adopting a baby? Never!

    I read the article and the two comments that were posted without being identified and wow! I must say, who is being selfish? Trust me God doesn’t say, well you should adopt a baby because you have no kids and He certainly doesn’t say, you shouldn’t adopt a baby because you do have kids.

    I will speak for myself and say, while I am somewhat older, 48 almost 49, have 3 from China, just home 3 weeks with a 12 yr old. I am starting to pray and ask God if we are supposed to adopt again and what age? I would like to adopt as young as possible and a girl next time. That’s a whole other topic of discussion, believe you me. We will wait and see what God wants us to do. Because after all, what I want and what God wants are two different things. Lol 😀

    I can only be happy for anyone who has decided to adopt and be happy for whatever age that child or baby is that is being adopted!

  5. Avatar Tera Teresa Billes says:

    I can relate to Meredith. It parallels our story in many ways.

  6. Avatar Tera Teresa Billes says:

    No one has the right to expect that other people limit their personal freedoms based on an isolated need that they have. If it were something that affected the entire population, such as a gas shortage, then we can talk about regulating and expectations of the society as whole to act in a certain way or limit freedoms for the whole of society, but, no, as much as I can empathize with how she feels and how hard it must be, we must not judge others for desiring to adopt one infant or several infants just as long as they are willing and able to care for them responsibly.

  7. Avatar Iris Arenson-Fuller says:

    I am moved to write a response to this post because this is a gripe I have heard over and over in my 40 plus yrs as part of the adoption community. I founded and directed a licensed agency for nearly 30 yrs, am an adoptive mom of adult children, have been a foster mom and also am a life coach and one of my speciality areas is helping all members of the adoption community.

    I must agree with the previous two comments about the focus on the adults, rather than the kids. Yet, I feel for the woman who has tried so hard to build her family and has met so many obstacles.

    I am not a Christian but my husband and I adopted out of a strong desire to give back to the world and to parent children who needed us. We were also not infertile and had a biological son and we were committed too, to zero population growth. The children we adopted were young (though we fostered a much older child) and yet, were not considered at the time (other than by us) the perfect kids, background-wise, or health-wise that most childless people intitially sought to adopt.

    Time and time again, in working with prospective families who were angry for a variety of reasons, when it came down to it, most were/are very specific in what they would or would not consider in a baby or child.

    Every family is not suited for every child. There are sometimes reasons by child placing professionals will choose a family experienced at parenting over a childless person or couple. I do believe and have seen, that we end up with the children we are meant to have and I think it is important to hold on to that thought when waiting, even though it is difficult to wait.

    However, when one has been waiting for a long while, it would be a good idea to do some intropection, alone, with one’s partner, and even with a professional adoption counselor or adoption coach, to determine if there is a way to open up one’s parameters and to expand one’s idea of parenting and the type of child one is able to parent.

    As much as you desperately want to build a family, and as much as you can’t create happy, lasting families without considering the needs of all people involved, the children’s needs and interests really must be a first consideration.

    • Avatar Anna says:

      A very important note you make here is that “every family is not suited for every child.” This is essential and it is why families go through a thorough preparatory homestudy and why Hague has implemented laws on proving the family’s that are approved for specific needs (emotional and/or physical) are able to meet those needs and have resources to help them. Thank you for making this point known and blessings to you for sharing your experience as a professional, as well as an adoptive parent/foster parent/and life coach.

  8. Avatar Erin says:

    I am labeled infertile and with treatment multiple preg loss. Did not know that infertile couples felt this way. I think that everyone who has a stable home and is a loving family should adopt regardless of children they can or cannot have. There is an orphan crisis and there are a lot of children that need homes. I think the waiting problem is due to other countries systems as well as our own. I have 2 babies (13 month adopted) and (8 month foster) both started as foster and we were asked by a friend to foster another baby 2 week old. Obviously we have our hands full and were willing to consider it because it was a friend who requested us personally. There are rules about 2 under 2 and we have met our limit on that rule so I do not think it will be poss. Though in the moment of this situation i was feeling a bit like a baby hog. We tried for years to have a baby and then years to adopt a baby and now that we have 2 babies it seems like the babies are just being put on our doorstop. It is so strange. And then we have a poss. situation in the late summer to foster my son’s sibling. We have to decide if it is something we can do and these same thoughts have crossed my mine. Should this child be with his/her brother? Should we let another couple foster to adopt who is childless, what is best? As much as I want very couple that wants children to have children I do not think it is fair to say who should have who. All children need families and those that are still waiting willl get a chance and that child will be a great match for that family same as ours are for our family. It doesn;t make it easier but we have to look at the needs of the children while simultaneously making it right for our families too,

  9. Avatar Anna says:

    as a long time foster parent i feel strongly that more parents signing up to be foster parents is not the problem. We have been waiting 3 years for a child under 5. the numbers thrown out there (120,000) are misleading and its far more complicated than that. foster care is now a huge institution that employs thousands of people- social workers, support staff, therapists etc. financial incentives for in county placements discourage not only working with other states, but working outside of your county. Usually people that adopt their first placement shout the loudest about what a great system it is and how easily they adopted…. while that discredits those of us who have had our hearts broken over and over. yes, its part of the job, but that doesn’t change the level of sadness.

  10. Avatar Jill says:

    Honestly all of this drama between parents who birth their kids or adopt their kids is just another form of mommy wars and it pisses me off. As long as we are loving our kids who cares how those kids were brought into the family?

  11. Avatar Melanie says:

    The 120,000 number is very misleading. Of those 120,000 currently in care, a very small percentage (much less than half) are actually available for adoption, and an even smaller percentage (much less than a quarter) can be adopted out of state. Foster care is not an easy answer or a solution to infertility. In fact, they will tell you at your very first class that if you are looking to adopt a healthy infant foster care is not for you, and you should go private. To be simultaneously willing to work with birth family towards reunification and also hope to adopt the child in your care that you love takes a very special person…and as you’ve said before, even those who are willing to do that are often turned away (30%).

    • Melanie, actually the 120,000 number reflects the children in foster care whose parental rights have already been terminated or in the process of being terminated. The number of kids in foster care is far higher–somewhere in the 400,000 range. Many of the 120,000 are available to families out of state.

  12. Avatar Melanie says:

    I disagree that siblings should always be kept together no matter what, especially in foster to adopt situations. When children are abused together they often form a “trauma bond” and can not heal/recover from the abuse when they stay together. Many sibling groups who are separated end up finding healing and hope, but while kept together continue to abuse one another. Having grown up in an abusive family where my siblings were part of the abuse I advocate for children being adopted separately if that is what is best for the individual child. Sibling relationships are not necessarily the longest relationships…many adult siblings have no contact or relationship at all because of childhood trauma. Even if there isn’t a “trauma bond” (as in the case of a baby born later and going to a different home) it is not always best for sibs to be placed together…it depends on the current family dynamics and individual needs of all children involved. There are lots of ways to keep sibling bonds/half-sibling bonds/step-sibling bonds, etc. Happy families come in all shapes and sizes these days, and there is no set rules that one way over another is best.

  13. I think there is a big point being missed in many comments here. I think while it sounds like the first person is upset with non infertile couples adopting babies, it is actually about non infertile people thinking babies are orphans who need saved. This is not the case. There are open, waiting arms for babies at every turn. Proof is the sometimes several year long wait people have when adopting. My son, who was through domestic infant adoption, was never an orphan. He didn’t need my saving. I am not a saint to have saved/adopted him. I selfishly wanted to expand my family. While I do have a biological son, in the 11 years between the two boys, I became infertile and my husband (who is my son’s step dad) is also infertile. But because we have 1, does that make me have less right than the childless to have adopted our son? I did it for us. For our family. For me! I didn’t do it to give him a home or to save an orphan. I am not daddy warbucks. I did not pluck a neglected orphan from the streets or an overcrowded orphanage. People should be honest with their intentions. Domestic infants are not part of any orphan crisis! I have no problem if you want to adopt a baby. Just do it for the right reasons. Your child should never be made to feel like they were saved and you adopted them because God called you to Sabe an Orphan. They should however feel like you adopted them because you had more love to give and wanted more children. People need to think about the reprucussuon if their stupidity. How do these people pass home studies!?!? Geesh!

  14. Avatar AnonForThis says:

    I think it’s one thing to adopt a waiting child, but for a fertile couple to go for a healthy infant or toddler and act like they’re doing the world a favor is nuts.

    I feel the same about single women who adopt, too, but I typically keep my mouth shut about it.

  15. Avatar Greg says:

    Missohokay is so dead on with her comments in so many different ways. It’s easy for me it sit here and say people with bio children should just adopt a child in need but who am I to judge others.

    I too get annoyed with those who say that it’s their calling to adopt. It’s not your calling you are making the decision to pursue adoption. That’s all say that you are pursuing a certain type of adoption that you are comfortable with. There is nothing wrong with that either.

  16. Avatar Christina says:

    First, I want to say please forgive me if I use improper offensive terms, I am still learning alot of things. I personally do not support fertile couples in infant adoption. If someone has the desire to adopt to help a child out, that is commendable in itself and there are tons of waiting children in foster care. When choosing my sons (who was placed at birth) parents, I would only look at couples who were unable to concieve. I knew I could never take away their pain or the struggles they will endure forever, but I wanted as much of their dream to come true as possible. Already having 3 kids of my own, I wanted my sons mom (and dad) to experience as much as possible for them. I sent them an ultra sound pic in a fathers day card and when I got to Utah at our first dr appt together I had the dr do an ultra sound so they could see and hear our son. They were there thru labor and delivery. Mom held my leg and dad cut the cord. They stayed in the hospital alot, I didn’t want them to leave at all but now am glad they did give me some time alone with our son. I allowed (wanted) their extended family to visit us in the hospital as well, we had a packed room at times. The adoption plan was about what was best for me son and choosing his parents were equally important as the choice to place. I feel blessed to have been able to be the one that was able to give them as much as I could with the experience of our sons gestation and birth.

  17. Avatar SSltzr says:

    These are two different and separate topics. There are fertile Christian families who feel “called” to adopt who (right or wrong) have (what some may call) “a savior” mentality/view of adoption. THEN there are regular everyday couples/families (some may be Christian, some not) also fertile, who for them adoption is their choice/preference but it has nothing to do with wanting to “save” anyone – for them adoption was simply a preferred choice over pregnancy in the way surrogacy would be a choice. An example would be my single girlfriend who was ready for kids and a family but didn’t want to go through a pregnancy alone, or my husband and I, who also chose adoption over ever even trying to get pregnant, for our own (totally non-savior, but) very personal reasons. Lumping the two types of people/families together is hardly fair, even if the “result” (costing you a place in “line”) is the the same. AND, quite frankly, feeling as though someone else shouldn’t adopt (for whatever reason) because *you* don’t believe they need to, as it costs you a place in line, is as silly as telling me I can’t buy the last box of cookies on the grocery shelf because I already have several boxes at home, and a working oven, and you know I also bake really well, and it means you would need to wait for them to restock. Really?

    • Avatar SherryFraserthesong says:

      I agree that prospective parents who are not necessarily infertile may have their own reasons for pursuing adoption that aren’t about “saving” a child.

      Although it is only an idea right now, and we may never pursue adoption or we may decide to try for more bio children, I’ve begun researching adoption a little. My husband and I have 2 children, a boy and a girl. Our son is on the autism spectrum. Our daughter is too young for us to know yet if she will be on the spectrum too or be neurotypical. Both my children are my world. It is, however, generally known that once you have a child with ASD, the likelihood of your subsequent children having ASD as well jump to about 25% for a boy and about 10% for a girl. I had always wanted 3 or 4 children, but these odds have made the decision on whether or not to try for more bio children slightly more complicated.

      Our son is high functioning (possibly a genius in some respects), but there is no way to tell if another child had ASD where on the spectrum they would fall. There are certainly no guarantees with an adopted child either, but the odds would most likely be lower, especially if we adopted a girl. The only way to guarantee a girl if I were to get pregnant again would be IVF with preimplantation genetic testing for gender. For several reasons, I don’t feel that would be the best option, not counting the ethical considerations. IVF would not necessarily be successful, and even a girl would still have 10x the risk of the “general population” so to speak. All that combined with my age and my previous complicated labors make me wonder if adoption might be the right choice.

      I am in no way saying that a neurotypical child is somehow better or more desirable than a child with ASD, but I think most people would agree that a child with ASD takes up more mental and emotional resources, generally speaking. I think that is why many parents choose not to expand their family after an ASD diagnosis. The idea of never experiencing the newborn stage again is difficult for me, and the idea of parenting potentially 3 children on the spectrum is somewhat daunting. That’s another reason why we would wait until our youngest was old enough for us to have an idea if she was ASD too. My point is you can’t necessarily know why a family makes the choices they do.

      We would be an excellent family for a child. We are very fortunate in our financial situation. The child would grow up with siblings and other close family. They would never want for anything as far as opportunities, education, and most importantly, love. We would be open to any race, but no so that people at the playground could see how we “saved” a child as discussed in a different comment. Our reasons are entirely selfish, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t make a desirable home. No one goes into the adoption process with the intention of making it easier for a different couple to adopt. Everyone just wants a child for whatever their personal reasons may be.

      And just to clarify, I would never regret adopting a child if they did turn out to have ASD, just as I could never regret my own bio children.

    • Avatar NLR says:

      Thank you, SSltzr — You hit the nail on the head on exactly what I was thinking as I was reading through these posts. My partner and I are trying to adopt an infant in the US. We don’t know if we are fertile or not (we’ve never been pregnant but have never tried to be), but we have chosen adoption as our first choice as to how we want to build our family. We are not Christian, or religious in any form, and are not adopting in order to “save” anyone. We simply have a ton of love that we want to share with our future child.

      To those people that assume we are selfish for trying to adopt an infant, I feel like this is a very unfair judgement. And perhaps not understanding of everyone’s unique situation. Part of the reason why we landed on US infant adoption, as opposed to international adoption, was that we are not married and are thus unable to adopt from anywhere except the US or Canada (we are Canadian). (If you’re wondering, we’re not married due to personal choices as it isn’t important to either of us). We chose the US because of a few reasons, but mostly because the laws in Canada are very different when it comes to birth mother retraction, and we did not fee prepared to handle to possibility of having our child’s birth mother take him/her back within the first month. (That’s how it works here — within 30 days, no questions asked.) Also, as a couple who has never parented before, we also didn’t feel ready or able at this point in our lives to adopt out of foster care here in Canada. And I agree with what others have stated — no parents should feel obligated to adopt a child they don’t feel capable of parenting. That’s not a good situation for anyone.

      Having said all of this, I do, in some ways, understand other waiting parents who begrudge people like us who may be able to have biological children and are potentially increasing the wait time for infertile parents. I have thought about this, and talked to my partner about this before we proceeded. However, when it come down to it, I think it is important to realize the final adoption in US infant adoption all comes down to choice — there is a birth mother (and maybe father too) that choose the couple that they think best suits what they want for their child. For the sake of the birthparents, for the child, and for the relationship between the birthparents and adoptive parents, isn’t it best for everyone if this is made to be the best match possible? And don’t more choices provide better opportunities to find an ideal match? There are some birthparents that may only want to place their child with an infertile couple, but there may be others who want to place their child with a couple whose first choice was adoption — that it wasn’t the back up plan. There is validity in both those perspectives — and I think birthparents should be able to legitimately have those options in front of them.

      Anyways.. just my thoughts. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it’s unfair to judge someone else’s situation from afar.

  18. Avatar Kelly says:

    Just because someone has a biological child or children does not mean they are not infertile. You cannot assume they did not struggle to have their children and/or are struggling to have more. I had one bio son after a four year struggle and moved to adoption to grow our family.

  19. Avatar Kara says:

    The first thing that I take STRONG objection to is anyone who is out to adopt to “SAVE” a baby. I respectfully ask that if that is your end goal-walk on. In fact, your world-view may sabotage your own efforts when the kid picks up on your whole “saving” mentality. In that view, you’re not filling a role for the baby-the baby is filling it for you. The idea that someone would go transracial out of liberal white guilt is so damaging I have no words.
    If you look at a picture of a black orphan and think “I could help save that poor child” vs. “OMG! that child is BEAUTIFUL” you might have liberal white guilt. No one in the black community appreciates it. At least none that I know of.

    Weirdly, I totally agree with the posters. I throw down the BS flag to families who are “called to adopt”…but only an infant. After they’ve been through it. Really? Ofcourse, I also don’t believe God picked up the phone and direct dialed you, but rather, you saw what you wanted to see/believe-and ignored all the other signals where G’man might have been communicating “thats not what I meant” or “big kids too!”. I think a much more likely scenario is that you read the information and very honestly, and realistically, decided the problems that come with big kid adoption are just far too trying. Infants are cute, cuddly, and will be “most like a ‘real’ kid”. Every kid in foster care knows THAT.

    For me, the issue is that there is a culture we have built that makes a people “scared” to admit, hey, I just don’t want to do that. So instead I’ll be called by God for an infant.

    In the end, I do not care what someone chooses to tell themselves about their child’s adoption. I feel for the posters, and I think they we real and honest and getting a raw deal on this board.

    BTW, I have no dog in this fight. Adoption is my first choice. I think I’m fertile, I don’t actually know. I may go Big Kid now and decide I want the infant experience later.

  20. Avatar missohkay says:

    I’ve seen infertile couples’ concerns about the fertile people “clogging” up the process or “taking” the babies. And I’ve also seen the “called to adopt” crowd getting snotty about infertile couple’s adoptions being “Plan B” whereas they chose it as “Plan A” so they should go first. I think we should all accept that no matter what the motivation is for adopting, it’s a tough process that no one would go through without being serious about it.

    That said, let’s not condemn the clearly hurting infertile couples for admitting that they feel resentment. It doesn’t mean they won’t be excellent parents. Wanting a child and being unable to have one is overwhelming – all you can see around you are happy families and expectant mothers. It colors your view of the world and causes you to question other people’s motivations. It hurts in a way that a couple who never struggled can’t fathom – I’ve been there. I don’t think the adoption process needs to be overhauled to accommodate infertiles above all others, but I do think we need to have compassion and not rush to judgment against them for expressing their vulnerability. They KNOW adoption is about the children – they just desperately want one.

    • Avatar Nikki says:

      Thank you for asking us to not condemn those struggling with infertility from being honest about what they are thinking and feeling. Glad you said that. At first I was annoyed but now I feel like I need to respect what they are going through too. (Fertile mother of one going through the adoption process for a second for personal reasons not relating to saving 🙂

  21. Avatar Jennifer A. says:

    & my last point (just thought of this) would be that I think it is highly irresponsible, to suggest that someone take on a situation they do not feel comfortable with. I understand it is hard to want a baby and not have one. I can only imagine that ache in ones heart. & how hard it must be to see couples with children, stepping into line.

    But, as a prior social worker, I have seen how institutionalization or time in a destructive environment can impact children. It can create some challenging behavior. As time spent in an institution increases, (many times) a child’s difficulties and challenges do as well.

    To say that someone who has children, must take on a situation they are uncomfortable with (or perhaps even unprepared for) is not a best case scenario for anyone involved. In fact, it’s a very bad scenario. Just because someone has raised children, does not necessarily make them a good candidate for “special needs” adoption, or older child adoption. Frankly, a system that sorted people like that would be point blank irresponsible.

    As Brida mentions above me, there are more children waiting for homes, than parents adopting. The process is NOT taking longer because fertile couples are stepping in to help with the situation, it is taking longer because of poor policy and procedures (as I mentioned before).

    My best advice: place that anger and frustration where it belongs, and do something productive with it. Get involved in petitioning government, and with organizations like “Both Ends Burning” who are working to revise bad policy that needs some adjusting and improving.

  22. Avatar Jennifer A. says:

    All I can say is: Ouch. This is a hard topic to read about, as my husband and I feel “called to adopt”, and both have since we were little children. My husband’s family was formed by adoption, and I have just always loved children. We simply felt that since there were so many children in need, why “create” another one?

    While I feel much of what needs to be said has already been voiced, I just wanted to reiterate a few points.

    I do agree with Andy, that comments and viewpoints such as this, are adults being more concerned about themselves, than the children. Depending on the program, there are still more children in need, than adults adopting. Although, one of the reasons my husband and I chose International Adoption, as oppose to Domestic Adoption (we get that question all the time) is that I was aware that there is not much need in that domain. As I understood it, parents created profiles, and there were more adults wanting to adopt, than children needing homes. But, depending on the country, that is not the case with international adoption.

    I think this is a case of displaced frustration. Frustration with infertility, and frustration with the adoption process. There are groups, such as “Both Ends Burning” highlighting the broken international adoption system. The process does not take such a long time because so many people are getting in line, it takes such a long time (& so much money) because the system is broken.

    After my husband and I adopt, and our kids grow up, we hope to Foster children (once we have more experience raising children).

    I think that if there are more children than homes, what is best for children, is to be in a home. The reason international adoption is so slow, is not for a lack of need, but for a lack of functional process. I highly encourage people to check out “Both Ends Burning” for more information, and ways to get involved in changing that.

    I don’t think my husband and I see ourselves as “saving” a child, but we do feel good about opening our arms to a child in need.

    • Jennifer A., I know of many fertile couples who choose to adopt for their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th child and choose international adoption because they see a greater “need” for families there than for domestic adoption. They are aware that they would be getting a child that there are many families wanting to adopt. I do think we have to keep the focus on the fact that there is a huge need for families for kids in foster care as well.

  23. Avatar Esther says:

    One thing overlooked… compassion. I can only speak for myself. We were not infertile, but struggled with completion of pregnancies. We do have biological children, but were “called” because at the time of our first adoption there was a huge need to adopt black children from foster care. We faced a lot of animosity from the black community, that did not step forward. The little guy we adopted had attachment issues and neglect, health issues… and I could go on. Bottom line is his momma wanted to place him but there were no families so he ended up in foster care, adoptive placement, disruption, another foster home…then us. We determined at that time to be a family who caught them before the foster care system since our son was damaged by it… so we caught four more over the course of ten years. We always stepped back when there were other families, but sometimes, there are none. Many people may say, ” oh yes.” but are not paper ready, are not profile ready and choke when they see medicals that are scary. That is OK, but do not blame those that are “called” for stepping forward for the child. EVERY CHILD needs a family, whether they are only children or one of twelve.

  24. Avatar Brida says:

    I just wanted to share one thing that I was told by our adoption agency. we chose to adopt internationally & our agency told us that there are roughly 4000 orphans EACH year from our country of choice. On an average year 1200 of those children will be placed in their own country while 1200 are placed internationally. That leaves 1600 babies growing older in orphanages and in the foster care system. and this is just from ONE country. the problem does not lie with fertile couples snatching up the babies or backing up the system as the individuals above alluded to. there is a lack of man power able to process the applications in a timely manner. if only infertile couples adopted, that would mean that less children would be placed overall. and this, in my opinion, would be a very sad thing. this is about the children- it is about families- where does it state that only infertile couples have the right to adopt? the adoptive parents fertile or infertile are the ones keeping the orphanages funded (with adoption fees/ costs) and able to provide for these children in the first place. if we exclude people who already have biological children, it will be the orphaned children who will ultimately pay the price for this. i can see how this would be a difficult pill to swallow if you are without a child and are waiting. however, you are waiting the wait just like all of us have.

  25. Avatar A.Roddy says:

    I am childless not by infertility that I know of. I also doubt if adoption is in our future because of our age and financial status. Furthermore I do not want to go thru all the hassle. Having kids doesn’t make someone a good parent. All parents started out inexperienced so a birth mom choosing a couple with kids because of this reason makes no sense. There is still is so much insensitivity toward the infertile. I don’t think any of them are asking for special attention or entitlement. What they want is a fair chance. Until you walk in another man’s moccasin’s don’t be so hostile.

  26. Avatar erin says:

    My husband and I are both primarily infertile. We decided before we got our diagnosis that we were going to adopt. So I guess we could have fallen on either side of the line, except that I always dreamed of adopting a waiting child, once I’d had some parenting experience to help overcome the special challenges of that situation, rather than an infant. But our infertility led us to open domestic infant adoption.

    The adoption wait is not a rational thing. I look at the waiting couples with children, and I can’t help but think their pain is not so great as ours, because we’ll never have children, and this is our only chance to parent. I recognize in my head that the birthparents are free to select whomever they feel will be the best fit for their child, and maybe a family with other kids fits that bill. But when you’re deprived of something you’re biologically hardwired to want, it can be hard not to resent those who are able to have children, but choose to adopt an infant instead. It’s not something you want to feel, or feel proud of. Unfortunately, when you ride along with that empty ache for so long, it becomes increasingly difficult not to become self-absorbed about it, thinking less about the child and more about how your wait affects you.

    I can only speak for myself, but most of the time, I feel like a wounded animal, and it’s hard to see beyond my own pain, and refocus my everyday thinking toward “a home for every child.” But when I get the birthparent profile, and see the stats on an actual infant, not just some abstract idea of a baby, I pray for God to guide that child to whatever family he/she is meant to be with. Doesn’t mean I don’t still have jealousy and sadness when we aren’t chosen. And because I base all my belief in the fact that God led me to adopt, gave me a husband who was totally ok with it, and then made us both infertile to make sure we followed through, and there are STILL days when I feel like it’s never going to happen, when I resent all the other “competition”….well, I guess I can sort of see where these women are coming from. My rational mind disagrees with their thinking, but my emotional heart understands why they feel that way.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Erin, how very beautifully said. [I look at the waiting couples with children, and I can’t help but think their pain is not so great as ours, because we’ll never have children, and this is our only chance to parent. I recognize in my head that the birthparents are free to select whomever they feel will be the best fit for their child, and maybe a family with other kids fits that bill. But when you’re deprived of something you’re biologically hardwired to want, it can be hard not to resent those who are able to have children, but choose to adopt an infant instead. ] You said it much better than I ever could have. Thank you for sharing.

  27. Avatar sarah says:

    I will say this I want to adopt and am not infertile. My husband is the same way. We want the best possible future for any child not just the ones we may personally give birth too. Adoption is for every one willing to be a good parent. The only thing that is selfish is saying a person cant adopt because they are fertile. I do feel called to adoption and am doing my research. I will adopt any child that God puts in my arms be it an infant or an older child. I’m sorry most of you fell that it is bad for those who are not infertile to want to adopt I will pray for you and that your adoption process will go well. Iwant all children that need a home to find a home. This article opened my eyes to the prejudice of the adoption world and now that I know that I am more prepared. Thank you for this article it was truly inspiring.

  28. Avatar Annas mommy says:

    I know I’m a bit late chiming in on this but I just found it. I had always planned on adopting a child. It wasn’t a need to “save” anyone, but to add to my family after my 3 bio boys were older. After my dh passed away, I had a hysterectomy, but infertility had no impact on my decision, because it had been made 10 years before I ever signed the first paper. Because it was something I always planned, adoption seemed like the proper next step, even alone as a single mom. It wasn’t a second choice, it was a planned next step in my world. A lot of people thought I was too old (42 at the time), or that being single it was too hard. But I was sure in my heart it was right for me.

    When my oldest son moved out on his own, I started my adoption journey. I always felt like I was asking for a huge gift of a child. No one “owed” me a daughter, and no one “deserves” someone else’s child. I knew that as a single mom I would need to be patient and that my daughter and I would find each other at some point in time. For years I had dreamed of a daughter hanging out in the kitchen while we made cookies together. And now I have an amazing gift of a daughter, who couldn’t be more wanted or loved or enjoyed by anyone. And of all the fun things, she loves cookies!

    I can understand the frustration of infertile couples, however, no one deserves a child, these children are gifts, no matter what their age is. And my reasons for adopting my be different than yours, but they are no less real or important to me than your reasons are to you. I truly hope that your journey brings you as much joy and love as mine did for my family.

    Good luck.

  29. Avatar Brian says:

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts. I’d like to know if fertile people who adopted infants are aware that there are more families (presumably infertile families) waiting to adopt newborns than there are newborns available for adoption. If they knew that, would they still think they are “saving” a child?

  30. Avatar Kelly says:

    It is my opinion that adoption is all about finding families for children, not finding children for waiting parents. In a perfect world there would be no need for adoption and I would think that every couple could choose to have a baby biologically. But because it’s not a perfect world, and because biology doesn’t always work as it’s designed, there are parents without children and children without families. But every child who is adopted into a family is something to be celebrated, and though it hurts to not be chosen, it is still worth congratulating and celebrating that a child has been placed with a family — even if the family is not yours.

    As an adoptive mom who added two little girls from China into our family of five (three biological sons), I can tell you that the wait for our referrals was torture. Even though I had three sons at home, the ache to hold my daughters was almost a physical pain at times. I cannot imagine the pain that a couple who had dealt with infertility and the grief and loss of the experience of pregnancy and giving birth would have, but I understand the grief at the wait, the “unfairness” of it all (why is it taking so long, what if we don’t get chosen, why is this happening to us (or happening to us again)? But I don’t think that focusing on the “unfairness” of someone with several children getting a referral or placement is the correct way to make it through the wait — to focus on your own loss, again and again, cannot be emotionally healthy (completely normal, yes, but healthy, no). And at the risk of irritating/infuriating or adding to the hurt of those who have experienced infertility and who are still waiting for that amazing phone call, please do not begrudge the family with several children their desire to adopt, nor their place in line ahead of you. They are experiencing much of the same agony you are facing, with empty arms waiting to hold that special child with whom they are matched. It’s a good thing when a child is adopted, and when you get that amazing phone call, people will rejoice with you and over you!

  31. Avatar Joanna says:

    Ugh. These women are being selfish. I am an infertile, international adoptive mom and I understand the pain of infertility. I know the wait is very hard, but the focus should be on the child. I think the early stages of the wait in do tend to be focused on getting a referral, wondering if the dream of becoming a parent is ever really going to come true, etc. Once you see that sweet face, it becomes all about the child. Are they doing well? Praying they’ll come home soon,. etc.
    I do think that in-process adoptive parents should temper their complaining and be sensitive to the childless couples though. So many people are so absorbed in their own process, that they don’t take the time to try to empathize with other parents in process and be sportive.

    As far as “jumping to the front of the line”, I won’t lie, I did joke about that…but mostly after listening to a mom with 3 kids at home complain about how long their process has been. I don’t really feel that way, and would never discourage anyone from adopting…especially if they feel called to do it. There are millions of orphans world-wide and very few families adopting. I am happy to wait longer if it means more kids are being adopted.
    The kids wait is so much harder than ours.

  32. Avatar Michelle says:

    This post got to me because I have been on both sides of this story.

    I feel for everyone having to go through the process of waiting for a child whether that is through infertility or adoption. Like most everyone here I have been through both. It is such an emotional time and I have felt all those feelings expressed.

    I am not religious. After two years of trying to get pregnant we signed the contract to adopt internationally. I did not want to “save” a child. I WANTED a child. Period. I often think when religious people say “God has called me to adopt” or “I want to a save a child” they feel it is more appropriate than saying “I want a child.” The former sounds as if it is righteous and the latter sounds selfish and greedy. Well you know what, it’s ok to be selfish and greedy.

    This is where my story is different. As soon our dossier was in country, I got pregnant. I was in denial of the pregnancy for months as I thought it meant we were unable to adopt. People would ask me if we were stopping the adoption and I would reply, “Of course not. Would you ask me if we were having an abortion?” That is exactly what it would have felt like if we had stopped the adoption process. We were able to continue with the adoption. I felt extremely guilty and I was afraid to tell other PAPs that I was pregnant and once the baby was born that I had an infant. I also felt extremely guilty when we were matched with a healthy, 6 month-old baby.

    Fast forward to today. I have two 2 year old daughters. They are two different races, two weeks apart, and the best of friends/worst of enemies. Yep, they are sisters (twins even). Did I save my daughter who is adopted? No. She would have been snatched up by the next family to arrive at her orphanage. But she was meant to be in OUR family. God didn’t tell me to do it. We WANTED it. It was selfish and it was right.

    I often wonder what child we would have received or who would have gotten our baby had I not put off the adoption for a few months while our birth child was too young to travel. I know it doesn’t really matter, she was supposed to be ours all along. Fortunately (and unfortunately) with adoption there will always be another child available. The child that ends up as “yours” will be the one that is supposed to be yours.

  33. Avatar Marie says:

    I am an infertile & in the process of adopting internationally. I had always wanted to adopt, no matter if I could have children or not, so in no way do I feel it is “unfair” for a fertile to adopt. In my mind it does not matter if you can have kids or not. My husband & I have been in the process for 3 years now & see others get referrals..I do not care if they are a fellow infertile or not, it still “stings” to a certain extent, as I wonder when our baby will be home. But to me, it is not about if you can have children or not, it is about making sure the right baby, goes to the right family & gets the life they should have.

  34. Cross-posting from the FB links…

    Been reading off and on since the post went up originally. Not a big fan of the “adopt to rescue” mentality, though obviously on some levels the reality is there. International adoption and domestic adoption alike changes lives. The child’s, ours, the community. And hopefully, usually for the better.

    REALLY not a big fan of others’ disgruntledness with how folks go about building their family. My thought is that each family knows what is right for them, when it’s right, and what “profile” fits their home, their existing family, their circumstances, etc. Putting my experiences or my opinions or my preferences on their choices is selfish on MY part and I try to mind my own business. We never really know the full picture or journey that brought another to the point of who and how they adopt. The choices they make or don’t make are theirs and I respect their privacy and their journey.

    I say this mostly from the frame of reference formed after YEARS and not-so-veiled criticisms about our choice to have four bio kids and then pursue Chinese adoption of a baby girl. How we got to her is a long journey and OUR story. Folks along the way felt soooo free to say “Why don’t you adopt domestically? It’s so much cheaper. There are so many kids HERE who need a family…” and so on in that same vein. And some far more pointed and mean-spirited.

    We’ve all heard it. But rarely did those same folks ASK why we DID feel led to pursue int’l adoption. They had their own agenda going into the conversation and early on I felt too eager to justify our course of action. No longer. How we interpret God’s leading to build our family is between me, hubby, my kids, and God. And I try to offer the same courtesy and same “trust” if you will to others who make choices to adopt, to seek fertility treatment, to foster, etc.

  35. Avatar Anonymous says:

    There are a number of domestic programs (such as the one talked about in a comment above) and international programs that preclude people who already have children (or more than one child) from adopting. And there are MILLIONS of orphans in the world. Older child adoptions are always needed and some countries (Ukraine?) only will adopt out their older kids to foreigners. I agree that these two posters are not looking at things from the childrens’ perspective so much as their own needs and/or desires. There are SO many needs in the world and I adamantly disagree with someone adopting soley to “save a child” rather than parent one. If we were to go about trying to fill needs EVERY family or single adult should adopt at least one or two kids. But that’s not the world we live in and, honestly, not one I’d want (I know plenty of people I don’t think would make good adoptive parents), so the idea of God calling someone to adopt is really great, I think. Whether it be Him calling the infertile couple or a single woman or a couple who’ve already had biological kids, it is because He has a plan for specific children and specific families. I love to tell my daughter her adoption story – that God told us to adopt her even before she was conceived (and her adoption process took nearly 4 years – she was 22 months old when we brought her home) – how wonderful to show a child that, despite the tragic part of her story with her birthmother deciding she could not be her forever mom, God knew everything and had a plan for her all along! The other thing these posters are not considering is birth order. I know there are arguments for and against adopting out of birth order, but, at least in our family, in which our children are very close in age and we have a variety of dispositions, disabilities and needs, adopting out of birth order would not have been a good idea in our minds or our agencies workers’ opinions. In the end, God does know what He is doing when He calls someone to adopt. If he calls a childless infertile couple or a couple who have a bunch of bio kids in the home or anyone else, He will be the one to give the patience, parenting skills, etc. needed to take on the whole task.

  36. Avatar Waiting Mother says:

    I believe people with no children or just one child should get priority for infants over families who have more than one child. Infertility is rising and birth rates are down so there are fewer infants available plus rules in international adoption change continuously. Families with more than one child should be limited to children age 2 and older. I may get flogged for this opinion by families wanting to adopting several children, but want to begin with infants.

    My husband and I do not want an infant though we have no children. We are seen as crazy for not wanting to experience infancy or toddlerhood, it is our choice. We are working our way through the foster-adopt process and I am finding there is a mild form a discrimination against childless families versus families with more than two children. Families with more than two children (bio or adopted) are getting their foster care licenses within three months getting their fingerprints. We are into our 7th month and will be lucky at this point to get our license by Sept. Then we have to have our adoption home study completed, at least another 3 months. I feel we have to try harder to prove we will be good parents because we have no children. Not having any children does not mean we will be bad parents nor will having children mean we will be good parents. We just have to be given the chance to parent.

    The reasons to adopt are varying, but families with children need to consider their impact on the adoption community when they choose to apply for an infant that could have filled the heart of an infertile family.

  37. Avatar Sarah says:

    I hate to criticize any motivation to adopt, but I do take issue with those whose primary reason is to “save” a child, and those who are very public about that. To be a child and to know you were adopted as part of some religious agenda or out of charity can’t feel good. I believe that family building should be selfish on some level – you want a baby because you want a baby (or child)!

  38. Avatar Jason says:

    I believe that as long as you have enough love in your heart to share it with a child and provide them a loving, structured, learning, and safe environment you are now qualified to adopt a child. Adoption is about the children and there welfare should of utmost importance. If you are a poor performer in school; your not entitled to enter graduate school, if you are poor; your not entitled to drive a european sports car and live in a mansion, if you are a minority (which I am) you don’t serve the job unless you are the most qualifed, and I am sorry to say that if you can’t have bioligical children then you don’t get to have special attention either. People that believe they deserve some sort of entitlement because of the way life has treated them are free to feel sorry for themselves and write blogs to and build support for their point of view, but it won’t change my mind or what I believe is right. I don’t believe in entitlements but I do believe in doing what is right for the right reason……….by the way, is whining and self entitlement what you what to teach a child when you do adopt?

  39. Avatar Suzanne says:

    Thank you all for your honesty! This discussion is so thought-provoking, and I think all of us, as memebers or potential members, of the adoption community are well-served by examining our own motivations and desires while pursuing adoption.

    Brian, in our area at least, there are currently plenty of infants. People are waiting, but they are waiting for white babies. Newborns are being placed constantly through our foster care system, and if you want an infant, you do not have to wait long. If you’re willing to take a sibling group, then your chances of getting an infant go up even more.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Suzanne, I’m surprised to hear that there are a lot of infants available for adoption from foster care. In my experience, this is not the norm unless as part of a sibling group. What state are you in?

  40. Avatar adopted3 says:

    I think it is about the match too. We have adopted three beautiful children. I’m sure our situations would not be fitting for some families. We have very open adoptions with lots of visits at our home and ongoing contact. To save privacy, we checked yes to every box on our application of situations that we were open too. Not everyone is ready to deal with every type of situation and that is completely okay–but a lot of times, people are only seeing the number of family members walking along without knowing the entire story–and you probably won’t ever know the entire story because many want to protect their children and birth families from judgement so they may not talk about the difficulties they went through to adopt, or the complicated issues, or the amount of openness or lack of openness for complicated reasons. These are humans we are talking about and life long relationships that are important to build, grow and work at. We were chosen out of an agency book three times, and there were still people waiting from before we originally went in the book. It hurt me…but it is about creating a family and being able to have a deep rooted match with the birth family is important. If you don’t click–it won’t work–and promises and hearts and lives will be broken. If there were only three prospective adoptive parent profiles in a book and a birth family didn’t feel the match, they would go elsewhere. It has happened at agencies with over 80 profiles in the book. I know it is agonizing to wait, want and watch others build their families….You have to believe it will happen to you too and commit to the process, to your new lifestyle, to your child, to your birth family–your dreams can come true.

  41. Avatar Meredith says:

    I would like to speak to this topic. My family has been trying to have a child since 1999. We tried infertility treatments for more than five years These treatments were expensive, unsuccessful, and painful.

    Like others, when the infertility treatments did not work, we turned to adoption. It was painful to give up our dreams of a biological child and financially difficult to pay for home-studies, agency fees, and attorney fees. This was even more so when we experienced numerous failed adoptions.

    To add to our pain and suffering many in our church adopted quickly and easily after having numerous biological children without the need of infertility treatments. They also did not have to face the fraud and questionable ethical adoption practices that my husband and I have had to face.

    We still long for that child. We still feel those wounds when large families in our church adopt yet again. We still wonder why not us.

    And for our critics, we passed every home-study, every background check.. We never been turned down. It just there is a tremendous amount of fraud and corruption in adoption and we refused to apart of this fraud and corruption.

  42. The “so many babies need adopted” excuse is just that – an excuse. There are far more PAPs wanting the brand spanking new baby than there are babies.

    Do people who feel called to adopt to save a child should search their soul to determine whether or not they were called to adopt, or rather instead to help a young mother keep her child by being a solid support system and mentor – rather than the permanent severing of the bond God created in the first place.

  43. Avatar Jennifer says:

    It seems that there are more families wanting healthy infants than there are infants waiting – which is why there are long waiting lists of potential adoptive parents. I think those who wish to “save” a child should adopt a harder to place child (older, special needs) because they are not “saving” an infant who would just be adopted by another family.

    I don’t really like anyone going into adoption thinking they are “saving” a child anyway – it makes the child feel as if they must be eternally grateful to their parents. I think you should adopt because you want to grow your family. Period.

  44. Avatar Chaka says:

    I am a mama of 4, three bio and one adopted. I am often not the one other potential adoptive parents have a problem with because, although our youngest is white and came home as a newborn, he has various unique medical issues that would have made him hard to place. I am not even going to speak to my irritation at the whole “I must have a healthy white child” thing – but I’m going to try and speak from my own unique Christian perspective here. I think in the private adoption world it is the potential birth parents right to place their child with whichever family they feel comfortable with and some desire families with children… already in them. That is their right. And in the other realms of adoption (international, foster etc.) if you are waiting a while, it is not other adoptive parents that are causing you not to get your child. If it is all God’s timing and him uniting families, then it is God that you have the problem with. Like every single struggle in our lives, adoption is used by him for multiple purposes; yes, it builds families, but also it hones character and builds precious faith. It is okay to wrestle with that and yell about it sometimes, but ultimately (christian or not) it is your choice whether life is going to make you bitter or make you better. It does not always turn out like we plan, what are we going to do with the disappointments?
    That being said, I believe God knew exactly what he was doing when he formed my youngest son and exactly which family he was supposed to bless. As surely as the three that I gave birth to, he was meant to be our family and not anyone elses.

  45. (Cross-posted from FB…)

    Been reading off and on since the post went up originally. Not a big fan of the “adopt to rescue” mentality, though obviously on some levels the reality is there. International adoption and domestic adoption alike changes lives. The child’s, ours, the community. And hopefully, usually for the better.

    REALLY not a big fan of others’ disgruntledness with how folks go about building their family. My thought is that each family knows what is right for them, when it’s right, and what “profile” fits their home, their existing family, their circumstances, etc. Putting my experiences or my opinions or my preferences on their choices is selfish on MY part and I try to mind my own business. We never really know the full picture or journey that brought another to the point of who and how they adopt. The choices they make or don’t make are theirs and I respect their privacy and their journey.

    I say this mostly from the frame of reference formed after YEARS and not-so-veiled criticisms about our choice to have four bio kids and then pursue Chinese adoption of a baby girl. How we got to her is a long journey and OUR story. Folks along the way felt soooo free to say “Why don’t you adopt domestically? It’s so much cheaper. There are so many kids HERE who need a family…” and so on in that same vein. And some far more pointed and mean-spirited.

    We’ve all heard it. But rarely did those same folks ASK why we DID feel led to pursue int’l adoption. They had their own agenda going into the conversation and early on I felt too eager to justify our course of action. No longer. How we interpret God’s leading to build our family is between me, hubby, my kids, and God. And I try to offer the same courtesy and same “trust” if you will to others who make choices to adopt, to seek fertility treatment, to foster, etc.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Gang’s Momma, you’re so right that there are always those who will be quick to judge regardless what we choose. The infertile folks hear it all the time as well when someone who knows very little of the reality of infertility or adoption will say, “Why don’t you just adopt.”

  46. Avatar Ashley says:

    The parents with biological children who say they are saving a child by adopting a young, healthy child are way off to me, because there is always another family ready to adopt that child. And as a married woman who has been trying to have a child for a long time now, I do take offense to large families with biological children adopting children that could easily be placed. We should not be in the same ‘pool’ as them. If they wanted to ‘save’ a child then they should consider an older or special needs child.
    After a failed international adoption and failed attempts at IVF, I find it extremely frustrating that I’m waiting in line with parents who already have children.

    I am of the mind, like some here, that I want to have a child because it’s something my husband and I long for to complete our family. We have no children and ache for the day we can hold our child. I want all the best for all the children without families and believe their needs should come first, but the desire of the adoptive parents must be in the equation as well. Why would one adopt if YOU didn’t want to be a parent?

    Thank you Dawn for making others aware, even if they disagree, of how some of us childless might be feeling.

    And to the notion that all this waiting is for ‘the child that was meant to be in our family.’ Is that really the case? Could you not grow to love almost any child that was placed in your home? It’s like when people are in love saying, “I found my soulmate. We were meant for each other.” I believe there are probably many people you could fall in love with. This just happens to be the one where your paths crossed.

  47. Avatar veggiemom says:

    First off, let me say I may be biased in my reading of these comments. I have no known fertility problems. Still, as a single woman, I would have had to get medical intervention to conceive. Also, I’m not Christian and don’t understand the religious “call to adopt.”

    I think the problem I have with both of these women is they both seem caught up in their own needs and are not looking at the needs of the children. It seems that for them, adoption is about finding children for families when it is not. It’s about (or should be about) finding the best family for each child.

    I’m sorry that both of these women are obviously hurting. It is still vital to remember that no one owes anyone else a baby. Adoption is a privilege, not a right.

  48. Avatar Monica says:

    Although this is the first time I’ve seen/read that others feel this way, I have suspected all along they probably do. We have no fertility issues, and have a biological child, and are ready to have another child. We’ve been debating for over a year about whether we should “make” a baby again or adopt (something I’ve felt an urge to do most of my life) and it’s tough. My husband is very much down for adoption, and I recognize that can be rare so the fact that we both want it makes me think it’s even more of a “sign” that we should. For a while I was researching domestic infant adoption agencies and I began to feel that nagging that I was being “selfish” for trying to get a newborn when there were people who can’t have kids trying to do the same thing. I’ve voiced this to others before and had it dismissed as if I was overthinking things, but these people were not infertile couples trying to have kids themselves to of course they can’t really relate. I have pretty much figured out that our best, least selfish option would be to try to adopt a child in foster care. I wonder sometimes though if I’m being TOO selfless, worried about other people’s problems, when I consider this though. I’ve accepted my label of bleeding-heart! But when I read stories like these I know that my feelings are not unfounded and that others do feel this way. I think it’s a shame how difficult it is to adopt when there are so many children who need homes. The fact that there are so many who need homes is part of the reason I hesitate to “make” another baby when I am interested in adoption. I’ve talked to many people who would never be able to adopt because they fear they couldn’t love a child the same and that they want to have “THEIR” child. Because I don’t see things that way, I almost feel like I have a duty to adopt. But since I have no fertility issues, I also feel I’m perceived as “selfish” for wanting to adopt. It’s all in how you look at it, I suppose. When it all boils down, I guess you just have to make decisions for yourself and your family and not worry too much about what other people think of you for it.

  49. Avatar Michelle says:

    So what these women are saying is that their desire for a child is more important than the needs of children for a family? Sorry, but someone else’s infertility, while sad, is not my fault or my problem. We wanted another child, we felt it was selfish to create one when there are so many who need loving families, so we adopted. Out son’s birthmother chose us. She had the option of picking a childless couple, but she wanted her child to have a bunch of loving siblings and experienced parents. Maybe she liked that adoption wasn’t our fall back or only choice to be parents.

    I empathize with anyone who wants to be a mother and is infertile. It must be horrible. On the other hand, there were never more than four waiting couples in our program to adopt a minority infant from our domestic, non-profit agency. The “white program” was always full. There was never a line of infertile people ahead of me…they were all waiting for the Caucasian babies. Now that’s depressing.

  50. Avatar Shelli says:

    Well, I guess my story will not be so liked, but I’d like to express my opinion too. My husband and I talked about adoption 17 years ago during our engagement. God planted a seed in our marriage way back then. We went on to being very fertile. We believe that God was showing us to step out of the way and let Him be in control of our family size. We threw away the birth control and waited to see what He would do. We had 5 biological children during the first 10 years and then the miscarriages started happening. We had 4 miscarriages (after the 15th week) and then last September we held our stillborn son Levi in the delivery room. I felt so much sadness that we had to get that far yet complete peace that God was showing us that door was truly shut and for us to open the door to adoption. I waited a month before we visited an agency. We walked in with the intention to adopt a child/ren that needed a home. We were okay with special needs, we were excited about different skin colors. We were told that we could not apply to the domestic healthy infant program due to the fact we were not infertile. I felt like that was a wrong discriminatory statement. We were going into this open to what God would do, yet this Christian agency wouldn’t even consider us the same as an infertile couple. We left confused, but decided to apply to the international and domestic special needs program and see what God wanted. I woke up the next morning and started filling out paperwork. A friend called and asked me what I was doing and I told her. She asked me if we would consider adopting twins. Her neice was afraid to go to an agency, but couldn’t care for the 2 on the way. In 48 hrs. we started an identified adoption and one month later I was in a NICU holding Micah and Mariah.

    Let me say that my heart aches for those who long for a baby, referrel, or phone call. But I don’t think we did anything wrong by adopting after 5 bio kids or by taking infant twins. Our birthmom wouldn’t have given them to anyone else. She would be sitting in a basement apartment on a drug infested street pulling her hair out right now. If the opinions expressed above are upset at families like me, take it up with the Lord. I didn’t ‘do’ this. No one seeking adoption can make this thing happen. I believe it is ALL in the hands of the Lord and by comparing yourselves to other families and trying to make your case that it isn’t fair we get ‘in line’ is wrong. If we are all doing what we feel God has called us to we should be supporting and encouraging one another, not judging.

    Enjoy your adoption journey. God has so much to teach you. Don’t let bitterness and anger derail you because it is difficult to wait. Every adoption story is a miracle if you just listen to what God did to bring children and parents together. But if you just hear ‘them not me’ then you have missed the hand of God working.

  51. Avatar Andy says:

    As an adoptee, I hate to hear these kinds of comments, because once again, it makes adoption all about the adults and not about the children. I think any child that ends up in a loving home should be celebrated as a win, and not seen as a competition of who is more “deserving” to parent.

  52. Avatar Christina says:

    Interesting. Is it a fact that many christian families with more than two or three children are adopting infants, or is that just an observation that the waiting mother has made in her own community? Is there any data? I truly hope there is not so much “saving a child” going on, as this would suggest. The whole “they are taking away the infants” is not my biggest concern here. I am more worried about the future of these “saved” children. I sincerely hope that this is not the top motivation for christian families to adopt.

    On the infant topic, I can understand how one can get frustrated waiting for a referral, but I wouldn’t call it unfair per se, if a family that already has children wants to adopt an infant. Older child adoption should definitely be considered more often, and there is still a big need for education in that area, but everybody is entitled to make their own decision about what they can take on.

  53. Avatar Ricky says:


    I wanted to reach out as this article has touched me. I empathize with your feelings of wanting a baby specifically. I also do not agree with the “saving” a child motive and honestly hope the driving factor is to expand the love within your family as there are many families in the adoption world waiting for an infant. It is obvious that fertile couple can potentially hurt waiting families that are infertile as seen by these responses. I am sure there are more and are happy there is a place for you to express your valid feelings. I think and hope through education by adoption professionals and agencies we can make sure the correct motives are there to help those who choose to adopt and are also infertile. As an adopted child myself, I would hope it was for wanting to have another child, not just to “save” me.

    I can not imagine what it would be like to try and have a baby and have to move on to another method. But I do understand infertility as a gay couple, its just that we started knowing our “fertility” was not an option and choose adoption. I also understand the loss of a child as our first placement went under revocation and the birthmother asked for the child back within a week after admitting she knew it was not the best choice, but could not go through with placement. We had friends who placed in 6 months, so after 13 months and a failed adoption, we can somewhat relate to the difficulty of expanding your family. After dealing with several birthmothers I honestly feel there is a match for almost anyone. Some want the child to have many siblings, some want specifically a Roman Catholic or maybe a Muslim family, some want a bi-racial family, some want 2 dads, like our birthmother did and some want a single woman with no children. The list goes on and on for the stories I have shared with adoptees and adoptive families placed and in waiting.

    Please know the best thing we could have have done was pick ourselves up (off the ground) and continue on our journey after our failed adoption. The next day we asked our agency to put us back on the list and we went thorough our morning process. We eventually talked to a few more birthmothers and were matched again. Everyone told us to stick in there and then we were back on track. It was not easy to put the trust in another birthmother, start all over and WAIT again to see what would happen. We had to remain positive and not let the last experience or other’s quicker and successful first time experiences effect us. We wanted to trust, as best we could, this next birthmother so it would not effect us. She also knew about our last experience and let her know it was extremely hard. I think these experiences bonded us. It showed we knew about loss and luckily made our relationship stronger. The 30 day revocation period stretched on during the time and now looking back it seems to have flown by. But we were eventually successful and most all people that I have met that stuck in there were. I send you so much hope, success, positivity and many prayers with this email.

    We as a gay couple had many challenges and were able to overcome inherent infertility, state and federal laws, prejudice and a loss. There are some very conservative people out there that think they are saving these children from gay couples as well. So even after placement we will unfortunately deal with that in our society, which will hopefully make our family stronger and give us the opportunity to show the importance of equality and human rights. As a child of a woman who was molested by her step father from age 14-17, had an unplanned child (me) with her boyfriend at the time at age 19, and then raped by three men when I was placed at 18 months I can sympathize with birthmothers, adoptees and now adoptive parents in waiting. There are no prejudices, I do not think all straight men want to rape women, but we can educate those out there about alternatives and alternate families. Show statistics to those that can bear children and maybe at least they may do it for the right reasons. It may “free” up another baby by someone reading these posts knowing there is not a shortage of people waiting to adopt. Maybe it will allow them to think about foster care. Hopefully it will allow some resentment to be released for those that do choose adoption, but like us it may not come until after you place. I do want to stress the importance of those considering foster care and fost-to-adopt as there are over 100,00 children in the US stuck in the foster system. We often thought that maybe our path was an older child and maybe next time it may be the case. I do understand the want of an infant and hope that is our next path as well.

    We have started our second journey through adoption and hope that those that have been waiting for long periods are placed expeditiously. Yes, we want another baby, if that is our path. I do not share our second journey to make anyone feel bad or take away an opportunity, but to share that is can be possible and to keep that hope alive. If it is any consolation we were thinking of 3-4 children and with our little bundle of extreme energy and joy are happy with the thought of just one more playmate for our daughter and hopefully a son this time. (Yes, the sex of a child is a whole other topic, but we have always wanted a girl and a boy. So with reducing to 2 we potentially just we freed 2 more future spots. 😉 Again, I do not say that to muse, but give hope. Your child is out there as is ours and pray that it takes the time it needs for the correct match, for our next birthmother, our current birthmother and that we all have the strength and wisdom to make the best choice for this child and all children brought together through adoption.

    With hope,

  54. Avatar Jen says:

    This probably won’t be a popular response, but my husband and I are both infertile so I thought I’d share our perspective.

    We weren’t bothered by big families adopting infants. We understood working towards a situation that was best for each individual family. However, we had an extremely hard time with families that felt they were “called to adopt” for religious reasons and only wanted an infant. I don’t know if they were misguided or uninformed about adoption, but we seriously questioned their motives. We worried it was more for show, because if they really wanted to help a child, they would have adopted through foster care. We also were concerned that these families would make their kids feel like they’d “saved” them and owed them, or that the families had skipped research and jumped in headfirst because everyone else in church was doing it.

    We were originally looking at international adoption, and the infant waiting list skyrocketed to 2+ years while the older child adoptions sat at 2-4 months. It seemed like logically you would look at that and say, okay-here’s where adoption is really needed. We want to help a child, so lets help one who doesn’t have as much of a chance at getting adopted.

    With families who are infertile, you get why they want an infant. With big families who say they’d like to adopt an infant because it works best for their family, or because they don’t want to hurt the birth order of their children, things like that make sense and who are we to judge? But to use adopting an infant because God called them to save an orphan…? That reason didn’t sit well with us.

  55. Avatar Kim says:

    My husband and I adopted 3 siblings internationally–ages 7, 5 and 1 at the time. I have to say that I am a little stunned by the entitlement in these comments. I also happen to be infertile and I was a first time mom. Being infertile did NOT entitle me to a “shorter line” or an infant. I planned to adopt before I knew I was infertile.
    My older two kids are every bit as wonderful, loving and attached as their baby sister. I wouldn’t have done this any other way. I think if you are adopting, you need to open your mind and heart to children that are already HERE. Children that need homes. Adoption is about finding families for children, not children for families. I firmly believe that.

  56. Avatar April says:

    DH and I have struggled with my infertility for over four years now, and we just had the ‘adoption talk’ five days ago. We agree that even if I never get pregnant, what is important is that we raise a child of our marriage. We also agree that we would like to adopt an older child, not an infant. We both feel that infants are so much more ‘in demand,’ and we would just like to provide a family to a child that needs one. It hurts us both to think about the number of older children who so many people don’t even consider adopting. It doesn’t matter whether the parents are fertile or infertile, children need a family.

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