This is a post that I’ve been putting off, probably because it’s hard to articulate. There are lots of different ways to come to the decision to adopt. Some people struggle with infertility or have a family genetic or personal medical history that makes them unable to have a biological child. Others have environmental or social concerns about bringing biological children into the world. There are a million different reasons to choose adoption, but no simple indicators to know that it is time. I wish it was that easy! Instead, the best guide is probably when an internal calling tells you that adoption should be a consideration for you and your family.
For us, there is no absolute contraindication to having another pregnancy and delivery. We could do it, but it would take a huge commitment beyond the usual pregnancy challenges. There were some relative contraindications including my age (40), and experience with my past pregnancy resulting in bedrest (which I can’t afford with my career and our daughter). Put simply, I was a bad baby house! Our last delivery was wonderful, but in hindsight there were some serious problems that could have permanently harmed me or Little Jacks. There is a high likelihood that we’d have the same problems a second time around. I had to balance the risks and benefits, and in our case I simply couldn’t imagine not being able to pick up Little Jacks or go to work for the last trimester of a pregnancy in order to have a safe pregnancy and delivery.
There are some practical considerations as well that may come into play for some folks. Assisted reproduction can be expensive, and there are no guarantees that there will be a baby at the end of that road. (Though I do know many people who have had successful pregnancies this way!) I know from friends who have gone the IVF route that it can become very self-consuming, and that there can be a sense of personal failure when the outcome isn’t a healthy pregnancy. I hope others here can give this perspective better than I can… but I will say that failure to achieve pregnancy has no correlation with the ability to parent! Likewise, adoption can also be expensive, though in general you do end up with a child in your arms at the end of the adoption road. So, it is important to consider how much you want to spend in pursuit of biological kinship, and whether that will preclude you from having a child in the end through adoption if that is the route you ultimately choose.
I know some people for whom biological kinship is the most important thing in having a child. They’d rather be childless than to adopt. This is a difficult perspective for me to wrap my head around (but if anyone can articulate it, I’d love to understand it better!). I’m guessing it has something to do with the fear that it would be hard to love a child who doesn’t share your biology, or the notion that nurture isn’t as strong as nature. Whatever the reasons, these were not issues that we had to come to grips with, so it was an easy pivot to adoption for us.
Yes, there are still times I am wistful for feeling those precious kicks in my belly and the bonding that occurs during pregnancy and delivery. I see a pregnant woman, and I get a twinge of jealousy that I will not have the experience that they are having. There’s a tiny part of me that thinks, “Well, what if????” It’s also hard to not be in control of the gestational environment of the child, considering I obsessed about everything I ate or drank with Little Jacks on board. But, I know without a doubt that I will love and cherish our adopted child as deeply and strongly as Little Jacks. Letting go of pregnancy is a small price to pay to have this new adventure in life and new path to family creation and love! I hold onto that every time any of the darker feelings creep in.
For those considering adoption either now or in the future, what made you decide to put aside the biological pathway and pursue adoption?