How would you answer this question from an adult adoptee to those who struggle with infertility?
Why are some people seemingly obsessed with having a biological child? They will spend literally thousands of dollars, be willing to endure miscarriages, be poked and prodded, etc in the name of having a baby that has their own DNA. As an adoptee, I have to tell you, IT HURTS. It hurts to see that people are literally willing to move mountains, go into huge debt, risk their health…..and some won’t even consider adoption. … or to them, it’s a “last resort”… I’ve just always wondered why for some, adoption is no biggie and for others, it feels like they’d rather be childless than ever adopt.
Here is one woman’s answer:
What a wonderful question. I will speak to my own experience, as it is the only one I really know. My husband and I did all the things you are talking about in our quest to have a child. We went through every kind of medical intervention imaginable, all to no avail.
Adoption simply wasn’t on our radar before having trouble conceiving. Even though we knew some people who had adopted (even within our family), having biological children was simply our default paradigm, and I don’t believe we are alone in that.
My husband and I had a soft, little dream of creating a person who was part him and part me. I dreamed of being pregnant, feeling the physical manifestation of the love that my husband and I have for one another kick and somersault inside of me.
I don’t think that dream is all that unusual, and for most people, it happens exactly like that. Two people meet, fall in love, and have babies with Mommy’s eyes, Daddy’s ears, Grandpa’s knack for making people laugh, and Grandma’s artistic talent. For us, it felt important to pursue that dream, and when it didn’t happen, to mourn its loss.
I suppose it’s not a great surprise; the salience of biological and genetic ties, the desire to see your features, or gestures, or aptitudes, reflected in those around you, is present in all parts of the adoption constellation, including, from what I have read, adoptees; it’s one of the many reasons for birth parent searches. So we did opt to pursue medical interventions first.
Each of us is different, and this was what we felt we needed to do. So much about our journey to become a family challenged my beliefs, notions and feelings about myself and the world. I say “challenged”, but what I really mean is “shaken to the core”. I had to think, really think, about what so many things meant to me: family, parenthood, femininity, genetic connection, race, religion… so many of my ideas about things seemed not to ring true anymore, and I spent a lot of time sifting through them to see what felt authentic. It felt important to examine ourselves in this way, and we are grateful now that we were given that opportunity for clarity–most people aren’t.
It took time to fully embrace adoption (though once we settled on that, choosing to adopt from Korea felt like a natural choice for us), and trusting that choice has been the best decision we ever made. So for us, while adoption was our “last” choice (our *only* choice, really, to love and raise a child), it was also our best choice. For us, they are not mutually exclusive. It is impossible to imagine cherishing a person more than we cherish our son.
When I think about my infertility now, I view it with a deep and powerful gratitude, because without it, I never would have had the experience of loving my son. And *that* would have been the greatest loss of all. Adoption is complicated and beautiful and messy and wonderful, and has stretched all three of us beyond our comfort zones, but it is my hope and belief that we are all the richer for it.
Both the questioner and the responder gave their permission to have their words shared. Here is some more info about the adult adoptee who asked the question:
My parents adopted me from Korea. I came to the U.S. at 23 months old. They had 2 biological children (both boys) before adopting. To my knowledge, they had no fertility issue but rather felt “called” to adopt. I had a wonderful childhood and am very close to my parents.
When we began “trying”, it was very casual because we had already discussed adoption even before we were married. We knew that was something we wanted no matter what. So when we had issues getting pregnant, we weren’t grief stricken… We adopted our awesome son from Korea and he is so wonderful. I cannot fathom loving any human being more.
How would you answer her question? Why did you go through what you went through to get pregnant?Image credit: evelina zachariou