Friday, February 7, 2014

"Just" Adopt

It goes without saying that I am becoming an adoption advocate, as a result of the journey we have been on since October, 2012.  That does NOT mean that I think everyone should "just" adopt as soon as they decide that they are ready to start a family.  What it does mean is that I am happy to share our experience openly.  It means that I am willing to listen when someone else opens up about their family building story.  I share resources and always, always, always recommend research and soul searching before jumping in to anything as emotional as starting a family - no matter how that is done.

It also goes without saying that Nate and I have had a pretty excellent adoption experience (credit goes to a great agency and an amazing birth mom).  I'm not saying this to brag, people.  I'm saying it because having a good experience doesn't mean that it's been easy.  Adoption is the hardest thing I have done in my life... hands down.  It's scary and emotional and messy and expensive - just like fertility treatment and just like starting a family naturally.  And the result, little Miss K is completely worth it.  Now that she is here, I know without a doubt in my mind that adoption was the right path for us.

Again.  I believe wholeheartedly that this does not mean that adoption is the right path for everyone. Whether someone has just been diagnosed with infertility, they are on their last round of IVF, or just feels called to adoption.  What I want people to learn from our experience is that, yes adoptions in the US can happen quickly and smoothly.  There are brave birth families out there who want the best for their children, and can admit that they aren't able to provide that.  If you have an open mind and an open heart, they can become a big part of your life... huge.  There are agencies and attorneys and facilitators and social workers hard at work to connect birth families with waiting adoptive families.  However, adoption can also take years.  There are such things as birth mothers (rightfully) deciding to parent and failed matches and prenatal drug exposure and adoption scams... etc.  I don't want people to look at our adoption experience and decide (or advise someone else) to "just" do the easy thing and adopt.  It's not easy.  End of story.

Take this article by Julie Robichaux, for example.  In it she says:

" [...] adoption doesn't – mustn't – produce children for the convenience of waiting parents. There are others involved, after all, full-fledged people with complicated needs: birth families and children, who aren't simply a 'hungry mouth.' I couldn't ignore the fact that even the most open, straightforward, ethical adoptions – adoptions that are successful by anyone's definition -- can still entail a tremendous sense of loss. That concerned me deeply. And that's just one example of adoption's numberless complexities. There really is no 'just adopt,' and we're not all equipped to take the issues on. That doesn't make us unworthy of parenthood, but it can mean that adoption isn't right for us."

At the end of the day you have to decide which emotional and stressful and difficult path you are most comfortable with and take that path.  You may change your mind along the way, and that's OK.  Just make sure you do your research, ask for help and pray.  And above all, please don't tell others to "just" adopt.


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