A Little Bit More on our Adoption Indecision

I wrote a while back about our initial foray into the world of adoption and what that might mean for us.

We did not have any answers then, and I still do not. So, those of you waiting for our decision to adopt or not to adopt will have to keep waiting as we are not there.  This is a process, and this decision will take time.

But, what I do know right now, is that I started this blog to share my thoughts and feelings, including the good, the bad and the ugly.  The ugly includes the scary and the socially unacceptable things. So, here goes on a very truthful look at us and adoption. Judge me if you want, but just remember, I promised to be honest about our journey and this is just part of the journey. We don’t know the destination, but this is definitely part of the journey and not all parts are going to be pretty.

What I do know, is that adoption is still on our minds, but we are no closer to making any type of decision.

We are scared of adoption, but I desperately want to know more about adoption now (my husband’s not quite at this stage yet, he’s not in a rush). We have basically ruled out international adoption due to the risks, the costs and the wait times. Neither of us are interested in domestic adoption of an older child in foster care. Which means if we were to pursue adoption it would be an open domestic adoption. Even this scares us, as we are not interested in co-parenting a child. It’s one thing for the child to know there birth parent(s), and we understand that there are many positives to this, but it’s not our ideal situation to be part of a parenting team that includes more than just my husband and I. Further, as discussed in the last post on the subject, everything statistic we have heard has increased our anxiety. And, to make matters worse, all the people we personally know who have adopted have ended up with children with significant mental disabilities. I am pretty sure that I don’t want to knowingly commit my life to raising a child with sever disabilities, just so I can call myself a mother and do the most socially acceptable thing next to having a biological child. (Call me heartless and selfish if you want, you won’t be the first, but it’s how I feel and at least I’m honest about it).

Really, we are both very scared of adoption (not the recurring theme here – fear). We are both very scared of severe mental disabilities that come along with fetal alcohol syndrome or drug addicted babies or any number of other mental disabilities. These are things that we can control if the child is biologically ours and I carry it to term because we can be 100% confident that the health of our baby is the absolute most important thing for us, and while pregnant I don’t even drink herbal tea let alone touch alcohol or drugs (not that I have ever actually touched drugs, but that’s not the point right now). These incredibly important early moments are things we cannot control through adoption, and yet if we chose adoption we also chose to commit our lives to raising and loving this child regardless. We both know that long term in life there are no guarantees, and who’s to say that our biological child wouldn’t get hit by a bus and end up with a brain injury. Life is full of risks and there are no guarantees and we understand that. But, we also understand the much higher risks at the onset with adoption.

What we do know, is that if we actually decide to seriously investigate adoption, it could take years. And, I’m just not sure how long I can live the life of wanting a child without having a child. Living a life consumed with desire for something this significant that we cannot attain, isn’t a healthy life. And it’s not the life I want to lead for year to come.

My gut tells me, that I’m going to get tired of the emotional heartache of more miscarriages (how many can a women really endure?) and the physical consequences on my body, before we are seriously ready to consider adoption. I don’t know when we’ll burn out, but I know I eventually we will (of course this assumes we don’t get a living child with a future pregnancy). My gut tells me, that at some point our journey to having children is just going to fizzle out and come to an end. And we are going to have to move on with life and end up accepting a childfree reality. And, right now, today, I can honestly say, I think living childfree may be the best option for us.

But, one thing I also know is that we both change our minds frequently. This is just what I’m thinking about today, and I have no idea how we might feel tomorrow, or the next day. And, making this decision will likely include us changing our minds more times than either of us wish to count. We are not closing any doors at this time, but, all of these thoughts rattle around in our minds and we just don’t have the answers. I just wish these decisions could be easy, but evidently, for us they are not.

26 Comments on “A Little Bit More on our Adoption Indecision

  1. We are in the exact same boat. I completely echo all of your emotions/thoughts/feelings on this. I really struggle with the thought of adopting a child that we’ll spend our whole lives trying to fix. I have just read so many horror stories. Also, the majority of people we know have had bad experiences as well. Of course there are nice stories too, but they seem to be the minority. I just think of the life we could have just us; traveling, a nice house on the lake, retire early and it just doesn’t seem all that bad. A lot of people that adopt have very strong faith and that seems to get them through it. But I can tell you honestly, my faith is not strong enough to weather that storm! At least not at the moment! I love the idea of adopting, but in reality it seems very difficult. Is a closed adoption not possible where you live? I believe its becoming less frequent here, but that is the ONLY way I’d consider it. Here’s some ugly truth for ya, I’m not into spending the time, money, emotion into raising someone else’s child just for it to go back to them when they are grown. Know what I mean? This topic always makes my stomach turn because I wish it was a better option.

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    • Thanks for your note about closed adoptions. yes, they do occur here, I also think they are becoming less common here. But, since they are more high risk then open adoptions, so we’ve pretty much ruled them out. At least at this point in time.
      I love your ugly truth both about retiring early and doing all the hard work of raising someone else’s child, because its exactly the same as ours. And, not many people get that. For us its more about having a healthy child, then about having a child just for the sake of having a child.

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      • I’m not super familiar with all of the differences with closed vs open adoptions, why are closed more risky than open? Because the parents are more likely to back out when the baby comes?

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      • So, I’m totally not an expert on this subject, but my understanding is that open adoptions are usually the least risky when it comes to mental and physical disabilities like fetal alcohol syndrome because the birth mom has made a choice to be part of the child’s life and presumably has taken care of themselves and the child. Again, not an expert, but that’s what I’ve been told.

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  2. Thank you for your courage in sharing this, this is always an almost impossible post to write ( http://wp.me/p44kHn-54). You will know your answer when it’s your time to need it, which sounds so frustrating but is really how I’ve found it to work for me at least. Sending you strength and clarity ❤

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    • Thanks Justine. I always appreciate your kind words of support. And, I really enjoyed reading your post on the topic.

      There is just something so cruel about societies judgement about adoption and choosing not to do it. We haven’t had this conversation with anyone in our family or close friends yet, and I just know we are going to face the negative comments if we chose to be childfree. But, we will cross that bridge when and if we get there.

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  3. They say that the most important decisions are never the easiest. Than you for sharing your story as it is incredibly brave.

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  4. We have the same thoughts/feelings about this as you. They are your feelings and it is your right to feel. The whole open adoption etc… thing and our limitations in our province scare us too!

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    • I’ve actually been surprised at the comments on this post because it seems like a lot of us feel the same way (I was expecting a more negative response regarding not wanting to save all the children in need). Anyways, thanks for your support and understanding.

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  5. I wanted to weigh in here to, hopefully, give you a little hope through a story that has a happy ending. As I write this, I am interrupted routinely by my 5 year old son, Max. We adopted him here in the DC area. We went through quite a struggle trying to figure out which path to take. Domestic vs. International, open vs. closed. What we ultimately decided was that, since we wanted a newborn and couldn’t afford the travel costs related to international adoption, we’d be open to an open adoption scenario. Once we decided this, our agency would email us with potentially available scenarios. This meant that they wanted to clear it with us, before they even showed the birth mother our book, along with 2 or 3 others. There were at least three scenarios that we had to say no to. That was super difficult. I felt I was turning my back on a child But, we were following our instincts on this, as we had no other way to do this. I believed from the start that there was a baby out there waiting for me and that we would find each other no matter what. After about 18 months of waiting, we were told that a birth mother was interested in us. She was 25 years old, single, and this would be the second child she was putting up for adoption in a year’s time. (!) The original adoption was to a family member, who she grew disgruntled with after the birth. It was an open adoption, obviously. She did not want to place this child with them. We agreed to meet with her, but with a lot of trepidation. I was mystified at how she didn’t just want to put the two brothers together and nearly lost my mind with worry over the next 2 months as we waited. It was to be an open adoption with 3 letters and pictures per year going to her through the agency. She would never have our address or phone number, unless we gave it to her. Even though she said she didn’t do drugs or drink during her pregnancy, we had no way of knowing if this was true or not. We just had to follow our instincts. After meeting her, it was clear that we were going to be fast friends. She was funny, spunky, stubborn, and tortured like me. There was no clear birth plan, in terms of when would get him or anything. One morning at around 7:00 am, we got a call that she was going to give birth that day (unbeknownst to us, she asked to be induced) and wanted us there. We thought she meant she wanted us to be at the hospital waiting for him to be born. What she meant was that she wanted us to be in the delivery room! After years of waiting, and months of uncertainty once chosen, we got to be in the deliver room! For the next 24 hours, we stayed with her in recovery, held our child, shared stories and got to know each other in one of the most intimate experiences I will have in this lifetime. I know it has become a bit cliche to say, but he was worth the wait. Our open adoption agreement remains the same as originally planned. We never saw her again, but she gets to hear about Max through the agency three times per year. (We are open to more, if she wants.) Following your instincts is not easy, but it is so worth it. You are already doing that by writing and having these conversations. Keep up the good work! 🙂 Lisa

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    • First thank you so much for sharing!! I love hearing positive adoption stories with happy endings! Yours is actually only the second positive story I’ve heard – which is probably part of the reason we are so scared of adopting. I also love your open adoption agreement, in that it doesn’t include weekly visits or phone calls or any type of contact at that level. I think its great that the birth mother is provided updates, but that’s it. It sound perfect to me actually.

      Second, thank you or our encouragement. I know we don’t have to make this decision today (thankfully!), but it means a lot to me to have people such as yourself providing support and sharing there experiences. Thank you again.

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  6. Adoption is a major decision and it’s important to be realistic about what it means. I think your fears are no different than what others experience. The one thing I do know about adoption is that it does bring joy. My best friend is the Exec Dir of an adoption agency. I’m happy to pass her info along or connect you with her. She can talk you through some of these fears and introduce the process to you without committing or $$$ – just let me know

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  7. First and foremost – I applaud you for acknowledging and voicing your fears and concerns. It takes a lot of courage to put your feelings out there for the world to see.

    As a three-time adoptive father, I can tell you: if you have the courage to share your fears like this, you can definitely adopt.

    I’m going to really try to avoid sounding like Mr. Pro-Adoption Infomercial or Dr. Debunker of Adoption Myths, but I’ll say this: most of the concerns you have are valid, but I’ll wager that they’ll seem silly to you after you have been blessed by adoption. For example:

    *Open Adoption doesn’t necessarily mean co-parenting. Obviously, every situation is different, but while our adoptions are “open”, in almost five years of being a parent, I have yet to meet any of our birth parents in person. I’ve seen pictures, traded emails, and we have a private family blog where we share pictures and videos, and for our birth moms, that is all the contact they want. We have zero concern about them coming into our lives and being intrusive.

    *Medical issues. In our paperwork with our agency, we completed a big packet where we marked Yes/No/Will Discuss for a laundry list of medical and substance usage issues by the birth mom, birth dad, and even their parents/grandparents. For example, if you do not want to be “shown” to a birth mom who consumed anything beyond herbal tea, that is totally your choice (of course, this will almost definitely increase the time you have to wait to be matched). For our kids, we marked “Will Discuss” for many things, which shortened our wait and gave us control over situations. We turned down a few potential matches where usage/medical history raised red flags, but our perfectly healthy five year old came from a birth mom who made some questionable choices.

    *Horror stories. I’d love to see a game called “Actual Adoption Story or Crappy Lifetime Movie plot”, because it seems like some of the horror stories you hear take on urban myth status. Obviously, bad things can and do happen with adoption (we had a “failed” adoption – and it really, really sucked), but having been through infertility, miscarriages, and the funeral of a good friend’s 20 week old baby, bad stuff can happen everywhere. But as bad as that failed adoption was, the moment when we met our daughter for the first time, or I held my newborn son, or got the surprise call about his little sister easily erase that pain. I’ll leave it with this: for some reason, the good stories, the ones that make you cry happy tears, never get the same run as the bad ones. And that sucks too.

    Okay, I’ve rambled enough. So I’ll leave with two things: 1) I do some adoption writing on my blog – including the positive stories, and 2) feel free to reach out to me for honest, no-punches-pull answers to any other questions you (or your readers) might have. I’m sincerely happy to help. feitcanwrite (at) hotmail (dot) com

    All the best.

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    • Thank you so much for your response and supportive comments! I love hearing the positive adoption stories – they make me think we really could do it and give me encouragement to keep investigating adoption options! And, I also appreciate hearing about the types of open adoptions that are available. I think this is one of the things we really need to spend some more time investigating to help us reach a decision. And, since we haven’t even contacted an adoption agency yet, we have no idea what the paper work is like, so its comforting to know that we have a lot of control of the child we chose to adopt.

      Anyways, thanks again. I’m sure as we continue to venture down this road, I will be reaching out to you and others more and more.

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  8. I think it’s so good that you are being honest about what you can and cannot handle. Those who regret adoption the most tend to go into it with a “love can conquer all” mentality. There is such a thing as post-adoption depression, really! It tends to hit those who haven’t fully processed their infertility and went into adoption thinking that it would take all of the pain away. I love what one blogger wrote: adoption cures childlessness, it does not cure infertility. I wish you all the best as you try to determine what you may or may not want to pursue down the road.

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    • Thanks for the supportive comment. I am most definitely not a “love can conquer all” kinda person – part of me admires those who are. Also, thanks for sharing the quote – I really like it with the exception of the word cure because it makes it sound like childfree living is an illness that needs to be cured, when in fact for many it is a choice. I’m not sure what the right word is, but anyways, I really do like the thought behind it.
      Thanks again.

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  9. This is so not easy. I always felt that adoption was a back-up for me, but I knew it was not without it’s hurdles. I think you’re right in that time plays a huge part – I think you need to be in that place where you’ve grieved and let go of your dream of your own biological child..but how do you do that? My mantra was, if I have to adopt, I will, because I will save a soul..as much as I want a child, they want a family..and really, with that in mind, it should be a whole lot easier to bring these two elements together than bureaucracy ever allows..am thinking of you xxxxxx

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    • Thanks so much for your comment! Funny enough, I have absolutely no issues about having a non-biological child – I’m part of a blended family with step-siblings and love my non-biological family and am forever grateful for how they have accepted me into their lives. My issue is health, not biology (although my husband is still pretty concerned about both biology and health). Anyways, I think your comment is very true for many people and we may end up with the same attitude down the road – if we have to adopt, then we will – but only time will tell.

      Thank you again.

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