Why Don’t You Just Adopt?

Why don’t you just adopt? 

These five words used to drive me crazy as people who knew of our miscarriages and losses would often make this suggestion.  If you want kids, why don’t you just adopt?  And now that we are adopting, it still drives me crazy when others who have never adopted make the suggestion, as it if it’s a simple solution.

When we were in the thick of recurrent pregnancy loss, this type of cavalier comment about adoption drove me crazy for a number of reasons:

SOME OF THE BIG FEARS:

  • Adoption takes time, and lots of it.  I don’t want to be an old parent.
  • Adoption is hard work!  Like crazy hard work.
  • Adoption means social workers are going to scrutinize every aspect of your life – you job, your income, your extended family, your past, your sex life, etc.
  • Adoption is expensive.  First estimates were $15,000 for local open adoption and $25,000-$50,00 for international adoption.
  • Adopted kids might be mentally unstable after spending time in a orphanage and will likely be “damaged” from neglect.
  • What about my desire to have a biological child with my husband’s nose and my eyes?
  • A mixed race family, that’s going to be hard work.

But you know, with time, a lot of these things became a better alternative for us.  Thoughts started to turn to:

  • RPL takes time – each pregnant/miscarriage cycle took months.
  • Losing babies is hard work both physically and emotionally. Adoption might just be easier.
  • RPL means doctors are scrutinizing every aspect of my body – my uterus, my blood flow, my exercise level, my diet, my sex life, etc.
  • RPL is expensive when the only treatment available is out of country.  Think $60,000US+ at a bare minimum, just for a chance without a guarantee that our child will be compatible with life.  But yes, international adoption is expensive, there is no denying that as we are facing bills that make me want to cry on a regular basis.
  • Mental health is no guarantee.  Nor is physical health.  Any child can be born with autism or a heart murmur.  Simple, embracing adoption for us meant accepting that there are no guarantees in life.  And with adoption we can select a lot of things about the birth mother’s medical history and lifestyle to control for some things.
  • Biology isn’t everything.  My child will not have my husband’s nose or my eyes, but they may have our work ethic and our sense of integrity.
  • Being a mixed race family will be hard at times, but I’m confident the MPB’s can work through it.

And you know what, now that we are in the thick of adoption, now that our lives have turned fully to adoption to grow our family, I find myself often thinking to others, why don’t you just adopt?  I try not to verbalize it because well, I get it. I get wanting to slap anyone who naively suggested we should adopt.  But you know I kind of think it’s different for me to suggest adoption now because I get what adoption means better then the average person.  First, I get the contemplation of living a childless life, we almost chose that.  Heck, after spending so much time thinking about a childless life, some days I still think it’s the better open. That said, I am a believer that if you really want children there is always a way – surrogacy, gestational carrier and/or adoption. In my humble opinion, biology does not make you a parent, your choice to parent and love a child makes you a parent.

Also, today, I know that adoption is not an easy path, but I also know that our whole perspective on life changed once we stopped trying and stopped losing babies.  I know that today, over a year since our 5th and final loss, we are both happier and healthier.  Both of us agree that our physical and mental health is leaps and bounds better then it was.  We are excited to be parents, and we know that it will happen now (yes a failed adoption is possible, but there are always risks in life and statistically a failed adoption is substantially less likely for us then another miscarriage).  We have a sense of certainty and some level of control back in our lives and it’s made a big difference to our overall quality of life.

I know adoption is not for everyone, but at this point in time I know it’s the best decision for us.  And some days I just wish I could see others get to this place, out of the cycle of loss and despair and back to a healthy life with hope for a family being real.  Please know, I’m not trying to say everyone should adopt, but I guess what I’m saying is that I want others to know that their are options and finding a path that involves happiness has been a really good thing for us.

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50 Comments on “Why Don’t You Just Adopt?

  1. You make such a good point about how hard rpl is in comparison with adoption. If things didn’t work out with Bub (my 6th pregnancy), I was done. It was just too hard, and I want going to put my body or heart through that anymore. Everyone had to draw the line somewhere.
    I’m excited for your adoption, and I’m so happy that things are better for you both since you chose adoption.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right, everyone has their own line in the sand which could be 2, 5, or 10. And until you reach your end, no advice if other options is going to be helpful.
      Honestly, if things weren’t better for us now, I think we’d have a problem and more soul searching might just be required. Getting into adoption has been a real process for us and I’m glad it’s something we are now so excited for! Thank you for your excitement too. 🙂

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  2. When we were going through RPL, a colleague and close friend told me, why don’t you just adopt and often gave examples of her sister in law who adopted an abandoned baby at the hospital after going through RPL.

    She told me its a noble thing to do, giving a child a life .And that got me fuming! I asked her, if its noble, should she also not adopt a child? Adoption is not something for the infertile world, its for the whole society and passing the buck to an infertile couple just makes me mad. People should realise that while adoption is a wonderful option to grow your family, let the family grieve first and heal. Dont push adoption at them, its not a solution to any problem of infertility.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You make such a wonderful point this morning – let the family grieve and heal. Pushing adoption (or any other alternate way to children) before the family is ready isn’t fair. I know for us, turning to adoption was a process that we had to go through at our own speed, and I expect it would be for anyone else too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! I’m all for adoption but you need time to grieve and heal as you say. And I think for many couples they’d need time mentally to “get there’. Plus it’s expensive. When I think about it, I start thinking about how we’d afford it after IVF – which was a big chunk of change. And while I’m very open to adoption, I know some people aren’t or at least it seems more challenging a hurdle, and I respect that.

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  3. Adoption doesn’t have to be expensive. I adopted 3 kids from foster care for nothing and receive a monthly subsidy for them. Good luck on your journey.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for this note. You are absolutely right that it doesn’t have to be expensive. My husband and I chose the route that is right for us, which also means is expensive. Who knows, if we adopt again we may very well choose an alternate route, like foster to adopt or even domestic open adoption, because our preconceived stereotypical fears are nothing like they used to be.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Interesting twist on those five words that we all love to hate. 🙂 It’s really nice to read that you’re at a place now where you feel like adoption is something you would wholeheartedly recommend to others. And as long as the person you’re talking to knew your history, I think they’d probably find those loaded five words reassuring when coming from you. At the same time, I think it’s good that you’re still sensitive to how loaded those words are to families dealing with infertility and/or pregnancy loss. Most people who say them mean well, but have no idea what they’re really suggesting. Personally, I’ve always been reassured by the thought that we will be parents one day, whether through birth or adoption — but somehow, saying it the other way (“Why don’t you just adopt?”) still gets my hackles up. It’s so complicated for so many reasons!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the thing about those five words is that even now, I still love to hate them! Coming from someone who has never adopted or at least seriously considered it, they drive me crazy! It seems like there is a naive misconception that adoption is a simple “fix”, and yet I can assure anyone that adoption doesn’t fix anything, rather it has been part of our ongoing healing.
      Also, I love that you’ve been reassured that you’d be parents one day – I/we on the other hand weren’t at all. I never thought we’d actually get over all our fears and take the leap to adopt. Somedays I’m still surprised we did, but surprised in a good way. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I really think people assume local adoption is still a thing and easy to get into. They don’t get why so many people turn to international adoption. Just another reason why it’s so important to educate society on RPL, infertility and adoption.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post (as always!) and perspective. My brother said this to us after our second loss and the words stung like a whip across my face. Even though we were very open to adoption should the door to biological children be closed, the flippancy of which he (and others) said this was offensive. “Just adopt” like it was as simple as going to the mall and buying a shirt. You don’t just adopt…it’s a long, hard, emotional, financially impactful process like you described in your post. I can’t wait for you to have your little one in your arms. I’m so glad you’re closer to your child each step of the way and while it’s not an easy path, you’re closer each and every day to fulfilling your dreams…and that is a beautiful thing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think you make a great point about the flippancy of the comment – that’s what drove me crazy to. Heck, it still drives me crazy. The rational part of my brain tries to realize people are just trying to be helpful, but honestly, adoption is not an easy thing to mentally prepare for or to just do. It’s hard work, takes tonnes of time and cash. Oh, and as you mentioned the emotional investment is pretty significant too. It’s not just a waking up one day and deciding to adopt at least not in this day and age.
      As always, thank you for your support, love and understanding! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t think anyone should suggest to another couple that they should adopt regardless of whether they adopted. Infertility and where to go to resolve the childlessness for each couple is going to be different for each couple. It’s not up to anyone to suggest anything but rather to provide support. At the end of the day the couple will figure it out.

    I don’t agree with the if someone wants a child real bad they’ll get one. Not everyone has the means to finance alternatives and not everyone will be approved for things like adoption. Not every couple will be on the same page as well. I think we need to be fair here.

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    • Thank you for your comment Greg. I always appreciate your thoughts and your perspective.
      I do agree that the ultimate decision after (and even during) IF/RPL is going to be unique to every couple as every couple is different. As my last paragraph says, I don’t mean to imply that adoption is always the answer because I know it’s not right for everyone for a number of reasons. We all make choices that are best for us in our circumstances, and just because one thing is best for me does not mean it is for someone else – and I believe that to be true with everything in life, not just our paths through IF.
      As for having children, to be clear I was not saying that if you want a child bad enough you’ll get one. What I do believe is that anyone can leave a positive influence on a child – many people in my life did and I hope that no matter what happens in my life I will be able to for all the kids that are part of my life. I know it’s not the same as being a parent, but it’s still an amazing contribution to a child’s life.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have thought the VERY same things trust me! It’s like if its so easy, why dont you do it then too?! Really starts to drive you crazy. And all of your points about RPL are right on in my opinion too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you my friend. I try to remember that most people mean well with their “helpful” suggestions but honestly, sometimes it makes me want to scream. Unless you’ve walked this path (or one very similar) people have no idea how complicated the emotions are.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I like your lists here, they put things in simple perspective. What you’ve been through is very hard work, especially for your mind. Starting over after each failed IF cycle or loss takes so much energy, so much strength, so much tenacity just to know that it could end badly again. I remember telling myself after each failed IVF that it was mental reset time, forget what happened for now, and trudge forward as positively as possible. It was exhausting!

    I am so excited for you, and I love reading your tone get happier and happier in every post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think once you take an abnormal path to parenthood it becomes hard to work through all the emotions and all the idiosyncrasies that we face. And so I love hearing that my simplified lists help make sense of what we’ve been going through.
      And thank you for your excitement! When we decided to pursue adoption I had no idea just how excited I would become and yet now that we are living it I am so thankful we made the decision we did. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s crazy how people say such insensitive things so flippantly. Adoption is no joke. And after years of RPL, it just gets harder. And biology definitely doesn’t make a family. As you know my baby is not related to me. I know it’s not the same thing but your child will be your child no matter what. I los you’ve put tons of time, energy and thought into building your family!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, as much our paths are not the same, they really kind of are because the way we are growing our families, means that we both understand that the genetic link is not the definition of family and love.
      Thank you so much for your constant support!

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      • True. Sometimes I forget that Glitter isn’t related to me, which is different because she’s inside me, but I wonder if it’ll be weird when she comes out and doesn’t look like me. Who knows. All I know is that I don’t feel like I have to be related to her and it’s not going to make a bit of difference in how I feel about her! It won’t for you either.

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    • I still cannot stand it when people say “why don’t you just adopt!” I find myself correcting people who haven’t been through the process and pointing out how unbelievably hard it has been for us to adopt – emotionally, financially, time, etc – and we don’t even have a child yet!

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  11. During the 18 months that Callie was not able to get pregnant, so many people casually said, “Well you can always adopt” as if that was some type of consolation for the fact that she wasn’t able to get pregnant! AS IF! I mean, we always knew we wanted to adopt, which is why we become Foster to Adopt Foster parents, but that’s not an easy pill to swallow in the throes of unexplained infertility. And honestly, genetics only play a small part in who your kid actually is. You have no idea how well and easily Mary fits into our family, it’s wild! People never make the corolation that she is a child in our care. She looks like a perfect combination of Callie and I, and her and Levi look so much alike, it’s not even funny! She could have been Christina when she was a kid, and has the need for adrenaline like I have my whole life. She’s adventurous and has a love for animals like I do ( “I want to be a vet, but more an animal rescuer!”) and she loves to cook and try new recipes all the time like Callie does. I can’t wait to see what the boys are like, considering that we (genetically) don’t have the same make-up! I’m excited to see your family grow through adoption and just know that no matter what, these kids will be like both of you! And another thing, my dad, isn’t my real dad. He took me in when I was a year and a half. I look more like him than i do anyone else in my family that I am blood related to. Something about people living together for a long time starting to look like each other. It’s a real thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, adoption as a consolation prize just drives me crazy!! I hate when people try to imply that! Just thinking about it makes my blood boil. I find now that I’m educating people when people who have never seriously considered adoption, make comments about “just adopt” – I think I spend more time explaining how hard adoption is (financially, emotionally, time, etc.) now then I did before we ever went into the process. It’s hard, it’s grueling in fact. I’d say it’s taken more emotional commitment and soul searching then any other task I’ve completed in my life and we aren’t even at the finish line (assuming the finish line for this conversation is a successful adoption and not parenting for life because there is no finishing line for that).
      I hear you about people living together starting to look like one and other – and that no matter what people start to see you as a family because you interact like the family that you are. And you know, that’s amazing for you and your dad, and for Mary and your entire family!! And us and our one day child too! 🙂

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  12. After multiple miscarriages adoption is currently the best option for US. & we know that most people don’t understand because something that comes to “easy” to others was something they just don’t get. Currently waiting on this long road of adoption & hoping that we can be the parents we know we can be : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right, that most people just don’t understand our paths because they never had to go through it. I love hearing that you too have also turned to adoption and we are growing our families together in the same way at the same time. I know you will be an awesome parent, and I hope the wait isn’t too long!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much : ) & it’s sucks tremendously that we have to go down this path but it is for sure easier and more helpful to know that we are going thru it together and there is always more to learn going thru this road. Our lives are so very similar and not many people understand. Glad I came across you blog : ) Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I think that the word ‘just’ is the hardest part of “Why don’t you just adopt?”. To me it sounds flippant, like you can ‘just’ pop to the corner shop to buy a kid with the cash in your wallet.

    Admittedly, I have thought about adoption for a long time, even before I met my husband and that I would like to adopt some day (long before being diagnosed as ‘infertile’ officially), and my admission is that I was one of those people who thought I can ‘just’ adopt. But once I started down this ‘infertile path’, and looking at our options, adoption terrifies me now I am more educated about it….but it’s purely from the financial side that scares me the most. Everything else are difficulties I have always considered about adoption and understood to be challenges. I just never realised that money could be one of the larger hurdles with adoption.

    So I’m quite happy to correct people now who say ‘you can just adopt’ with a long list of considerations….

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  14. Time passes fast. I’m amazed it’s been over a year since your last loss already. Miscarriages always seem so prevalent in our thoughts it’s amazing that the time really does pass. And you and Mr MBP ARE doing so well. You can sense it in your writing – some of your posts are now so hopeful and enthusiastic for the future, full of something that was missing before. And of course there are others where you are still processing your grief, and your anger. You’ve come a long way X.

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  15. I am so excited that you are where you are on this journey. You sound like you are in a really great place. Have you seen that Tylenol commercial? The one about choosing to be a family? If not let me know, I will track it down for you somehow. Personally, I think mixed race families are the best 😉

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  16. Sometimes I sit and wonder if our lives are going to end up turning in the same direction that yours has. Will we ever have a baby? Or two? Will we be “stuck” with having to do the alternative some day? Not that there’s something wrong with adoption, it’s just such a long, hard road to get there sometimes. I give you so much credit for everything that you’ve been through. I feel like you guys have walked through so many fires and made it through them all probably better on the other side than where you began. (I hope you understand what I mean by that!) I can’t wait until you finally get that call that you’re matched with someone…then all of this will have been well worth it!

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    • I absolutely do understand what you mean. Sometimes I do wonder if we are better today then when we started. Some days I think we are, and other days I think not a chance. I just don’t know.
      I hope that no matter what your future brings, one or two, adoption or not, that you remember to live through it all – I think that’s my biggest “regret”. I don’t know if we could have done it differently, but I do know that looking back I stopped being me for a long time.
      Also, I hope that you don’t have to wait this out and work through this much longer. I’m so hopeful that IVF #1 will be your ticket to your wiggly little baby!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you knew what I meant, I felt like it was coming out all wrong! We are trying to live through all of this. We planned the trip to NY with our family, and we’re planning a trip “somewhere” for our anniversary week in October. I actually asked my RE, if this works, will I be okay to fly at that time or should we stick to driving distance? He at first said I shouldn’t travel at all during first trimester and we shouldn’t plan anything, but then he said “You also can’t put your life on hold, you have to live”. So I think we’ll plan driving distance. I just don’t want to look back on all of this and feel like we wasted so much time. I also don’t want to “blame” my kids for making me put my life on hold, or regret anything we’ve done. And I HATED myself while on the BCP, because I wasn’t myself at all. Through all of it, I just want to be me, and do things that make me happy. We’re working on it.

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  17. I really love this post! What a healthy perspective! Thank you for sharing! I love thinking about how, you are right, RPL is time consuming and expensive, too! Wonderful, uplifting comparisons!

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  18. I think the under-acknowledged reality is that, for some people, it’s never the right path. We are just not willing to introduce a birth mother into our lives. There are lots of complex reasons why, but even with time to heal, there will never be a “just adopt.” People out there ought to know that’s okay too, and it’s not a commentary on one’s inherent goodness.

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    • Every single word you said here is brilliant! First, thank you for voicing this perspective so well. Second, while we have ultimately chosen adoption, I do believe it is not everyone’s path and I also firmly believe that adoption is more of a commentary on social inequality and adoptive parent selfishness, and birth parent greatness! I struggle with this frequently. Also I know for us, we wouldn’t adopt locally because of the birth mother relationship, and we needed to go out of county to be comfortable. And that took us months to be okay with and honestly still scares $?!* out of us sometimes.

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      • What do you mean “adoptive parent selfishness and birth parent greatness”?

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      • I think in the scheme of open adoption (as opposed to adoption from an orphanage or foster to adopt) the greatest act of love comes from the birth parent who chooses to place their child with someone else who they believe can provide a better life to the child. I believe it is an act of love greater then almost anything else.
        The adoptive parents are the ones choose to adopt to fill a void within themselves and raise a child the best they possibly can. I do think most adoptive parents have more reason to adopt then just a selfish desire to parent when they cannot have a child any other way, but I know this is part of it.
        It’s been interesting to read about and process my emotions around it. I’ve read about adoptive parents who did expensive international adoption and now speak out against the process, and would rather see the money people like me are spending to go towards funding parents raising their own children because most birth parents would choose to raise their child if they had the financial means.
        I dunno, it’s pretty complicated, I guess. And I suppose my sentance the other day re “adoptive parent selfishness and birth parent greatness” is an over simplification. But it is something that I think about and wonder about.

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      • I have some pretty different ideas about all that and, in particular, bristle at the newish tendency to glorify the birth mom like she’s Mother Theresa when in reality she’s a girl who dropped the ball on birth control and needs a solution to her problem that she can live with…not so dissimilar from infertile couples looking to adopt.

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      • In many ways I agree with you. I think now that we are so invested in open adoption I’ve spent countless hours thinking, reading, speculating, questioning about it that I can see it through many different lenses depending on the day.

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  19. Yes this was said to me too. Thanks for posting this a great post.

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  20. Have you ever noticed that the 2 things those of us in the IF/RPL world hate to hear the most both have the word “just” in them. “Why don’t you just adopt” and “just relax”. In both of them, the word “just” implies that it’s so easy to do. I, personally, am so glad you decided to go down the adoption road because I love being on this journey with you.

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    • Wow, you are a wise women – “just” does seem to be a key word! And you are right, it has a lot to do with the suggestion that it should be easy to “just” do something adopt/relax in a very stressful situation.
      I too am glad we are on this road together!! I wouldn’t have it any other way. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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