At its most basic, a familiar family storyline goes something like this. Ahem, “Blank and Blank, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes, marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage, etc. etc. etc.”

For many families, however, it doesn’t happen quite like that–and not always due to infertility issues, which while it remains a leading reason, does not apply to all. There are many reasons people may choose to create or grow a family through adoption.

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You!

For some, adoption is a calling. And sometimes, a calling just feels right in a way you can’t easily explain to yourself, much less others, including in-laws, parents, and well-meaning friends who think they knew every little thing about you. Believe it or not,  adoption can be the first choice and creating a family the old fashioned way is not as important as it is to others, including if and when the old fashioned way doesn’t pan out or isn’t an option. It’s a difficult concept for some to accept, but it’s a thing.

Adoptee Becomes Adopter

For others, adoption is the next chapter in their own story of adoption–maybe because nobody understands adoption better than an adoptee who may have spent time in an institution or foster care or learning about the true meaning of family be it in a closed or open environment and wanting to do better for another child whose shoes they know all too well. There are many stories of grown adoptees becoming advocates for adoption–highlighting both the pros and the cons, as well as volunteering and supporting children impacted by adoption. In other cases, children who grew up with adopted siblings also can be drawn to grow their families through adoption, having experienced first hand the joys that it can bring.

Room at the Table

And still, for others, adoption is a way to grow a family that decides it has the opportunity and means, as well as just the right space left in their home and their hearts to love and nurture another child. Oftentimes, those who have already raised biological children continue to feel that pull–that they have not yet fulfilled their job as parents or completed their family and they long to set one more place at the table for a child in need of a family.

New Paths, Different Paths

There are many single moms and dads, who, while perhaps marriage wasn’t a path they felt drawn to or had luck on, always knew they wanted to parent a child. These brave folks put all on the line whether going through the foster care system or adoption process–which is no easy task even when you’ve got a partner to share the ups and downs.

And in some cases, blended families bring together not just a newly married couple, but the children who come from a first marriage (think Brady Bunch). In these cases, stepparents have the opportunity to step up and sometimes grow a strong bond with their stepchildren that results in “officially” making a child their own through adoption.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

Truly, there are countless reasons why adoption is not a last resort for creating a family. It’s unfortunate that a stigma still exists in certain circles that a family created through adoption was done so as a last resort, inferring that the want and/or love for the adopted child is somehow less than if he had been a product of the baby in the baby carriage scenario. The families I know who have come-to-be through adoption are anything but lacking in the giving or receiving or sharing of love, but rather, have seen adoption for what it can be–the absolute greatest gift a parent and child can share together.