Those who have become parents through adoption know, firsthand, the miracles and blessings connected to that experience. They have experienced the joy and love . . . and probably the worry and pain. Adoption is a beautiful option. But it is certainly not for everyone. So, how do you decide? How do you know if adoption is right for you?
For me and my husband, it was a simple decision. Due to medical reasons, we were advised not to have more children, but we knew our family wasn’t complete. The news was devastating and difficult to take in. We never imagined this scenario and looking at our daughter, I couldn’t imagine not having more children in our lives. Our answer came pretty quickly and we felt like it was absolutely right for us. We did some investigative work, and it only confirmed our choice.
When we met with our agency the first time, they sat us down and asked why we decided on adoption. They handed us a paper filled with questions and told us if we answered “no” to any of them, we should take time to think about if adoption was truly right for us. Marcus and I took time and reviewed the questions. We had no issues with any of them and moved forward with even more confidence.
Since then, I have found that several agencies do the same thing. I applaud them for their attempt to truly help families discover their motives and readiness for adoption. Because adoption is not for everyone. And that’s ok. I actually wrote about an experience with that here.
I recently reached out to a Facebook group and asked for feedback about how they knew adoption wasn’t right for them. I received many responses, but most of them came down to three major points.
- Cost. When it came down to it, adoption was too expensive. IVF is frequently covered through insurance, or at least partially covered. Even those who said the infertility treatments weren’t covered, they still concluded that in the long run, IVF was less expensive. That financial burden is real, and needs to be considered . . . carefully.
- Desire for Biological Children. Ultimately, those I talked to felt that they would always wonder, and wanted the experience of having their own biological child. It’s in our DNA. We are wired to bear children and bring more people into this world. It is perfectly natural and human to want that experience. The women I talked to said they wanted to exhaust all options before turning to adoption, so they would never ask “what if”?
- Fear. When you enter an unknown world, it can be scary. The fear that was mentioned included fear of working with a third party (birth family), fear of potential problems with a child whose DNA you are unfamiliar with, and fear of rejection. A few mentioned the emotional roller coaster that is adoption . . . failed placements, waiting on someone to choose you, constantly wondering what will happen next.
I appreciated the honestly that these women shared with me. The truth is, even when Marcus and I knew it was right for us . . . these were some of the same thoughts we had. Can we afford this? Um, no. But it’s miraculously worked out for us. Will I always wonder? Absolutely. I wonder what it would be like for Sammy to have biological siblings and if they would be like me or my husband. But the thought doesn’t make me sad. Do I fear what’s coming next with each child? 100%. Sorry, but it’s true. I do worry about what lies ahead. And I can’t seem to turn that off.
The big difference between my answer regarding adoption and the answers these women received . . . it’s a spiritual answer. I’m not talking religious answers. I’m talking spiritual ones. When you feel connected and you just know. Adoption was right for us. And we knew that. IVF is right for someone else. Surrogacy will be right for another. Sometimes, you don’t know . . . you don’t feel connected and don’t feel divine spiritual nudges in any direction. You feel unsure and lost. So you investigate, gather your information, make an informed decision . . . and move forward. Moving forward will either help you realize your decision is correct, or that you need to change your course.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Why do you want to adopt?
- Are you financially prepared for adoption?
- How do you cope with stress?
- How do you feel about open adoption?
- How will you talk to your child about adoption?
- If/When your child wants to know more about his/her background, how would you handle that?
- How do you feel about not having a biological child?
- Do you have a good support system? (family, friends, community)
- How would you talk to your friends and family about adoption?
- What kind of adoption do you want?
If you feel confident about your answers, then perhaps adoption is right for you. And maybe in the near future, instead of wondering what comes next, you’ll be holding a new baby in your arms and kissing his cheeks . . . and it will all be crystal clear. It’ll all make sense because you’ll feel a little more whole and you’ll know that adoption was right for you.