The other weekend I was having dinner with a few of my girlfriends when one announced that she was accepted to grad school. After many congratulations and hugs, she then told us that her plans for having a family are going to be put on hold for the next three years while she focuses on getting her master’s degree. Immediately, this perked my ears.
She’s only 30, so she definitely has time at 33 to have kids, but so many of my issues with infertility were discovered right around then. I never want anyone (much less one of my best friends) to go through what I went through dealing with infertility, so I asked her if she had ever thought about getting tested or having her fertility checked out. You know, just to be safe. She told me awhile back she had some of her hormones checked for other medical issues, and she may or may not have trouble conceiving when she’s ready to have a child.
But then she said this: “But I’m not worried about it at all because I’ve seen how you dealt with everything, and I’ve seen how adoption has blessed your family. So, if my husband and I can’t have biological kids, we’ll adopt. I know we can do it because of watching you.”
Wow. Talk about humbled. But, that encounter got me thinking – is it appropriate for me to encourage people to adopt? If people come to it on their own accord by knowing me, that’s different, but should I actively encourage people I know to adopt?
Obviously, I am pro adoption–pro healthy adoptions. And I think positive, loving relationships can come out of these types of adoptions, but I also know that adoption is not for everyone. You really don’t know what type of response you’ll get from someone if they confide in you her struggles conceiving a child and you suggest adoption. They might be completely receptive, but she also might have a breakdown. Adoption is not a cure for infertility, and hearing someone say, “Well, you could always adopt” when you’re still grieving your fertility is a tough pill to swallow. It’s also not healthy to begin adopting until you have grieved your infertility. So, you see how easy it is to go back and forth.
I suppose the simple answer to the question, “Should I encourage people to adopt?” is this: get to know their situation. If you think they’re ready and want to adopt but just need an extra boost, then go for it! Encourage them to take the risk that may lead to the best decision of their lives. If you don’t think they’re quite ready to begin the process than I wouldn’t encourage them. I’d share your story and hope that it stays with them, so they can make the decision on their own. This way, if they ever are ready, you might just be the one they call, and then it would be ok to give them that little extra push.