It makes me cringe every time I hear it—my ears hyper-attuned for any mention of adoption in casual conversation.

I cringe and debate internally whether this is a moment to educate or to just let it go.

It is meant kindly enough, I suppose (it is, right?).

It’s spoken by well-meaning folks who are trying to encourage potential parents.

“Don’t worry, dear,” they say. “If things don’t work out, you can always just adopt.”

Just adopt.

These two words do not belong together.

I have never personally experienced the pain of infertility or miscarriage, but I cannot imagine that these words bring comfort in the struggle for biological parenthood.

And I know they light a fire in this adoptive mama.

Just adopt.

As in, our flight is cancelled but no worries, we’ll just take a later one.

As in, there are no tickets left for the Broadway show, so we’ll just watch the Off-Broadway show.

No big deal, these words imply.

But adoption is a big deal.

A life-changing deal.

It is not a quick fix for infertility. In most cases, there is nothing quick at all about the adoption process.

It is not a second-best way to form a family.

There is no “just” in adoption.

It is hard. It is messy.

It is ridiculously, miraculously beautiful.

It is love.

Love that sees, love that fights, love that heals, love that protects, love that perseveres.

Adoption is family—my family.

My heart.

So please tread carefully.

When you speak of adoption, you are speaking of my heart.

There is no “just” about it.