Why Don’t You Just Adopt?

1 Feb

Many couples struggling to conceive will often hear that phrase when sharing their difficulties with friends and family. While it certainly seems a reasonable question and the intentions are usually to offer support, it implies that “just adopting” is a simple process. Adoption is not simple. Adoption is not a cure for infertility. Adoption can be expensive. Adoption is complicated. Adoption involves loss. Don’t get me wrong, adoption is many, many wonderful things but it is far from simple and is certainly not something you wake up one day and just do.

Adoption is a “cure” for childlessness, but does not fix the emotional battle of infertility. While it is not hard for me to imagine loving a child that has no genetic link to me, much like I love my spouse or my in-laws, there is a grieving process that must be done when you realize your future child will not have your blue eyes, or husband’s brown hair. You will never know what it’s like to feel your baby kick you from the inside, see your belly grow and grow as your little one develops, have that “oh my gosh, my water just broke” moment with your husband, or bond over breast feeding. This grieving process looks different for everyone going through infertility. Mike and I moved through this part quite differently, but once we were both able to look past the genes and the pregnancy we were able to see what we wanted – a child, a family. Adoption made sense for us, but it is not the answer for everyone.

Adoption can be very expensive. It is often much more costly than fertility treatments and you often have little notice before large sums of money are due. While choosing foster-to-adopt can help with that, there are unique challenges with going that route that may not make it a good fit for everyone. Most of the time adoption is also a lengthy process, so it costs a lot of time too. The home study and paperwork can take months to complete and it can take years after that to be placed with a child.

Adoption is complicated – international or domestic? Open or closed? Substance use during pregnancy? Race? Family history? Choosing adoption is just one of the many choices that need to be made. Not only that, but other people are involved – birth families and siblings will experience enormous sense of loss. That is not something I will forget or ever take lightly.


Oh and control of the process? Forget about it! As pre-adoptive parents you have no control over what happens next. Once you submit your paperwork and profile you wait. You may wait 1 hour, 1 year, 10 years for a match. It is anyone’s guess. Once you do match with an expectant mom, you may have 1 hour notice, 1 week notice, or 4 months notice before the baby is born. You may have a great relationship with the expectant mom or a distant one. Or everything in the relationship may be going well, but the expectant mom ultimately chooses to parent anyway. Start over. (Note: I fully support and respect the expectant mom/family’s right to change their mind but that’s not the focus of today’s post.)

There was a lot of research and discussion that ultimately went into our decision to pursue domestic, infant, open adoption. I know we made the best decision for us. If you’ve ever wondered or even considered asking someone why they don’t “just adopt,” I hope this post has helped you understand there is simply no “just” about it.  I hope to take some time this year to discuss adoption in more detail. In between the usual home projects of course 🙂

Fortunately, my friends and family have been amazing and have never suggested I “just adopt” – Thanks for rocking!



4 Responses to “Why Don’t You Just Adopt?”

  1. Tree Hugging Humanist February 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

    I noticed you didn’t mention anything about adoption from foster care. Is that because you haven’t had experience with it?

    • Jess February 14, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

      Adoption through foster care is mentioned just briefly when I talk about the cost of adoption. But because I don’t really have any experience with that route (as you correctly stated) I didn’t feel capable of elaborating beyond that. I definitely welcome any additional thoughts from you (or anyone else reading a long). There is so much to learn!


  1. A Work in Progress | Baby Steps - April 10, 2016

    […] a lot more often as we try to get the nursery organized. One of the hard parts with adoption is you have no idea when you’ll get that call or how much time you’ll have to get ready onc…. So we are doing everything we can now to prepare our home for its newest […]

  2. How’d We End Up Here: Part II (AKA The Very Long Version) | Baby Steps - May 9, 2016

    […] How long would we wait? Could it be years? Could we afford it? (See more of my thoughts on this here.) We were given 60-70% odds that IVF would work, had total control of the process, it turned out to […]

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