24 June 2009

Why adoption?

Please describe your infertility problems.

The above sentence appears in one of the adoption applications that we have in the house. It is followed by the questions below:

Do you have a conclusive diagnosis of infertility?
Are you currently being treated for infertility?
Why do you wish to adopt a child? (Please explain in detail)

Here's the thing...We don't have an infertility problem...well, at least I don't think we do. We could be totally fertile or maybe we are infertile. Just don't know at this point because we've never actually attempted to conceive. And in that I guess Chris and I are likely quite different from many adoptive couples.

So, why adoption?

Why not try to conceive?

To start with - I'm 41, which automatically puts me into a higher-risk pregnancy category than a woman in her twenties or thirties. Even with the miracle of modern science and women having children well into their forties, there are more considerable risks for mother and child in these instances.

Additionally, I'm not exactly svelte. If I'm honest with myself I could stand to drop 40 or 50 pounds. I'd like to think that I'm "Rubenesque," but really I'm just overweight and as such my high-risk pregnancy status increases yet again.

Lastly, I take medication that is good for me, but would be not good for an unborn and/or nursing child. Taking myself off of my medication for the duration of a pregnancy and post-partum nursing period is certainly an option, but not a very good one. It would put me at risk for complications not only having to do with the pregnancy, but also as a result of the chronic condition for which I take the medication.

Any one of the above issues by itself is not insurmountable or a deal-breaker, but put the three together and...essentially what it comes down to is that trying to have a biological child is just not for me. There are too many risks and too many factors putting me in the very "high risk" category.

I'm not willing to put my own health nor that of an unborn child at risk. Period.

And here's the other thing ...my long-time secret...something that is not easily admitted by a woman in today's world...

As much as I want to have the experience of being a mom, I don't feel any particular or pressing need to have the experience of being pregnant.



As a result of wanting to adopt, I have encountered any number of adoption blogs where women bloggers describe in painful, gut wrenching detail their struggles with conception, infertility and miscarriages. It seems as if many of these women and their partners struggle for years and years to get pregnant and/or stay pregnant. From what I have read many of these folks spend thousands and thousands of dollars all the while dealing with multiple disappointments before finally turning to adoption as a means of becoming parents.

The sadness is overwhelming.

When I read the stories of these women struggling against infertility I am deeply saddened for their pain, loss and grief.

However, I am also somewhat in awe of the lengths to which they and their partners will go - emotionally, psychologically, physically and financially - to try to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. The risks they have taken with their own health as a result the desperate desire to bear a biological child. It's kind of a mystery to me.

Please understand - I do not wish to diminish in any way the pain of any woman who wants to have her own biological child and who is dealing with infertility. It must be awful, awful, awful and my heart goes out to to them. I can only imagine how devastating it must be to want something so badly and to be disappointed time and time again.

For me... I just can't quite wrap my head around subjecting myself and Chris to that kind of trauma because I don't seem to have that inherent desire to experience pregnancy.

For a long time I really thought that there was something wrong with me. I would write things in my journal like:

Why don't I want to be pregnant?
Why do I not have that whatever it is that other women have when they get so excited about the prospect of having a baby?
How can I deny Chris the experience of becoming a father to his own biological child?
What's wrong with me?

Not a very happy place to be in my own mind.

As I get older (and maybe a little more wise?) I find myself getting less uncomfortable with this part of me that does not have the desire to bear a child. I have even come to believe that perhaps the answer is that I knew all along (albeit at a subconscious level) I wasn't a good candidate for child bearing and so I simply never allowed myself that particular desire knowing that it would come with high risk and potential heartbreak.

Or...maybe I'm just selfish.

I don't know.

What I do know is that pursuing adoption feels like the right path to parenthood and that there is a child out there somewhere waiting to be born who is meant to be our child.


  1. "Maybe I'm just selfish"? You're one of the least selfish people I've ever met, constantly thinking of and giving to others. The fact that so much of your thought process about this was worry about me and my feelings is evidence of that. The fact that you want to open your heart and our home to a child in need of a family is all the proof anyone needs that this isn't about you and selfish needs.

  2. Just had to comment. We have so much in common. While I do have a fertility obstacle, I probably could have gotten pregnant with help, however it wasn't worht the risk, financial cost, emotional cost, it certainly wasn't willing to turn my intimate life into a science experiment. Pregnancy was not that important to us. Besides I too am staring down the high risk category too. Adoption seemed to be a surer thing.
    That said, and this is kind of in response to another post. We chose China adoption about 3 years ago. Well little did we know that the predictable process we were banking on became the picture of unpredictability. So while we are looking at 2-3 years additional wait we decided to entertain the domestic adoption idea. Domestic adoptin scared the pants off of us because we knew several couples who waited years and years and one friend who had 3 failed adoptions before they finally were successful. It was heartbreaking. This past February we decided to hire an adoption lawyer and see what we could do going that route. In the most remarkable twist of serendipity we got a referral 2 hours later and within 18 hours we came home with the most beautiful baby boy! So as much as we can steer our paths one way or another there is really no predicting. Buddhists believe that a baby's soul chooses its parents. We couldn't feel more blessed. I don't think you are selfish in the least I think you are opening yourself up for possibility rather than trying to force an outcome. (I don't mean that as a criticism to those who choose fertiltiy but it is so frustrating when people assume that the natural course it to try fertility first, to me it seems more natural to open one's self up to a child who needs parents, it is win-win for everyone involved, right?) Sorry this is so long.