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Adoption as a First Choice

Adoption no longer as a First Choice


Adoption was our first choice for a while. This was until we did our research and realized that the children who need adoption are not the ones that people stand in line to try and adopt (a young healthy child). They children who truly need adoption are: 6 years old and older, sibling groups, and children with special needs. I have contacted various agencies and there are far more prospective applicants for a “healthy” child under 3 than there are children available. I feel that so few are aware of this (or maybe it was just me that was given a wrong impression). At this point in our lives, we don’t feel ready/able to parent an older child, sibling group or a child with special needs. Maybe after having some parenting experience, we’ll feel more equipped to do so. I just wanted to write in as a former “adoption as a first choice” person who after YEARS worth of adoption research no longer holds the same opinion. Adoption is HARD. You don’t always get the end result: being able to adopt. Also, if we don’t adopt a young healthy child they WILL be adopted, they will not remain as an orphan. Eye opening stuff compared to how I used to believe (with zero research) years ago.

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I would like to add that adoption of a child over the age of 3yrs, is very often a totally different way of raising children than adopting an infant.  I used to believe with heart and soul that an older child adoption was more often than not, JUST LIKE the adoption of an infant—-even a special needs infant.  Nothing could be further from the truth, by and large.

  Adoption was our first choice because we both grew up during the belief in ‘zero population growth’.  In our belief, there are too many people on the planet and those who may be available for adoption are children who are already here, now.
  We also had some rather serious health issues running through the genetic tree of our families.  We personally felt it unfair to put the chance of childhood diabetes or early onset arthritis on any biological child we might create.
  This is not to say that all people need to think and do as we have; but it was what we believed and so, we went with our hearts on this.

  It’s true that if someone wants a healthy white baby…their wait may be very long—-and-expensive.  And, adoption is a big business to a lot of people…..it takes a thick-skin to rummage through a lot of the ‘game-playing’ and choose to be a part of it; or stand back, or simply not adopt.  It’s a personal choice and not an easy or inexpensive one either.

  I applaud you for knowing what you do and do not want up front.  Too often, people go into adoption thinking they’re ‘saving a child’.  While this may be so on some accounts, it’s not necessarily the fact when adopting a healthy white baby.  And, to adopt a special needs baby isn’t usually a ‘piece of cake’....so it’s best to do so only when one feels they can handle it.

  Adoption—-even adopting older children from the state system—-is not for the faint of heart.  Too often, people go into adoption believing it’s an easy ride (‘At least you didn’t have to go through nine months of carrying a baby like *I* did!” they say.) Adoption is grueling, heart-breaking and just plain difficult to do.  ‘Easy’ is a healthy pregnancy and leaving the hospital with a baby in your arms.
Society seldom believes this, but those of us who’ve had involvement with adoption know otherwise.

Sincerely,

Linny

Posted by Linny on Nov 27, 2013 at 4:08am

I think it depends on why you’re choosing adoption over having a biological child. Some people choose adoption first to save a child, some choose it because they believe in zero population growth, some choose it because they don’t want to bring another child into this world when there are already so many here.

There are others who just don’t care about having a biological child. I never wanted to be pregnant. It’s a good thing too, because I now have a medical condition that’s incompatible with pregnancy.

Some people try to have a biological child, can’t/don’t, and choose adoption without pursuing a diagnosis or fertility treatments.

I’m not even sure I would say that “‘Easy’ is a healthy pregnancy and leaving the hospital with a baby in your arms.” Getting to the part where you have and keep the healthy pregnancy can be extremely difficult for some people. I’ve never seen adoption as easier than pregnancy, or pregnancy as easier than adoption, just two different kinds of difficult.

Posted by rredhead on Nov 27, 2013 at 9:14am

Rredhead, you totally nailed it.  I have both bio and adopted.  Not one is easier or a better choice.  2 totally different worlds with totally different experiences.  Not one is easier than the other or better than the other, IMO.

Posted by BB on Nov 28, 2013 at 12:14am

Have you considered going the international route? It may be possible in many countries to adopt a relatively healthy child under 3.

As for special needs kids… Keep in mind that biological children don’t come with health guarantees either. Adopting a child with a special need may be scary, but would you feel any less scared or more prepared if you gave birth to a child who had or developed physical or mental needs? Probably not.  ‘Special needs’ isn’t always something major or non-correctional either.  Many children in foster care are given various labels so that they can have access to resources available like additional therapy tools or help in school.

You could also consider being a foster parent for younger children. It seems that many people go this route and while yes, there is a good chance you will have to say goodbye to one or more children you’ve fallen in love with and send them back to their bio-families, there is also good chance that at some point, instead of saying goodbye you can say “Yes!” when the parental rights are terminated.

Do yourself a favor and find a support network, even this early. Joining one has been the best thing we have done, and we haven’t even started paperwork yet!

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Nov 28, 2013 at 12:48am

We recently adopted a little boy from China who was 2 1/2 at the time of adoption. Yes, he was categorized as “special needs” but his condition, which was a heart condition, had been fully treated in China and we’ve had him checked out thoroughly here and he’s healthy as a horse and also a terrific, smart, funny, loving kid. We couldn’t feel luckier. The whole process took us 14 months. I think a lot of people are scared off by the term “special needs” when it can mean a wide range of things. The China waiting child program often has kids with minor or correctable (or corrected) conditions who are under three, especially if you are open to adopting a boy.

Posted by EJones on Nov 29, 2013 at 4:01am

Thanks Linny for your comment. Really appreciated reading it. And thanks to everyone else for yours!

The special needs programs here are FULL with prospective parents at this time. The regular stream programs are FULL as well. As well as way more prospective parents for newborns and “healthy” children under 3 from foster care. When there are more prospective parents than children available for adoption—adoption as a 1st choice may change to adoption as a 2nd choice.

Posted by choose2care on Dec 03, 2013 at 9:49pm

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