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Adoption as a First Choice

Want bio children, but thinking about adoption


Hi, This is my first post, and I’ve only started researching adoption this week, so I’m very new to this! My husband and I have been married for a year and a half now and do want kids some day. (We’re 24 so we’ve got time, but it’s never to early to start talking, esp. with the length of an adoption process)

We are Christians and believe strongly that EVERY child deserves to be raised in a loving home. Adoption therefore is such a natural choice! I love love love the entire idea of adoption. My husband is on board with having only adopted children even though there’s no reason to believe we can’t have bio children.

However, I will admit there is a (selfish?) part of me that really does want to give birth and see my husband’s genetic traits in a bio child. I guess 99% of American mothers are probably in that boat too, so maybe I’m not very unique. With practically everyone I know having their first child right now, I can’t help but feel like I too want that incredible specialness of birthing a child.

I know I could love an adopted child just as much as a bio child, but still… Has anybody reconciled the feelings of wanting a bio child but feeling that could be a missed opportunity for an orphan somewhere out there? I believe that as Christians we need to give up selfish desires, and if God is calling me to adopt, maybe I need to get over this feeling. I am going to pray and mull it over…

Replies

Well…. we went through a lot of the same thoughts.  We have 4 children…2 bio and 2 adopted.  We’re a bit older than you.. (mid 30’s) and our oldest is 7.  All of the items you spoke about went through our heads as well….

i’m not sure i have answers for you as it probably ends up differently for each family.  you need to figure out what works for your family and values and that’s it.  it doesn’t really matter what other people believe or think though it’s good to talk to people who’ve been through it already.  we did a ton of research.. still are.. it never ends. 

feel free to message us directly if you want to chat more offline. 

Scott

Posted by shw104 on Jan 26, 2013 at 6:47pm

My concern is this one sentence you used in your post, “I know I could love an adopted child just as much as a bio child”. Making a statement like this means you have already tiered the differences. You need to think long and hard about that difference and reconcile how it may be that you see birthing a child and adopting a child differently. Not being a Christian myself I am also concerned with what appears to be a “rescuing” mindset on your part. Yes, every child deserves a loving home, regardless of religion, but not all do, even with their biological parents. There are so many children out there in very precarious positions and abusive homes who are not looking for another family but need support. Maybe that is where you could direct your desire to help. Conceive children and then your family could donate time and finances to charities and community groups to help children in need.
Good luck with your process.

Posted by LizLee on Jan 26, 2013 at 8:08pm
Posted by MD1976 on Jan 26, 2013 at 8:51pm

>>“I know I could love an adopted child just as much as a bio child”.

I think every adoptive parent has asked themselves this question when they begin the process..  I’d say it’s normal question though I’d also say it’s not really an issue.  In our experience.. there is no difference.. your children are your children…..do research on bonding and the issues that can/do arise.  it takes time for sure.  adoption is not for everyone and definitely comes with challenges. 

LizLee raised good points and one that you need to think through.. it’s part of the process…. do research, be educated, talk to others…..

Scott

Posted by shw104 on Jan 26, 2013 at 8:53pm

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sentence “I could love an adopted child as much as a bio child”  It is a question we all (or a lot) of us ask ourselves when first starting out on our adoption journey.  My husband was not so sure he could.  He then started thinking more about it.  We took adoption classes.  He now tells me that was a stupid worry.  He bonded quicker with our adopted child than he did with our bio child.
I do not think you are selfish was wishing for a bio child.  There is nothing written that you must only have adopted or bio children.  after years of trying to have a bio child we gave up and started the adoption paperwork.  Within a week of meeting our son’s birthmom, I found out we were pregnant.  Talk about your wants with you husband.  There is no right or wrong answer for forming your family.

Posted by RRB on Jan 26, 2013 at 10:55pm

Scott—It is so good to hear that I am not the only one with mixed feelings. I would love to hear more about your adoption journey.

Liz - You brought up some good points. I think my internal conflict isn’t so much about how I would feel about the child. It’s more about how important is it for me to follow the desire of experiencing pregnancy, birth, and the passing down of your genetic traits as a couple. My logical side thinks those reasons are a little bit weak to justify having biological children in lieu of adoption, but they also appeal to my sentimental side.

As far as a rescuing mentality….that is just who I am as a person. I see nothing wrong with it. I can’t hear about someone in need and not want to take action. We do already give to various charities, do youth mentoring and ongoing community work. I genuinely do want a family, so I’m not looking at adoption for just the reason of rescuing children. You’re absolutely right though, there’s more than one way help kids than adoption.

RRB - Thanks for sharing your story. It’s encouraging to me that you were able to love your children equally. And a good reminder that sometimes we don’t really get much of a say in the matter of bio kids or not anyways!

Posted by carlson11 on Jan 27, 2013 at 12:15am

While thinking about adoption you also need to think aout the idea of rescuing.
Certainly in the USA infants available for adoption do not need rescued. there are many people who want them.

Children in orphanages? older foster children?

Don’t expect the child to be grateful to be rescued or feel gratitude (maybe when they are 30 or 40).

So what kind of adoption?

Posted by Regina on Jan 27, 2013 at 12:30am

Regina, I am still trying to learn more about the different options. My understanding so far is that white American newborns are in high demand. We have no intention of going that route for that reason. If we go with adopting “first choice”, would it be better to go international? I wouldn’t really want to take on an older (as in 5 or older) or disabled child without having any parenting experience.

Posted by carlson11 on Jan 27, 2013 at 1:01am

It all depends. More and more countries overseas are closing (Guatamala, Russia, Korea, Viet Nam) except for special needs children. You usually do not get an infant internationally. Age 1 and up is normal and depending on care, nutrition, genetics (which you probably won’t know), prenatal exposure to drugs/alcohol you may or may not have issues.

I believe 60%  or so of internationally adopted children require some intervention (physical therapy, counseling, occupational therapy etc. but I wouldn’t call that disabled.

You can get an infant placement (or up to age 18) from foster care at no cost. Some children are in the custody of the agency and come to you as straight adoption. Infants (many but not all drug exposed) come as foster children and may be reunified wit family or adopted by you.

The USA (this always surprises me) place 800-1,000 children annually internationally. That is US children (mostly African American infants) are adopted by families internationally (Canada, Germany, Holland maybe others).

So read, go to classes (or take webinars), talk to othr parents. There is a huge onference every year put on by http://www.nacac.org (resources there) this year it is in Toronto, it moves around the USA and Canada yearly.

Some ten year olds are in better emotional shape than some three year olds. Some toddlers make the transition easier than some infants.

Read Toddler Adoption by Hopkins-Best.

The seven core issues of adoption is a good read. Find it at

http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=489

There is no right way. No easy way. No guarenteed way to adopt. There are risks and pluses in all adoptions. You just need to decide what is for you.

Posted by Regina on Jan 27, 2013 at 1:36am

I get a little nervous when I hear about people adopting to rescue a child for the reasons Regina pointed out.  It sounds like you have put some thought into that though and I would just suggest to really read up on international, transracial and fostercare adoption particularly from the adoptee’s viewpoint.

As far as the desire to experience pregnancy, pass down genetic material, etc.  These are not just sentimental desires to get over.  I grieved these things and still do nearly 4 years after adopting.  The choice to adopt comes to different people at different times.  My husband is infertile and we both have genetic disorders.  We could have proceeded with sperm donation but we chose not to.  I’m just trying to explain from a different point of view and that at some point we all chose adoption to form our families.  I would hate to see any resentment form against a child.  So I would hate to see you concieve and always feel like you missed out on adopting.  I would hate to see you adopt and think ‘I gave up a chance at pregnancy for you’.  I guess I’ve taken a long time to just say…Why not do both?

Posted by gqqfier15 on Jan 27, 2013 at 1:51am

1. Thanks for the info. I will absolutely read up on those issues. I can imagine how the 7 issues that adoptees have would be compounded with having trans-racial adoptions. Not a reason to avoid those adoptions, but def a necessary thing to be educated about!

2. gg- Thank you for your perspective. I do wonder if my birth child wishes are just a passing fad or something I will cling to later in life. I think that right now these feelings might be heightened by having so many pregnant peers. However, once I’m ready to choose, I certainly may want to do both!

Posted by carlson11 on Jan 27, 2013 at 4:13am

You shouldn’t feel guilty or selfish at all.  The reality right now in International adoption for non-special needs young children is that there are many more families wanting to adopt then there are children available for adoption.  That isn’t to say there aren’t many more children needing families but because of different countries regulations those children can’t be adopted.  For example there continue to be children in Guatemala who need families but right now the country is closed to international adoption.  So if a country can only process 100 toddler adoptions per year and there are 300 families waiting then the reality is that your decision to wait to adopt isn’t causing a child to miss the chance at a family.  You could almost say that this is actually the unselfish choice because you are making it a little easier or shortening the wait for a family who is unable to have biological children. Most of these families will wait for years to adopt.
  Foster care may be a little different depending on where you live.  But I know where I live there isn’t really a shortage of families willing to adopt young non special needs children of any race.  The real need is for sibling groups, non-minor special needs, and children older then 8. 
  And like others before have said.  There are many other ways to help orphans…. donate to programs, mentor a child in foster care, be a CASA, contribute to grants to help other families adopt special needs children….

Posted by stllc116 on Jan 27, 2013 at 7:22am

I don’t think it is at all selfish for you to want a biological child and the experience of pregnancy, it is perfectly normal and natural.

My husband and I are just starting the process of adoption.  I, like you, have always wanted to adopt, to me it seems like a perfectly normal way to start/build a family. Also, like you, I have this small desire to create a little miniature version of my husband, and I certainly don’t see adopting a child right now as meaning that we can never give birth to a baby.

It is a good idea for you to weigh your various feelings. While certainly your love for a biological or adopted child will be the same, your experience in bringing them into your family is different.  Right now I feel some of the same things a pregnant woman does.  I can’t spend long enough looking at baby things, researching car-seats and carriers, thinking about how to decorate the nursery and I am even nesting a bit. However, most people can’t see that I am ‘expecting a baby’, so I am automatically excluded from baby conversations.  Also I have had a couple of experiences when telling friends about our plans to adopt where they have responded very negatively. If I was announcing a pregnancy they would have been overjoyed!

All that to say, if you want to have a biological baby, don’t feel guilty about it. You and your husband should feel free to build a family in any way that you think is best.

Posted by hmilli on Jan 27, 2013 at 9:08pm

Professionals and adoptees agree it is a burden to place on a child that you are “doing something charitable” by adopting. It is also bad for kids to feel like you did this special thing by adopting them.
Also as said above there are more people to adopt a lot of the available babies to adopt so no one will be an orphan without you.
Another thing is unless you do foster or “foster-to-adopt” it’s quite espensive (20 to 45k) and also takes a long time (can be many years, 2 to 5 is not uncommon.
International agencies may require you to be 25 or older, some require 3 or 5 years marriage too.
If I were you I would have my own kids and then volunteer somewhere to help children. Get some parenting under your belt and then maybe you handle special needs which could be anything from mild downs syndrome to a cleft palate.
I have found adoption to be a long, drawn-out, expensive process that I would not choose if I could have had biological children.
It might be cool if your church got someone to speak from a major adoption agency that does domestic and international and someone from the foster side. Then they can lay out the reality. We get this kind of question on these boards from time to time and they do seem a bit misguided. Adoption should not be about doing some act for god. It should simply be because you want a child and a child needs a parent.

Posted by babydreams on Jan 27, 2013 at 10:40pm

Thank you all so much for your comments! I found your words to be both encouraging and wise!

Posted by carlson11 on Jan 27, 2013 at 11:40pm

Geez, people, she never said anything about rescuing a kid!  She said every child deserves a home, which we obviously all believe.  As far as “believing you would love an adopted child as much as a biological child”. That is a thought that many of us probably wondered about at one point, esp. before actually meeting a child. 
There’s nothing wrong with asking yourself that question.  It doesn’t mean that you’re not prepared to adopt, or you’re adopting for the wrong reason. 
  I adopted siblings after years of infertility.  A year later, I felt pretty near at peace with my infertility when I found out I was pregnant.  That baby girl has been endless joy.  I love all three of my children.  However, everything with my adopted children has been difficult because of their age when I adopted them and their behavior problems.  They have both also been diagnosed with ADHD.  On the other hand my relationship with my bio daughter is so simple, so easy ( so far -she’s not a teenager yet!) I would not give up that bright spot in my life for anything.  But the difference in our relationships has nothing to do with genetics or how much they do or don’t resemble me and my husband.
My point is, yes, you can love adopted children as much as bio children.  After a while, you stop thinking of them as adopted or bio - they’re just your kids.  There’s no reason not to have both.

Posted by housefrau on Jan 28, 2013 at 12:15pm

P.S.  If I had adopted after having my baby and raising her for a few years, I would have been a MUCH better parent to my two adopted children.  I would have had a frame of reference for understanding their behavior, and would have known better what to expect.

Posted by housefrau on Jan 28, 2013 at 12:22pm

My two cents?  If you want to have a biological child, start trying sooner rather than later.  The “facts” are that the younger and healthier you are, the better your chances of conceiving.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a biological child…and of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to adopt.  I would just attempt the bio route first!  Best of luck to you.

Posted by mamallama on Jan 28, 2013 at 9:11pm

I’m glad to hear input on bio or adopted first as well. I feel that if we did have bio kids, then we should have one first, so we are more comfortable with parenting and more experienced for when we do adopt My husband thinks adopted first would be better because the child would get more attention and perhaps feel more belonging. Also, we would have more time to devote to any special medical or behavioral needs. Anyone know the major pros and cons?

Posted by carlson11 on Jan 29, 2013 at 5:46am

I don’t think there is a perfect formula. You could have a bio child first who has special needs and you decide to postpone a future child. Some adopted children who are adopted first think you never would have adopted them if you had bio first. Some children adapt well to a sib, a few don’t. I guess I am trying to say Life is what happens while you make plans. (I thnk John Lennon said that)

You need to decide what you want and live with the consequences because that is life.

There is no perfect way to have a family. There is no perfect way to adopt. sometimes healthy people can’t get pregnant. You assume you can but don’t really know if you can get and sustain a pregnancy. You can’t assume a bio child will be healthy with no medical or behavioral needs. You also can’t assume an adoptee will have behvioral and or medical needs.

Posted by Regina on Jan 29, 2013 at 8:58am

Obviously Regina, you are right about there being no perfect way or formula, and what works for some doesn’t work for others.We still want to research as well as we can though other peoples’ stories or beliefs. To learn from others’ mistakes or successes. From there, we still won’t be able to predict the future, but at least make a more educated guess at the direction we want to take our family.

Posted by carlson11 on Jan 29, 2013 at 6:39pm

Hello!  Ok first let’s set aside the rescue comment.  She is 24 and just starting to work through her feelings about adoption.

I have always, and I mean always felt called to adopt.  I never really felt a calling towards the how, but God did lead me to my child.  After years of signs and sublties, my husband and I started the adoption process only to have a perfectly healthy, white newborn placed in our arms within a few months.  Her birthfamily selected us over 100s of other couples because of our faith and similar values.  She is our first baby and the entire experience from the first meeting with the agency until this very day has been unique and truely amazing.

Baby number 2 is of our own DNA.  I wouldn’t trade the experience of pregnancy and having her for anything.  That experience was no better or worse than our first daughter.

Our third child will be an older child from foster care most likey.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to experience the joys and blessings of being a parent both through adoption and biology.  Just keep praying and you will have your answers.

Posted by Genevieve's Mom on Jan 31, 2013 at 6:23am

Genevieve’s Mom,  I mostly agree with what you are saying.  I think the problem comes in when people have an attitude as if they are better because they are choosing adoption and don’t have to adopt.  I do not mean this toward the OP because I have not felt that from her at all but whenever these subjects are raised it hard to keep defenses down.  I too always felt called to adopt.  If you had asked me in high school I would have told you I was going to have 2 and adopt a 3rd.  Of course I thought I had my whole life planned until reality intruded.  Now that we have decided it would be too risky, hard, and complicated to pursue pregnancy I feel put into a category of ‘oh you had to adopt’.  Maybe I am being overly sensitive when people comment but we have pretty much all complained about the ridiculous questions we all get.  “How much did he cost”. “Don’t you want one of your own”. That sometimes I still feel after 4 years as if our family is second best or as if I am still not part of the mommy club.  Ultimately, we chose to adopt just like anyone else who chose to adopt.  It is also just a little annoying when the media portrays it as if there are all these babies laying around in orphanages or foster care yet when people actually start the adoption process it is hard and complicated.  I know a family who wanted to adopt an older sibling set (expecting a quick and instant family) and after two years of waiting and not being chosen have actually turned to an infant newborn program.  I guess it wasn’t meant to be for them.  Also, I hated to see the OP invalidate her desire to be pregnant.  I say do both.  Honestly,  I’m not trying to start a big fight or debate but throwing it out there as I hate to be made to feel not good enough.

Posted by gqqfier15 on Jan 31, 2013 at 10:05am

gqqfer, I think all adoptive families have to deal with comments and attitudes from society, but mostly it is due to ignorance.  I think 99% of people probablly haven’t given adoption much thought.  It’s so seldom in the mainstream media.  So when people are ignorant, I think we owe it to our kids to educate.  It can be hard though.

I also do not want to diminish other people’s path to adoption.  There are pleanty of women who didn’t consider adoption until it became their plan B.  That doesn’t mean they love thier adopted kids less. God works on us all in different ways and at different times.

But I do think there are a lot of families who burn up valuable time, money and emotion on fertility treatments…trying to control destiny when they would have been better off embracing adoption sooner.  And sadly, some of those women do view thier children differently….they do feel cheated.  Children are blessings not something we are entitled to.

Posted by Genevieve's Mom on Jan 31, 2013 at 3:27pm

Carlson11, if you would like more on my personal experience with adopted and bio kids, and the pros and cons of which to do first, feel free to PM me.

Posted by housefrau on Feb 04, 2013 at 11:14am

1)purely biologically speaking; it’s best to try for bio kids first as we women only get a certain number of eggs and fertility drops with age.

2) there is not an “orphan” crisis for children who are healthy and UNDER 3 years of age. There are more people seeking to adopt these children than there are children available! Really. This is true for foster care, international and domestic. For domestic newborn adoption, there are 8 prospective parents for every 1 child placed. If you are doing this out of “duty” or ‘calling”, the children that need families are: over 6 years of age, sibling groups, or special needs children.

Posted by choose2care on Nov 27, 2013 at 1:49am

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