Category Archives: Adoption

Changing the Conversation

Over the last few months I’ve gone back and forth on twitter and her blog with Claudia C. D’Arcy, a birth/first mother on the topic of infertility and its indirect impact on the demand in Domestic Infant Adoption. I’ve mentioned Claudia in past blog posts. She is someone that despite my disagreement with her on a lot of topics, I still respect her and support her cause. In our back and forth conversations I managed to do something that I happen to be good at, annoying the shit out of her. Two weeks ago, I made some comments that were nasty that lead to her needing some more room to respond to me so she put together a blog piece to respond.

Granted she’s not referring to me directly but she’s referring to discussions we’ve had. But I think she brings up a valuable point that as difficult and shitty a situation as infertility brings a couple any decisions they make on how to proceed must take their potential child into account. They also should not engage in unethical adoption practices that could be damaging to a child and their biological family. Infertility doesn’t give anyone the right to act inappropriately.

However, I do believe that the issue is that infertile couples are enabled rather than properly supported in addressing the pain that comes with infertility. Instead of the conversation being “just adopt”, “I know someone who did IVF/adopted and got pregnant” or “you just need to relax and it will happen” the conversation needs to be “I’m sorry for your loss. Is there anything I can do for you?”. Supporting the infertile couple not enabling or guilting them into something that doesn’t fix their infertility. The only thing that fixes infertility is a pregnancy and birth of a biological child related to both parents. Adoption and Donor Conception are alternative ways to parenthood but are not cures to infertility as pointed out in this blog I came across.

In the comment section of Claudia’s piece, I ended up getting into some heated discussions with people who are members of her community. I’m not proud of some of the things I wrote as I got nasty. But towards the end of the comments one person had a great contribution:

I agree that infertility grief is not as well supported as it should be. I think many people in AdotionLand DO recognize and support that grieving. I know that I do. But, the average Joe / Jane on the street says, “Why Don’t You Just Adopt?” And that is where it all goes to hell… So, how can we change Joe / Jane so that they don’t say shit like that? How can we silence the “You Can Just Adopt” chorus? How can we change the uninformed public perception that adoption cures infertility? How can we change the public perception that adoption is all unicorns farting rainbows all day long?

Case in point: Not long ago, I was talking to a younger woman about my kids, and mentioned that I wish I had started earlier in life so that I could have a larger family. It didn’t take ten seconds for her to ask me, “Why wouldn’t you just adopt?” When I told her that I wouldn’t adopt because I am adopted and I know what living that life is like, she looked at me like I had grown horns on my head. Because, how dare I say anything negative about adoption, right?

So, although I am not infertile (just getting older) – I recognize the truth that we (as a society) don’t support infertility grieving the way we should. The uneducated masses hear infertility and shout “Adoption!” or “Fostering!”, as if these things will make the infertility go away. They don’t. They just add a whole new level of suckyness onto an already bad situation. Hearing that over and over fucks with the heads of infertile people in the worst way possible. They are pushed to become the people who have adoption fundraisers. They are pushed to become the people who pray for a family to be destroyed so that they can have a baby. They become adoptive parents like mine, who (after getting what they so deeply desired) realize that they are still infertile… and now they’re raising someone else’s fucking kid on top of it. Do you know what it’s like to hear “I wish I never had you” from your adoptive mother? I do.

I believe we need to change the conversation with infertile couples to address their pain and help them manage their situation. For me while I am not sure how my wife and I will proceed one thing I am confident in is that I’ll always be infertile. Whether we pursue alternative parenthood is irrelevant to our infertility. How I fill the void in my life that infertility has left does not replace a biological child that we’re unable to have. I need to continue to manage the pain infertility has left no matter what happens. But I believe I will be able to do that in time and leave open the possibility that I could become someone’s daddy.

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The Adoption Option

Interesting perspective on adoption from someone going through infertility who works in the Foster Care field.

barren bitch

Let me start by saying that I am a social worker.  I work with kids in foster care who will never be able to be reunified with their birth parents.  It is my job to find another permanent option for them.  Usually, this means adoption.

Adoption is an extremely personal decision.  People who have not really contemplated it do not understand the countless factors that go into it.  Everyone will have their own opinions on each issue that comes along with adoption.

Currently, I have no desire to adopt.  To be honest, I want my husband’s child.  I want to make someone with his intelligence and dimples.  I want to go through the experience of gestation with my husband. I want to see his face when our child enters the world.  This is something that adoption will not replace.  Others seem to think that adoption is some sort of solution…

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My Fears of Pursuing Adoption

In the last week, I’ve gotten into some heated arguments with many people on twitter over the whole Baby Veronica case. In one exchange with a birth/first mother who goes by the screen name @RandomMusing23, I became a bit irrational and a bully. I feel awful for doing so as I hate to lose someone I could learn from. Plus she seems like a very nice person and I don’t enjoy upsetting nice well intentioned people. I was wrong and apologize for that. The discussion with her and others misrepresented my feelings and position on adoption so I am writing this piece to clarify my fears with adoption.

Before I get started let me explain when I talk about Adoption, I am referring to Domestic Infant Adoption. I’m not talking about Foster Care. Foster care is not something I’d be comfortable or believe I’d could handle. I’d rather avoid having to deal with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) which is common in older adoptees. I’m not saying an adopted infant won’t have any emotional issues but I believe that making adoption more a part of their life from infancy working with birth/first parents can help avoid it. The other thing I don’t like with Foster Adoption is the government not the child’s parents select you to parent the child. I feel we’d have a better chance to have a relationship with the birth/first parents because of it. I also have concerns about being able to bond with an older child than I would one who knew who we were since birth. Finally, I desire to experience parenthood from infancy to adult watching the child grow. I want the challenges that come with parenting an infant. There are very few infants available for adoption through Foster Care. All in all I am not confident I’d be a good Foster to Adopt parent. It’s not for everyone. Though there are those who are great at it such as Rebecca Hawkes of Sea Glass & Other Fragments. I don’t have confidence I could be and that wouldn’t be fair to a child that deserves much better than we could provide them.

Now that is out of the way, its time to go through what I am fearful with adoption. To begin I will discuss my fears with the process. I don’t like the idea of having to sell myself to expectant parents competing with other hopeful adoptive parents who could go to greater lengths to pimp themselves out to get the baby they desire. Just this weekend I saw one of these couples advertising on a billboard on the Jersey Turnpike. It’s something I would not ever be comfortable doing. I understand why it has to be done after all these parents are entrusting you to raise their child. I fear looking for an ethical agency may delay or hurt our ability for an expectant mother who is interested in placing their child for adoption to select us. But I would rather do things right and not parent than do things wrong and mess up the child and their birth/first families lives. Still no guarantees it ends up being ethical and that’s scary. The waiting process scares me as I am not a patient person. And finally the risk we would take in being selected by an expectant mother only for her to decide to parent. Now it’s not my place to tell her what to do. It’s her child and her decision not ours. It will always be her child. I wouldn’t be offended but would be hurt by getting my hopes up. One thing I refuse to do is pay any expectant mother expenses directly. Up until she signs the papers caring for the child is not something that is our responsibility.

The process is the easy part…..LOL If we make it to have the privilege and joy of being selected to parent and the adoption is finalized the real challenge begins, being an adoptive parent in an open adoption. I’m going to stick with just aspects of adoptive parenting rather than the day to day parenting. First part of parenting I am scared of is being able to create a comfortable forum where the adoptee doesn’t feel tentative to express themselves. I know this might be out if our control but I don’t want to fail the child. Second is being able to have a great relationship with birth/first family. Ideally we would have a great relationship but adoption itself isn’t exactly an ideal situation. What if we don’t have a good relationship and that negatively impacts the child? It just makes me scared. This is something that is very important to me in a open adoption and it goes beyond medical information. There are things we won’t be able to provide that birth/first parents can. The third thing that scares me is would we raise a confident adult where the adoptee could say my parents supported me and did all they could for me (even if they have hurt). This last thing is something that would define whether we succeeded as parents. It’s what matters more so than anything. More so than anything this is what scares me.

The bottom line is right now, I’m not ready to pursue adoption. Do I think I could overcome these fears, yeah I think so. But it may take me some time. It wouldn’t be fair to the child or birth/first family if we did pursue adoption before we were ready to take on the challenges of adoptive parenthood.