Musings of a Marfan Mom

Types of Adoption

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One thing I’ve quickly learned is that the moment you announce your hope to adopt, people give opinions. And while people give opinions on pregnancy, and I’ve heard many people compare pregnancy and adoption, they aren’t really the same thing.

There is a tremendous lack of control with adoption. How quickly the process moves, whether the agency approves you, whether you’re selected by an expectant mother/couple (if you’re doing a private adoption)…all are beyond your control. One thing you can control though, is the type of adoptive situation that you pursue.

A couple of people have (unsolicited, of course) told me the type of adoption that we “should” be doing. I see it a lot when a celebrity adopts too – people discussing how they adopted the “wrong” way. They argue that adoption overseas is the best, because “those poor children need homes,” or that domestic adoption is best because “there are lots of children who need homes over HERE,” that private adoption is best because “those kids won’t be damaged,” or that adopting from foster care is best because “they need stability.”

News flash: no child is more deserving of adoption than another!

Other news flash: we aren’t adopting to “save” a child.

A common misconception about adoption is that it’s about saving a child from a terrible fate. Sometimes, that might be true. And sometimes, that might be an individual or couple’s sole motivation in deciding to adopt. I think most people adopt predominately for the not-entirely selfless reason of wanting another child in their family. I can tell you, that is the case for us.

Mark and I carefully and prayerfully made the decision to pursue adopting an infant here in the United States through an agency. It is important to us to maintain birth order (so, not adopting a child older than J) and we need to balance the needs of our existing children with needs of the child we adopt, meaning it’s not in the cards to adopt a child with significant special needs. If chosen as adoptive parents, we would like to have an ongoing relationship of some sort with our child’s first parents. For all of these reasons and more, domestic infant adoption is the right answer for our family right now.

It’s one thing to ask a person how they reached their decision to adopt as they have. There are costs and benefits to any method of adoption, and I know I’d be happy to explain our thought process. It’s another thing to straight up tell someone what they should or should not do, especially without knowing much about their situation. At the end of the day, adoption is about creating a family and although no family is perfect, a hopeful adoptive individual/couple needs to go into the process fully informed so they can create the best situation for themselves, the child(ren) they adopt, and any other children they might already have. Only they can determine what that situation might be.

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7 Comments

  1. Maya, I do think adoption is like having a birth child, and I have both. I felt no control when I was pregnant-I was 40 and I knew anything could happen. I found the stages of both were very parallel. But I totally agree on what a personal decision it is. You have to be totally honest with yourself and your partner and go for what you think will work for you. Early on I had a conversation with a woman who was adopted and who had 4 adopted children. She was kind but very blunt with me, setting me straight on a few important issues. I’ve always been grateful for her insight. Adoption is wonderful. When they put my little Mark in my arms, I knew I’d die for him. I have two children. Period.

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    marfmom Reply:

    I don’t believe that I’ll feel any different about the child we adopt…I’ll have 3 children, period. (If I thought I’d feel differently how could I adopt? It wouldn’t be fair to the child.) But to me the processes feel different, even though I did have some serious lack of control over my pregnancies due to Marfan. I can’t relate what we’ve been dealing with now to any aspect of my pregnancies. I also wonder if comparing the two is a little patronizing to women who are adopting and who have never experienced pregnancy?

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  2. Maya, I don’t think it is patronizing at all. I truly found it parallel. We had an international adoption. Waiting to find out if you are pregnant (the home study process) disappointment when you find out you aren’t (having an adoption fall through), elation when you find out you are (when you get a match), getting the medical info and pictures (seeing pictures of your baby and getting height, weight, etc.), going into labor (when they tell you to get on the plane) to holding your baby. Even the roller coaster of going from elation to being worried about everything working out and if your baby will be healthy. As to the comment about loving all children equally, I know it is a worry some people have. For me, and not surprisingly for you, that isn’t an question! It is pure magic when you hold your baby for the first time – birth or adopted. I wish you a wonderful adoption journey!

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    marfmom Reply:

    Thanks! Maybe I will feel differently about parallels as I’m farther through the process…?

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  3. I agree. When we chose to adopt an older special-needs child from the foster system, everyone gave the same lukewarm response: do you need another child with challenges? Wouldn’t you like a baby? Wouldn’t you like a chiild who is neurotypical? Won’t this be too much work? “We worry about you taking on more…”. We decided what we decided for reasons of our own, well considered and thought out, and resented the second-guessing regardless of how well-meaning.

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    marfmom Reply:

    Yes! We’ve definitely gotten some “won’t this be too much work?” comments too. Other people don’t have to justify their reproductive decisions…why should I?

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  4. It never ceases to amaze me how people feel compelled to share their opinion on reproduction/adoption. I.e. – People rubbing pregnant women’s belly, asking and giving opinions about “natural childbirth” (as if there is such a thing as artificial childbirth?) Or, in the case of adoption, asking questions like: Do you know their “real”parents? Are they “real” brothers and sisters?

    A friend of mine has two kids. They were adopted at birth from Central America and are Latino in appearance. My friend and her husband are both _very_ Caucasian. They are constantly bombarded by impertinent questions about the identity of the kids “real” parents! She is amazingly grace filled in her response when she calmly explains that she is their real mother, and then goes on to answer questions about birth parents or biological family.

    I certainly don’t think I would be as polite as she!

    Sorry about the rant after you have shared such wonderful news! Please keep your loyal readers up to date on the process and as always, thanks for your bravery in sharing your life with us!

    Best wishes on the new journey!

    Shalom,
    J

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