Dear pro-life would be adopter…

21 Sep

Readers know I don’t use the term ‘adopter’ lightly, and it applies only to a few out there.  I read a very disturbing post today by someone with infertility, who is pro-life and also wants to adopt.  I was ready to rebut her post, it felt good writing thoughts down, but it wouldn’t have done any good.  Instead, I decided to write this post, perhaps she’ll read it, or someone just like her.  Perhaps it will trigger reflection, perhaps not, but I’ve tried in the kindest way I know…

She’s not ready to adopt…

It takes a lot of empathy, being able, and willing, to see all the different sides in adoption.  To see the trauma the other sides go through, so you get what you want most, a baby.  Some people never get there, and that’s okay, provided they don’t adopt.

To me, to be ready to be adoptive parents, it takes…

A Strong Moral Compass to know that how you adopt, the choices you make will matter to the child, and should matter to you most of all because you will be a parent, and your actions will teach your child the difference between right and wrong.  That how you treat their mother and father by birth, matters.  How ethical (or lack there of) the adoption is/was, matters.  That any ethics you are willing to compromise means you don’t honor the process, the people in it, and you don’t honor the child.

Empathy for the parents who are giving you their child, and wouldn’t, if there was another way.  The type of empathy where you can try to understand what they are going through, yet know, you’ve only scratched the surface of their pain.  That the baby’s parents will grieve the loss as long as they live.  That grief may get less raw, but it never goes away, ever.

Willingness to understand that the baby you want to adopt, already knows their mom before they come into the world.  They may already know their dad, too.  To be adopted as a newborn means they lost everything they knew when they came into this big  scary world, stop, and think what that would be like, everything you know is gone.  Adoption starts on a foundation of loss, it should only happen after all other options have been offered by the professional they’ve turned to, thoroughly researched and delved into, and it’s still not enough to allow the family to stay together.  The professional you chose matters, it’s not how fast, or easy, it’s how it is done.  Ethics matter.

Humility to recognise that you don’t understand what it’s like to be adopted, or what it’s like to be a mother or father who lost their child to adoption.  That you need to educate yourself, listen to the experts of the lived experiences, gain an understanding, and yet, know it’s just a taste of what it’s like.

Integrity to honor your promises, especially when the going gets rough.  Your word is your bond, without it, what does it say about who you really are, and you need to be parent material to successfully raise your child.

Strength to put your own ego, and needs, aside.  To recognise that the parents of your baby matter.  Both parents, not just the mother, the father too.  That advocating that the expectant mother relocate to a ‘adoption friendly’ state to allow her to remain silent, or lie, when asked about the father.  To deliberately cut the father out because he wants to parent his child, is wrong.

Recognition that being adopted is often hard.  That layers are added to each developmental stage growing up and continue throughout our entire lives.  Being adopted is for life, it isn’t just an event, regardless of what positive adoption language wants you to believe.  Whether we are at the developmental stage where we realize that to be chosen, also means that we weren’t kept, stop, let that soak in, imagine what it would feel like to realize that.  When we start to define our identity as teens, and we have all those extra heavy adoption layers piled on complicating our search for our own identity.  When we give birth and realize our baby is the very first person we’ve met we are biologically related to, can you imagine how awe-inspiring it is to not just be an ‘only’ anymore. All those layers, and more, throughout our life, come from being adopted.  We are who we are in part because we are adopted, for better or worse, we will always be adopted, and the role of being a parent to an adoptee is an important one.  You need to be willing to be there, not just for the good times, but for the hard times, especially for the hard times, without your needs bleeding through as you walk along side you child going through the challenges that come with being adopted.


Posted by on September 21, 2015 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , ,

23 responses to “Dear pro-life would be adopter…

  1. eagoodlife

    September 21, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    No-one could say it better! Thank you TAO!


    • TAO

      September 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks Von


  2. gayle h. swift

    September 22, 2015 at 12:19 am

    You have spoken a lot of very important truths here.


    • TAO

      September 22, 2015 at 1:01 am

      Thank you…


  3. anenomekym

    September 22, 2015 at 3:58 am

    Thank you, TAO!!! Such important thoughts so gently written.


    • TAO

      September 22, 2015 at 4:13 am

      Thank you…


  4. Robyn C

    September 22, 2015 at 5:14 am

    This is a really genuine, thoughtful response to an anger-provoking blog post. Impressive!


    • TAO

      September 22, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Thanks Robyn


  5. Jamie Dedes

    September 22, 2015 at 9:57 am

    A kind and well-considered post, clearly written on a topic we have much to learn about and think about. Nicely done,


  6. cb

    September 22, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Great post, TAO.


    • TAO

      September 22, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks CB


  7. Eva

    September 23, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I’m both pro-choice and ‘adopter’ (or adaptor…I kind of adapted to being called adopter!) 🙂 And wanted to thank you for the great post!


    • TAO

      September 23, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks Eva – I appreciate the feedback that it worth considering…
      I don’t use the term ‘adopter’ lightly, because I know many in the US see it as a negative, and prefer adoptive parent or just parent – which is why I used it – to separate those who get it or are in the process of getting it – from those who don’t at all. I also know that it is the common term used elsewhere interchangeably with adoptive parent – much like my mom has always done so.


  8. gsmwc02

    November 3, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Really good piece Tao. It’s so important for couples going through infertility to take their time before moving onto pursuing adoption. It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment of wanting to become a parent ASAP I know it did with me. Feelings will change over time and a couple pursuing adopting after infertility most of the time isn’t ready for adopting.

    I would love to share this piece on my blog with the hope that others read it.


    • TAO

      November 3, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks Greg.


  9. gsmwc02

    November 3, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Reblogged this on A Few Pieces Missing From Normalcy – An Infertile Man's Perspective and commented:
    Powerful piece for those considering pursuing adoption. It’s purpose is not to scare anyone but to educate and best prepare couples for parenting an a child who they adopted.


  10. expecting to be expecting

    November 3, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    I’m new to your blog and came through the blog of another infertility blogger who shared your beautiful post.

    After 3 years of ivf, we were at a cross roads. We had a rough road map of what we wanted in life, and more than anything, that included bring parents. So it was at that time that we explored all the other options, including adoption. Ultimately, embryo donation/adoption literally landed in our laps and that was the route we chose and we’re now 19 weeks pregnant. It’s different than traditional adoption but many of the same considerations in being a parent to someone who came to you as a loving gift, still apply. More so as baby grows up into a little person.

    But before we went down that particular path we explored traditional adoption and fostering. I didn’t talk about it on my blog because it was so difficult to describe all the nuances and stipulations each route had. I very much wanted to foster to adopt but we’re at a point in our careers where that proved to be unrealistic where we live; learning about what fostering is actually like versus what I thought it was like was very eye opening about the myriad ways we fail children in care and yet have made huge strides at the same time… I chose fostering to adopt because I felt sick at the unethical way adoption would work for us. We’re in Canada and adopting domestically could take years and more $ than we could afford, so it was never a serious option for us. Like many people, we looked internationally and that had its own sticking points. Then as an American living in Canada I thought wth? why can’t we adopt from the US and that’s where things get really unethical imho.

    As Canadians, it’s assumed we’ll be forward thinking enough not to care about race and adopt black or Hispanic infants. In most cases that’s true (was for us) and that’s an awesome thing, but, culturally I was conscious of the fact that id be a white mom in a VERY white city raising a black child or Hispanic child and I found it disrespectful how the agencies gloss over it. If that was the route we ultimately had taken it would have been extremely important to me to have a plan in place to connect my child to their heritage, admit I don’t know what it must feel like to be them, seek out advice from experts and keep shit really real. I think it can be done and we were willing to do that, but what slowed us down was that as Canadians, we were offered black babies at 20k less than white babies and told to play up our left leaning credentials because potential black and Hispanic mothers in the US equate Canadians with being kind, educated and less racist than their white American counterparts. I’m pretty far left and as stated above had no issue with adopting a child of a different race but what I did take issue with was fleecing the birth mother! First of all, the reality is that if we did adopt a child of another race it would ‘stick out’ in our mostly white area and that should be communicated to the birth mother. I don’t think it would be a deal breaker but she should know. That and there are racists everywhere.

    But more importantly, why is a black or Hispanic baby cheaper than its white equivalent? That is disgusting and unethical. If you’re going to put a price on a life, or as we saw it, the ability to make a family, the pricing should not reflect racist policies and beliefs. Bringing that up always draws pooh poohs and glares and eyebrows raised as if to say ‘well aren’t you holier than thou’ but for us it came down to relating to our child. How are we going to start a life long relationship with someone based on a start of seeing them as ‘a bargain’? Or accepting by act, that society views them as less than? I really struggled with the practicality of paying less (because there’s also a feeling of incredulity – like, ha, what’s wrong with the world that offering a Hispanic baby for less money is an inducement, I would have adopted anyway and adoption costs are getting out of control so win/win) versus my discomfort with doing something that just did not sit well (and I am probably doing a shite job of putting it into words). Plus let’s not forget how hard it is to adopt now, all of that worrying would only have applied if we were lucky to find a birth mother/father who wanted to work with us, etc etc etc. (I’ll never forget starting on a profile for potential birth parents to meet us and feeling horribly boring, unaccomplished and wishing we’d taken better pictures of ourselves over the years!).

    Anyway, all to say, adoption SHOULD require soul searching, empathy, respect for all the parties involved – just as said so beautifully on your blog. Thank you for sharing and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my somewhat ‘scrambled by an iPhone’ experience in your comment section.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      November 3, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Your attitude will serve you well – deep thinking, questioning, thinking of the impact on the child. Thank you, you made my day. (fair warning, if you visit again – many posts are created from being grumpy at the sheer lack of thought given.) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. clwalchevill

    November 4, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Here from Greg’s reposting of your post and this post is amazing. I completely agree with you that adoption takes so much empathy and willingness to see the sides for all the players involved. Something so many in the general populous fail to understand (and hence why “just adopt” is so destructive to all involved).

    Expecting’s comment is also filled with a lot of wisdom.


    • TAO

      November 4, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Thank you…


  12. The EcoFeminist

    November 17, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    These are truths for ALL parents, not just adoptive. All prospective parents should be focused on having these capabilities and developing their strengths. Just because one has a child biologically doesn’t mean they won’t have a kid with emotional issues and just because one adopts doesn’t mean the child will be “messed up” as many assume. There are also those of us battling infertility and going through IVF, with their own or with donor eggs, which adds new factors to the mix – making sure we are focused on our healing from what we’ve been through in that process.

    We are going through donor egg IVF *and* adopting internationally and the best part of the latter is, unlike with biological or IVF forms of babymaking, they actually ask you in the home study about who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed. They actually want to see how you both envision yourselves as parents and how you’ve parented, and make sure you know what kind of resources are out there. The fertility doctor just takes your money.

    Why is this so irrelevant for the rest of people out there having children the traditional way? I guess that’s what pisses me off about those who get upset at the suggestions to adopt, because I am infertile and I am trying EVERY way to be a parent. You should damn well be focused on meeting the criteria in this blog post when you’re trying to get pregnant just as much as if you’re adopting a child. Biological childbearing doesn’t give you emotional or intellectual superpowers when it comes to parenting and honestly I think anyone considering having kids should go through the same process that those of us in the adoption process do when it comes to emotional preparedness. Yes I do understand why some might not want to adopt because they want the child to look like them, but honestly that’s not why I want to be a parent. Physical similarities might be a perk to some, and I get it, but if that’s why you’re having a kid maybe you should reconsider being a parent, as that’s so small in the grand scheme of things.

    There are SO many myths about adoption out there – that it has to cost crazy amounts of money (adopting through the foster care system is practically free, and adopting internationally is about the same cost as donor egg IVF), that it’s super hard to do it (depends on who you go through), and that all the kids are screwed up (total fallacy – sure there are some but there are SO many great kids out there, domestically and internationally…and as I said before, lots of biological kids are screwed up without the impact of adoption!).

    I’m Pro-Choice, Pro-Adoption, Pro-IVF, and Pro-Biological. Every parent needs to be accountable and dedicated – you don’t have to be a superior human to adopt, you just have to be committed and open to being a good parent. Funny, that’s just like biological parenting!



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