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How to deal with people who ask why you don’t “just adopt”

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Adoption is not the only possible alternative to fertility problems, even though certain people in your social circle believe it to be so

It’s a question pretty much anyone who has spent time trying to conceive will be familiar with – we’ve all been asked somewhere along the line why we don’t “just adopt”.

Of course, adoption is a great thing for many people – both children and parents. It gives children in need of families a happy home, and gives parents much loved and cherished children – but it’s not for everyone and it’s important to recognise that.

Wanting a baby of your own

The desire to reproduce is a basic, fundamental human instinct, and wanting to be pregnant and to give birth is part of what we dream of when we think about starting a family. It’s about the path to having a child as well as being a parent.

People who have no experience of fertility problems and treatments often know very little about the subject

I will always remember someone saying to me when our first IVF treatment cycle was unsuccessful that as it hadn’t worked it was probably time to accept that fertility treatment wasn’t for us and that we should move on and consider adoption instead. I think it was meant to be helpful – offering us an alternative route to parenthood – but it left me feeling totally crushed. It seemed that they were saying they had no faith that our treatment would ever work, and that there was no point in continuing. In fact, our next treatment cycle was successful and we went on to have two children as a result of fertility treatment.

Don’t ever forget that people who have no experience of fertility problems and treatments often know very little about the subject – and don’t let that influence your decision-making if they suggest you should move on before you feel ready to yourself.

Adoption myths

People who ask “why don’t you just adopt” often talk about adoption as if it were as simple as going out to the supermarket for your weekly shop. They seem to assume that you can just place any child in need of a family with a couple who want children and everyone goes off to live happily ever after. In fact, adoption can often be a lengthy and involved process and you may find that you need to wait a while after having fertility treatment.

The other myth about adoption is that there are vast numbers of babies needing adoptive parents. Many of the children who need adoptive families are older and may have complex needs. The aim of the adoption process is to find the right home for them and someone who is just emerging from their own challenges with fertility problems may always not be the right person.

Why should people who need help to conceive be more suitable to be adoptive parents, or more inclined to want to adopt?

Of course, there are many couples with fertility problems who go on to adopt children and have very happy families – but that doesn’t meant that adoption is the right option for everyone who is having problems getting pregnant. It’s interesting that the same people who ask couples who are having treatment why they don’t “just adopt” would never dream of saying that to couples who are trying to get pregnant naturally. And yet, where’s the difference? Why should people who need help to conceive be more suitable to be adoptive parents, or more inclined to want to adopt? Why should they not want to experience conception, pregnancy and birth?

Next time someone asks you that question, remember that they may only be trying to suggest a positive solution – and don’t let yourself feel hurt or upset by it. If you don’t think it’s a path you want to consider, it’s fine to say that. Wanting to be pregnant and to give birth isn’t selfish – it’s a very natural human desire.

 

Kate Brian
Writer and journalist

Kate Brian is a journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF. Kate started writing about the patient perspective on infertility after having IVF herself.
Currently, she contributes to various types of media as an expert on fertility and writes her own blog, where she gives all the latest news and views on fertility issues, as well as useful advice and links for anyone trying to have a baby.

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Kate Brian
Kate Brian
I’m an author and journalist, and have written four books, Precious Babies, The Complete Guide to IVF, The Complete Guide to Female Fertility and In Pursuit of Parenthood

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