Thoughts from an adoptive father
As a new daddy, my life has changed in so many good ways. That little kid that wakes us up in the middle of the night is just the most precious thing in the whole wide mundo.
It's a miracle he ended up in our arms and in our family. Of course, the birth of any child is already a miracle, but so many things had to happen exactly, perfectly right and at the exact, perfect time during the adoption process that I feel Mason's being with us is even more of a miracle.
As such, adoption is one of the causes I support most strongly. Fortunately, many stigmas and misunderstandings about adoption are fading into the past. Yet there are still three words I wish wouldn't be said when it comes to adoption. They're not inherently offensive, profane, or overtly rude, but picture it now: a pregnant woman laboriously walking up stairs, or throwing up, or standing on the scale. Or maybe she’s watching a video of what exactly happens during childbirth. After an uneasy sigh, she looks at her belly and declares, If I ever have any more kids after this one, I swear
I’ll just adopt.
I’ll just adopt?
Have you ever heard anything sillier? I’m sure people don’t mean it in a rude way, but it’s not very amusing, either.
(If you are thinking this is turning into a rant against pregnant women, please continue reading. This post is not meant to be anything of the sort. I would never do that).
Obviously, the word that makes all the difference in the phrase is “just.” Saying you’ll “just” adopt implies at least one of the following 3 things:
1. Adoption is easy.
Clearly, anyone who thinks this has never had much experience with adoption. They have never made it through the approval process. They have never even begun the paperwork. They have never really researched the cost of an adoption. I dare say these people have never seriously contemplated the adoption process.
If anyone has done all those things and still thinks adoption is easy, they’re probably a multi-millionaire celebrity with their own lawyer and agent ready to do anything for them at the drop of a hat. And most of these stars are probably too old to be getting pregnant without serious health risks, anyway.
Should the false notion that adoption is easy pop into your mind, consider also that the constant emotional, psychological, and spiritual agony of infertility often accompanies the adoption process. Not always, but often. And even adoption can’t take that pain away.
2. Adoption is easier than pregnancy.
I will not sit here and say adoption is more difficult than pregnancy, I could never make that claim, seeing as how I have never been pregnant and never will be pregnant. My wife joins me in the NBPC (Never-Been-Pregnant Club), and could very well join me in the other category, too (although I hope that won’t be the case). To argue that adoption is harder than pregnancy or vice versa would be silly of me, if not absurd.
The exact same standard, however, applies to those who have never adopted. After picturing me sitting on my male butt and saying, “Yeah, I could be pregnant. No biggie,” can you also see how ridiculous it would be for someone who’s never entered the adoption arena to say, “I’ll just adopt”?!
3. Adoption is in some way less fulfilling than pregnancy.
This interpretation would come into play when the word “just” takes on the meaning of “only.” Examples of such usage are found in sentences like “I can’t afford a new car, so I’ll just buy a used one” or “They’re out of steak, so I’ll just get a salad” or “Redbox didn’t have a copy of Harry Potter, so I’ll just check out Twilight.”
Could one method of bringing a precious child of Heavenly Father into your eternal family possibly be inferior to another?
Even if it were true – if adoption were less fulfilling than getting a baby who has mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes – I’d love to hear someone explain that to their adopted child…
“Sammy, I love you more than you know. You are the best part of my life. But let’s be real. You were just adopted. Your older sister came out of my womb and has my chromosomes. As much as I love you, you’ll never beat that.”
“Jessica, I wanted you to come be a part of our family so badly. I yearned for you for years. But I couldn’t bear the thought of actually carrying you around for nine months and dealing with morning sickness again, so we just adopted you.”
I think you catch my drift. Other instances where the “just” really bites are similar, but applied to other people.
“They had trouble getting pregnant, so they just adopted.”
Or every infertile couple’s absolute favorite thing to hear: “Why don’t you guys just adopt?” Hopefully you can see these phrases in a new light.
As a clarification, I am aware that many couples, whose families have already grown through the miracle of pregnancy, also feel guided to adopt another child/children, too. That is perfectly wonderful. I praise and respect those couples for listening to and acting on the promptings they receive, even when they may sound strange at first. The act of adopting after having biological children is not what bothers me. It’s the flippant manner in which adoption is tossed around by those who aren’t truly considering it.
Now, to all of you women who have given birth or who one day will (and to the husbands who stand faithfully at their sides), you are rock stars. Truly. I mean that.
But so is my wife.
And she and I “just” adopted.