This guest post is by Jane, a hopeful adoptive mother*
Last week you asked people what’s the one thing they wish others wouldn’t say about adoption.
Here are a few things that I would like to share with you as a hopeful adoptive mother who has experienced infertility:
I do not want people to tell me that my husband and I will never be the “right” parents for our child(ren) because we do not share DNA with them.
I do not want to hear that we are bad people because we are unable to build our family through natural means and have decided to build our future family through adoption.
I do not want to hear that instead of “helping ourselves to an expectant mother’s baby” we should instead do the “right thing” and do what we can to help her keep her baby.
I do not want to be called an “adoptoraptor” or a “kidnapper” or even an “adopter.”
I do not want to hear that I am “stealing” someone else’s child if that child was willingly placed for adoption.
I do not want to hear that my infertility is a sign that I am not meant to be a parent.
I do not want to hear that parenthood is only for those who can make a child through natural means.
These are the things I do not want to hear on my journey to parenthood. And yet I have already heard them, time and again.
My husband and I are looking into adoption after struggling with infertility for close to eight years.
Our inability to conceive is due to a genetic issue—in other words, it is not due to something that either of us did or did not do.
Which brings me to an opinion piece I once read by a woman who had placed her child in a closed adoption many years earlier and went on to regret her decision .
According to her, infertile couples who chose adoption as a family building option were to blame for her being “forced” to give up her child.
The overall sentiment of her piece was that infertile couples should just roll over and play dead when they are diagnosed, and should not seek to build their families in any other way.
Her comments were so disturbing to me that in order to better inform myself about the other side of the story I began researching something called the “family preservation” movement, which is focused on the almost absolute villainization of infertile couples and their quest to build a family through alternate means.
In blog post after blog post and comment after comment, members of this group made it clear that infertile couples who sought to adopt other people’s children were terrible human beings.
Instead of building their family through adoption and seeking to separate a child from its “real” parents, they argued that hopeful parents like us should do the “right thing” and help keep biological families together at all costs.
They were okay with foster adoptions, because those arrangements were not meant to be permanent.
But if an infertile couple had the audacity to seek to become permanent parents to someone else’s rightful child, they were nothing more than “baby thieves” intent on satisfying their own sense of entitlement.
These opinions came from both embittered adoptees and blame-shifting “natural mothers.” And anyone who expressed a different opinion or saw adoption in a positive light was immediately dismissed as being “in denial” or suffering from “Stockholm syndrome,” another insulting term for the relationship between an adoptive parent and child.
I strongly believe in adoption as a family building option.
And I believe it can be about finding homes for children AND children for couples who truly want to become parents.
I even believe in open adoption, if the expectant or birth parents can be respectful of the people who will be raising their child as a part of another family.
Here’s what I want others to know about building a family through adoption after experiencing infertility:
A person who is coming to adoption from a place of infertility is NOT in a position of power over anyone.
An infertile person is not in a position of privilege, no matter what these other groups might like to believe.
An infertile person is vulnerable too, and doesn’t deserve to be condemned just because she or he wishes to become a parent through alternate means.
Respect is a two-way street, and most of the comments attacking infertile couples who wish to adopt are made by people who know nothing about infertility.
Whether they’re directed at a specific couple or at infertile couples in general, these comments are hurtful because they dismiss the pain and vulnerability that infertile couples experience.
They also place a moral judgement on a couple’s only alternative to parenthood and make adoption seem like it’s only being done to satisfy their selfish needs.
It’s time to stop kicking infertile couples when they’re down.
I would argue that the decision to become a parent is selfish, whether the parent conceives through natural means or alternate means.
Why should my desire to become a parent be seen any differently?
Just because a physical limitation has held me back from becoming a parent doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be allowed to become one.
My husband and I aren’t “baby thieves.” As an infertile couple, we have the same right as anyone else to adopt and build a family.
Jane is a pseudonym. The author’s name was withheld by request.