...I give you my initial thoughts on adoption. I have been churning this post over in my mind for a while, and I am finally committing to typewritten words. This will be hard, I think, to write, because my thoughts on adoption are not terribly coherent, and because I feel a vague sense of condemnation (wrong, I know) for the thoughts I do have. But in the spirit of honesty, here goes:
I have a large disconnect between my head and my heart on adoption. In theory, I think adoption is a wonderful way to build a family. In my naive, pre-marriage and pre-TTC years, I always thought I would want to adopt - but as a way to add on to already-existing children. I had an internal debate along these lines: "Four children sounds like a nice number. But do I want four total, maybe two or three biological and one or two adopted? Or do I want four biological, and then one or two adopted?" Oh, the days when I thought the destiny of my future family was in my hands... Now faced with the possibility of adoption as our only means to having children, my heart balks. Emotionally, that feels like a second best option. And it's not fair to an adopted child to be second best, chosen only because we had no choice. I know that my heart could change (I hope it does!), and I know that once I had an adopted child I would love him or her fully. But knowing that is a lot different that feeling that, imagining myself in that reality. I can't yet do that. At 27 years old, I'm not ready to give up on the idea of having biological children. That thought grieves me. So I don't feel ready to proceed with adoption.
Even if I were emotionally ready to do that, we have some significant practical roadblocks. For one thing, we live in an apartment and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. While that doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of adopting, it doesn't exactly boost our chances of placement and it does limit our options to places and methods that don't require significant assets. Also, adoption is expensive (approx. $15K-$35K, domestically or internationally). We don't have that kind of cash lying around (if we did, do you think we'd still be renting?). And then we get to the when, where, and how. Because my dream of having biological children is crumbling, I find myself clinging to aspects of adoption that probably would not normally be important to me. Things that I mentally acknowledge as good, I emotionally reject as second-rate. For instance, I can see the benefits of open adoption (where you maintain contact with the birth-family, the most common situation in domestic adoption), but infertile-me doesn't want to let anyone else into our hard-won family. If we conceived and gave birth to biological children, there wouldn't be any "third-party parents," so I don't want them in an adoptive situation, either. Another example - I absolutely endorse the positive potential of transracial or transnational adoption (although I know each of those have unique challenges, too). But infertile-me is not so sure she could handle the bittersweet reminder of our inability to conceive each time someone commented on our obvious adoption, because our children don't look like us. I cringe at myself writing that - it seems so superficial - but right now I am not ready to field those kinds of questions and comments. As a Christian, I feel like I ought to adopt a child out of the worst circumstances, but as an infertile, I feel a strong desire to be protected from further difficulty, pain, and heartache (unreasonable expectations, huh?). Hence the low-grade condemnation I feel when I think about adopting...
So there they are, my very preliminary and relatively unflattering thoughts about adoption. I know that God can change my heart on these things, and I trust that he will if his sovereign plan is for us to adopt.