Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Adoption Process – Part 1: Second Choice, Not Second Best

One thing that I’ve learned over the last almost three years is how much misinformation there is about adoption. I’ve heard comments suggesting adoption is easier than child birth, that people should consider adoption before having their own kids because of the number of children in the system, and questioning whether openness is a good, safe thing.

Over the next few posts I want to educate you on my experience with adoption: the process, the timelines, and the general experience.
So let’s start with the beginning: deciding to pursue adoption.

Infertility is something that many couples deal with, far more than you may realize. In fact, one statistic suggests that 20% of all pregnancies end prematurely as a miscarriage; that’s 1 in 5. And that number could be higher since some women miscarry without even realizing that they were pregnant. Many women will continue their life being able to conceive again, but there are many (one stat suggested 20% again) who will never conceive children of their own. There are fertility drug treatments and procedures that are options, but these are not always successful or feasible due to costs or other reasons.

To many looking in from the outside of infertility they may see a series of steps to move through with adoption being a “last ditch” effort to have a child. This could not be furthest from the truth. In fact, any sort of ranking for how one comes to be a parent is insulting and infuriating. Life is life, and however a child comes to find itself in your care matters not. Adoption is not second best, its a second choice…choice in how you receive your child, as valid as artificial insemination or any other procedure or drug treatment. There is no lesser value in you as a parent or in the child that comes into your care.

I mentioned infertility because it is a common reason for people to enter the adoption process, but its obviously not the only reason. Many people who are able to conceive naturally adopt children as well and for a variety of reasons.

Making the choice to adopt a child is not a drastic measure, is not a last ditch option, and is not second best to natural child birth. As you’ll see over the next posts in this series it takes a huge amount of love, patience, openness, honesty, perseverance, and fortitude.

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