Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Adoption the Second Choice?

There is an adoption concept I struggle with.

There is a saying - I am not sure who said it - that I want to address today. My thoughts are a little muddled so you'll just have to struggle through with me. Here is the quote:

"Adoptive parents, their child, and their child's birth parents do, indeed, have a shared fate. Had any of them had their first choice in life, they would not be together in the adoption triangle."

Is this true?

Part of me says, "Yes, it is technically accurate."

And part of me says, "No, because this makes adoption sound second best. Like a consolation prize. And I have NEVER felt that way."

I guess what hangs me up in the quote is the word "choice." It's like saying if I had my first choice in life, I would not be an adoptive mother. 


Even as a child, I played and fantasized about adopting children. Maybe it was because I adored the movie Annie, but I imagined going to an orphanage and picking out a child. (I know, it sounds so inhuman, but that's how five-year-old girls play.)

The concept of adoption was never a problem for me.

I always assumed I would have biological children. I often imagined having a brood of biological and adopted children.

And when Justin and I got married and decided to start a family, we thought we would have a biological child. It was "normal" (not saying that adoption is abnormal, but that biological families, as the vast majority, are the norm).

So yes...having a biological child was my first inclination.

And now for the other side of the coin...

Having a biological child was just an assumption. It was never a driving desire or need for me. Some people who struggle with infertility have to try every procedure under the sun before considering adoption. I didn't. I chose adoption over IVF, sperm donors, egg donors, childlessness, surrogacy, and other things. It may not have been my initial assumption on how to build a family, but it certainly wasn't my last choice or a consolation prize.

And another defense I have, first choices aren't always the best choices. My first celebrity crush when I was little was Hulk Hogan. Seriously. Hulk Hogan. If I had my first choice of a husband, it would've been him. Can you imagine???

Last time I went car shopping, I saw an ad for a Pontiac Vibe. I researched the car a little bit and I was certain that I wanted it. I went to the dealership and test drove it. It was...okay...but it just wasn' I saw this car across the lot, winking at me in the sunlight. I asked to test drive it. As soon as I sunk behind the wheel of that Chevrolet Malibu I looked at my husband in the passenger's seat and said, "This is my car." My body fit like a glove in the seat. I loved (and still love) everything about it. It was not my first choice...but it was a better choice.

First choice:

Better choice:

One more thing...

I love how another adoption blogger Whitney put it. I will paraphrase her a little bit, but just do yourself a favor and read her whole post here.

Whitney basically says that adoption isn't plan B. Because plan A is being a mother. So she is getting to accomplish plan A through adoption. She doesn't have to adopt. She gets to adopt.

I feel exactly the same way. My first choice is to be a mother.

I am sure birth mothers and adoptees have similar arguments for this quote.

I imagine a lot of birth mothers' "first" choice would have been not to be in a crisis pregnancy at all. But now they would never want to take back the child they bore. The world is a better place with that child shining brightly in it!

And adoptees love their adoptive parents as any child loves his or her parents. As they grow older, I am sure they often wish they shared physical features and were "normal" like the other kids. But most are devoted to their families and wouldn't give them up for the world.

If I had my "first choice" I would be married to Hulk Hogan, driving a Pontiac Vibe, and birthing mulleted, singlet-clad children. I am SO GLAD I didn't get my "first choice."

But in all seriousness, my first choice has always been to be a mother.

And I have that.


Ashley said...

You (and Whitney) are amazing.

So I had an issue with adoption because I *DID* feel like it was my second choice. It wasn't preferable and for my own personal reasons, I didn't want my child to feel like they weren't wanted, that they weren't my first choice.

It took a while until I realized that by choosing adoption, I WAS (like Whitney said) going with plan "A." Because I was choosing my daughter. I wanted my child, I was going to find HER, not "getting" a child.

My concussion hates me today, ignore my rambling.

Jamie Boyd said...

Beautiful post. And that picture of you and Hulk is priceless. It's your facial expression that really makes it.

Debra said...

Beautifully written!

Beckie said...

Saw this and thought of you- I love the little girls explanation!

Teacher Debbie Moon's first graders were
discussing a picture of a family. One little boy in the picture
had a different hair color than the other members. One of her
students suggested that he was adopted.

A little girl said, 'I know all about
Adoption, I was adopted..'

'What does it mean to be adopted?', asked
another child.

'It means', said the girl, 'that you grew
in your mommy's heart instead of her tummy!

Jill Elizabeth said...

Two things, and please allow me to apologize in advance for typing from atop my soapbox:

1) Can we do away with the phrase "crisis pregnancy" and its ilk? A lack of planning does not constitute a crisis.

2) My pregnancy may have been unplanned, but motherhood was always my first choice. I have always wanted to be a mother. I still do. I wanted to be my baby's mother more than anything else in the world. But I love her, and so I gave up my plan A for hers.

Okay, I lied: three things.

3) That picture of you and Hulk Hogan made my day :)

Whitney said...

Love this post! Very very much! Love that picture with you and the hulk. Love your writing style. Annnnnd love that you made a gingerbread house from scratch! That is amazing and looks like so much fun, I may have to forgo my usual pitiful little graham cracker shack and try my hand at making a cute little gingerbread cottage.

Heather Allen said...

I ran across your blog today and I am so glad that I did! I am an adoptive momma and these words spoke right to my heart. I too choose adoption over fertility treatments. You are right, my first choice is to be a mother and I am! Thanks for a great post!

Rachel said...

You have a beautiful family! We just adopted our first son in August, and I love everything you have to say in this post!


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