Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How To Answer The "Why Don't You Just Adopt" Question

Or at least how I did.

Okay, let me explain.

Yes, I am currently the "p" word. Almost 22 weeks, or 5 months, or just about halfway done. (And still checking for a heartbeat every night. But I digress).

I am far enough along that we've started telling people. Friends first, then family, then other folks.

And a bit ago, after hearing my good news, a someone who knew I'd been trying for a while exclaimed in response, "It took you so long! Why didn't you just adopt?"

I was struck by the freaking irony of it. I mean, how many of us have heard that while we tried to get pregnant, and there I was, still hearing it.

And I said something that I thought was kind of clever.

"Well... I don't think that people are interchangeable."

The speaker in question had children of their own, and I asked would they be willing to "exchange" their children for someone else's. To give up their children. To give away their children. To deny their children life. This brought a jovial response ("when they act up, you bet I would!") but I stayed still and somber and simply said "I wouldn't."

This, oddly, brought out more ribbing ("Just you wait! You'll get to that point!") but I maintained eye contact and calmly shrugged. No. No. You might, but not me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I want to adopt. And I'd like to be a foster parent. I've wanted to do this since before I've wanted a child of my own, since before I was married or even knew my husband, and even though now I'm pregnant, I still want to do it. (It's not even an option right now, as we don't have space in our apartment to pass home inspection). But it's something that H and I have agreed on, and as soon as its feasible, I know it will happen.

And I would have been, could have been just as happy and content adopting and fostering and what not. (So could H). But we wanted one of our own. And I never would have stopped wanting for a child of my own. And no disrespect to my future adopted kids... Children aren't interchangeable. People aren't interchangeable. Just because I've got an 'organic" doesn't make me not want to adopt, just because I want to adopt doesn't mean I don't want one that has my genetic material.

I want them both. Uniquely, specifically both. No exchanges, no substitutions. Both.

They're not interchangeable.


Katie said...

I love your response to the nosy person that had the. nerve. to say such a thing.

We have friends that ask us all of the time if we want to adopt their son (usually when he is overtired and cranky). Usually, I would just laugh and say, "Oh, sure, we'd love to have him."

Last time, I looked the husband right in the eye and said, "Yes, we'd love to have him. We have an adoption attorney and it wouldn't take any time at all to draw up the paperwork if you're ready."

They haven't said it since, but I always wondered what would prompt people to joke about giving their kids away, or as if adoption is something simple. It's a very complex process in itself.

But I applaud you standing your ground and I also applaud your plans for future adoption/foster.

Cathy said...

I like your answer.

People aren't interchangeable, at all. When people question my .. er .. methods of coping with the children, I often wind up saying "things would be different if there was only one". Which leads to the "ok, which one shouldn't have been born?" query. Neither. Yes, things would be easier if there were only one, but it's not like having ONE of these guys now and some other baby - or even the same other baby - later would be even close to the same. So even when sometimes I want to hand them off to someone else and walk away ... I know I would never want anything other than these two specific babies.

Samantha said...

That is a fairly nosy question, and I think also shows an ignorance of the adoption process as well. I'm going to remember your answer should I get asked that in the future. I hope your friend will think a little more before pushing someone else.

Somewhat Ordinary said...

I just want to say I couldn't agree with you more!

Bea said...

Twenty-two weeks!

I've found it easier to deal with this stuff since the p-thing. Well done on a calm and straightforward answer.


Dreamer4agift said...

Well said.