Monday, October 12, 2009

Why don't you just.....?

This is a topic that had been done to death on message boards and infertility blogs, but it's a bugbear of mine these days, since many people have thrown this question at me.

Why don't you just adopt?

Or, the more sensitive version, have you considered adoption as a possibility?

The more sensitive version I can answer in a calm manner, and I usually get a reasonable response. So I say "no, it's not where we are at for the moment" or "no, we've talked about it and just don't think it's for us". To which the enquirer usually says, "fair enough, it's not for everyone". End of discussion.

On the other hand the "why don't you *just* adopt?" people really rub me up the wrong way. When I give the same response as above, they usually look at me aghast, and ask in wide eyed terms "why ever not?". Recently someone (a mother herself) said this to me, followed by "but those Chinese babies are just soooo cute, I'd love one". To which I replied "Well if you're so keen on them yourself, away with you to China".

It's the word *just* that really gets on my wick. It's not as if there's a special on babies and children at your local Tesco this week. What gets me is that people who have never been faced with involuntary childlessness have no idea what the adoption process is like in this country. A work colleague of mine who was going down the adoption route gave me a brief overview a while back. Basically, in Ireland, domestic adoption is almost unheard of these days. Nobody, or very few, are giving newborns up for adoption. There might be two or three babies a year who come up for adoption, but as the waiting list of couples is several hundred names long, the chances are between slim and nil. As for adopting older children, this doesn't really happen in Ireland either. Social services are reluctant to take children away from the family unit on a permanent basis. So while there may be a large number of children and teens in foster care, these children rarely become available for adoption.

So the only other option is overseas adoption. I don't know a huge amount about this, having never gone down that road, but I do know that it takes a very long time between initiating the process and bringing your new son or daughter home. At least five to six years on average. So if we were to start the process now, we would be in our mid to late forties before we could expect to become parents. Up until recently, a large amount of overseas adoptions were from Vietnam. From what I can gather from internet boards, Vietnam is now closed to prospective adoptions by Irish couples due to international laws.

From what I have read on parenting message boards, it's a very emotionally fraught process, and not an inexpensive one. Also, when you live in a rural location which is not particularly multi cultural, as we eventually will, you are facing a whole other set of issues. I read a thread on one site the other day where a mother was asking others in the same situation how do you deal with instrusive remarks and questions. She said someone came up to her in a supermarket when she was with her adopted Chinese daughter, and asked her straight out how much she paid for her. Enough said.

The other thing that really irks me is when infertility and associated treatments come up as a topic of discussion on mainstream internet sites. Invariably someone will wade in with a comment along the lines that why do these infertiles think they are so special that they have to have children with their own DNA? And that IVF should be banned until all the orphans and abandoned children in the world are adopted. And that the world's population is far too large as it is without bringing more people into it. I shy away from getting into these arguments, as they have a tendancy to raise my blood pressure, but I always wonder about the people who make these comments. Have they children of their own? Are they biological or adopted? Or if they haven't yet gone down the road of starting a family, are they going to consider adoption as their first option in family building rather than trying to conceive a biological child? After all, our planet is over populated, why leave it to the infertiles to pick up the slack? Let's ban natural conception until all orphans and abandoned children have been adopted!


womb for improvement said...

My personal favourite?

When a mother of two told me that she thought adopting must be the most rewarding thing in the world, only she couldn't adopt because she had her hands full with her own kids!

Xbox4NappyRash said...

This is one that always annoyed me too, but I could never articulately respond to. Even Mr Kenny asked me if I remember rightly.

You can't just switch off from your conception attempts, you can't be trying and trying for feckin years only to say all right I'll stick my name down for an old adoption, sure you never know!

You can't do either by halves. Just wouldn't be fair on anyone.

I bloody love these people with their sweeping solutions too.

Just Nesting said...

Oh, I love your last line. Perfection. I really don't get the animosity towards infertiles. And it's ugly. If you don't believe it read the next NY Times article about anything to do with infertility and then read the comments. It's brutal. Is this what folks are really thinking behind our backs?

nutsinmay said...

Your last paragraph is just perfect.

I don't adopt because there were adoptions in my family, and my family have behaved DISGRACEFULLY about them, and like HELL am I going to do that to my child, putting him or her through the cretinous questions and sneery remarks and being slighted at Christmas. Not doing it.

(Also, I can't afford it. They don't fund adoption on the NHS).

Paint it Black said...

Argh a landmine there.
Sort of the same here. But this is how is is for us:

I have friends who have been on the "list"for years (although I understand it is not a list as such as each mother chooses the adoptive parents so it's not on top who is the winner).
They have mentioned that strangly enough the couples who get picked more often have a child or two already.(they have done IVF in the meantime and have a two year old but still havn't been picked)
There are few adoptions adoptions outside of immediate families since our government now pays so well for single mums to sit at home and spit out kids.
We may already be considered too old as C is now in his mid 40s
C is not too keen on adopting someone elses kid

Adoption is not a easy option. Idiots who think it is.

C said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I, too, get soooo tired of the adoption comments. I'm not up to date on adopting internationally as an Irish citizen, but I know that it has become MUCH more difficult in the U.S. in the past few years. Vietnam, Guatemala, and Belarus are closed, and my understanding is that most agencies are not taking applications for China because the placement time is now often over 3 years. International adoption is very expensive, add in a home study, background check, medical clearance, etc, etc. It's expensive, complicated, and not for everyone.


Jane G said...

@ WFI - That is really laughable.

@ Xbox - Not suprised that PK asked you that. It's typical of the kind of crap he would come out with.

@ Just Nesting - Thanks for stopping by. I read some of those NYT articles from links on Facebook. Some of the comments were extremely ugly.

@ May - Another factor is cost. Somehow people think that adoption is a more affordable option. A friend of mine told me that an in law of hers adopted from Latin America and it cost them in the region of €30K.

@ PIB - Strange that they seem to pick people who already have kids. But then maybe they are the ones who have proved themselves to be good parents.

@ C - Exactly, it's just not for everyone. And from what I have heard, social workers can ask some very personal questions. I often wonder if the fact that this is my second marriage would go against me in a situation like this?

iamstacey said...

You said it, Sister! I love the "ban natural conception" come-back! You rock!

Pamela said...

A brilliant post! Well done...