Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Never say this to an adoptive mom

I've had this post rattling around in my head for a few days, so I'm just going to get it down in cyberspace so I can stop thinking about it. This post was precipitated by a comment I heard just the other day, the one thing that makes my blood boil, and makes me consider committing serious bodily harm, every time I hear it:

"Just adopt (or now that you've adopted) and you'll get pregnant"

Here are some of the many reasons this is a highly inappropriate comment.

  • Not everyone who adopts has fertility problems. I actually feel bad for this group, because people are questioning their motives when they should just be happy that they've chosen a method of family building that works for them. But the point is that the above comment is lost on them.
  • Many people who adopt do have fertility problems. And if they're pursuing adoption, they have most likely gone through the roller coaster of fertility treatment, only to experience failure month after month. Many have closed the door on that chapter in their lives and have decided to shift all their focus to adoption as a way to grow their family. Making the above comment serves to just remind them of what they've been through.
  • Some of those people with fertility problems have no problem getting pregnant, but have heartbreaking trouble staying pregnant. I have read far too many stories of recurrent miscarriages within the adoption community and beyond. So telling someone "adopt and you'll get pregnant" reminds them of that heartbreak yet again.
  • The comment implies that adoption is a cure for infertility. That all of a sudden you have a child in your family, so you "relax" enough to get pregnant. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  • The statement is simply untrue. A recent survey of adoptive moms found that only 8% of them conceived after adoption. So when you hear comments that "it happens all the time", those people making the comment must know just those 8% of adoptive moms. I can tell you that I only know 2 adoptive moms who got pregnant after placement, and they were actively trying to conceive.
  • The comment implies that adoption is a second choice, or an inferior choice, when what the adoptive parents really want is "a child of their own". Guess what--an adopted child is a child of their own, biology or no.

I'm tempted to talk about some of the other (potentially) well-meaning but harebrained things people say when they hear "we're adopting", but this post would end up being way too long for anyone to read.

Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.


Ashley said...

VERY well said. Thank you.

janineb said...

hear hear. thank you for this.

Arron said...

Nicely put. I also think it's important to point out that giving adopted children a home is just as important as conceiving a child. There are so many children put up for adoption that desperately need a loving home to be raised in. The fact the people open their homes and give of themselves to raise a child is a wonderful thing. Yay for adoptive parents!

Serendipite said...

Seriously. I don't understand why people don't think before they open their mouths. Well said.

misscarolb said...

I agree! I was adopted, would like to adopt, and have heard everything under the sun. I'm sure my parents got a lot of these comments as well.

People do need to think before they open their mouths. And congrats to you on your beautiful baby girl!

(I'm usually on the nest craft boards)