I’ve always wanted to adopt, but…

“I’ve always wanted to adopt, but…I think I’ll have my own {biological} child first.

We live in a  culture that places much significance and importance on appearance thus I understand the logic of this comment and the desire to build a family where the genes and biology match. However, when an adoptee hears the statement “I really want to adopt, but I want to have my own children first…” it sounds similar to how many of us order our meal at a restaurant: “The special sounds good, but I think I’ll order the usual this time.” While our taste buds long for the explosion of unusual and interesting flavors, we often stick with the familiar. No surprises (though we tend to forget biological children come with many surprises too!).

As thousands of beautiful children wait for their forever home, I’m grateful they aren’t hearing all of the people in the world who are continuously uttering the phrase “I really want to adopt, but…” I’m thankful that they aren’t hearing that they are unwanted at the current moment because even though they were born with a story and a purpose in this life that it is just too risky accepting someone with a different genetic makeup. An adoptee can’t help but wonder, forever, what’s wrong with me, was I born defective? Is biological-ness that much better?

As a wife without children currently, my husband and I have had and continue to have this very conversation. From our point of view there are many factors that go in to building a family; career, stability, traveling desires, further educational pursuits, etc.  However, for the child waiting for a home, there aren’t that many factors. They just want to be part of a home where they’re loved. Only when I think about the children who need a home do I begin to realize that parenting and desiring children isn’t just about me and having all of my wishes satisfied. It’s about children being able to have a family.

How can our culture better support adoptees who are added to a family as a “back-up plan?” Or perhaps a better question is, how can we become a culture where adopting is a norm, an accepted way to build a family whether infertility is an issue or not. A culture where a child can have a family simply because they are a human life deserving of a chance to grow up, play, laugh, make mistakes and contribute to society in a positive way. How about a culture where we routinely hear people say:

“I’ve always wanted to have biological children, but…I think I’ll adopt first.

20 thoughts on “I’ve always wanted to adopt, but…

  1. Thanks for reading Sara! Prayers for a continued healthy pregnancy for you. It was so refreshing running into you a while back at the coffee shop. You look too cute for words!

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  2. Wonderful post Angela and very thought provoking I enjoyed reading it. You have a lot to share with the world keep on writing…:) and I’ll keep on reading it. Thanks

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  3. thank God for those who make a decision to give their child up for adoption, there are surely other options, I have to believe this b/c my baby Mrs. Angela Tucker would never have been here had it not been for the unselfish act of my sister, even if I didn’t find out until 26yrs later, I still thank God for my sister’s decision, it after all was hers, most of all I thank God for people like the Parents who adopted and raised Angela, what a wonderful family she was blessed with, whatever your decision in ref to your future children, u will be wonderful parents, for u both have loving hearts.

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  4. Belinda, thanks for writing this comment. Adoption is definitely complex, there is no two ways about that. People inevitably can feel hurt when close family members choose to adopt, or choose to place for adoption…you are experiencing how that feels now – I’m sure your feelings are mixed, but I’m glad that you’re working towards forgiveness, and looking forward toward the future. Glad to know you now, though I too wish that I could’ve known you and the rest of my birth family a bit earlier on in life, but on the other hand, I wonder, if I had found all of you earlier, would I have been able to handle all of the emotions and stress that came along with it? Maybe, just maybe, the timing is right…

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  5. I never wanted biological children. I hated it when people would say, “Don’t you want your own?” My (adopted) children are my own. The phrase “my own” when referring to biological children on adoption boards also makes me frown. I’m hoping these people learn to delete that phrase from their vocabulary real quick.

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  6. I’d love to foster or adopt or whatever, but they make it very hard to do that. I’ve raised a friend’s children very successfully, but now that they’re grown and on their own, I’m feeling like life is wasted with so many kids out there in need and too many hoops to jump through for the opportunity. I’m educated, well-rounded, spiritually-grounded and reasonably unflappable yet I refuse to let kids slack their way out of their potential (gaming/watching tv into anti social behavior etc). So I help them focus on their natural talents and interests and the discovery of it all is such a joy!. I love family and children and have been working with them since I was a child myself, nannying through college and working in various agencies – all of it to have a proven track record but whenever I read the requirements online there’s some random detail I don’t ‘meet up to’. It stops me right where I am and it’s a shame.

    Like you I’ve had the medical and various crises with my own family of origin and adoption issues and I understand the traumas very well. I’d love to do emergency fostering because I don’t need the clinical training some do ‘to reach them’ and I have some medical background, I know what it feels like and I can stand in the gap and help them feel the stability that while everything seems upside down at the moment, it will get worked out…

    Sure, I’ve always wanted my own kids as many say, but I wouldn’t be so picky and choosy at all because when you have a loving and supportively grounding effect on kids you just want to be there for them and feel out of sorts not having the opportunity. (Like you’re missing your calling in life.)

    Perhaps there’s more to it in this generation than just whether or not people want their own and it’s more about people qualifying to foster/adopt in light of the economic downturns and situations that happened due to situations outside of their control. Who is immune to these issues in society? Stress, companies folding, illness etc. No one – the best way to teach kids is to show them how to get through these kinds of things as you model it yourself. I decided not to apply because all of the hoops seemed insurmountable but it’s super sad. The kids I helped raise are happy and confident and extremely successful themselves, much like yourself. It’s such a shame not being able to make a new family like your parents were able to do for you and all of your siblings.

    Perhaps another post here could be about how to overcome the various hoops toward fostering and adoption so more kids can finally have their forever homes! I have the time and the training, just no way to break through. I’m sure there’s a lot of us out there who are willing and can’t because of it. Does that mean they’re better off institutionalized in group homes and agencies? Who is there for them as they try to find their way in life once they turn 18 after a lifetime with no real family or people to really help them find a vision for their lives? It really makes me so sad!

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  7. This really resonated with me and my experience adopting my son. I just wanted you to know that people are still happening upon your blog (even those who hadn’t yet heard about “Closure”!) and benefiting a lot from your gentle yet honest words.

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  8. Certainly there can be quite a few hoops to jump through prior to being licensed, but sometimes it’s helpful for me to think of all the hoops those kiddos have to jump through at no fault of their own.

    I appreciate your thoughts, Lynn, and your willingness to share.

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  9. Wow! I had the same plan: first a biological child, then an adopted one. But my (weird, I know) thought behind that was: “I will probably mess up a lot of things with the first one, then get better and wiser and be awesome for the second one”.
    Still stupid, since is part part of a mother’s job to makes mistakes and to mess up things, no matter if is the first, or the second or the sixth child.
    Now… I hope my (adopted) son will survive my mistakes and mess-up!

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  10. Angela, thank you for re-posting. I remember vividly reading this original post and thinking wait a minute, just because someone says they want to have a biological child first shouldn’t always be construed as negative. I have always said I wanted to have a biological child first and then adopt. My reasons are much different than what you write about in your blog. In my mind I wanted to make sure that our child knew that he/she was wanted and not our child ‘just because’ we couldn’t have a biological child.

    I know that sounds crazy but past relationships that I had with friends, who were adult adoptees, shaped my feelings and thought process. From their stories of being adopted due to their parents infertility, but then suddenly conceiving a biological child, made them wonder what if they had been able to conceive before they adopted me?? They felt that they were a ‘we will adopt because we can’t conceive’ child. Hearing them share a painful part of their lives shaped how I viewed adoption order in our family. I have always wanted my children to know they are wanted, no matter how they came into our family. I thought adopting our second child would help him/her feel that they were wanted, even though I now know that the order doesn’t really matter! I can say that I have never said I want “my own (biological) child first”. E is my daughter, as much as M is my son!

    I guess I just wanted to shed light on the fact that there may be other reasons for someone saying “I’ve always wanted to adopt, but…I think I’ll have my own {biological} child first.” it may seem negative depending on how it is said, but the meaning might be coming from a very loving place.

    As always, Angela, thank you for expressing your thoughtfulness! It is comforting and thought provoking for the adoption community!! Mark and I hope to see you again soon!

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