Monday, January 21, 2008

The adoption question

I received an incredible question about a line from yesterday's post, in which I mentioned worrying about overpopulation . . . when I was 12. Someone asked why I am undergoing fertility treatments instead of adopting, when clearly there are children out there needing homes.

Hmmm, how to answer. You know, we may adopt. There are children in need of families. And I have not one doubt that we would love any child we were lucky enough to bring into our home. It's a very real option for us. I'm sure it is hard for some who haven't experienced IF to imagine why we don't just "move on."

But I have to be honest here. We want to conceive, just as you wanted to conceive when you decided to start your family. The desire to have a biological child is there, and we feel that we have every right to pursue that to its conclusion. The difference between us and other couples is that we are unable to conceive on our own — for documented medical reasons. Health care has evolved to include fertility treatments for the medical conditions that cause infertility in the same way that, say, it has evolved to offer cochlear implants to treat some forms of severe hearing loss. In both cases, patients hope the treatments give them the opportunity to enjoy basic human functions. Functions that most people take for granted.

I'll also add that adoption is time consuming, emotionally draining, expensive, and not always successful. It's of course worth all of that when the end result is positive. DH and I, however, are only equipped to concentrate on one plan at a time. For a long time we concentrated on TTC naturally and keeping on top of my known uterine problems. Right now we are concentrating on trying IVF while I am still young enough to hope for success. What comes next, we won't know till we get there.

Regarding my comment about overpopulation: I really did feel strongly about that as a child. And I can't say that I disagree with my younger self now. But what I didn't have then was life experience enough to understand the complex nature of the human body and its hardwired (in some cases) desire to contribute to the cycle of life. As a grown-up, I have an entirely different take on what I want and why I want it. And, I respect family size and family-building methods as matters of personal choice. Not to mention the fact that some of the happiest, coolest, and most productive families I know are big ones — I want for others what makes them happy.

Here's a good tidbit about infertility and population control from the RESOLVE site — I thought it applied quite nicely:

Myth: Infertility is nature's way of controlling population.

Fact: Zero population growth is a goal pursued in a time of world overpopulation, but it still allows for couples to replace themselves with two children. Individuals or couples can certainly elect the option to be child-free or to raise a single child. Infertility, for those who desire children, denies them the opportunity to choose.


Tracy said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you want to follow the logical argument, one could say that even when you were 12, you planned for the first child to be biological...

But the long and short of it is that a hard part of being a parent-to-be or parent is that there is a lot of advice given about the best way to do it. The positive part of this is that people care about kids and want parents to do a good job. There's a lot of wrong ways to parent. That said, there are a lot of right ways to become a parent, too, and it helps me, anyway, to keep that in mind.

Here's to finding your right way!