It is often assumed that the only reason that people adopt is infertility, but there are many reasons that couples or individuals choose to expand their family through adoption.
Just like other families, adoptive families are diverse in their background, make-up, parenting philosophies, faith, and choices. There are many reasons why a couple or an individual may choose adoption.
Infertility remains one of the more common reasons that people choose adoption. When a couple is unable to conceive on their own, they may choose to start or continue their family through adoption. They may make this choice after many failed attempts at pregnancy through medical intervention or they may choose adoption instead of venturing down the path of fertility treatments which are expensive, emotionally and physically draining and do not come with a guarantee. Still other couples come to adoption when they experience what is called secondary infertility. Secondary infertility occurs when a couple has had one or more previously successful pregnancy/ies and finds themselves unable to conceive again.
Being adopted themselves.
Many adults, who themselves were adopted as children choose adoption. They often make this choice because adoption was a positive experience in their lives and they want to pass this along to another child. They also are more aware than most of the population that a family created through adoption is just as much a family and as full of love as any other. They are also likely more aware than most of how many children there are in the world and even in their own community who are waiting for families.
There are several religions that promote adoption. In the Bible, there are many references to caring for orphans. Some people choose adoption because they feel that God is calling them to care for orphans.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27
Some people believe that the world is too populated or that each new human will be responsible for another carbon footprint in the world. To these people, adoption provides the opportunity to parent children who are already in the world, thereby not adding to the world’s population or adding another carbon footprint.
Some people choose adoption when they want to have a larger family but have had serious complications during a previous pregnancy and do not want to risk another. Some women who have had many caesarian births may choose adoption as the risks get higher with each subsequent caesarian.
No Mr. Right or Ms. Right.
Single women who do not want to wait any longer to find Mr. Right but who want to become mothers often choose adoption as a way to start their families. There are not very many single men who go this route, but it is starting to occur more and more often.
Gay and Lesbian.
Gay and lesbian couples, especially those in committed long-term relationships or marriages are choosing adoption to start families. Though some of these couples choose sperm donation or surrogates, more of them are choosing adoption.
Making a difference.
The best estimates put the number of orphans at 147 million worldwide. This staggering number makes some feel paralyzed, while others choose to make a difference in whatever way they can, whether this be through adoption, orphan advocacy, programs in developing countries, or a combination or these. For some families, making a difference in the life of even one child is enough of a reason to adopt.
Falling in love.
Some families choose adoption almost through chance. Through circumstances, they meet and fall in love with a child who is in need of a family and adopting that child themselves becomes the natural choice. Others fall in love with a picture that they see on a website of waiting children or on a program such as Wednesday’s Child, which highlights particular children waiting for families.
When a person or couple sets out on the journey towards adoption, it can often be a scary one full of unknowns. Knowing others who have chosen adoption and being able to see firsthand the blessings that adoption brings increases the chances that people will adopt. This was the case in Possum Trot, Texas, where a tiny church of 200 members adopted seventy two children previously in foster care, as documented in the book Small Town, Big Miracle. Some choose adoption because they have witnessed what it has done in the lives of children and adoptive families.
This is similar to the falling in love reason, but deserves its own heading. Foster parents often find themselves falling in love with the foster children in their care. Often, these children may be with them for many years. When that child becomes available for adoption, it becomes the natural next step in many cases. It is also beneficial for the child to be adopted by the family that they already love and live in the home that they are already in. This is a win-win situation.
In situations where a family member cannot care for their child/ren, a couple or individual may be approached about adopting a child of their relatives. In fact, family is almost always looked at first. This is also the case when a child is orphaned. In this way, some families may come to adoption through unfortunate circumstances such as losing a family member to death, prison, or addiction.
Combination of factors.
Families are complex and the decision to choose adoption is usually arrived at after much discussion and usually involves more than one factor. Five of our seven children are adopted and our reasons included pregnancy complications, infertility, a desire to make a difference, falling in love with some of our foster children, becoming aware that there were 147 million orphans in the world, religious conviction, wanting to keep birth siblings together, and a desire to expand our family. Each of our adoptions were motivated by different factors, but all were built out of love.
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