Saturday, August 13, 2011

Is Adoption Second Best???

I wanted to add a little to this post and thank you all for your responses. I have really struggled with this and I am so thankful I was able to discuss it all with you. It has really helped me get perspective on this subject. I also want to thank the anonymous poster who was adopted from Korea who shared her opinions on this subject. That was an amazing addition to the discussion and I thank the anonymous poster for sharing her heart. Also I wanted to thank Kim for her addition. I know you were not even going to comment but what you shared and the perspective you added was very helpful for me personally. Thanks again for all the input!!!

Sorry to write a post with no pictures but this has been bugging me for a while. Our adoption story is like many. We had two boys and then decided to try for a third. We tried for about a year and then decided to be happy with our two healthy boys. A little after we decided to stop trying we were bit by the adoption bug and then decided to pursue adoption which lead us to Mia. A nice happy and very common story about our journey. The problem with this story is the trying for a third child part. For some reason, in many peoples minds, the fact that we attempted a third - or had two biological kids-- okayed us adopting. Like somehow choosing adoption is a good second choice but by no means should be a first choice unless you can not have your own bio kids. I am obviously generalizing but I find in the many questions I get about the girls, it seems the sentiment of many that ask is that adoption was a nice choice after having our own kids. Of course most would not say they think this way, but I would venture a guess that most non-adoptive people believe that adoption is second best.

This leads me to a conversation I had a few days ago. I went down to my friends house with the girls to hang out for the day and into the evening. Another mom came by to drop off her son to spend the night and we struck up a nice conversation. She was a lovely mom who was as sweet as can be. She was taken by the girls and asked about what lead us to adoption. I told her the story and included the part about trying for a third. She was taken with how perfect the girls were for our family and said she had always thought about adopting after she had her bio kids. She went on to tell me that she has a niece who was 24, married and has always wanted to adopt. She said she saw her at a birthday recently and she told her that they had decided to pursue special needs adoption for their first child. This wonderfully nice lady went on to tell her niece that she should not adopt now and that she should first have her "OWN" kids and then adopt after that if she still wanted to. Please don't get me wrong. This lady was very sweet and was very taken and respectful of adoption but I was just shocked by her comment. I started to hold my tongue but then I had to let it out. I explained to her that adoption was not second best and it is not something to be tried AFTER you have your OWN kids. It is a perfectly amazing way to grow your family and that adopted children are as equal in a family as bio children. She was kind of taken back by my response and I tried to be very nice and explain things, but the whole conversation got me thinking. Do people really- on a conscious level- think adopting is second best or is it a subconscious ingrained belief that many subscribe to without even knowing.

I'm not sure the answer to my questing, but I do know that I have had soooooo many people express similar sentiment without even knowing they are downplaying adoption. They just make statements that shock me and totally degrades adoption without even knowing they are doing so. Have many of you had similar experiences? Do you guys notice this? I don't know if I am overly sensitive but I am sick of people making adoption out to be less than having biological children. That is you have gone to great lengths to have "YOUR OWN" child then it is ok to adopt. I'm just kind of sick of it and I wanted to vent. Anyone have similar experiences or feeling??


  1. YES!! Our first child was adopted from China...then we found out we were pregnant. Some responses were "Oh, now you'll have a child of your own" blood would BOIL every time someone said that to me! Ummmm, my daughter is MY OWN child too!

    And I've had some (really close) relatives say to me "Why adopt again, if you can have them?" TO doesn't matter if I "can have them" or not. Either way they are MY CHILDREN, regardless of how they became MY children.

    It really makes me......MAD, when ignorant people make comments like that. I ALWAYS correct them, and tell them that "Both MY children are MY OWN!" ; )

    I know there are many people out there that think like that but they need to be corrected.

    Thanks for posting this. Hopefully people will understand that adopted children are not less "your own" than bio children. (Did that make sense?? LOL!!)

    Hugs from Orlando, FL
    mama to 2 miracles!!

  2. Amen Sister!!! Honestly, I am so incredibly grateful that I have been able to receive three children in the Civil Affairs Delivery room.. I will do everything I can so that my girls never feel like this was Plan B for us.. I always say Adoption is not for everyone. But, for those of us who are blessed to see God's love put into action this way it is beyond amazing! I am glad you shared your feelings with this Mom.. I am sure she never looked at it that way.. You and I both know that when God puts something on your heart it is His plan for you! What is you never said, "yes!"

    Hugs from China,

  3. Long time reader :) This makes me angry and sad. I'm only 23, so children are still quite a few years away, but adoption is and will be my first choice, especially from China.

    I want to ask these people if that makes step-children or IVF children less precious or beloved? I am so sad that we live in a society that feels like it needs to classify and judge every person.

    Adoption is never a 'second' choice, it's a choice of love and hope.

  4. I think unless you have been blessed by the miracle of adoption you can never really know how truly special it is. And "special" does not even begin to do it justice. I do however think it is God's natural design for us to have the desire to reproduce biologically too. It is also HIs design to whisper in some of our hearts to adopt. So, I don't think it is insensitivity. It is just ignorance when people say things like that and not even malicious ignorance.

    I will share something with you that I have not really of my children has recently been diagnosed with a disease that means that child should not have biological children. I do feel VERY,VERY sad for that child and their future spouse. Luckily, that child KNOWS the miracle of adoption but I do wonder/pray that that child will meet a partner who gets it too. What if his/her spouse wants bio kids only??? What if adoption is not available to them in 20 years????

    I would not trade my story for any in the world. I LOVE that God has blessed me with the experience of biological children and an adopted child. My heart knows no difference between loving the two paths and all 3 of my chidren. But the experiences are different and I think that is what people don't want to miss if they can...the experience of being pregnant, delivering, bringing home someone who looks like you or your spouse.

    Again, now that I have been through experience is no better than the other just different.

    So, I don't think anyone means any disrespect but I do think MOST people would prefer to grow their family biologically just because they do not understand the miracle and blessings of adoption. Once you DO know how miraculous it is, it is hard to stop adopting, huh? Just look at our friends who are in China now or just came home (Di, Jen and Stef)

    Sorry this is so long. I was not even going to comment at all then I got on a roll:)

  5. I agree with Kim, that I would not change our adoption story either. I love that God blessed us with two biological children, then opened the door to adoption.

    I do, however, stand in complete awe (& love!) for those families that choose adoption even before having or trying to have biological children! Wow! What a calling!!

    Not that I have regrets. I did not become a Christian until I was 26 and sometimes i look at those years as wasted. Sometimes, I think of my awareness of adoption the same way - I wish I had known earlier.

    And now? Or kids will know earlier!! They will know that our children from China were God's Plan A!

  6. I totally agree with all these posts, especially Kim's in that alot of people say things only because they lack understanding. I get really confused looks from acqaintances and even close friends that we are adopting again at 48 years old. No it was not my plan but Gods and some just don't understand the complete joy of answering "yes" to God.
    Until you walk in our shoes could you possibly understand God's enormous blessings.
    As adopters we are not choosing plan b, but accepting from him a different magical plan within itself:)
    Wonderful post Christy!!

  7. Adoption isn't for everyone. I had a woman tell me one time she could never love a child that wasn't "hers". Knowing her I had to agree and I felt sad for the limits she placed on herself to love. All four of our children have graced our lives through adoption and with the older two because they look so much like us few strangers asked questions though we've always been honest as I'm not challenged by the way they came into our lives. Our youngest two girls, both from China are recognized as not being "bio" kids and questions are often asked. I will field these happily as I see their presence in our lives as a blessing to us and want to convey that to the questioner and to make sure it's understood by my kids who are usually present.
    When they begin asking their own questions is when it's trickier as a parent because you love so completely and want so much for them to know this and see themselves in the same light you do. It's natural as a mom to feel protective of your kids, and their are some incredibly ignorant people out there who for whatever reasons feel quite free to share their opinions. So I use it as an opportunity to enlighten them on the love they are missing out on and then go on my merry way enjoying my children. Be blessed.

  8. I so appreciate all of your comments and it seems to be pretty universal that many of us who have adopted share similar experiences. I really appreciate Kim's response explaining the feelings of loss with a child not being able to have biological kids. That really puts some perspective on my feelings and if I expereinced a similar situation to Kim's, I too would mourn the loss. I think it is absolutly normal to mourn the loss of children or grandchildren but being very open to adoption and not thinking it is second best. I really appreciate you sharing that perspective Kim. I dont think most people consciously think or would admit to thinking adoption is second best but it seems to be sentiment many share. Im glad I posted this topic. I was not going to post about this but just sat down yesterday and decided to get others opinions on this subject and to see if I was being too sensative. Im usually not an overly sensative person and dont take things personally, but I think that one conversation with that lady really pushed me over the edge and I just had to say something. I think from now on I am going to leave out the trying for a third part of our adoption story and just say we were led to adoption which is not untrue- I will just leave that one part out :)

  9. Thank you for saying and posting what most of us are thinking. I've heard it all. It makes my blood boil. I have learned when people make comments that she isn't my own, or that some how it is easier, I say when she wakes up crying at 2:00 a.m. sick, she is definetly my daughter.

    I've been blown away by the ignorant comments. When someone asks a questions, I now say; why do you ask? I was naive when we first adopted and believed everyone had pure intensions.

    I am asked at least once a week where is she from? I say our state or town. I have noticed now that my daughter is older it bothers her that people always ask where she is from like she doesn't belong here.

    Another favorite question we have received since she was 10 months old is does she speak Chinese? When she was a baby it was fun to say no she speaks babble or baby speak.

    I could go on and on, but I try for the sake of my daughter to do what is in her best interst at the time of the comments or questions.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Adopting for me is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My daughter has given me so many happy experiences and fun times. There is no other blessing that could compare.

    Blessings from CT.

  10. My husband wanted you to know about the comments I get when I take my daugher out alone. I have been asked many times is my husband Chinese or is her father Chinese? I've had fun with the is her father Chinese, and say Oh yes!


    Caroline - CT

  11. Caroline, you crack me up!! I have had all the crazy comments. My most annoying one right now is "are they REAL sisters?" My response is yes in our family. They often respond with "oh no I mean in real life" and I respond with "yes in our family". People can be so rude. I get the "how much did they cost?" all the time. I have had the "is their father Asian" many times but people dont understand. I get the comment that why did we adopt after we already had our OWN kids. I look at them in awe as they just dont get it. Parenting is not just about bio kids and how many I get have. Its about growing your family and loving/parenting children. Ugggg!!! People :)

  12. I haven't had the second best conversation or even comments to that effect, but I have had the "why did you want to adopt when you already have kids?" and "why did you want to adopt when the kids were finally almost all out of the house?"

    I don't have an answer for those people. I've wanted to adopt since I was a child myself. At ten I announced to my mother that I would run an orphanage when I grew up and she told me that we didn't have them any longer so I determined to adopt.

    What I really want to say to those people is, "why did you want children?" Really. Seriously. I believe their answers (for having biological children) would be no more or less valid than my own reasons for adopting.

    I don't think we'll change everyone's ideas by getting defensive, but we can change their perception of how adoption works by showing them how well functioning our family is with a "mix" of children. They are likely to tell others about it and, in so doing, open people's minds to the possibility of adoption being a path that works.


  13. Thank you so much for this post and the comments! We are waiting for our LOA for our DD -- first adoption, third child. We are like you -- except I think we went to more lengths to try for the third, and we endured a couple of losses in that time. We went through all of that though because we didn't think adoption was an option for us, for a host of reasons. We didn't investigate enough at the time, and we wouldn't have then had the money in any event. So all things happen in their own time, or God's time... but since we've started down this road, there have been some signs/thoughts that my fertility has returned, but we've actively made sure there are no surprises, because we didn't want anything to jeopardize our adoption, and because we KNOW that SHE is our third child. As I've described to people who've said to me, "oh, NOW you'll get pregnant" -- this little girl isn't our consolation prize. She is our DAUGHTER, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

    but just last night I was starting to get worried that I wouldn't love her as much as I loved my boys. I was scared. I'll admit that the closer we get, the more anxious I'm becoming. But then I remembered that I spent the better part of my second pregnancy scared, too, because I was convinced there was no way I could love my second son as much as my first. But as soon as he was in my arms, all that fear vanished. All of these comments have reminded me, and confirmed the truth, that notwithstanding some potential for rocky starts, transitions, etc., this mama's heart is plenty big for ALL of MY babies. Thank you so much!!

  14. Love this post Christy! While we haven't had a lot of negitive comments about our adoption or why we did it, I do make it VERY clear that adoption has changed our lives in ways I had no idea could have happened. Adoption is NOT second is how our children are born into our families. If I could tell a young couple who were thinking about adoption as a way to grow their family, I'd say do it first because what comes with it is amazing!

  15. This post definitely brings up a lot of feelings for me from my past. I was adopted at age 2.5 from Korea and brought to the US. My parents had 3 biological kids of their own before adopting me. A couple of years later they adopted my brother and then my sister. There are 6 kids in my family and we lived in a very small town in rural Iowa. It wasn't a big deal when we were younger because everyone had known our family forever.

    We then moved to a bigger city when I was 9 and that's when the questions were constantly being asked. I remember people asking me all the time if I spoke English or if my brother and sister were my "real" brother and sister. Thankfully my parents had instilled in us how special and a part of the family we were, so I knew how to deal with it.

    My mom had always wanted to adopt and have a big family. Her mother was adopted and I have an aunt who was adopted. She was in a fairly serious relationship prior to my dad and that man did not want to adopt or have a large family, so she knew he wasn't the right person for her. Thankfully she found my dad and started our big family.

    I wouldn't trade my story for anyone else's. I've always known that my parents love me just as much as they love their biological kids. They have always been very open and honest about everything and allowed us to connect with our past as much as possible.

    I'm 31 years old now and I still get the questions...why did your parents adopt when they could have their own kids? Are they your "real" brother and sister? Do you speak Chinese/Korean? Where are you from? I've learned over the years not to let it get to me, but it definitely does take time.

    I just want to say thank you to all of you have created a family through adoption! I wouldn't be where I am today without the love and support of my parents who opened their hearts and lives to a child that didn't come from their body. My favorite quote about adoption is something my mom has on her wall that says, "You weren't born under my heart, but in it!"

  16. It used to drive me crazy when people would ask me didn't I want to have my "own" children. Now I just say, oh, you mean biological because I try to give the benefit and want to believe that most people are not educated with adoption and terms. I think I get more irked when people ask why didn't I adopt from the United States. I really need to watch what I say now, especially with Gracie getting older and her more aware of what's going on.

  17. I think you may want to put a twitter icon to your website. I just marked down the article, however I had to complete it manually. Just my advice.

    My site:
    rachat credit voiture

  18. Hi,
    I had these comments too. Having a family composed of both, bio and adopted kids, we too had comments or questions and forgone conclusions that we adopted only because of medical reasons! No. Adoption comes from the heart. It's not for every one but our family and kids is exactly like we want it. We have now ignore (sometimes) comments, answer pretty directly questions (sometimes) and people are surprised to hear my bio daughter talk her future kids (adopted of course)!!! Too cute. For her, that's te only way she has seen me have kids, I tell her to leave life give her the answers and follow her heart.. time will tell, but whatever she decides, I'm sure it will be the right family for her. As for our chinese beauty, she says wants both (just like me), kids from the heart some out of her womb some out the civil affairs bureau! Go girl!


  19. We will always answer the innocent/curious question..BUT We always have fun with the "Stupid" comments. My husband is quick on the response and when a lady asked us why we adopted and what was wrong with us, he state he a non-functioning 3rd testicle and had to have it removed so we can't have kids. She said she did not know he had a medical condition and apologized. I was all I could do to keep a straight face as she walked away.

  20. I have always said that my husband and I were called to adopt. We felt the call before we were even married (as singles). We talked about it when we were engaged and we answered that call when we were married.

    Like you, I had two bio boys before adopting. The most annoying question I got when we adopted Lily was "oh, you wanted the girl." I always responded, "not at all, we felt called to adopt and we answered that call." That usually stops that train of questions right away!

    Mary Karen

  21. We get "adoption" comments every once in a while - either how wonderful we are to have done this or is it hard to love a child that is not our own.

    I have started to use the same answer - I'll look at JJ with all my love and say "are you KIDDING. Look at her! People wait in line for years - literally - for the chance to parent a kid like her. How lucky are we?"

    That pretty much ends the conversation.

    I guess some people will get it and some never will.