Adoption without infertility

*Warning: This is a pretty short post, but I am about to write about a very touchy and sometimes triggering subject. I’m also going to make some sweeping generalizations that in no way apply to everyone. Don’t panic.

We have a biological daughter and an adopted son. We did not struggle with infertility. We did not decide to adopt because we felt a calling to help children in need. We wanted another child. We wanted to adopt. I wasn’t thrilled about being pregnant again. So everything fell into place and we adopted through our local foster care system. It was a transracial adoption. Our son has cerebral palsy – but despite the noble sacrifice label many want to put on us, we did not know about his disability when we added him to our family.

This isn’t usually the type of situation that dominates the adoption scene.

Sometimes I find myself on the outside of adoption conversations because they connect so closely with parents’ struggles with infertility. Sometimes I can see the pain in a mother’s eyes when she discovers that I had it so easy with my first child. [No one would verbalize this, but you can see it there.] I leave out the fact that our first child was unplanned; I don’t want to make it any worse. Other times I find myself trying to talk down an acquaintance that wants to praise me for welcoming a disabled child into my home. I’m not a saint. I’m a mother. I’m no different than any parent finding themselves in the same situation.

Does the world think I adopted for purely selfish reasons? Is that bad? I’m not sure how to answer the questions or how to find my appropriate “label” in the adoption world.

This is why labels suck. Most people just don’t fit into a neat little category – I found myself unexpectedly pregnant at the age of eighteen. I married my daughter’s father prior to her birth and we have enjoyed nearly eleven years of wedded bliss. I chose to adopt my second child simply because we wanted to. We adopted an African-American disabled boy. Where do I fit in?

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4 comments

  1. Well, I’m one of those who is infertile, hence one sweetheart in heaven (miscarriage) and one here. We considered adoption and although our son prayed for several months for a baby sister (he had her name all planned out — Shelby Ruth), we decided it was too expensive for our pocketbook at the time (hubbin was unemployed) and with all the issues our son had going on at the time, I wasn’t sure I had enough stamina to parent another child too. I hope someday to have grandchildren and I’m still waiting for the young man to find Miss Right.
    Several years ago, I contributed to a book being written by Christine Field. She was a former attorney, her husband a police chief, and they had adopted a little boy she was homeschooling. Previously she had blamed the parents for their child’s misbehavior, but after adopting her son and doing all the right things and still having problems, she changed her mind. Her book is titled “Homeschooling the Challenging Child.” I discuss it more on my Gratitude Journal blog.

  2. I somehow stumbled across your blog and though I really should be doing homework right now, I can’t stop reading it! For a very long time I have wanted to have one child and adopt another. Most people just don’t get it, but I always felt like there were so many kids out there who weren’t in good homes and I wanted to help. I’m not a baby person, though, so I probably would adopt a slightly older child.
    The other thing is that I’m half black and half white and for a while was dating a white guy who had an adopted girl who was mixed like me. He told me he and his ex got her way faster than they expected because they were open-minded about the child’s ethnicity–he found out that 18 other couple had passed on the baby because of it! Thanks for sharing, your blog made my night =)

  3. Alex and I adopted a Down’s Syndrome son in 1981. He will be 33 next week. He is a joy to us. He is very active in Special Olympics and the mothers of the other Special Olympics are my friends. He is a middle child and three come after him. They are all grown. We knew we would have more children and we did. We are very happy we adopted a special baby.

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