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Why Aren’t More ‘Fertile’ People Adopting?

06/06/2012

This is a difficult post to write because it’s such a touchy subject. But I need to get it out: I hate that adoption seems to be linked to infertility 90% of the time, at least in people’s minds. I don’t have any problem with infertile couples adopting. If medical intervention isn’t their thing, or they’ve tried that and had no success, many couples who are unable to conceive turn to adoption. I think birth mothers who are unable to parent their children (and willingly surrender their rights) like to know they’re helping out a couple who couldn’t become parents without adoption. That’s all fine and dandy. My problem is the assumption that adoption is (only) for people who can’t have babies biologically.

It bothers me on two levels.

First, quite a few people have made the assumption that Jason and I really wanted—or still want—to have children biologically and we turned to foster care and adoption as a Plan B. They say things like, “Maybe you’ll get pregnant after you adopt! That’s what happened to my second cousin” and “We adopted two kids and then my wife finally got pregnant after 7 years. You never know!” It’s always said with kindness and sympathetic smiles. But, in our case, we felt like we were supposed to become foster parents and open our hearts to adoption and put the idea of having biological children on hold. Perhaps, indefinitely. I don’t know if we will ever have a child biologically. Honestly, at this point, I have no desire to become pregnant. We have chosen a different route to building our family.

Second, and the main reason I have a problem with the adoption=infertile assumption, I would LOVE to see more kids adopted. My passion is for the orphans in our own country, though there are millions around the world waiting to be adopted, too. There are over 130,000 kids in the United States with their mugshots next to short biographies on photo listings, desperately waiting for parents who will adopt them. Another 300,000 kids in foster care need loving, stable, temporary (but potentially permanent) homes. I don’t have patience to wait for 130,000 infertile couples to exhaust all other possibilities and get desperate enough to consider adopting an older child. And the kids don’t have time to wait either. Every year, 24,000 of them turn 18 and get pushed into adulthood alone, unprepared and unsupported. It’s tragedy upon tragedy.

We need some of the millions of fertile couples in this country to join us on the adoption road!

If you feel compelled to do something, check out:

Adopt US Kids and follow them on Twitter

Adopt America Network and follow them on Twitter

or call your county Department of Childrens Services (Dept. of Human Services in some states, I think) and ask about becoming a foster parent.

(Look at the photo listings of waiting kids if you’re feeling brave.)


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“Am I struggling with infertility?”

06/23/2011

Alternate Title: Why We’re Foster Parenting

I’ve been asked this question a few times lately in regards to our foster parenting motives and we suspect many other people are wondering (or making assumptions) but not asking. So, here’s my answer: no.

I know this an be a sensitive matter to some people so I’ll tread lightly; this is just my personal position on the matter. There are two parts to that phrase “struggling with infertility.” I’ve haven’t, in recent years, been tested for or officially diagnosed with any reproductive problems. I suppose some people would consider not getting pregnant after a year of “not trying not to”—as we like to put it—to be infertility. I have no use for this label as I’m not interested in treatment for this problem… because I’m not treating it like a problem. Either I get pregnant or I don’t—Jason and I have chosen to leave that up to God. We are completely at peace with that. So am I struggling? I hope it’s obvious that I am not.

There were times last year when I struggled a bit. After medically preventing babies for a decade, letting my body “reset” to it’s natural rhythm was interesting. At times I thought I had it figured out and I could control what would happen. Other times I was frustrated and bewildered. With my husband’s gentle urging I chose to really, fully let go of control of this area of our lives and trust God with it.

That was about a year ago. At that point, I never would have guessed that Jason and I would now be on the cusp of becoming foster parents. It just wasn’t on our radar at all. We figured we’d have a couple babies, build an addition on to our house, then maybe adopt a little girl from China. Or something along those lines. I can see how it might look from the outside like we’re substituting foster parenting for infertility treatment. After all, becoming foster parents certainly was part of the bursting of my perfect life plan bubble. But desperation to have children, it is not. God had other plans for us. If I had gotten pregnant right away, I probably wouldn’t have been interested in considering adoption or foster care at the point when God opened our hearts to the need. Somehow that little seed grew into a passion.

Honestly, I’m so busy with everything else going on in my life right now that I really couldn’t care less whether or not I get pregnant. Sure, if it happened we would be excited and happy. But if it never happens, that really is A-ok with us. What I’ve been learning—and believe me, I’m not all the way there yet!—is that this really isn’t about me and what I want. This, this life (marriage, family, work, friendships…) is not all about me getting what I want. As a Christian, if I want God to use me for something big, it’s essential that I grasp this concept. Foster parenting for Jason and I is not about “getting” kids because we just want to be parents. It’s about kids that need some adults to step up and be parents and to love on them. A couple of artists from East Nashville that like gardening and thrift store shopping just might be the perfect fit for some kiddos going through a really rough patch in their young lives.