“There are so many “helpful” things we hear too often from (usually) well meaning people who don’t understand the struggle of infertility, from “you just need to relax” to “go on vacation, I bet you’ll get pregnant!” to “you’re lucky, my husband just looks at me and I get pregnant.” (🙄) But as an infertile couple seriously considering adoption, our personal least favorite is the good old “just adopt.”
I want to preface this with that I truly do believe adoption stories often have beautiful endings, and I am absolutely 100% supportive of any type of ethical adoption. The problem in the dismissive “just adopt” statement, though, comes with its presentation as both uncomplicated & a fix for infertility. For one, it trivializes the trauma inherent to biological family separation for everyone involved, especially the child and bio parents. The more involved we’ve become in volunteering in the world of foster care, the clearer it has become that foster care and adoption of the children waiting for an adoptive home are so often rooted in trauma and brokenness and that adoption is anything but “just”. Not to mention the minimizing of the challenges, whether financial or emotional, of the adoption journey for adoptive families, no matter the type.
This statement often seems meant to imply that adopting children in need is solely the responsibility of infertile people, or that those who choose adoption are somehow nobler or more selfless than those who choose to seek treatment for their infertility. Let me say this loud and clear: NEITHER CHOICE IS SELFISH. Infertility is a medical condition and having a child through IVF or any other means of fertility treatment is no more “selfish” or “crazy” or “problematic” than anyone else having a baby.
Last, but not least, this advice is unsupportive, minimizing of infertility struggles, and just plain unhelpful to say to someone who is already in pain and who knows dang well adoption exists. Wouldn’t it be great if some people worried more about their own choices, and less about those of others?
Thank you for coming to my TED talk🙂”