Have you considered adoption?
Steph asked the World Childless Week community about adoption and their thoughts on being told this was a solution to involuntary childlessness. Here are the responses she received.
I was never interested . Someone else's baby I Always wanted the whole experience of being pregnant ect
Sometimes I can shrug it off if I need to be very strong and pretend the words don't affect me....but they do.....deep down inside they hurt and tear us apart....I feel poor I feel inadequate I feel I obviously didn't want children bad enough because I didn't try hard enough and the list goes on and on.
This is very insulting to me when I hear it from strangers. When my close ones ask or people I want to connect with, I am willing to explain. I would try adoption procedure if my husband was for it, but choose to respect his feelings as he respects mine.
I am angry that people with children think we are obliged to adopt as the second best, and they wouldn't consider it as parents. I for instance, always wanted to adopt in addition to my own children. People with kids think it is our duty to be altruistic as we have a fault, a stigma, yet they don't think it could be their good deed.
My response is.....either......are you willing to pay for the adoption fees.....or plain and simple no......in the United States adoption is up in the $00,000 and sadly I am not especially when needing diabetic care for my husband.....but thanks for reminding me.
I felt like the whole subject of infertility and adoption is such a personal subject and having to discuss it at all with people is very uncomfortable. Suddenly I am laying out all the pain and discomfort in my soul when folks were really just making small talk..
When I'm told I could always adopt,it assumes that I'm stupid and hadn't already thought of that. Do people really think that those options haven't been considered by women in our situation? Really? Sometimes I feel like saying very sarcastically - "you know, I hadn't thought of that".
It depends who is asking. If we are close then I have a one off sincere and honest conversation on how this is not really the right option for us.
If it is a complete stranger being obnoxious I would suggest they buckle up for my reply. I can get quite defensive. It infuriates me. How dare they get so personal and invasive? I sometimes answer with a question. I ask them how much money they have in their bank account and how much debt they owe? If they look at me wide eyed and bewildered I sarcastically apologise and say, “That’s right… It’s none of my f*in business is it? If I need family planning advice I will ask a doctor. If you need financial advice you would ask a professional too I would assume?” It’s usually enough bark in me not to be stuck making small talk with them again.
I sometimes ask why don’t they adopt too? Especially if they imply I am being selfish and there are a lot of children needing a home out there. I ask in that case why they decided to make a fresh one?
If people are rude I have started to mirror them. I used to absorb it, go home and cry but I have found my voice. Sometimes she is a fiery bitch. It depends on what buttons are pressed.
The nicer strangers who sheepishly enquire after learning we don’t have children I am quite gentle with and ask them if they know how adoption works? This leads to a two-way conversation rather than a Q&A session. I think it all depends on who asks and what tone they take as to how I handle it.
Problem I have about parents is their habit of thinking that raising their own children is some altruistic act, when no baby asked to be born and our wish to procreate is everything but some altruism act. Second is proper caring which is much harder and worth of admiraton. But even then they are their own blood and it should be obligatory. But it is not always like that.
Adoption is much harder and potentially more admirable, but just when we trully want to make difference for all, and not just to make us feel better for not being able to conceive.
My husband and I went through a very lengthy and invasive process to adopt internationally and in the end we decided against it. I tell people to Google international adoption and child trafficking.
It makes me feel very frustrated and at times furious.
That phrase would often lead down a rabbit hole of explaining how complicated and expensive the whole adoption process is and having to admit that we were too old anyway...
One of my very best friends, more like a sister to me, who's recently had her first child, has repeatedly asked me about adoption. And it's not "you could always adopt", it's the more accusatory "why don't you adopt?". It's hurtful as firstly, she clearly is unable to accept our decision to accept childlessness, and although she thinks she can, she really cannot put herself in our shoes. She "knows" she would have adopted had she not been able to conceive (which she did after 2 months of trying...), and wants actual explanations from me about why we haven't considered it. I find myself having to defend a very personal decision, which she's clearly never going to understand however I put it. It's exasperating.
I respond in a variety of ways. Sometimes I just say "it wasn't in the cards for us" or sometimes if I'm feeling snarky I'll ask them if they're volunteering to foot the bill. No one has to pay 40,000 - 100,000$ to "just have sex" so the idea that we've got all this money to just throw at adoption that isn't even guaranteed to work is ridiculous...
Feelings? Frustrated. Angry. Resentful. My biggest reaction is thinking about how dismissive it is.
Adoption is great on its OWN it is not a REPLACEMENT for having a child with your spouse, your other half, your soul mate... An adopted child is its OWN rewarding and lovely addition to a family, it is NOT the same as having a piece of you and the man you love, a physical manifestation of your love and life together. And it is rude to view adoption as a "back up plan". Adoption is a uniquely wonderful and perfectly VALID way of building a family.
Saying "you can just adopt" treats adoption like a "plan b" a "second best". The back up plan for us lesser mortals who didn't get to have our own (because rarely if EVER has the person asking this adopted themselves. because they didn't "have to") Its a disgusting attitude and it nauseates me. An adopted child should not be thought of in those terms... Sorry for the rant, this really pisses me off...
For me, I've tried to explain why it isn't the right step for me and my husband, and got very upset doing it. I find it very frustrating and upsetting and when I have been successful in explaining why I feel that way the response is "yes, but....." or "you haven't really thought about it". It breaks me now every time someone brings the subject up. I don't try to respond, but I feel that scar opening again.
People seem to judge and believe that we are the uncaring and wrong ones, not giving a child a home and they don't think about what we have already experienced.
Andy told me he had this question asked on a boys/work night out recently and he felt really uncomfortable to begin with. He explained that people only see the process shown on TV. Simply fill in a form and walk out with a child.
He asked if any of them had looked into adoption. No one had. He went on to explain more of the checklist over dinner and said he felt empowered being able to educate them a little. Hopefully now they will think before they ask the next childless person.
Adoption isn't the consolation prize at the end of an infertility journey. It is a choice not to be taken lightly, and it isn't the automatic next step. Never mind the astronomical cost, adoption may not "fit" everyone for hundreds if not thousands of reasons that are very personal to each couple. Some couples have a calling to adopt, and that's a beautiful thing because it is a choice and desire. But it isn't a consolation prize when we can't have our own children.