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Why do you want to/ did you adopt?

Indie900 November 13, 2020 12:56

Hi there! I'm not sure if there is a thread like this already but I looked around and don't seem to have found anything so I started one here.

I'm in my early 20s and I've been set on adoption for a few years now, along with my partner who feels the same way. I guess I wanted this to be a space to talk freely about why you're set on adoption, or why you did adopt :-D

Indie900 November 13, 2020 13:50

*Potential trigger warnings*

I'll be honest. I am definitely affected by the feeling of wanting to "save" a child through adoption, as I myself wasn't parented right, and there is a lot of pain and trauma in that that I am trying to heal from today. While I am aware of this feeling of wanting to "save", I am also aware and sensitive to the fact that this is something I need to work through, as it would likely be problematic to project this onto my future children. I recognise that there could be both the feeling of "living vicariously through" my children, and also a sense of gaining validation or approval from the world, or from my own inner wounds, as a result of doing right by them. While it's important to do right by them, it should not feel like an antidote to my own wounds. I am aware that this suggests that I need to heal from my past before going ahead with adoption.

Besides that, I think a major part of why I want to adopt is because my primary experience of learning how to love and trust, and feeling that in return, was learned. It was a conscious decision and desire to develop such a relationship with someone else. It feels more natural to me than the alternative, i.e. that being born into a family makes you a family. I think, myself and my partner, would be very adept at understanding a child in a position where they are having to learn to trust and love, because that's what we had to do too!

Other factors: I think I have always thought that if there are children in the world that need homes, why should I give birth to more children? Here the environmental factor comes into play with future prospects looking bleak for the climate, as we currently stand. It makes me feel even more like adopting rather than giving birth. I also remember resonating with the idea that giving birth is imposing life on someone else against their will. In truth, that still makes me uncomfortable.

There is also giving birth itself. When I was younger I mostly imagined that I would give birth to my children, but with time I became more uncomfortable with the actual concept of becoming pregnant and giving birth. Me and my partner love to experience everything together, and we base our relationship on equality. Becoming pregnant and giving birth would be an experience that only I would feel, and that doesn't fit our relationship dynamic. I also remember feeling/ still feel uncomfortable with the idea of a living organism growing inside of me. This is something I should most likely reflect on and question though. I imagine it has to do with a lack of physical intimacy with my own parents in childhood. Further, listening to people talk about their experience of pregnancy scares me, and I've always had this spiritual feeling of... I am of a 'weak constitution', so perhaps it would be dangerous for me. When you give birth, you are accepting that there may be complications, and those complications could end your life (sorry to be so dark about this!). In short, adoption feels like the most natural decision for someone like me :-) Either that or not have children at all, which doesn't resonate with me.

Thanks for reading!

Edited 13/11/20
Donatella November 13, 2020 19:15

It wasn’t complicated for me. I wanted to be a mum.

Obviously things are more complex for you and your partner - I suspect that if/when you do apply you may be asked to undergo counselling before your application is taken forward. Lots to unpick there

chestnuttree November 13, 2020 20:45

Same like Donatella. I had wanted to be a mum as long as I can remember. However, my husband and I met quite late. At first things seemed fine, but then they turned pear shaped. We were not keen on IVF and throughout my life I had met so many adoptees and adoptive families that adoption seemed the obvious thing to do. Best choice ever!

Serrakunda27 November 14, 2020 10:37

Also just wanted to be a mum, got to 40, single so adoption the obvious route.

You do seem to have a lot of issues going on. I’m interested in your idea of pregnancy not fitting your relationship dynamic becsuse you can’t both have the same experience. Being equal does not mean you have to exeprience everything in your life the same way. Surely that’s impossible, you will expriencenand react to things differently.

In this context the only way this makes sense to me is if you are a same sex couple and there is a choice as to who tries to get pregnant. I can see the dilemma there if both of you would like to be pregnant. But if your partner is male it just doesnt make sense.

Indie900 November 14, 2020 11:19

It's kind of insensitive to suggest that I have a lot of "issues" going on. I am an incredibly selt-aware person, esp. for my age and am simply being honest with myself about my experiences in life. I have the courage to look deep down and question my feelings, and most importantly, to make a change if it is needed. Whether or not I have "issues" is my business, and telling someone that when they didn't ask for it is mean. In my experience, life isn't just simple. There's often a lot going on in the background or under the surface. I think this is a crucial skill to learn if you're thinking about, or have, adopted.

I wouldn't like being the only one going througy pregnancy/ childbirth. It would be a major experience (for non-stop 9 months) that only I would have felt/ experienced. As I said before, that doesn't feel right in my relationship.

Safia November 14, 2020 11:49

Though it is a common experience that only one of the couple can become pregnant, breastfeed etc - and virtually impossible to be absolutely equal when organising childcare - even with an adopted child as they may bond more with one parent to start with or later on share different interests which may or may not be related to gender. Then there’s work and other life routines to factor in. It would be interesting for you to explore what you mean by equal in your relationship. You have been very open - and no one is judging - openness and a willingness to explore everything as you have been doing is a necessary part of the assessment process and being open to this - whilst accepting others may see things differently and being able to consider different viewpoints - is something SWs will see as a positive quality.

The question of why we adopted is an interesting one - as superficially it was because we wanted to expand our family and fertility was an issue - but I have been having therapy recently and understand it goes much deeper than this and interestingly on a WhatsApp group I am on for adopters there is a high percentage of people who experienced more subtle early childhood neglect or similar.

Serrakunda27 November 14, 2020 12:11

I’m sorry if I came across as insensitive, that wasn’t my intention.

Yes you are clearly very self aware, and honest with yourself and have identified a number of things ( issues ? ) which are impacting on your decision making.

Whatever you choose to call them, yes they are your business, but you have chosen to air them on a public forum - you can’t expect people not to respond. If you don’t want people to comment on something, then don’t post about it

We all have ‘issues’ to deal with in adoption - mine were financial, being single, being overweight - I could go on.

Indie900 November 14, 2020 12:17

As I have no idea whether fertility is an issue for me, adoption has been a choice. I remember reading somewhere that a SW was against a couple adopting because they did not have a fertility issue and therefore did not have a good enough reason to adopt. I think this is really judgemental and wrong. I guess I started this thread with the assumption that there would be others like me, who actually want to adopt instead of give birth. Now I remember that many people will have had fertility issues. I can see how in that case, the most likely answer would be that they simply wanted to be a mother. I am totally respecting of that.

Often people will speak of a "calling" to adopt. I'm not religious but I do feel this desire to adopt - as though it is the more natural option to me than the alternative.

Thanks for sharing that part about the Whatsapp group and how many people are starting to uncover truths about themselves and their decisions. That's really cool.

Indie900 November 14, 2020 12:25


Thank you. While it's true that I have decided to be open about my experiences online, and know to expect that people could comment, I still think it's important for us to hold the value of attempting to be sensitive/ non-judgemental toward others. If I had been another type of person, a comment like that might have knocked me off my feet/ and made me feel ashamed and/ or invalidated for being open and truthful. This can create an obstacle between people whereby individuals feel that they cannot trust one another and communicate in earnesty, which causes chaos between people. The point is, we need to be responsible about the way we interact, or hold up this up as value so that others can learn that this is the correct way to behave, if you see what I mean?

Serrakunda27 November 14, 2020 12:37

I wasn’t judging you. Other posters have made not dissimilar points to those I made.

Indie900 November 14, 2020 12:51

Fair enough. I think it may have been your choice of the word "issues". It could come across insensitive and judgemental. Perhaps you chose the wrong word - that's okay, sometimes I have trouble with that too.

Safia November 14, 2020 13:19

There have been similar stories to yours in the past - people who choose to adopt for various reasons - often when quite young - maybe try looking through the archives too

Edited 14/11/20
Indie900 November 14, 2020 13:25

I'm actually not looking to adopt any time soon ? At the very least, I hope to wait 8 years. I think it's just a very interesting topic and would want to learn as much about it as possible before then. Still, i'm not pushing myself to do that at the moment as it is still pretty early. I know I have different matters to focus on in myself currently. It's nice to dip my toe in the water though, as they say, by sharing what I am thinking/ feeling about adoption currently.

Safia November 14, 2020 14:19

In that case you could use the time to research as widely as possible - and if you haven’t had counselling for your own experiences that would be a good thing to do too - as you will be seen as being proactive and may anyway be asked to do so during assessment if you haven’t

Ines November 14, 2020 14:27

@indie900 you may find the Adoption and fostering podcast number 123, conversations with Andrew, who is an adopter, an interesting listen. He discusses some of the issues you raise about wanting to adopt without a fertility issue.

Indie900 November 14, 2020 17:46

Yes, I am definitely considering either counselling or therapy in the future, however I think a lot of people underestimate just how much you can do on your own at home. There is a lot of self-help resources online, and often counselling and therapy is getting to the bottom of the issue. I have been doing this for years and it has brought me to a very secure and happy place in my life. You just need to be curious and honest with yourself - but gentle too. I was often too rough with it, treating myself like an equation that I had to work out lol. It is very much like that though, in my experience. We are emotional beings though, so it's always important to take your time and be kind to yourself :-)

Thank you Ines, I will be sure to check that out!

Edited 14/11/20
Donatella November 14, 2020 19:51

Yes, there is a lot you can access yourself. I’ve done more training on various subjects in the 19 years I’ve been a parent than I did pre having kids. No disputing that. But ... and it’s a big but ... I suspect you’ll have a job persuading a social worker of that. Social workers - ime - tend to be rather conservative, bottom covering in their approach (apologies to any sws but my experience!) and may well ask for some more formal counselling.

The sharing roles? Maybe have a think about how you think that will look? Children with a trauma history/attachment difficulties may want/need to attach to one parent only initially. Which can make the other parent feeling excluded ... so maybe just think about how you’d balance the needs of the child vs how you might want to parent

Indie900 November 14, 2020 21:38

I am aware of that, just thought I'd share with others how much we can do for ourselves too. I am all good to have counselling/ therapy in the future :-) I can't imagine any reason to turn it down unless I was unhappy with the the professional I was working with, in which case I imagine I could switch out (?)

That's cool. This notion doesn't seem to affect me too much as I can understand the nature of such a predicament.

Edited 14/11/20
Ziggie-Star December 26, 2020 23:18

It sounds like you are on the path to adoption.

When I was in my early twenties I think I felt a bit similar to you in some ways. I did not have any burning desire to have a child, birth or adopted for that matter. However, somewhere around my 30th birthday I realised I wanted to be a parent some day. I was nearly 40 before I met the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and by then fertility had become an issue. I come from a family in which adoption is common so very quickly moved on to adoption as my best option to becoming a mum.

But nearly six years in as parent of a spirited, funny, clever, active little boy I would say that adoption is definitely not for the faint of heart. By all accounts at the moment my little one is doing remarkably well and we are all enjoying being a family. However, (you may already know or have research this) adopted children can be very good at reaching very vulnerable parts of their parent. This can shake you to the core.

Also as was said above sometimes children bond more closely to one parent or another. Even when you fully understand why it can be very difficult for parents to cope with in the moment.


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