To Adopt or not to Adopt, is that the question?

“Have you considered adoption?”

This is likely one of the most common questions I get asked when people find out that I struggle with fertility challenges. No matter who you ask, I can promise you, without fail, nearly every girl who is navigating infertility has contemplated adoption at some point. This doesn’t mean she has looked into and what it would take, but it has crossed her mind. She likely has wondered what her fertility journey holds and if adoption is in her future.

I feel like this is a difficult topic to write about because it is so different for each person going through infertility, including partners.

I am writing about this from my perspective on my personal experience. I can’t speak for every girl going through this, but I can tell you my story.

There are 3 questions that typically follow the most common question I stated above and that is:

⁃Why haven’t you chosen to adopt?
⁃Would you ever adopt?
⁃Why or why not?

I will start with the first one. Yes, John and I have considered adoption. Fun fact, John was adopted when he was 2 months old. :) We recently connected with his birth mom and birth family back in 2013. It is a MIRACLE story how we connected after all these years (I will save that for another time, it is worth the wait!) and I am so grateful we have them in our lives. Given that, adoption has been a discussion in our household on several occasions.

A lot of people assume that if a family can’t get pregnant, no problem. Just adopt. It is usually what seems, to those looking in, as the clearest and easiest path to getting your little ones here when infertility becomes part of your story. I can’t say whether or not it is easy, I have never experienced it before, but I can say that it isn’t always a clear decision. It hasn’t been for me. Personally, ever since I was a little girl, I have actually always dreamed of physically carrying and birthing a baby. I haven’t been able to shake that desire, it feels natural to me and so I am going with that feeling.

I think that is the most important thing to consider when you are navigating infertility, which is that path that feels right to you? What path do you lean more towards? Is it towards no fertility drugs and just timing your ovulation and your cycle? Or is it leaning towards IUIs, IVF and Embryo transfers to get your babies here? Or maybe it is adoption or even foster to adopt? Every family’s journey is unique to them and cannot be compared at all. I think what we can compare our similar experiences and feelings along the way, but not our decisions on how we choose to move forward to get our families here.

I want to share a personal experience that happened to me regarding this deep desire to physically carry and deliver my children. One time when I was doing hot yoga, our instructor had us dedicate our session to something in our lives. I remember choosing to dedicate my session to my body and its ability to physically carry and deliver our babies. There was a moment when our instructor had us rest in the middle of the session on our backs with our eyes closed. As I was focused on my dedication to my body, I allowed my mind to wander into what it would be like to finally be sitting in the hospital room I would give birth in. In my meditation, I looked down and could see my big pregnant belly and my hands were gently holding it. I then looked to my left and could see the monitor registering both my heart beat and the baby’s heart beat. I smiled looking at that monitor while my heart beat faster with anticipation as this time was finally here, I was in labor and going to have a baby! I then looked to my right and reached out my hand to take John’s. We were both smiling and laughing about something and then he touched my belly and was emotional as we had both anticipated this day for so long. After some time in meditation, I heard the instructor’s voice asking us to slowly open our eyes and get back into downward dog. I found myself checking back into reality and realized I had been crying. The experience was so vivid, so real. I felt as if it had already happened and I was leaning into a memory from the past. My heart yearned for that experience. It was one of the most unique experiences of my life. I still get slightly emotional thinking about it.

Given this experience and others I have had, I chose to move forward with IVF before I looked further into adoption. And once we did IVF and retrieved successful embryos, I feel a desire to do all I can to carry those embryos myself before adoption is back on the table for our family.

I also feel like adoption is very personal. A lot of people belittle adoption and the decision to do it. They say things like, “You should adopt! I know someone who adopted and then got pregnant on their own! That is how you should do it so that you will get pregnant!”….It seems harsh to me that I would use adoption as a tool in order to get an opportunity to carry a child rather than use adoption as a tool to start my family or add to it. I prefer the latter. If after I try to carry the rest of my embryos without success, I would consider adoption carefully and with a grateful heart that is wide open to the humbling opportunity that we are able to build our family in many ways.

That leads us to the question, would we ever adopt? I do think we would, if it was what we felt was right for us. I also believe that God would lead us to know if that was the direction we should take and as of today, we have only felt God tell us to lean into IVF.

What I have learned over the years is that the question isn’t whether to adopt or not to adopt, the question is, what feels right to you? What does your heart desire in this process and what path are you going to choose to go down to get your family here? All of them are the right path, it is simply a matter of committing to the one you have chosen to take.