Thoughts on Adoption

I've been thinking a lot about adoption. Ever since I got pregnant I've been thinking about it.

It's kind of something I've always wanted to do, or even assumed I always would do. On our second date, the weekend Greg came Los Angeles, after we'd spent a day in wine country and were then laying drowsily in the sand on the beach in Santa Barbara, the late afternoon sun casting a glow across our sea-streaked bodies, we talked about all the big things we'd considered for our lives, knowing even then, that this was only the beginning for us. I asked him then about adoption, about whether he'd ever be open to the idea.

I've long held the opinion that if  healthy people want to have children and create a family, then adoption should be a consideration. There are far too many children in this world who need families. And for someone like me — young, resourceful, and desirous of family — it seems entirely selfish and socially irresponsible to bring more lives into this world when there are already so many here in the first place.

And now, here I am pregnant. Falling in love has changed my ideas about why people have children. It made me realize that it is a gift and a privilege to find someone with whom you want to combine and create life. But still, it did not diminish my feelings about adoption. And lately I've been back to thinking about it.

Mostly because, from everything I've heard and witnessed of friends who have gone through the process, it seems a long and arduous one,  a costly and time-consuming and complicated one. And because of this, it seems to be a process that I should perhaps begin to delve into now, if I am serious about the idea.

We were lying in bed the other night talking about it all again and how neither of us understand why it is such a difficult and costly thing to adopt a child. I truly don't understand it. There are so many children out there who need families and seemingly so many people who would like to give them a home — why then does it cost thousands of dollars and take years to accomplish? I'm open to any kind of child — any race, any nationality, any sex. It doesn't even have to be an infant. But the sad truth is that I'm pretty sure we couldn't even afford to adopt a child right now.

Lately I've read a couple of interesting articles on the subject though. The first is by fellow blogger Julie who is currently awaiting the arrival of her adoptive Ethiopian children. She recently wrote an amazing piece all about the emotional stages she is experiencing throughout this ordeal and it opened my eyes to so many more sides of the adoption issue than I had considered.

And the other article is by actress Nia Vardalos on her astonishment at the difficulty of the adoption process. Vardalos offers a lot of hope though — pointing readers in the direction of several systems that don't seem as difficult to navigate, even some that seem more financially accessible.

I don't know. It's a lot to think about. Especially when I'm 5.5 months pregnant and still have yet to experience motherhood. But it's nonetheless a thought that I come back to again and again. Poor, patient Greg who is so good at navigating my late-night ramblings about life and the world. He of course said yes, that afternoon on the beach in Santa Barbara, lying on his stomach facing me in the sand, as we were just realizing that our whole lives were ahead of us.

2 comments

2 Comments

  • Posted February 2, 2009 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Adoption is something I have long thought about, since I was a child myself really. I helped a very close friend of mine through the adoption process about 7 years ago. She was a single woman adopting from Guatemala and the process WAS long, difficult, heart-wrenching and yes, expensive. I was actually the person who “found” her son. Looking for waiting children is disturbingly like looking for dogs on websites for the ASPCA! I don’t know the entire amount she spent financially, but it was around 30k. It took about 9 months even though when I “found” her son he was only 2 days old. Since then I have met several people who have been through the process. Some of those people are adopting children with DS from other countries (there is actually a waiting list in US for kids who have DS), some are adopting kids from other countries who do not have DS. There are so many things to consider. I personally know three people who adopted children who ended up having significant delays, but in my opinion (as you can probably imagine) that goes with the territory of having kids. Whether you adopt or not, the kids may have hurdles to overcome.
    A friend of mine from MC has several adopted siblings. These kids were adopted when they were a bit older and they have some severe emotional problems to deal with. It’s wonderful that her mom has given them the home they need and deserve, but it is not without its own set of heartache.
    My step-mom adopted my step-sister and brother and fostered many many many children.
    I don’t know why I tell you all this. Just to say “Yeah, I’ve thought that too.”
    I used to know a woman who worked as a social worked (in Chicago actually) who was trying to get me to adopt (or at least foster) a little girl who was born addicted to crack named Jasmine. If I weren’t 20 years old, I may have seriously considered it. She was “free” for adoption and she was a week old. There ARE some children who are free (I hate that term, but it’s the one often used). They tend to be older, or have issues like crack-addiction.
    I’d be lying if I said didn’t go onto the area websites looking for those “free children” and I recently put in a call for info on becoming a foster parent. Sadly, a lot of places will not place children in homes with young kids because of some of the issues the kids they are placing are dealing with. Of course I would not want to put my bio-kids in a harmful situation, but it breaks my heart.
    Sorry to yammer on. Clearly, it’s something oft on my mind too!
    You are going to be amazing parents!

  • Posted February 4, 2009 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this comment, Tricia. It’s interesting to hear how similar our thoughts and impulses have been. I wonder how these ideas will eventually unfold for us!

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