Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We are not ideal adoptive parents

I just had a conversation with someone who worked in an adoption agency in China. She told me out right (off the record of course) that she probably wouldn't have put Fab and me on the top of the list for adoptive parents.

Apparently - We're just not ideal. We have no biological impediment to having kids and also our frequent travel lifestyle just makes all the background checks and social worker visits a pain to organise. Fab and I don't want to adopt a special needs child because we don't think we can cope, which means that the healthy infant we would like to adopt is also the target of very many other infertile couples as well. Finally, we would take this child out of its birth environment (albeit in an orphanage) and bring her into a world that is not actually hers.

I wanted to protest, but then I decided not to. I feel my adoption resolve gradually eroding over time, perhaps it is the slow death of my idealism. That Fab and I can provide a loving home to someone who might otherwise not have had one. But perhaps these people may have had been equally happy elsewhere and with someone else?


Fioleta said...

I was thinking a lot about my own suitability for adopting a child recently (and on/off for years). And on some level I agree with your friend: it will be harder to collect all the paperwork & pass all the checks; a child from orphanage will need a stable, consistent environment and may find frequent travel stressful. But I don't believe that infertile couple would make better parents just because you can have your own birth kids and they can't. There are plenty of stories of people with own kids adopting and treating adopted kid as true member of their family. And in some countries there are still insane numbers of kids in the orphanages and based on the recent statistics they don’t have very good chances for being adopted or making a good life for themselves.

Due to personal reasons and adoption laws I have to put my dream of adoption on hold. But it gives me time to become a better parent, wiser person, create more stable environment, etc. And since I would prefer to adopt an older child, it is probably for the best that I’ll be older myself when I try to do it.

I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t adopt a child. But I just wanted to tell you that I go through the same decision making, weighting the good and the bad for my own family and the adopted child; and at times it feels like the right thing to do and at others as wrong one. I guess it is impossible to know, to be 100% sure until the adoption process is started or even completed or one is too old to adopt.

Michael Low said...

I was thinking about what you said, and also what your friend said. Your last line struck a chord with me; I have no doubt that Fab and you would provide a wonderful home to the kid, but objectively (that's what we lawyers are good at), I think that whilst the kid may be happy with you or someone else, the flip side is that whilst the kid brings you joy, perhaps the way to look at it is that the child would bring someone else (who was not able to have their own children) more joy? In other words, the "marginal joy return" if there is ever such a thing, might be far more to a couple who could not have their own children. Much as I hate reducing people to economic theories, it does make some kind of sense, I guess.