Why Not Adopt?
Much of the information on this post started with an episode of IVFML, but has been adapted to Canadian adoption and our particular situation. I also recommend you check out IVFML at this link.
When people hear you're infertile, one of the first things they ask is "Why don't you just adopt?"
It sounds so simple when they ask it. Like someone's just handing babies away and that you're a monster for not taking one.
For us, there's a short answer and a long answer. The short one is "It isn't right for our family," but the long one is much, much more complex.
First, there is something about carrying a child in your body. I loved being pregnant with my daughter. There was a lot of joy involved. For 12 years, all I've wanted was to be pregnant again.
Then there's the biological component. As the podcast above puts it, you want to see your grandparents in a tiny face. It is what it is.
But then there's the cost. Financially and emotionally, and the three types of adoptions have high costs in both categories.
Private infant adoption is when you adopt an infant from a mother who doesn't want their child or can't care for it for one reason or another. That's what most people imagine when they mention adoption, and if we were interested in adoption, this is the option we'd be most interested in.
In Canada, once you find a mother who is willing to give her child up for adoption, the costs are about $35,000 in addition to classes the province would require us to take.
As much as I hate to admit it, part of the reason why I don't want to adopt is because I want to control the emotional baggage for a child. Adopting an infant minimizes what the child would come with, and if this was what we wanted, private infant adoption would be the way I would go.
Emotional cost: Low
Monetary cost: High
Foster adoption is when you begin as a foster parent and take the steps needed to adopt a foster child. Often, you are given children of different ages and of different needs temporarily. You may get many children before you can adopt one, and you may never be able to adopt one. Ever.
Fostering is low-cost. You have to take some classes by the province, and you receive a monthly stipend to take care of children you're assigned. However, there's no knowing how long you'll take care of each child. Some, you might get for only days, and others for years.
There's also a huge emotional part of the equation with foster children. Often, children are in the foster system because of trauma in their life. Whether they've been removed from their home(s) forcibly or their parents have given them up, they have experienced trauma. This means that we'd also be trying to help them work through their traumas.
We'd also have a lot of emotions on our end. We want a child of our own to keep. When you consider instead becoming a revolving door for children who need help, that's not going to meet our needs. It seems unfair to subject children to our disappointment not having our needs met.
In the end, I have the greatest amount of respect for those who become foster parents. However, when I think about the possibility of beginning to love a child who I then have to return, my heart breaks. It isn't for us.
Emotional cost: high
Monetary cost: low
International adoption is basically the same as private adoption, but you adopt a child from a foreign country. Because many foreign countries have more orphans than Canada and the U.S., the children you adopt from foreign countries are almost always older than infancy.
Though in the U.S., international adoption is considered a low-cost, fast-tracked alternative to private adoption, in Canada, it can cost more, as much as $50,000. You also have to travel to these countries, and some of them have cultural class requirements that you have to meet.
On top of all of that, because the countries who have the lowest price to adopt often have the worst conditions for orphans. That means that the children are often mistreated and abused, and then we have the emotional baggage on them as well.
We also don't meet recommended requirements to adopt interracially. Our city, family, neighbours, and all of our schools are pretty white. I wouldn't feel comfortable bringing a child into a situation where they're the only one who looks like them.
Emotional cost: high
Monetary cost: high
In short, even if we wanted to adopt, the prices and emotional tolls are much higher than going through fertility treatments. And though you may find those reasons lacking, they're our reasons, and they aren't going to change.