Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pregnancy vs. adoption

It has been heavy on my heart a lot lately that there are so many people out there that see adoption as something so completely different from having a child biologically.  Yes, there are the obvious differences but it is so interesting how once you start comparing some realities of both paths of adding a child to your family, they really aren't that different.  I often get some same questions/comments over and over again and I am seeing a pattern.
"wow, that is really expensive to adopt, wouldn't it be cheaper to have your own?"
"the adoption process is really long, why do you have to wait so long?"
"what if you get a child that ends up having medical problems?"
"what if you get a child with psychological problems?"
"you're going to adopt a girl right, since you already have a boy?"

Do you see a pattern?  They all lean in a direction of what would be convenient for us.  Which option would cost less, be quicker, and in some way assuming we would be guaranteed to have a healthy child.  That last one always gets me.  Maybe because we are overall healthy people, who have a "healthy" child it is assumed we would have another but in reality there is NEVER going to be that guarantee.  No matter how much you can try to be perfect during pregnancy it does not guarantee you that your child will be free of a genetic syndrome, be free of cerebral palsy, autism, behavioral disorders, cancer, etc.  I am thankful every day that my baby boy is healthy and I would like to think it is because I took my prenatals, ate well, nursed him for a year and took the best care of him I could possibly do BUT I know a lot of moms that did this same thing and have a child with a medical or behavioral problem so there is just no guarantee.
My baby boy at 1 mth old (Dec 2008)
Now, with all that said I know I will be getting the question..."So are you adopting a special needs child?" and no, we are not planning on adopting a "special needs" child at this point because of our work situations.  However, we do know that there is a chance that the child we are blessed with may end up having some problems down the road just as any child may, biological or not and we know we will be able to handle whatever comes our way and we have no fear whatsoever about that.  The funny thing about adoption is, you have more control over what child you will be given more so than when you have one biologically.  When I was pregnant with Jalen I could decide what I did to impact my pregnancy but I had no control over genetics and what syndrome/illness/problem he may end up with, I had no control over if he would be born too early and end up having developmental disabilities, I had no control over how his birth would pan out and if something traumatic would have occurred  and how that would have impacted his life, or how much in medical bills we would have due to this, or how this may impact my life physically...I had basically NO control over who my child would be and yet in the adoption world, if I wanted to,  I could have control over the sex of my child, the age of my child, and the current health status of my child...hmmmm???   So why is it that so many see adoption as such a scary unknown and pregnancy is not?  
I am also really struggling with the fact that so many companies do not recognize the required and necessary leave for adoption as  maternity leave!  In many companies you are allowed up to 12 weeks of maternity leave in which you are paid (some percentage of your salary) to recover and bond with your baby but yet so many only "allow" the federally mandated FMLA in which you are allowed leave without pay.  I understand there is the medical need to recover from a pregnancy and be allowed maternity leave but maternity leave isn't based on how fast you recover, it is just a set amount of time and even if you are fully recovered and cleared to return to work after 4-6 weeks, you can choose to take more time to stay home and bond with your new child and get maternity leave benefits.  So since that is the case, why is it that a mom who is adopting a child and is required to be home with that child for 6 weeks for bonding and attachment time, isn't allowed the same benefits?  Being a full-time working mom that will be affected by this, I am quite passionate about it but even if you aren't working outside the home you should still see the need because if we could get more companies to understand this discrimination that occurs, maybe we could get more families on-board with adopting and really start putting an end to this orphan crisis.  I will get off my soapbox...for now...but stay tuned because I have some plans in the near future to start that change here in my community and will keep you all posted, please pray for me and for those who I will be speaking to, to see the need as well and have compassion for us adopting mamas.

I will leave you with a great link to check out about a family adopting twins from healthy and one suddenly not and their decision to keep their referral for both children.


  1. This is a battle I think we will fight our whole lives- people not understanding. Great opportunities to share the gospel, though, when people ask why!

  2. Joely,

    I really like this post. I completely understand where you're coming from. I appreciate your boldness.

  3. Joely, good for you for explaining to people that there are never any guarantees with having a biological child without any special needs, so why shouldn't the same be true of an adopted baby? We have been very blessed that Charlie has done as well as he has, but statistically speaking, he is a miracle. The more people talk about these issues the better, and the more people remember that children are children no matter where they come from or what additional assistance they need, the world will be a better place.

  4. May I ask why you are choosing to adopt from Ethiopia? Aren't there children in your native country that need permanent, loving homes?

  5. My name is Krista, we have a daughter (bio & 6 years) and adopted our son from Ethiopia, he will be 3 next week. I so appreciate your post. We encountered some of these same issues when we brought our son home. And I can tell you that it took a lot longer to be able to leave him than it did to recover from having a baby quite honestly.

    In response to Mirah - I find it so interested when people make this comment. I don't know Mirah, but I would guess she does not have an adopted child. The only people I have ever seen make comments like this, don't have adopted children. While it is certain that all children need homes I find it absurd to think that one child should be deemed more worthy than another simply because they are *in our native country.*

    As a matter of fact, it can be argued that those even in our foster system here have a huge advantage over those in orphanges in other countries where mortality rates are through the roof and medical care is nearly non-existant. If you want to talk about *equal opportunity* these children are in greater need than those in our foster care system.

    Sorry for my soap box as well, I don't know why you are choosing to adopt from Ethiopia, but I know that comments like this infuriated me when we made this decision. We chose Ethiopia because of the great need there. Our son very easily might not have even lived had we not stepped in.

  6. Krista, I'd love to talk to you more, my email is Thanks for your comment :)

  7. Sent you an email, love to talk with you more as well, seems we may have quite a bit in common from what I have read on your blog, as well as a common friend, Jennifer Linck.


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