The Right Reason to Adopt?

I read the comments on blog posts. I shouldn’t, but I do. I read the following comment on a blog about the ethics of adoption fundraising:

From my perspective, if the cost of domestic, international, or embryo adoption is too expensive for a family the obvious choice would be foster adoption.

Maybe I’m just being a bit obtuse, but if someone is motivated to adopt for the right reason(s) the foster system would certainly have children available.

Which lead me to think: What is the right reason to adopt?

And I could only think of one answer: Because I want to be parent.

To expand on that: I want to be a parent. I think I’d be a good parent. I like children, and I want to raise one or more. I’d like to have a family to share adventures, outings, traditions, chicken pox… sickness and health Disneyland and all that jazz. And, for whatever reason, being pregnant or getting a woman pregnant is not the avenue I can take to parenthood.

I suppose that begs the question: Why adoption and not surrogacy?

To which I’d respond: Surrogacy can cost far more than adoption. Personally, I believe that the laws are more complex than adoption laws. Of course, I actually studied adoption laws back when I wrote for If I took as many months to study surrogacy laws, maybe I’d understand them too.

Perhaps the commenter is getting hung up on the adage, “Adoption isn’t about finding children for families, it’s about finding families for children.”

Call me controversial, but I think that’s politically correct crap. The fact is, adoption is both.

If adoption were solely about finding families for children, the state could simply require every family that meets certain criteria to become foster parents, and, ultimately, adoptive parents. But they don’t, because no one wants to give a child to adults who don’t want a child. It takes an adult deciding that he or she wants a child to start building a family. So yes, adoption is about finding children for families.

Adoption is also about finding families for children. I would argue – and I think anyone would – that it’s about finding the right families for children. I’ve written extensively about why foster care isn’t the right option for everyone. I think adopting out of foster care solely out of some sense of altruism or to save a child can be dangerous. Furthermore, newborn adoptions can be just as necessary as foster adoptions.

Speaking of foster adoptions, on the same post, someone else commented:

I wonder why anyone would pay $33000 or $44000 to adopt a child when they can be paid to adopt a foster child (according to this blog). Using the cost of college analogy, that is like refusing the full tuition room and board scholarship just so you can pay full boat to get your degree somewhere else. Seriously, how economically senseless is that? And it begs the question, are you really looking for a child to bring home or is there something else your $33K- $44K is buying?

No one should adopt from foster care because it’s free. And adoption isn’t about bringing home a child, as in any child. Adoption is about matching. I don’t know if international adoption uses that term, but I know both private adoption and foster adoption do. In foster adoption, social workers should strive to match children to the right parents. In private adoption, birth parents strive to find the right parents for their babies. We all have match meetings and say, “We’ve matched!” I’m not a person who believes that all children are meant to be or placed by God in their families. (But that’s another post.) I do, however, believe that every parent needs to have the discussions about what they think they can handle as parents. Home studies are a great way to think about your boundaries, strengths, and weaknesses.

What did our (combined) $65,000 buy? Eight plane trips, four hotel stays, four rental cars and the gas for them, about one month’s worth of food, several hours of legal fees, advertising and marketing, medical care, two months’ rent, maternity clothes, counseling, social worker time and travel, CPR and other adoption-related training, document preparation, court fees, and the services of two exorbitantly expensive facilitators (which are really all about advertising and marketing). Our $65K did not buy our children. Money changes hands in foster adoption too. The biggest difference is, the government exchanges it amongst various agencies.

I just wish we could can all of this judgment flying around. You choose to build your family your way, I choose to build my family my way. We all obey the laws, and strive to make all family building processes better, without finger pointing, blaming, or shaming.

Yeah… like that will ever happen.

3 thoughts on “The Right Reason to Adopt?

  1. My aunt/uncle adopted in England. The system there does not allow for private adoptions and they had no adoption fees. Sounds great right? Except because it was thru the government (who makes the rules) they were limited in the age of the child they adopted. Since they had a bio son who was 8 and due to their ages (40’s) they were permitted to adopt children between the ages of 2 and 4.

    For DH and I we will only go forward w a child under 6 months because we feel like we can meet the needs of a baby under 6 months since (to put it very simplistically) there is less trauma.

    It’s always easy to judge another person.

  2. Just found your blog! I’m just starting my paperwork to become an AP and everything you write is exactly what’s in my head! I think I just need to come here and stay off other forums that make me question my common sense!

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