Recently, I received an email from someone I consider a blog friend. After hemming and hawing for a bit, she finally came out out with it...why don't you just adopt? Why put yourself through IVF? And then she kindly wrote that I can tell her to "mind her own dang business" if I want to. But I'm not going to do that because I know that she is not "a completely insensitive jerkface" (her words not mine) . She is simply asking out of genuine curiosity and seeks to understand why we continue subjecting ourselves to the heartbreak of assisted reproductive technology.
I've said my blog is here to help educate people so here's my opportunity. Time to walk the walk. I decided to answer this question on my blog for other non-infertility readers who may be asking themselves the same question.
Before I begin, I want to say how grateful I am for people who are "called" to adopt like the gal who sent me the email. And for the people who decide, after infertility, to grow their families via adoption. I think it is a huge, big-hearted and wonderful thing to do. Many of my friends (both blog and real-life) have beautiful children thanks to the gift of adoption. Never for a moment do they feel that their life should be any other way.
But adoption is not for everyone and it is not as easy as "oh, you should just adopt." Just like assisted reproductive technology, adoption is a very arduous process and an expensive endeavor that often leads to heartache as well. With adoption, there are extensive background checks. Psychological evaluations. Waiting lists that can go on for years. Birth parents who select you and then change their minds after you've already fallen in love with their child. Babies who come to you with addiction because they weren't properly carried for in the womb. A delicate relationship with the birthmother that you must navigate (should you choose open adoption). None of these scenarios are easy. And some people are better equipped to deal with these types of challenges.
I don't know that I'm one of those people.
In addition to the reasons stated above, there are some more personal reasons that we don't just adopt. It certainly isn't because we enjoy gambling $30,000 of our hard-earned money. Or because I like sticking myself with needles and feeling hormones rage through my body. It is because I have a deep desire in my heart to have mine and my husband's biological child. I want to feel a life growing inside of my body. I want to bond with my child before I ever see his or her face. I want to see my husband's dimples when my little boy smiles. Or see my big brown eyes staring back at me when I look at my little girl. I want to know my child's health history. I want to see my mother's mannerisms in the way my child speaks.
I want our baby.
Right now, I feel strongly that adoption isn't the right path for us. Over time, maybe our feelings will change if we do not conceive through IVF. Never say never. But at least until we grieve the idea of having our own biological child and close this chapter in our lives, we aren't even willing to entertain the idea of adoption.
If you are interested in hearing a much more articulate and emotional perspective on IVF versus adoption, check out this article NBCNews.com.