20 March, 2015

Why we didn't adopt

Klara recently shared the reasons why she and her husband chose not to adopt, and invited other no kidding bloggers to do the same. Loribeth and BentNotBroken have done so, and Savannah has also shared her adoption story in a series of moving posts. I've had a post drafted for some time, and have been tossing up about how much to say. Because it’s not just my story. So I’ve opted for the short version. Here goes ...

There were almost insurmountable practical barriers to adoption:
  • Domestic adoption in New Zealand is rare these days.
  • Because of this, competition is stiff. And as older parents, chances we would have been chosen were slim.
  • International adoptions are very expensive, and can take a long time to finalise. We didn’t have time to spare.
There were also other issues that were complicated to resolve:
  • We were both feeling our age. Did we want to become new parents at this stage? Would it be fair to the child?
  • Complicated feelings towards other issues, including adopting older children (would we be able to give these children what they needed?), open adoptions (I support these but they bring their own challenges), and international adoptions (having lived in Asia, and with part-Asian nieces and nephews, we were comfortable with the idea of having an Asian child, but conflicted about some of the other ethical considerations).
  • We were tired and demoralised.
  • General misgivings/other issues.
Practically the barriers were high. Coupled with other issues, the wall was too high to climb together. These are the complicated issues that the “just adopt” brigade don’t think about or discuss. Our marriage, a partnership built over many years and forged stronger through our joint loss and grief, and our confusion over adoption, would - we knew - survive this. It would survive simply because we considered each other’s feelings, but were honest about our own. Our knowledge that we would be okay gave us further confidence not to rush into something that might not be the right decision. As time passed, we became more and more comfortable with leaving it be.


  1. dear Mali,
    thank you for sharing your story.

  2. So many of those reasons overlap with our reasons. It is really interesting to me how many of us share similar reasons for not adopting.

    I also think your advice about considering each other's feelings and also being honest about our own is excellent for the whole adoption thing, but also just for life in general.

  3. yes I definitely think it's not for everyone and would never suggest that someone "just adopt". All those reasons make sense

  4. Your list really resembles mine, though I haven't written my story yet.

  5. Your list reminds me yet again how most people don't consider any of this when they suggest adoption. Which is amazing because all of this is relevant to the decision to even pursue this option.

    Thanks for the post.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story. How sad that adoptions are so hard in your country.

  7. Thank you for sharing your list of reasons -- so many people don't realize how much goes into the decision to adopt, and how many barriers there can be, whether they're logistical for the process or trueness to you and your marriage. All things that people don't think when they say, "Why don't you just adopt?" or assume that there wasn't painful, soul-searching thought that went into your decision.

  8. Thanks for adding your voice to the chorus. :) All your points rang true for me too.

  9. "just adopt" brigade - Ha! Love it. All of your reasons resonate.

    An important topic for a child free not by choice (or whatever term you prefer) blogger to have on their blog, if they so chose. This motivated me to get to work on mine. I'm perpetually offended that so many seem to think it's all so simple.

  10. Reading all of these posts, I just nod and agree and say "us too". It was never one just thing but a series of long conversations. Thank you for sharing.

  11. We had a similar experiences like Savannah on three occasions. Adoption was our first choice due to medical issues. We considered going backward to IVF but we had nothing left to deal with more potential losses or illness. If we hadn't stopped when we did, I would haved literally killed myself.

    I hate both the "just adopt" or "just do IVF" brigade when they have no insight into the situation. I am thrilled to be alive, happy, and learning to live childless not by choice.

  12. Thank for you sharing this! I often get questioned on my lack of interest in adoption, so I've enjoyed reading these posts and feeling reconfirmed in my thoughts/opinions on the subject.