Adoption -- why do people do it?Why (or why not) do some people decide (or decide not) to adopt? -besides infertility

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a definite need for adoptive parents.  There are over 130,000 children who need homes in the United States.

How is a family created? Often, we think of families being made when a woman gives birth to a child. But adoption is another way families are created.

Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents.

In every other way, adoptive parents are the child's parents. By going through this legal process of adoption, the couple is promising to take care of the child for the rest of his/her life and make him/her part of their family.

If a couple has fertility problems and cannot conceive, be sure that the grieving process is over before the adoption discussion begins. Adopting will not solve  that issue for the couple.  If the couple is ready to begin the process, both of them must be in agreement.  The adoption will not be successful if one of the prospective parents is not completely on board.There are many issues to consider.The first question both must answer: How will we know when we are ready to adopt?

There are things to consider before beginning the adoption process.

  • Can the couple afford this life-changing event?
  • What age and sex would best suit the couple?


There are many wrong reasons to consider adoption: 

  • We want a playmate for our birth child.
  • Our marriage is shaky and a child will bring us back together.
  • Since we can't have birth children, I guess there is no difference anyway.
  • I feel so empty inside. A child will fill up that emptiness.

An adoptive child cannot fulfill any of these reasons.

On the other hand, if a stable loving couple, wants to share their home with a child and love the child for who he is, than sounds like they are ready.

Being a parent is a lot of work, but having a family also is a wonderful experience. Children make almost anything more fun, so it is no wonder people want to have them in their lives.

It often takes a lot of time and effort to adopt a child. Some people wait for years to adopt a baby. Adopting a child is not like shopping for a new coat. You don't just pick one off the rack and take it home.

Planning the adoption requires having an adoption plan that falls in line with the couple's values.  One of the biggest reasons people fail to achieve their adoption goals is that they have conflict between what is valuable to them and what is realistic. Do they perceive adoption as rescuing a poor child or as a gift from one person to another? Will a child that is not the couple's biological child mean as much to them as a biological child? The couple must know themselves and understand what is important to them before they can take on the responsibility of another human being.

pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sometimes people adopt because they fall in love. For instance, a stepparent may adopt his or her spouse's biological children. I have also met a number of foster parents who did not intend to adopt, but ended up doing so because they fell in love with a child who was placed with them.

I have a relative who works as a nurse in the OB ward of a big city hospital. A homeless woman came into the hospital in labor, and also obviously in drug withdrawal. She gave birth to a little boy with spina bifida, and she subsequently managed to sneak out of the hospital, abandoning her infant. My relative describes it as a case of "love at first sight" - she had two children of her own, and had never even considered adopting, but when she held that infant and realized how challenging his life was going to be, she felt compelled to try to help him. She called her husband to come see the child, and he agreed that if she felt that strongly, they should adopt the baby. They did so, and they certainly did a great job of helping him overcome his challenges; he graduated from an Ivy League college at the top of his class, and is a very successful person.

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some people simply feel a need to be a parent whether or not  the child is biologically their own.  When the biological clock ticks loudly with no child yet, many choose the route of adoption.  I don't see adoption as anything other than creating a family using a slightly different route.  Families do not have to be the traditional family any more which frees people to choose adoption.  In my extended family, one child was adopted because of infertility, one because they married late and wanted a child immediately which was years ago, and one because the couple was gay and adopted the first wife's stepchild who had no home.  All of them worked out just fine, and the children were part of a good family.   I believe there are many reasons for adoption, and if a child gets a good home, I see it as only a good thing.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is actually a growing trend in the Evangelical Christian church to adopt from overseas as both a method of providing a better home for a child in need, and as a means of evangelism and mission work. In fact, I personally would go so far as to say this practice is becoming even more "trendy" in the affluent American Christian culture.

I see it happening from completely pure motives, certainly, but I also have seen, through the advance of social media, several families joining the bandwagon, so to speak, to "keep up with the Jones'."

It feel a little tacky to put it this way, but I think there are many ways in which people compete with one another. In some ways, international adoption is becoming a new label that some families seek to acquire in the persuit of "doing the most good."

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There could be many reasons to adopt, including some medical reasons not related to fertility. Some people, for example, may have conditions that might make pregnancy dangerous. Other people might, for the reasons cited above, choose to give a home to a child that needs one rather than bringing another person into the world. Still others, particularly people who already have children, may not relish the idea of pregnancy with a job and multiple children. That doesn't strike me as "selfish," and I am not sure, in any case, that adoption is seen as an "extreme measure" anymore. 

trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Obviously, someone who adopts wants children but may not be able to have biological children of their own for various reasons. Or, someone may have love to give to a child that is in need of a family and may have already had biological children but wants to help a child in need of a family. Sometimes, people adopt children later in life because of the feeling of an empty nest. A single woman who never had a child of her own, may want to adopt one after having a successful career. However, no matter the reason, adoption is a wonderful gift to give to a child.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are some people who adopt because they do not want to add to the population of the world but yet want to have children.  They feel that it would be more ethically and morally correct to take a child who already exists (and is unwanted) than to create one of their own.  They feel that this would be a step towards easing the stresses that overpopulation puts on the environment.  These people are not doing it out of selfishness or infertility.  They are adopting out of a sense of environmental responsibility.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some people choose to adopt because they want to provide a good home to a child in need.  There are some selfish people that don’t want to put their bodies through giving birth, but for the most part adoption is seen as an extreme move usually used by people who cannot have their own children.  Sometimes people also adopt a family member's child.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the past, people have sometimes adopted because they thought it would be a good idea in light of over-population. There have also been couples who wanted to adopt to give an at-risk child a chance to grow up in a better situation.