This guest post is by Paige Knipfer, an adoptive mother.
As an adoptive mom, I heard some really hurtful comments about adoption and infertility when we were trying to adopt a baby.
I know that most people didn’t mean to be hurtful or understand why their comments were painful, but they still hurt me all the same.
Here are five myths about adoption and infertility and what you need to know about them.
1. “Once you adopt a baby you’ll get pregnant.”
This is one of the most painful comments that hopeful adoptive parents hear.
Adopting a baby doesn’t mean you will get pregnant. Plus, some people who adopt may not have experienced infertility. They may just want to adopt.
It makes prospective adoptive parents feel hurt—as if choosing to adopt was a bad decision. For those who experienced infertility, it’s like saying an adopted child is not as good as a biological one.
Also, studies reveal that the rate for achieving pregnancy after adopting is the same as for those who do not adopt.
2. “Can’t have a baby? Why don’t you just adopt?”
Adoption isn’t always the “right” solution for those experiencing infertility. To say “just adopt” is extremely hard to hear.
Adoption is not an easy process nor is it free of emotional turmoil. Some couples may find it important to have a biological child and may want to pursue fertility treatments.
These couples should not be shunned or judged for knowing what they want and pursuing it. Some couples may find adoption is not the right fit for them or chose to not be parents.
Adopting a child is not a means to an end either. It is another choice, another life journey.
3. “Maybe this is a sign that you’re not meant to be parents.”
Infertility in no way means that you are meant (or not meant) to be parents. Infertility is a medical problem and not something “in your head” or caused entirely by stress.
The decision to pursue infertility treatments or adoption or to be child-free is a personal one, and needs to be respected.
4. “Only infertile couples adopt.”
Not all people who adopt are infertile. There are couples who already have biological children who decide to adopt.
There could be couples who have biological children and now are experiencing infertility or have a medical issue (premature birth, health issues, miscarriages, stillborn) caused from the biological child birth.
Couples who adopt also may decide to have biological children. There are so many facades to creating a family. Please don’t assume that adoption means the couple experienced infertility.
5. “Why don’t you forget about trying to have a baby of your own and adopt one instead?”
Adoption is about finding a family for a child, not about finding a child for a family. Adopting is an alternative to infertility, not a solution.
If you’re not ready to adopt, don’t rush into it. Each infertility and adoption journey is unique to the couple or the individual.
It’s amazing when you ask people their story. I don’t think I’ve met an adoptive parent yet who has the same adoption journey.
Each one has their own background, life experiences, and decision making skills. And by the way, when you adopt, that child will become “your own.”
When it comes to adoption, every person or couple has their own story of how they got to where they are today. Hopefully reading these adoption and infertility myths will keep others from making hurtful comments to couples and individuals who are trying to adopt or have already adopted.
Paige Knipfer is a trainer for a financial institution, an adoptive mom, wife, mentor to a high school student, volunteer, and avid traveler (Semester at Sea alumni). She loves to share her adoption experiences and assist anyone interested in learning more about the process @.