Why I Didn’t “Just Adopt”

Blue dawnflowers at St Katharines’s Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)
Blue dawnflowers at St Katharines’s Parmoor, Buckinghamshire, England (Miranda Hernandez)

As a single mother by choice and a victim of child loss, I have often been asked why I didn’t “just adopt”. I think people are generally well-meaning with these phrases. And I think to people who don’t know, adoption may seem like the ultimate answer; as if you can just file some paperwork and viola; it’s done. Sometimes, I even wish this were true.

Before I was pregnant for the first time, I looked at adoption from foster care. There are so many unwanted children, I reasoned, and I could be a means of giving them a home. Sometimes I marvel today at that simplistic attitude. Because adoption, even from foster care, isn’t simple. It’s beautiful, but also complicated and sometimes painful. It’s definitely not something you can “just” do.

And in any case, while I do plan to foster later on in my life, I still wanted to experience the process of pregnancy as well.

There’s something primal, or perhaps hormonal, about becoming pregnant and physically carrying a child. It’s something I yearned for, the same way many partnered parents do. And I’ve noticed we almost never question those choices with those who are married and those who haven’t experienced loss. And this really bothers me. It makes me feel different.

It bothers me, because I am still a woman, just as much as any married woman. The fact that I wasn’t able to find a life partner doesn’t make me “less than” or somehow flawed. And it’s not up to anyone else to dictate whether or not I have the right to pregnancy, or the right to try for a biological child.

Yes, I am single. Yes, my first child died. These are statements of fact. They are not my flaws. They certainly aren’t problems, in need of pat solutions. And adoption isn’t a solution at the end of a magic wand.

So please think before you say these words. They aren’t a panacea, or an easy road to walk. Adoption is a beautiful choice, but it isn’t my only option. And I deserve the same choices as any and all of you.

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