Talking About Adoption Can Open up a Lot of Opportunities in Your Life
Disclaimer: I don’t have kids
My partner has always wanted kids. For a long time, I was against it. This led to years of discussions and debates between us. We’ve talked for countless hours about the reasons to have a kid and the merits of never having one.
During these discussions, the topic of adoption eventually came up. The more we discussed adoption, the more I noticed my mind opening up.
Everyone is aware of the noble reasons for adoption — help control the population, give a home to someone underprivileged, etc.
But let’s face it. Nobody ever takes these large personal decisions based on what’s best for the world.
Infertility is one of the most common reasons that drive people to adopt a child.
It’s the last resort when you’ve tried everything possible to conceive a biological child and are still unable to. The struggle and desperation caused by this process are very harmful.
I am not there yet. It’s not “too late” for me. But I am still seriously thinking about adoption, and here’s why you should too.
A personal reason to consider adoption
As a woman, I am constantly reminded about my fertility and my age. The reminders come mostly from well-meaning family members who think they’re helping me. Other reminders come from peers who have started trying and/or succeeding in creating a tiny human.
I have been thinking about kids since I was 13.
Yep, not kidding.
That’s how deeply my culture has indoctrinated this priority into my mind. The idea that I need to plan my entire life around that one important event has affected so many of my life decisions.
I did a master’s degree way earlier than I wanted to, and in hindsight, I’ve realised it was because my mind’s timeline had always been “early twenties is for studying and late twenties is for starting a family.”
And I’ve come to learn that this type of thinking is universal. Sheryl Sandberg addresses this issue in her book, Lean In, where she talks about how we are constantly thinking about the war between our families and careers right from a very young age.
From an early age, girls get the message that they will have to choose between succeeding at work and being a good mother. By the time they are in college, women are already thinking about the trade-offs they will make between professional and personal goals.1 When asked to choose between marriage and career, female college students are twice as likely to choose marriage as their male classmates
When I did finally reach my late twenties, I realized that I was in no way ready to have kids. And so I decided that I didn’t want them at all. I had been taught that it was now or never. And I knew that it was definitely not now.
But honestly, I think I’d like to have kids someday. I just don’t want the idea to dictate everything else in my life. Talking about adoption has helped me introspect and approach my plans in a much healthier way.
The possibility of adoption has removed the mental deadlines that society has drilled into me
Ever since my partner and I started talking about adoption, a weight has been lifted off my chest. I’ve been able to think about my career on a more long-term scale.
I used to think I needed to have climbed a few rungs on the ladder before starting a family. Now, I am able to put away starting a family until I climb those rungs. My future is no longer dependent on the ticking time bombs that are my ovaries.
I am now able to think about possible side hustles. I am even writing this article today only because my mind has been freed up to explore all the things I really want to do with my life. I’ve stopped putting my life on hold for the life of my yet-to-exist child.
I’ve started thinking differently about travel. I used to want to see more of the world before getting pregnant. The pressure was driving me crazy. Now, I know I can take my time.
Basically, I was treating the idea of pregnancy like the idea of death.
The world made me feel like getting pregnant was the end of my former life. Considering adoption has helped me think differently about having a kid.
The truth is, I might still end up having a biological kid. But it’s not the only option or the most urgent one. Adoption is on the table, and it isn’t the last desperate attempt at having a kid. It’s a path that has freed up my mind to focus on myself and helped me think differently about parenting. It’s an option that helped me unlearn the biases about motherhood that society has planted in my mind. I am now able to decide for myself what my experience will be like.
How my pup has helped me embrace adoption as a future
My partner and I have had our pup for a year. She’s been our greatest source of happiness through this pandemic. And she’s taught us about unconditional love.
She’s such a character, and we know how to read every little gesture of hers. We understand her different barks and whines. We get the message when her tail is held in a certain way. We can relate to every single thing her little eyes and ears communicate.
It doesn’t take the same DNA to feel that connected to your kid. Hell, it doesn’t even take the same species.
Watching your baby grow and change is a fascinating experience. It teaches you to appreciate the little things in life. It teaches you to approach everything with a beginner’s mind.
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Learn to approach your relationship with a beginner’s mind
My pup has given me a new perspective on love and family. And it has further helped me keep my options open towards a human baby.
The idea of adoption has helped me dream again
I don’t know if I’ll end up having a biological kid or adopting one. That’s not what this article is about.
The point is, once I removed the importance of biology in my mind, I was able to dream for myself again. My future was no longer all about getting pregnant at “the right time”.
If you’ve struggled with this thought process, you’ll know how much that change in perspective can free you up. Thinking about adoption is a wonderfully introspective process and everyone can benefit from it, irrespective of the outcome.