Adoption is not something that I have direct personal experience with, but it is something my partner and I are strongly considering for our family’s future. It’s something that I would strongly encourage everyone to consider if they are looking to start or grow a family. The concept of adoption lines up with a lot of the values I hold, and solves a societal problem on multiple levels. The first reason for consideration is infertility or high-risk pregnancy. If a person or couple cannot conceive on their own, or the risks are too great, adoption is certainly a less costly and more time efficient alternative to surrogacy, in vitro fertilization and other fertility treatments. Then, there is the global issue of overpopulation. Part of that is educating and empowering women on prevention of unwanted and unplanned pregnancy and providing safe access to abortions. The other side is educating and empowering women in planning whether or when to have children of their own. Children are wonderful in so many ways – they add purpose, interest, joy and reward to our lives – but, the reality is that they produce waste and take up space on the planet in a big way. Now, I’m not judging families who want biological children, as I am clearly a pregnancy and birth advocate and I, myself, planned my pregnancies; they were thought through. It is possible to celebrate new life while simultaneously recognizing the enormous opportunity that exists when there are so many people who want children, and so many children here already who need loving homes.
If you have hesitations or fears at the thought of adoption – and if you are thoughtful about your decisions, you undoubtedly will – remember, that becoming a parent takes courage no matter how you go about it. Don’t write it off because it seems intimidating. Think of all of the things in life that were scary but came with a huge reward; that maybe changed the course of your life for the better, in ways that you couldn’t even fathom at the time. Maybe it was telling your partner ‘I love you’ for the first time or buying a plane ticket or quitting a job. And isn’t that what life is kind of all about? If you can overcome that fear in the name of possibility, you are already proving yourself to be a commendable parent. Don’t put it in the out-of-the-question bin because the children up for adoption might be challenging in some way or another. There are no guarantees with biological children either, in terms of health or behaviour. Maybe you don’t have the capacity to take on a child with known complex needs by choice, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t be a perfect fit to another child waiting for a family just like yours.