“Happy” Endings to Adoption Stories

Bear with me. This post is more of a rant than anything else. But we all need those every once in a while, right?

I was just on a parenting website and landed on an article about adoption. The story followed all of the stereotypical adoption story lines:

Couple wanted a baby. Couple suffered infertility. Couple spent thousands on IVF. Couple resigned their destiny to adoption. Couple waited forever. Failed match. Lying birthmom. Baby born addicted to drugs. Finally a placement. And then, the happy ending:

Just a couple of months after bringing their newly adopted baby home from the hospital, Surprise! Mom’s pregnant. The writer then gushes over how “wonderful” adoption works, but pays very little attention to the wonderful parts of adoption and rather plays up the “you never know what might happen” aspect of the story. And the pregnancy. Dreams come true.

Reading this story and hearing others like it leave me so frustrated. I heard once from someone who was unaware of my HG tell me in an attempt to provide reassurance about our adoption, “Well, I had a friend who tried to adopt, but the placement fell through, but then about six months later, she ended up pregnant! She has a beautiful baby girl now! So you never know…” I smiled sweetly, of course, and thanked her for her encouragement, but it really nagged at me.

If our dream right now is adopting another baby, then why would a story about a successful pregnancy bring me peace and hope? If I had a friend who was trying to get pregnant and I shared with her the most beautiful adoption story I’ve ever heard, I somehow don’t think she would feel encouraged in her attempts to conceive.

As potential adoptive parents, the most encouraging things I can hear are stories of couples who adopted babies and are now happy and healthy as a family. I love to hear stories about couples who adopted and felt blessed and satisfied in that adoption… Not stories about couples who adopted and then magically got pregnant and are now thrilled. Would they still be thrilled if they never got pregnant? Was their dream of a family complete after they brought home their adopted baby?

And why is it that people feel that these stories are the kind of stories we adoptive families want or need to hear? Regardless of how many stories I read or people tell me about families getting pregnant after adopting, please know that we will Never {save for a miraculous act of God} have another baby biologically. Period. And to be pregnant is not a dream of mine. Therefore, such stories do not fill my mind with wonder and heart with joy. I’m not settling on adoption. Maybe I’m being a super-grouch today, but seriously!

That’s how those stories sound to me:

Mike and Susie tried to get pregnant for years, but couldn’t. They spent thousands on IVF and depleted their bank accounts doing so to no avail. They realized they had to let go of their dream family. Susie heard about an adoption story on TV and approached Mike with the idea. He was reluctant and needed to be talked into it. Eventually they were both on board with the {second best} idea of adoption, and applied. They were called about a possible situation and said yes. A baby boy was born and they brought him home. Two months later, Susie was thrilled to discover she was pregnant, and surprised Mike with the news. Their dreams came true after all.

It’s also hurtful for adoptive families to be told that as soon as they have a baby in their home, they will get pregnant. This does not happen often. It is however, documented often, in articles such as these. Which is probably why people are under the impression that it happens “all the time.” It’s not an encouraging idea to us. At least not to me. To me, it feels like people are saying, “Well, while you pursue that silly idea, maybe God will bless you with a REAL baby of your own!”

I just want to see in a non-adoption magazine or blog an article written about a positive adoption experience that doesn’t involve the family ultimately getting pregnant. It seems like when mainstream parenting magazines try to appeal to the adoptive parents by including happy adoptive family stories in their publications, they end up missing the mark. I can’t say I really blame them. Most of them have no personal experience, and many of them include product or website plugs alongside the actual story. But it is certainly frustrating that the idea of a successful adoption story to those on the “outside” is one in which not only does a family adopt but they also have their infertility problems rectified.

Perhaps the rest of the world has a hard time swallowing the fact that sometimes infertility can’t be resolved. Or they dislike the idea that some couples, when diagnosed with infertility, are happy to pursue adoption. They feel, it seems, that if they can’t “fix” the pregnancy problem, then the story isn’t full-circle enough. Happy couple suffering the pain of infertility and adopting a beautiful baby isn’t enough. The pregnancy problem must be fixed.

Or they’re just insensitive to the idea that there are many of us who go into adoption hoping to adopt a baby. That sentence sounds weird, but I have heard from many people throughout this journey, “You never know, I mean, you may get distracted enough during your adoption that you get pregnant!” I guess they are assuming that we have chosen adoption because of infertility. I usually just laugh and say, “That sounds like a nightmare!” It kind of shocks them out of that line of thought. Perhaps some people think that adoption is a last resort, and that people pursue adoption to distract themselves from their severe baby-hunger until they naturally become pregnant on their own.

I’m done with my ranting, but I still wish these large publications like American Baby Magazine or Parenting Magazine would publish some truly pro-adoption articles instead of happy-ending infertility articles that happen to feature adoption.




Filed under Adoption General

4 responses to ““Happy” Endings to Adoption Stories

  1. oh well dang….I guess people will look at me weird when/if they find out adoption was my first choice instead of using a sperm donor (my single status you know), and that I’m planning on tying my tubes or whatever it is they do when I’m done adopting my 2nd. I’ve always been a rebel like that ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. Justin

    “I still wish these large publications like American Baby Magazine or Parenting Magazine would publish some truly pro-adoption articles instead of happy-ending infertility articles that happen to feature adoption.”
    I’m with you! So often adoption is almost featured as the next-best thing to being a ‘true’ parent – and that’s far from the case. I haven’t adopted children or been adopted myself, but I have friends that have gone through the process and are wonderful parents to their babies.
    I love to hear individual stories about adoption, whether its from a friend or in a book (“Children of the Manse” by Lewis Luchs is wonderful – http://www.childrenofthemanse.com). Thanks for sharing your story – and putting in the perspective of so many infertility stories I’ve read without thinking about them.

  3. Lucy

    I could not agree with you more. Thank you for putting into words something i just cannot get others- ok my sisters- to understand. We werent infertile really. I had a childhood illness that left me unable to carry a baby. When you ar 13, you choose life, not even thinking or worrying about babies. I am not waiting to be distracted so i can get pregnant. We just wait. So far, we have been waiting almost 3 years.

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