Adoption is my first choice for motherhood, not my last resort
- I'm 29 years old and married, and people constantly ask my husband and me when we are having kids.
- I never felt the need to share DNA with a child for me to care for them.
If I had a dollar for every time someone stared expectantly at my belly, I could probably retire now, at the age of 29.
Adoption is my first choice for parenthood if I decide to have kids later in life, when I would be considered a "geriatric mother." Even if I were to have children tomorrow, I would pursue
I have never felt like I need to share DNA to care for a child, and with so many children already in existence, I don't feel compelled to add more.
Yet for so many people, adoption is seen as the last resort after they exhaust all other avenues of parenthood.
Many parents would rather try for a baby for years, going through in vitro fertilization and surrogacy before considering adoption. After speaking with two mothers who have adopted children, I am more certain of my choice than ever before.
I'm not alone in wanting to potentially start a family through adoption
Tiffini Hein runs the Maletsatsi Foundation, a nonprofit that houses children who are waiting to get adopted or be reunited with their families while their cases are being settled. Caring for children who aren't biologically hers is integral to her life. She has adopted and fostered children of her own, in addition to caring for those in the process of finding their forever families.
"It's always been an obvious one for our own family that we would grow our family through adoption," Hein told Insider. "It was assumed that it was our last option. 'Could you not have kids?' But that wasn't the reason we chose to adopt."
She is also acutely aware of the "last-resort" narrative that often surrounds adoption.
"I've realized that for many adult adoptees who were adopted post-failed-IVF journeys or post-lengthy-infertility journeys, there's a sense of not being the first choice," she said.
As someone who strives to maintain first families — the family into which a child is born — Hein knows that adoption is complex. She said the first step in adoption should be holding space for these children, acknowledging that immense trauma had been undergone before they were brought into another family.
For Bongi Hill, a 36-year-old doctor in the Western Cape, South Africa, adoption has been her first choice ever since she was a child.
"In my mind, I was like, 'Why add children to the world when there are children who already exist that need parents?'" she said.
When asked why she thought adoption remained an unpopular avenue for
As for the adoption paperwork, Hill and her husband didn't go through any of it alone, which created anticipation for everyone involved.
"Our friends had to be our referees, and we had letters from all our close friends and family for our adoption profile book," she said.
Love doesn't need a biological connection
I have always believed that biological connection is not necessary for loving a child. One need only look at countless people who have fractured relationships with their biological families. Or consider those with close-knit chosen families — people who don't share DNA but share your life and your heart.
Sometimes, people ask if I'm worried about what might be lurking in the parental histories of my hypothetical adopted child — some biological hazard that may come through that I could somehow vet if I conceived my own baby. In response, I say that I don't even know the horrors that may lurk in my own DNA, never mind my husband's. Aside from my hereditary heart condition, there may be many issues that turn out to be genetic. I come with my own set of complications — so who am I to give up on an adopted child for the same reason?
People are also quick to ask if I'm not interested in what my own child would look like. I am. It's just not a good enough reason for me to choose biological parenting over adoptive parenting.
I wish more parents would consider adoption as the first route into parenthood as opposed to the last-ditch attempt before giving up completely. I strongly believe that I need not give birth to become a mother.
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