- I’m 29 and married, and people are constantly asking my husband and me when we’re having kids.
- I never felt the need to share a child’s DNA to care for them.
- I believe that it is not necessary to give birth to be a mother.
If I had a dollar for every time someone stared at my belly, I could probably retire now, at age 29.
My husband and I aren’t planning on having kids anytime soon, and I’m not worried about my “biological clock” running out because I never intended to use my biology to become a mother. .
Adoption is my first choice for parenting if I decide to have children later in life, when I would be considered a “geriatric mom.” Even if I were to have children tomorrow, I would pursue the adoption.
I’ve never felt the need to share my DNA to care for a child, and with so many existing children, I don’t feel compelled to add more.
Yet for so many, adoption is seen as the last resort after exhausting all other avenues of parenthood.
Many parents prefer to 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 than ever of my choice.
I’m not the only one who potentially wants to start a family through adoption
Tiffini Hein leads the Maletsatsi Foundation, a non-profit organization that houses children waiting to be adopted or reunited with their families while their cases are resolved. Caring for children who are not biologically his own is an integral part of his life. She has adopted and fostered her own children, in addition to caring for those who are in the process of finding forever families.
“It was always obvious to our own family that we would expand our family through adoption,” Hein told Insider. “We assumed that was our last option. ‘Could you not have kids?’ But that wasn’t the reason we chose to adopt.”
She’s also acutely aware of the “last resort” narrative that often surrounds adoption.
“I realized that for many adult adoptees who were adopted after failed IVFs or long journeys of infertility, they feel like they’re not 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 to set aside space for these children, acknowledging that immense trauma had been suffered before they were brought to another family.
For Bongi HillA 36-year-old doctor from the Western Cape, South Africa, adoption has been her first choice since she was a child.
“In my head, I was like, ‘Why add kids to the world when there are kids out there who already need parents?'” she said.
When asked why she thinks adoption remains an unpopular avenue for parents, Hill said many may be put off by the amount of paperwork and money. adoption process implied. For her, the costs of having her biological son and adopting her daughter were quite similar. She paid R30,000, or about $2,000, for each process.
As far as the adoption papers go, Hill and her husband haven’t been through anything alone, which has created anticipation for everyone involved.
“Our friends were to be our referees, and we received letters from all of 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 to love a child. Just look at the countless people who have severed ties 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 me if I’m worried about what might be lurking in the parenting stories of my hypothetical adopted child – a biohazard that might arise that I could somehow check if I was conceiving my own baby. In response, I say that I don’t even know the horrors that can lurk in my own DNA, let alone my husband’s. Aside from my hereditary heart disease, there may be many issues that turn out to be genetic. I come with my own complications – so who am I to abandon an adopted child for the same reason?
People are also quick to ask me if I’m not interested in what my own child would look like. I am. That’s just not enough of a reason for me to choose biological parenting over adoptive parenting.
I wish more parents saw adoption as the first path to parenthood rather than the last attempt before giving up completely. I firmly believe that I don’t need to give birth to become a mother. Motherhood is so much more complex than that.