“Oh, you can’t carry on your own? Why don’t you just adopt?”
This is something I’ve heard a number of times. So far, I’ve answered it just about the same to everyone: that it’s important to my partner and I to try to have biological children for the same reasons it was before we realized we needed to utilize surrogacy. That’s our personal choice, and for that reason it’s what we plan on doing.
It’s a simple answer, but it rarely satisfies the question that’s really being asked. In my view, most (not all) of the people who ask the question subconsciously mean this: ‘If you’re a parent who needs a baby, why don’t you just adopt a baby who needs a parent?’
I applaud the couples and single parents who choose adoption. Adoption is a wonderful thing. However, it isn’t the right choice for everyone. Right now, at this stage of our lives, adoption isn’t a choice that Zane and I have decided to pursue – and that’s totally okay!
Talking to people about how they’re building their family is something that should always be done respectfully and gently. Even those who put on a brave face can be struggling. Though we’re very public in our journey with surrogacy, not every person is.
Be aware that when you ask Intended Parents (IPs) using surrogacy why they don’t just adopt instead, they may feel that you’re diminishing their choice and minimizing their experience.
Let’s flip the situation: If a couple confided in you that they were going to begin to try for a baby, would you ask them if they’d considered continuing birth control and adopting instead? You wouldn’t, because that would be an inappropriate and judgemental comment. The same goes for surrogacy. People have the right to choose how they would like to become parents, and it’s our job to respect their choices.
A friend of ours, who underwent IVF for secondary infertility had a particularly precocious 7-year old who asked, “Mom, was I made the regular way or the science way?”
“The regular way.” Our friend replied, not knowing precisely if she knew what the ‘regular way’ entailed.
“Oh…” said the 7-year old. She paused and then simply said, “Ew.”
Even though our baby will be made the ‘science way,’ I can guarantee you it will have the same love, care, and magic that goes into making a baby any other way. I’m sure of it.
In short, my answer to the question, “Why don’t you just adopt?” is simply, “Why don’t you?”