Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Last week I had a teenage patient who was gang raped and decided to give her baby up for adoption. She was not sure what race the baby would be, but found a lovely couple who was happy to have a baby regardless of circumstance. The mother of the baby and the adoptive couple were both Caucasian, but the baby had a chance of being Caucasian, or a mixed African American or Hispanic race. The adoptive parents were fully aware of not only this but also that the birth mother could see her baby and change her mind about the adoption at any time leaving the adoptive parents bereft and emotionally spent.

Upon the birth of a beautiful Caucasian/African American baby girl, the mother held her baby close, smelled her, kissed her and then asked the adopting parents, "Do you want to hold your baby?" There was not a dry eye in the room.

At discharge the birth mother hugged the adoptive parents and said, "Thank you for adopting my baby. I know you love her and will give her a good home."

This epic event gave me pause and much to contemplate. If 4 rounds of IUIs do not work, would I be able to give up my dream of having my own biological child and adopt? Would I be able to love another person's child as my own? Would I fall instantaneously in love with a baby as this couple did?

After much soul searching into the deep abyss of hidden feelings, I came to the conclusion that I could not.

I really, truly want to experience it all - conception, pregnancy, labor and delivery, breastfeeding, sleepless nights - the whole kit and caboodle. I know I would be giving up my entire dream if I adopted.

I also cannot imagine that I could love a stranger's child as my own. I see babies born on a daily basis and whilst they are sweet, cuddly and precious, I am not in love with them nor do I feel an emotional connection to any of them. It is hard for me to imagine feeling that same unconditional love and joy for an adopted baby as I see parents express for their own children. There is something to be said about that bond that is formed during pregnancy and the emotions experienced at birth - all of those mechanisms, hormones and emotions link the mother to the child intuitively. I know a bond can be created with an adoptive relationship, I just do not know how it is formed.

I do know that I would not love a child instantaneously. Maybe it would grow over time, but I do not see in myself the same characteristics that this couple had. I have several friends and patients who have adopted and I admire them greatly. They love their adopted children unconditionally and as their own, and for those that also have their own biological children, there is no difference between how they love and treat the children. In my family, I have seen several family members treat their adoptive children and step children differently, and in the case of the step children, horrifically. I know I could never treat a child cruelly but I worry that I would not love an adopted child enough, completely.

My heart does hurt for all those children waiting to be adopted, especially in countries like Russia and Romania where they are failing to thrive due to a lack of love and human touch and solely existing on boiled fruit juice and a couple spoonfuls of food a day. I wish I could love and help them all, but realistically this is not possible.

After looking at countless pages of babies and children waiting to be adopted, I started to wonder why there were not more people willing to adopt. But after looking into the costs for adoption, I understand a bit better. I found that the cost for adopting vs IVF is virtually the same (oftentimes adoption fees are even higher than IVF), and with IVF, parents are given the chance to go through pregnancy and have their own biological child for the same price, if not less. It is no wonder more people opt for IVF over adoption.

This was definitely a challenging soul searching journey that brought up many ugly realities that I was saddened to face. In the end it left me feeling morose and worried that we may not be able to have our own biological children.

If only we could see what the future holds!

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