Thursday, 4 November 2010

Adoption Can Be A First Choice

Day four of National Adoption Week and we bring you a very different tale of adoption. Byrony, her husband (and her cat!), decided that they would like a family. However they decided on a non-conventional route to parenthood. Here's her story.



Like most couples, starting a family is something we have thought and talked about lots and we have decided to adopt, rather than try to have biological children. There are so many children in need of a good home and we feel that is something we can provide. Perhaps not the first reason that springs to mind when people think of adoption but one we thought would be valid and accepted.

I was prepared for peoples initial reaction. I knew they would presume we had problems conceiving. However the second reaction was one that I wasn’t prepared for. That is the question: “Aren’t you a bit young?”

We're 25, have been together 7 years, married for 2, with our own house. I never thought we would be considered a “young” couple. To get this reaction from friends of a similar age that have children of there own makes me think the problem isn’t our age at all, but the idea about who adopts. I'm certain if I told them I was pregnant my age would not have crossed their mind.

When looking into adoption before we applied I found it quite hard to find information about younger couples adopting. This goes hand in hand with the idea that adoption is generally a second choice. If you are unable to have biological children, the time it takes trying to have children, realising there is a problem and perhaps trying IVF before coming to the decision to adopt, will inevitable notch up the years. The legal age to adopt is 21. However the message I got from some of the people working to find adoptive families is that they didn't believe someone in their mid 20's is capable of adoption, although it seems to be an accepted age to start a biological family.

Some of the agencies I spoke to were extremely negative from the moment I mentioned our ages, making the decision that we were not suitable to adopt from a five minute telephone conversation. We have been accepted to be assessed by an agency who are very positive about us being a “different type of family.” But the whole fact they we are considered different makes me feel a little disappointed as well. Although adoption seems to have got a lot more open it is still considered second best to having "your own" children.

I'm not so naïve as to think that adoption is the same as having biological children and therefore should be the first choice for everyone. Adopted children will have a different set of needs to other children. But I do think that adoption needs to be promoted as being a choice not a last resort. I believe the best way to do this is for people starting their family through adoption by choice talk about their experiences. Although they might not be considered the norm, they are certainly not alone.

If you are interested in adoption visit www.nationaladoptionweek.org.uk

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I couldn't agree more and I find it great that your partner and you are thinking like that. Apart from most people considering adoption as a last resort if at all I also struggle with people who are desperate to have kids but would not want to look at adopting any!
And don't get me wrong I can understand that having your own biological kids is important to lots of people, but why not give a kid that is looking for a family a place where it belongs if you are desperate for children?

mumstheword said...

Today I got a card from my Dad saying "Happy Memories of Bonfire Night 1969 and many years of memories since"
He adopted me with my late mum and I love them both very much

mrsmooshoes said...

This is a great blog.
We adopted our daughter in January this year - I'm in my late twenties though my husband is in his thirties.
Although we can't have children naturally, adoption isn't a second-best choice for us to have a family - it's just a different one, no better no worse than having our own biological children would have been.
Changing perception of adoption as more than a last or second-best resort is so important and valuable - thank you for sharing your story!

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