The truth about wanting a baby
We're looking to adopt an infant under one year old.
We feel our hearts leading us to adopt a baby.
My door is always open for a baby under age 2.
If you ONLY want to adopt a baby, you are among the majority.
Most hopeful adoptive parents are only open to adopting a baby, or at the very least a toddler child under age 5. In fact, once a child is over the age of just 2 years old, their chances of finding a committed adoptive home decrease considerably (you can see the stark difference on this graph below from Partners for our children, a child welfare nonprofit.)
People think that they will bond more easily with babies, not realizing that 1) much of your bonding journey is based on your own attachment style and the heart work YOU put in and that 2) little babies grow into kids and adults who still wrestle with the lifelong trauma that comes with being adopted. People think that babies can be molded more easily into the type of person that they always dreamed their child would be, when in reality parenting is more about loving your child's true self unconditionally than it is about fulfilling one's own expectations. Many have the (misinformed and incorrect) assumption that by adopting a baby they are sidestepping the darker sides of adoption, and that their child will have no complicated feelings or trauma related to adoption at all.
People often ask me when my boyfriend and I are planning on having "one of our own" (by that they mean a biological baby) or they ask "Don't you at least want to ADOPT a baby someday?"
Here's the thing: I get it. I really do.
The truth is, there are babies that I really, really want, that I long to hold so much it physically hurts.
There are babies whose cheeks I would give anything to kiss. I would trade a year of my life for one minute to smell their heads, to fold their soft, squishy bodies into my arms and feel their weight.
There are babies I wish with all of my heart that I had gotten the chance to hold and protect, sing little songs to and rock to sleep every single night. I wish I could wake up in the middle of the night when these babies were scared and scoop their damp wailing selves out of their cribs and nestle their small, round faces into the crook of my neck. I would do anything to hold each of these babies in turn while they slept on my chest, the whole length of their bodies no longer than the length of my torso.
Soft and small, still untouched by trauma and loss. My arms keeping them safe until morning.
But the babies I long to hold had a longer and more broken road than that, and I didn't get a chance to love on them until they were 14, 8, and 4 years old.
My little boys, my three perfect sons. If I could bend time to my will, if I could choose any babies in the world to raise from birth, it would be the three I'm already raising.
I would do anything, give anything, to be able to go back to the beginning and be there for MY babies when they were small, and needed me. To be there for each of their mamas who were sick, and scared, and had no one in their corners. For their fathers, whose best they could wasn't anywhere near what was needed but who each had an immense love for, and pride in, their sons.
I would give anything to have been able to give everyone in the story of my boys' babyhoods a safer, less traumatic time than the one that they had.
Hopeful adoptive parents, I know you're scared. You're worried it won't mean as much, that the bond won't come, that the lost years will be too difficult for both of you to overcome.
Although many of you can't or won't admit it, even to yourself, you're scared that the love will feel different.
I'm telling you right now, it doesn't. I've never felt about anyone or anything the way I feel about my three children. My body didn't make them, and I never knew them as babies, but my soul recognizes theirs.
If infant adoption is the only path you will consider, that is your choice. There's no shame in pursuing an (ethical, open, non-coercive) infant adoption.
But if infant adoption is not working for you...if you're curious about different pathways...if you think you can be brave, and learn new things, and change your mindset...if you think you can overcome the societal message of "babies are better"....if you are tired of waiting and competing with countless other families for a baby that has a waitlist a mile long of other options...consider adopting one of the many, many older children whose chances are low, who have no waitlist, who are just as worthy and wonderful.
A baby may or may not come along, but these older children are waiting right now to be someone's baby again.
And to those who want to ask me if I ever want a REAL baby, my OWN baby, a biological child...my honest answer to you is no.
I already have three of my own perfect babies right here.
Little baby Lijah as a toddler.
Our sweet Juju bean on the day he was born.
Chubby baby Yue Lin at the aquarium.
My babies, my boys. I wouldn't trade the adventure I'm on with the three of you for any other. Mama loves you with everything in me, everything. No babies could be any more my own than the three of you are.