Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We are selfish and greedy./Are we selfish and greedy?

The internet is a blessing and a curse. As we come to grips with the realities of not being able to have our own genetic child(ren) I find myself looking for some type of reassurance about adoption, donor conception, etc. I have not found it. Instead I've found a plethora of blogs written by adult adoptees, firstmothers/birthmothers and donor-conceived adults that decry adoption and donor conception. Essentially, for me, reading the stories of some* of these bloggers has given me the impression me that no matter how much love, support and openness there is a child will never fully recover from not being raised by his or her genetic parents. One blogger wrote something along the lines of 'using donor sperm/eggs/embryos is using selfishness and greed to become a mother'. The blogs of many adult adoptees and firstmothers/birthmothers are similar in tone. The jest I get from them is that an adoptee can never recover from the pain of being adopted and a firstmother/birthmother can never recover from the loss and heartache experienced with choosing adoption.  Based on their opinions the options that we as an infertile couple have are a) live child free; b) foster/adopt older children in the system already; c) financially support pregnant women so that they can keep their children. That's it. "Sorry your bodies don't work any more but it's not our problem." "Have a dream of parenthood? That's just wrong and selfish on your part." It seems we're screwed not matter what. I know that adoption is not rainbows and sunshine, that it's the gain of the adoptive family is the loss of the first family. I also know that the current state of adoption is not the best/most ethical system either. I just thought that in spite of these things there was still happiness and love to be found for all parties involved - the child, the first family and the adoptive family

*I'd like to say not every blog I found on these subjects felt this way but what I personally found was a overwhelming majority of those with negative experiences vs. those with positive experiences. I have found some bloggers that share personal stories that are, while still difficult, more positive about adoption/donor conception.

Does wanting to be a parent make me selfish? I guess so. I suppose if I was a more altruistic person I (we) would apply to adopt through the state foster care system. Or offer our financial support to low-income pregnant women/couples. So yes, I am a selfish, greedy person. I want to be a mother, my husband wants to be a father and I'd like to be able to experience pregnancy. In all our discussions about adoption or using donor sperm/eggs/embryos we've never once thought about hiding the truth from any potential children. We want them to know their origins, the story of how they came to be. I will say that reading the stories of donor conceived adults has made me realize how important it is use to know the identity of any donors we choose. (We had already known we would have an open adoption if adoption was the route we took). I suppose in a way it's lucky the DIUI in January didn't work since it was an anonymous donor. 

As we continue to prepare for the opportunity to use donor embryos I hope and pray that if we are lucky enough to get pregnant and have a child via donor embryos, we'll be able to have a good relationship with the donor couple. Reading the NEDC blog gives me hope for that type of scenario. I know that having a child that is not genetically ours will be difficult, not so much for us, but for that child, as he/she grows into adulthood. I can only hope that the answers, the understanding, the support we give will help he/she understand why we made the decisions that we did, selfish and greedy or not. It is scary because embryo donation is still so new and the social and emotional ramifications will not be known for years. We can only try to make the very best decisions we can with the information we have. 


  1. It makes me so sad that you have been hearing such negative things about adoption and donor contraception. I so strongly feel that adoption is not at all greedy but is extremely GENEROUS. No matter how those bloggers may feel, the reality is that women all over the world will be giving up their babies for adoption or choosing abortion and to say that it is selfish to want to care for those children instead of letting them waste away in orphanages or the foster care system is absolutely crazy. Being a Christian in the southern-baptist Bible-belt south I am literally surrounded by families (10 that i can think of off the top of my head) who are currently pursuing adoption or have recently adopted children (some due to infertility, some due to the desire to bring "unwanted" children into loving families). My best friend from childhood was also adopted and never expressed any anger or issues but deeply loved her adopted family for giving her a wonderful life. However you choose to go about this, you are NOT being selfish at all. If you want to read a very positive pro-adoption book (though from a very conservative Christian viewpoint) a ton of my friends are going through the book Adopted for Life by Russell Moore and many have chosen to pursue adoption for that reason.

    Again, regardless of how you pursue becoming parents, don't let anyone's bitterness convince you that you are being selfish. Ironically, I have felt guilt and the same types of judgment for the fact that my husband & I are waiting to have children. I think it just goes to show that this is an emotionally charged issue, and whatever we feel, someone is going to disagree. We have to make the right decisions for our families.


  2. I've found the same thing in reading adult adoptee and firstmother blogs. It really makes me question my motives -- and yes, I suppose it is selfish at some level to want to be a parent. But is it any more selfish than satisfying other basic needs? I don't think so.

    I do think there are a lot of problems with the way adoption works both domestically and internationally, but all you can do is make sure (to the extent you can) that you're working with ethical people and being as honest as possible.

    I think it's great that you're thinking about things from this side, and whatever you choose, having seen these perspectives will definitely help you tell your child his/her own story.