To adopt or not to adopt…

My eyes were slowly closing by the time I reached the top floor of my apartment building and unlocked my door. I could smell the sweat and dirt on me as I pulled my sweater over my head. Just as the fabric brushed my face, sweet chocolate filled my nose. I turned the cotton over in my hands and found not little but huge smudges of chocolate around the buttons and sleeves. With exhaustion creeping in, I felt a surge of happiness. This state could only be caused by an entire afternoon spent with toddling, giggling, adorable children.

While my  personal thoughts on children has remained private as of late, people have asked me all my life, “Will you adopt?”

Will I adopt?

That’s a difficult question to answer.

Have I ever considered adopting children? Yes.

Can I see myself adopting? Of course.

Will I adopt? I don’t know. Adopted or not, I don’t think anyone can answer that question at the drop of a hat at a random time in their life – let alone when they’re young, sometimes unwed and still “perfecting” their first job. Maybe Angelina Jolie could have said Yes…

But it wasn’t the answer that made me flush, it was the question. The way it was asked. As if it is assumed that all adopted children would absolutely adopt. Each and every person who has asked me if I am GOING to adopt children has an expected answer in their head: a resounding and confident YES.

Well, my answer today is no.

Okay. That’s strong. My answer is “no, I will not turn to adoption until I first try the old fashioned way.”

While, of course, I’d adopt, I don’t want to feel guilty when I say that I want to have-HAVE-children. I don’t want to feel bad when I say, “I want to be pregnant. I want to carry my children. I want to experience the 9 – give or take – months of doctors appointments, sonograms, breathing exercises, pregnant yoga… I want to get home early and surprise my husband with the news. I want both of us to then enact our plan of surprising our parents in a creative way that I may or may not have been planning for years… I want to have parts of me and the man I adore more than life in these children.”

But I feel guilty. I know there are unknown numbers of children out there who do not have homes and that each and every one of them deserves a GOOD home.

That’s just how I feel. But I also know that those feelings of “shoulds” brought on by other people’s expectations cannot dictate my actions or reactions. I also feel that I will be incredibly lucky if I can carry children – perhaps a lot of people don’t see it that way, but from my parents’ and other loved ones’ experiences, I sincerely understand why they believe the ability to create life is a miracle – and why they identify with that sentiment in a stronger way. Being completely out of control of having just one child puts a whole new perspective on it.

So, honestly, while I do hope that I’ll be lucky enough to be able to carry children, I also hope I’ll be lucky enough to know what my parents felt like when they adopted me. But, I guess, no matter how I have children, I’m going to feel like all parents do when they first hold THEIR children. And that’s all that matters in the end.

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