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poisonedantidote's avatar

Adoption: do you really need your kids to have your DNA within them?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21539 points ) September 15th, 2012

I was having a talk with my girlfriend the other day about having kids some day, and the subject of adoption came up.

She mentioned the idea of adopting, and I could instantly think of plenty of good arguments in favor of it.

However, while I found my self in favor of adopting, part of me still wanted “a real kid”. I was then struck by what a horrible thought that is, imagine having a father that sees one child as his child but the other as his real-deal proper child.

So, do I (or you) really have to have a child that has your actual DNA in their genetic makeup? Where does this impulse/instinct come from?

Would it be better if we all adopt until no more kids are left needing parents?

Would it be better to keep passing on our own DNA so that evolution and the gene pool don’t get stunted?

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16 Answers

gasman's avatar

I didn’t. I married my wife just after her divorce, when she had two girls ages 3 and 1. They’ve always known me as “Dad” and as the guy who raised them. I’ve always considered them my children and avoided calling them “step-children.” Meanwhile, within a year of getting married, we had a son of our own “the old-fashioned way.” I treat all 3 kids the same and we’ve all enjoyed a great relationship together.

Other than some physical resemblance, my son (who carries my DNA) and my daughters (who do not) are about equal in sharing some of my characteristics and being the complete opposite in many other ways. In other words, I’ve done the controlled experiment and can report that genetic inheritance is way overrated in its importance at determining how your offspring relate to you.

janbb's avatar

When things are going really badly, it is helpful if you know that you were the creator of this problem and you are solely responsible! Said somewhat tongue in cheek, and I would certainly adopt and fully love an adopted child, but I was happy that I could see the offspring of my own and my husband’s genes.

marinelife's avatar

Having your own child is special and totally different. It is not so much that an adopted child does not have your DNA, it is that you don’t know (usually) whose DNA they do have.

Nothing against adoption by the way.

There is this sense of recognition when you see a baby from your family. My nephews have some of my traits and characteristics as does my great niece.

ragingloli's avatar

Is this some sort of innuendo?

geeky_mama's avatar

I have a stepdaughter that I’ve raised from age 1 – and I can see my “fingerprints” all over her – and love her just as much and in the same way as the two kids that I carried “in my belly”. Like @gasman, I really find that having a genetic contribution is highly unnecessary to the whole parenting/family relationship equation.

I’d love to adopt – but my husband isn’t so keen on the idea for financial reasons..
That said, we do foster a boy about our son’s age much of the time, and we are the neighborhood “kid house” so we frequently have other kids staying with us.. Also, we have had a few exchange student (one for nearly a year, a few for about a month) and have considered taking in (semi-permanently) a friend of our oldest daughter who needed a place to stay when her single-mom was being evicted.

I have dear friends who’ve adopted (both international and domestic) and their adopted children are loved just the same as their children “by birth”—it appears to matter not how they joined the family—they’re family however it came to be.

As for passing on your own DNA..well, no offense but unless your blood has double-immunity or anti-HIV properties – or like a friend of mine of Persian-descent who has amazing properties to his blood that medical researchers are studying (because he never gets sick and heals amazingly quickly) or you come from a long line of Nobel Prize Winning geniuses…well, you’re probably not “stunting” the gene pool by not having a biologically conceived child and adopting a child who needs a loving set of parents instead.

gailcalled's avatar

I was young and unable to resist the inchoate yearning to get pregnant. So I didn’t resist and I got pregnant and had two children. Since it was as easy as falling off a log, I never got analytical about it.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, I always wanted kids, and when I had fertility problems I never took the step to adopt. At least I haven’t yet. I wanted to have our children, my husband and me, born from us. I also feel that if I had one of my own, and then adopted more later, I would love them all as my own, but for whatever reason in the reverse, adopt and then maybe have a natural happen by good luck, is not exactly the same. Other women I have talked to, and even once I read a magazine article, with women stating they feel the same way. For whatever reason, rational or not, the order matters to some of us if the family was a mix of adopted and biolgoical. But, it looks like if I ever am going to have a baby I will most likely have to adopt. I recently changed my mind about possible have an egg donor and my husband’s sperm, still not sure yet. I might never have children.

If I was able to have children I never would have considered adopting I don’t think. But, people vary so much on this topic. I think it is wonderful when people adopt, especially when the child is difficult to place.

I truly believe adoptive parents love the children as their own 99% of the time. They are their children. Even if you don’t share DNA, they have a piece of you, because you raise, them, you model for them, you are their parents. Yet still I have the desire to have my own biological children. I don’t care about being pregnant, some women care about that.

I have never been someone who wanted a mini me. I think if my child had different interests and hobbies it would be enthralling to see them excell and focus on something I never considered or never could do myself. But, their is a part of me that wants to see my husband in their face, or their hair, if they happen to look like me that would be cool too, but I don’t care much about it.

Kids to me does sort of gives me a feeling of continuing my line. An immortality of sorts.

Coloma's avatar

I have one biological daughter but always wanted to adopt! I think I would have had more than enough love to go around and would not have felt any bias. My ex felt differently and so it never happened. I have always wanted to adopt an asian child, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, etc. I don;t know why, but I just adore asian babies and would have found it incredibly rewarding to give a child an opportunity at a brand new and better life.

I think my deep feelings for asian children were set in place during the VIetnam era. All the amerasian children left behind. Tragic and despicable!
There is just something so WRONG about fathering children during war time flings. Bah!

AstroChuck's avatar

I have three daughters. The two oldest are my biological children (now grown with families of their own) and my youngest we adopted. We’ve had her since she was two-days old. I can tell you unequivocally that my love for them all is the same. The fact that she shares none of our DNA is no issue. Have no fears. The love you have for an adopted child is no different than that for a biological child. Anyone who tells you otherwise has no experience with adoption.

wundayatta's avatar

I believe people who say they love adopted children just the same. What I wonder, though, is whether they understand them the same.

Children are full of unexpected behaviors. I found myself wondering where they got them from, with respect to my own children. I don’t know how many things they did that we never taught them. The behaviors just showed up. And then they reminded me of things I did when I was younger. These are pretty ideosyncratic things.

It’s possible that all people do stuff like this, but from my experience, they don’t. There are certain things that my son does with respect to compliments and to self esteem that it doesn’t seem possible they could be learned. It has to be built into him, somehow. And since it is exactly like me, I can relate to it, and understand it, whereas for other people it is a sign of some pathology.

Their teachers will describe some behavior, and even though I’ve never seen it, I know it exactly, because I used to behave that way. So I can explain it.

Maybe all kids do this stuff. Maybe someone who was unrelated to me would do the same thing. But I am not sure about this.

So for me, being bio-Dad gives me a certain comfort about knowing my kids and feeling close to them that I do not feel with other people’s children. I think I could love other children equally well. But I doubt I could understand them so well. I would do my best to parent a child no matter how they came into my life, but adoption is not for me, I don’t think.

cookieman's avatar

No I do not. Which is why we chose to adopt. We didn’t even try to conceive.

I never once looked at myself and thought, “Yeah, we need more of that in the world”.

Ya know what we do need? More loving parents for homeless or orphaned children.

So fuck my DNA.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta Someone once said to me that at least with your own biological children the problems are more likely to be problems that run in the family and there is some familiarity with them. Whether it be depression, alcoholism, shyness, ADD, whatever. An adopted child might have problems never observed before by your family. But, of course even biological kids can have problems never expected. The person was not speaking from any statistical data.

ucme's avatar

Yes.

jca's avatar

I wanted my own child and I’m not ashamed to admit it, nor do I think anybody should have to be.

I was an “older mother” and at the point where if I didn’t get pregnant, I would have been fine adopting a foster child or even taking in a child of someone who I knew personally and that needed a temporary home, and loving that child like my own.

I am glad I had my own, and would still consider an alternative arrangement if one ever arose.

Seek's avatar

I have one biological son.

My husband wants more children. I told him flat out that I have no intention of ever carrying another fetus. If it’s ever a sound logical decision to bring more children into our home, I’d be more than willing to adopt. There is a great history of adoption in my family (my own father was the youngest of six kids, three of whom including him were adopted) and I’d be proud to carry that on.

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