General Question

eadinad's avatar

Is pregnancy really worth the trouble when adoption is an option?

Asked by eadinad (1278points) August 21st, 2008

Most people who’ve had kids naturally say that pregnancy and the ensuing damages were worth it because their kids are so precious and important. I understand that, but I think if you adopted a kid you would feel the same way – aka, love them and feel like you would die for them, etc. So considering how hard pregnancy is on the body, not just during but even afterwards (substantial tearing, depression, weight gain, stretch marks, possible incontinence, etc) why do people more often than not choose natural childbirth over adoption? If you’re a mother, why was it worth it?

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89 Answers

willbrawn's avatar

when I talk with new dads they say the first time you hold your baby. It is a great feeling. Something about making a child and getting the chance to hold him makes me excited to have a child.

I would never pass up that oppertunity.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

well like i heard some on say blood of my blood, flesh of my flesh, and yes i agree with willbrawn.

trumi's avatar

I must say that I have never heard a parent with an adopted child say that their love is any different or less special than that of their other children. Because there are so many orphans in the world, and the world is so freaking overpopulated, I very much support adoption and hope to adopt a few of my own some day.

Hobbes's avatar

@wrestlemaniac DMX is of course well known for his refined views on pregnancy and adoption.

Of course, it’s the mother’s choice, but If I were a woman, I would adopt like a shot. You can keep your bleeding and screaming all to yourself, thanks. =]

Also, I agree with trumi. There are too many homeless kids in the world.

trumi's avatar

And the best part is, you get to pick them out!

I think I’m gonna get mine from South America. Dark brown skin, Spanish accent. Awesome.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

i’d pick mine from scotland.

eadinad's avatar

@ willbrawn – no offense, but I think it would be easy for new dads to feel that way, as they didn’t have to actually do any of the physical work to carry and deliver that child, nor will they deal with any physical repercussions.

mzgator's avatar

I have two stepdaughters, and one bilogical daughter. I have raised my stepdaughters with my husband from the time of nine months for the younger and one and a half years old. I live them both dearly with everything I have. I will not lie. When I had my own daughter( the stepdaughters were three and four) it was different. I don’t know if I love her more, but there is that connection they just she and I share. She has my heart. I could not imagine not having a child of my own. Giving birth to her was awesome for my husband and me. Seeing parts of both of us in her looks and personality. I am not negating adoption at all. I just think if it’s physically possible, get pregnant and have your child… At least one. It’s a miracle that will change your life.

NecroKing's avatar

I liked his movie Entrapment did anyone see it?

wrestlemaniac's avatar

i did you know i did.

cookieman's avatar

We adopted my daughter from China in 2003 – she was 1 year old.
My wife had no interest in getting pregnant – who am I to argue?

My opinion: I feel that having your own baby in this day and age is selfish. There are so many children without homes both domestically and internationally. To at least not investigate the option is short sighted. Giving birth is not a miracle. It is a biological function of most living creatures. Cool and amazing? Sure. Miracle? Hardly.

That being said, I can completely understand why some folk wish to “have their own”.

What truly burns my bagel however, is to see someone try to become pregnant over and over (miscarriages, in vitro, etc. etc.) at great emotional, physical, and financial cost yet never even consider adoption. Blows my mind.

I don’t love my daughter as if she were my own. She is my own in every way that counts.

(Plus, frankly, if you saw me…you’d be glad I didn’t reproduce)

wundayatta's avatar

I agree with cprevite that having your genetic baby is selfish. But, of course, that makes sense, because people who aren’t selfish, don’t have their own children, and their genes drop out of the gene pool, leaving only those with selfish genes. Evolution reinforces selfishness in terms of wanting your own child.

I would also say that if you don’t feel selfish that way, then don’t have a biological child. If you are willing to bring up a person you are not genetically related to, then please do it. There aren’t very many people like you, and there are many children who need someone to love them.

People say that parental love for adopted children is no different than parental love for related children. I’m sure this is true in some cases, but I suspect that the evidence suggests for most people, the story is otherwise. Why else would the wicked stepmother be so prevalent in literature, and abusive step-fathers be so prevalent in our society? Where love is concerned, I’d trust a genetic bond over a adoptive bond, and in a significant majority of cases, I’d probably be right.

I’m infertile, and I went through hell in order to have genetically-related children. It worked for me, but then, I’m selfish. I see myself in my kids, and I think it helps me relate to them better, and understand them better. I only need to think about my own history, to have half a chance of understanding them.

It’s certainly possible to understand adoptive children at almost that level. But there will inevitably be behaviors or health conditions that come from their genes, and since you don’t know the genetic parents, you will have no idea where it comes from, and thus be at a disadvantage in helping your child cope with the problem.

scamp's avatar

wrestle and necro, please find another less serious thread to play in.

I don’t feel like it is selfish to want your own child. I do however think it is selfless for someone to adopt. If could have the best of both worlds, I would have adopted a child after I had my daughter, but it’s not like a trip to the pet store where you just pick one out take it home and raise it. There is are huge legal fees, and you have to go through alot of scrutiny before you are approved.

I applaud the people who have taken a child into their homes and hearts, and those who are willing to do so in the future.

NecroKing's avatar

well I believe that some people will never know the joys of having your own child, unless they experience it, and you’ll never know when, say that adopted child wants to look for his real birth parents.

Snoopy's avatar

Well scamp said it more politely than I would have.

I have two bilogical children. While I think everyone has a right to their own opinon, even if I think they are wrong….I am not selfish, thank you very much.

I also saved $20—$30K being able to have my own kids!

Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it….

cookieman's avatar

@daloon: To suggest that “genetic bond” creates a greater love than “adoptive bond” completely overlooks the thousands of atrocities of abuse subjected upon biological children by their parents each year. Frankly, I think it’s a moot point. Terrible people do terrible things to children regardless of relation. Furthermore, I’d hardly look to Cinderella as a barometer for non-biological outcomes.

@scamp: You bring up a fantastic point that adoption is far too costly and involves way too much paperwork. I’m sure this deters many people.

Snoopy's avatar

@cprevite I would also suggest that the adoption process doesn’t necessarily screen out all the abusive parents…

cookieman's avatar

Completely true Snoopy. But eadinad’s question wasn’t about the propensity of abuse amongst adoptive parents vs. biological parents.

It was “Is pregnancy really worth the trouble when adoption is an option?” My opinion happens to be no.

wundayatta's avatar

I mean selfish in the sense that you want something of yourself to survive, or be passed on.

I believe that most parents take pride in their children’s accomplishments, often, as if those accomplishments were their own. Many parents place high expectations on their kids, almost as if they owned their children. To me these are selfish things. However, I have no problem with selfishness. Without it, I think we wouldn’t survive.

cookieman's avatar

That’s cool daloon. I understand what you mean.

AstroChuck's avatar

I have two grown biological daughters and one adopted daughter that we’ve had since she was two days old. This “blood of my blood” stuff is nonsense. There is absolutely no difference in the love and connection you feel, that I can assure you.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

choose what you want to believe.

cookieman's avatar

Amen AstroChuck.

marinelife's avatar

I felt the way that you did for many years. I still believe that if I adopted a baby that I could love the child.

Would it be the same as my own child carried through pregnancy? I no longer think so. When I held my great niece as an infant, I felt this moment of recognition. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was genetic “recognition” somehow. She looked, felt, smelled, was like babies in our family.

Also, the process of pregnancy and childbirth is an unmatchable bond.

wundayatta's avatar

@cprevite: I did a little research about Cinderella, and discovered that the situation with respect to abuse and stepparents is much more horrendous that I thought.

If you want to verify it, you can look here for a review of a number of studies about abuse and stepparents.

Here are some horrifying facts:

“These records led Wilson and Daly to conclude that “a child under three years of age who lived with one genetic parent and one step-parent in the United States in 1976 was about seven times more likely (…) to become a validated child-abuse case in the AHA records than one who dwelt with two genetic parents.””

“Records in Great Britain were also examined and found that children were beat by stepfathers at a rate of 100 times more than genetic fathers.”

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not against adoption at all. Not all adoptive parents are the same. I just think we should have a full understanding of the range of potential problems adoptees and adoptive parents face.

babygalll's avatar

Your love for your children should be equal no matter how they came into your life. Sure labor is hard on a womens body, but personally raising a child takes a lot more labor. Once you give birth all the pain is gone. You are raising your children for 18 years (some more). The way you raise them and decisions you make molds them for life. Anyone can give birth to a child, but it takes a lot more to be a parent.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

true, love has no price.

eadinad's avatar

@ daloon – That’s a really interesting thing to think about, and perhaps some step-parents are more likely to abuse because of jealousy and control issues. But, again no offense, this thread is more about why pregnancy is more appealing to someone who wants children than adoption.. : )

cookieman's avatar

@daloon: That is an interesting finding – maybe it’s accurate. My wife was a social worker for DSS and a probation officer specializing in domestic violence and pedophiles for 12 years. Her experience would argue that biology makes no difference in abuse levels.

But again, we’re off topic.

susanc's avatar

typing w/ 1 hand, forgive pls.
stepchild rearing is not always initially delightful. cards are stacked. you must support child’s relationship with “rival” birth parent. complications with this
‘other’ parent, responsibility w/o authority, child’s insecurity,
partner’s ambivalences: hard job. adopting because you want a child is clean in comparison with getting one as part of a package
(hence the evil-stepparent theme/statistics)
and tiny babies are perhaps a little simpler to make friends with than kids with tough worldly experience.
adopting (a teenager) has been lovely for me but since that and stepparenting are my only 2 areas of experience I can’t compare the new-natual-birth thing. wanted to, no dice, moved on.

wundayatta's avatar

@cprevite and eadinad: I don’t know why you think my comments are off topic. In the question, eadinad asked: ” I understand that, but I think if you adopted a kid you would feel the same way – aka, love them and feel like you would die for them, etc.”

I am just showing you evidence that that assumption is demonstrably untrue. I interpret the evidence as showing that where love exists, abuse is less likely, and where abuse exists, love is less likely. Therefore it is a mistake to believe that adoptive parents, on average, are the same as genetic parents with respect to their love and willingness to sacrifice themselves for the adopted children. It simply isn’t true.

There may be other factors at work, though. Perhaps, as SusanC says, if you have a child from birth, there is a greater attachment than if you adopt older children.

susanc's avatar

everyone is confusing adoption with step-parenting

susanc's avatar

I think.
And they reeeeeeally aren’t equivalent. I probably didn’t say it well with one hand otherwise occupied (I was on the phone to AT&T, my fave company har har har) but you see what I mean,

cookieman's avatar

Sorry daloon, not buying it.

Refer to AstoChuck’s response. Of us all here, it appears he has the experience to argue both points of view (having both biological and adopted children).

While there may be a higher occurrence of abuse amongst adoptive parents…I simply do not buy that the quality or quantity of love for the child is any different.

eadinad's avatar

@ daloon – what susanc said. You’re talking about step-parenting, we’re talking about parents who really want to have/raise a child and so adopt. They’re pretty different.

Also, since the question is along the lines of, “Why birth rather than adopt?” are you saying you don’t want to adopt because you might abuse them?

cyndyh's avatar

I have two kids (now grown) that I gave birth to and love. I was young and didn’t have a lot of money. The way I had mine was the easiest way in the world if you’re someone who can do that.

If I could not have given birth myself, I would have adopted (when I was older) rather than go through being poked and prodded in a fertility clinic. I’ve seen a few friends going through that and it is not for me. Nope.

I also have a cousin who was adopted. His parents couldn’t have him the old fashioned way, but he’s very much theirs. The family celebrated when he was born just like if my aunt had given birth to him.

I think what’s worth it or not depends on the people involved and their situation at the time.

tinyfaery's avatar

I work with the abused and neglected, and I can tell you, blood or no blood, anyone will give up on their children when it becomes “too much” for them to deal with.

loser's avatar

As an adopted kid, I think adoption rocks!

marissa's avatar

Your question makes the assumption that adoption would be easier than carrying your own child, this is frequently not the case, once you take all aspects into account (legal, financial, etc). Also, the reality is that many parents with biological children, didn’t make a conscience decision to have children, it ‘just happended’ so to speak. However, I must say that I think whether adopted or biological, children are equally precious and deserving of love. However, I do understand the point that daloon is trying to make from a scientific stand point (about genetic survival). Not that I think most people actually think like that :0)

wundayatta's avatar

@marissa: it doesn’t matter what people think, as far as evolutionary biology is concerned. We can say anything, and believe anything, and it still can turn out that our behavior is driven by our genes, not what we think we think.

And, I guess, that’s the contradiction I see that bothers me. I know I think one way, and I behave another. It bothers me, because I feel like a hypocrite. Maybe sometimes, biology is too much for me to overcome. I’m a dirty old man even though when I was 20, that was the last thing on earth I ever wanted to grow into. Surprise, surprise!

I, too, think children are precious, in the abstract, no matter who is parenting them. But I have to say the my children are much more precious to me. I want people to care about other children, but mine are the ones I’ll do anything for.

I believe that if you adopt, you should still have that same attitude. However, if you have a choice between your genetic kids or adopted, I just wanted people to be aware that adopted kids are more likely to experience less than optimal parenting. Individual cases may, and do vary, of course.

marissa's avatar

@daloon “it doesn’t matter what people think, as far as evolutionary biology is concerned. We can say anything, and believe anything, and it still can turn out that our behavior is driven by our genes, not what we think we think.”

You are absolutely right, but that doesn’t mean we like to admit it…lol

marissa's avatar

@daloon btw, have you read Botany of Desire? It may interest you

naina's avatar

@cprevite – Loved your answer. Agree with it too. Adopt.

cookieman's avatar

Thanks naina.

shilolo's avatar

I think pregnancy is definitely worth the effort. Let’s consider how a child develops into an adult. There are two components, genes (nature) and environment (nurture). Let’s also assume that you would provide the same environment to an adoptive and biologic child. However, as a biologic parent, you have control (to a certain extent) over the genetic component since your genes are combining to form a unique human being. As an adoptive parent, you have no control over the genetic component, and must hope that nurture alone will mold a successful adult. The later may be sufficient, but speaking for myself, I feel that I want to pass on both my genes, and my nurturing.

trumi's avatar

I don’t know, I feel like you run the risk of getting bad genes whether you adopt or not.

Since the world is overpopulated, it seems to me that adopting is just better for everyone.

trumi's avatar

@shilolo: Sometimes I’ll rethink my answers after posting. I often sound harsher than I mean to.

shilolo's avatar

@Trumi. Recognize this quote “I think I’m gonna get mine from South America. Dark brown skin, Spanish accent.”? What’s more racist, saying that I want a child whose genes are partly my own, or saying, I want a blond, blue eyed European because they are more cute? Get off your high horse and face facts. Humans reproduce for a reason.

Edit: Though this comment may seem out of context, it is because of an insinuation from Trumi that has since been edited away. I stand behind my comments.

trumi's avatar

I don’t force adoption on anyone, and I’m sorry if it sounds like I think I’m better than anyone else. I don’t think either of us were being racist, that’s unfair. I’m not trying to attack anyone on a personal level, I’m trying to have a rational discussion about the pros and cons of an adoption.

Furthermore, that quote was a joke. I hope that when I am ready to have children I will adopt from the place most in need. Again, sorry if I’m on a “high horse”.

I honestly don’t know why humans reproduce. The rest of the animals on the planet reproduce based on superior traits, while in America it seems that the dumbest of us breed the most (not saying if you are from a large family you are stupid, simply referencing the opening scene of Idiocracy). Also, Humans are no longer part of the natural balance of things. We disrupt the circle of life and are going to destroy the planet some day.

I understand your argument that you want a child with your genes. I have a very close relationship with my father, which I often feel is strengthened by the fact that we look very similar and have similar body features. Still, I stand by my statement; You will love your adopted child just as much as if you had your own. I have never known someone to disagree.

So to me, adoption makes much more sense. I hate speaking in such black and white terms, but I don’t think that when I’m ready to have kids I will be able to overlook the thousands of starving children without homes across the globe. It changes from person to person, and I do not mean to say that I am better than you. There are definite reasons to have your own children. I just don’t think I will.

Snoopy's avatar

Unless there are unique circumstances, adoption is limited to those of certain financial means.

It also seems that the focus should be on helping those who don’t want to have kids avoid getting pregnant in the first place.

shilolo's avatar

@Trumi. The answer to your question is that people reproduce precisely because there is a biologic impetus to do so. As Daloon said (channeling Richard Dawkins), people are selfish by nature, and as giant “survival machines”, have an inherent desire to reproduce.

I assume (arrogantly, but such is the nature of this assumption), that I have valuable genes to pass on, and thus would like to have biologic children of my own (in fact, I have one already and another on the way). That is not to say that adopting is bad, but I was answering the question in the most honest way possible. In fact, if your viewpoint is that “the dumbest of us breed”, then you are making precisely the argument I was making. Genes do make a difference in your mind, as they do in mine.

trumi's avatar

Yes genes make a difference, but I think we can agree that upbringing is much more important. I know the Dawkins theory, and believe it wholeheartedly. I simply don’t understand it :D

Thank you for being honest. I know a bit of your intellect, so if the rest of the genes match I fully support your offspring. :)

I think Snoopy has a valid point as well. Finance does have a bit to do with it, as do contraceptives.

It is by no means a black and white issue, like many things in life.

And now, back to pretending to work

cyndyh's avatar

@trumi: You said, “Also, Humans are no longer part of the natural balance of things. We disrupt the circle of life and are going to destroy the planet some day.”

How is having children “no longer part of the natural balance”? How are people outside of nature at all in anything we do?

trumi's avatar

Ever been to New York? We reject nature and substitute our own. I’m not saying I’m above it or that I condemn it, only that Mufasa wasn’t really counting us in his song.

cyndyh's avatar

I’ve been to New York. Yes.

We’re part of nature. When ants build a mound and spiders build webs we don’t call that outside nature. We do what we do and it’s perfectly natural. Giving birth is certainly natural and a part of the natural balance.

I don’t know who Mufasa is, sorry.

jca's avatar

i didn’t think pregnancy and childbirth were that bad. they were not easy, don’t get me wrong, but the next day it was all pretty much forgotten and so worth it to see the beautiful baby. i had dental surgery that had longer lasting negative effects. i would have a baby again in a heartbeat. i know there are people who have really tough pregnancies and really tough childbirth experiences, but my point is they’re not all nightmarish. not a day at the beach, but not a nightmare either.

trumi's avatar

Mufasa = Lion King. The Circle of Life?

cyndyh's avatar

@trumi: Ah, ok. Not one of my favorites, but to each their own.

Randy's avatar

I’ve never met my biogiocal father and never will. That cock sucker took off when my mom told him she was pregnant. I don’t even know his name. (which is probably good). I call my step dad, my dad. He’s been there since I was 4 and has loved me like I was his own son. Even if my parents were to divorce, he would still be my real father. Period. End of story.

My aunt and uncle adopted a little girl from Guatamala. She was quickly accecpted by my whole family as whatever relationship role she was to each individual person. (in my case, a cousin).

Adoption is great. Now, that being said, one day I’d really like to reproduce and create a chid of my own, but I’m only half the decision. Whoever my wife will be will have the other half. I’m open for adoption or both having and adopting. Then, kids may never fit in the picture as well.

My point is, it would be an amwesome amazing experience to reproduce but it is possiable to get just as excited over adoption. Both can be loved equally.

wundayatta's avatar

Jeez! Go home for dinner and find 25 posts in the discussion! I really admire this discussion. Particularly the way people here on Fluther see to be able to debate things amicably, even when they disagree. I’m impressed!

I wanted to say something about the use of the word “nurture” as a stand-in for the environment in the “nature vs nurture” “debates.”

The way genes get expressed depends very much on the environment. Genes are expressed one way under benign conditions (nurture) but quite another way under different kinds of stresses. For example, if you are a gymnast, your workouts send a message to the genes in your muscles saying that we need more muscle mass, because there’s a hell of a lot of physical stress going on. Similarly, if you have a gene that predisposes you for one or another of the cancers, it very well may not be expressed, and you may remain cancer free. On the other hand, you may experience environmental stresses such as pollution, crazy work, deprivation, smoke, abuse, or who knows what, and the stressors cause the genes to work a different way, and you get cancer.

I don’t think most of us would consider cancer to be a form of “nurture.” So I guess I’m reminding us that when we think of parental nurture, that’s not nearly all the story in how genes are expressed. There are so many other stressors in life, and they may have a significant role to play in how a person turns out; perhaps much more important than the role of parents. I don’t think scientists know yet what the balance is between nature and nurture. And I don’t think it even makes sense to try to establish a ratio of responsibility.

SuperMouse's avatar

I have given birth to three children, I do not have any adopted children. I love my children like crazy, I can’t even fully put into words how I feel about my children. They are my heart and my soul and I would not trade my pregnancies or child birthing experiences for anything – ever.

That being said, my brother and his wife have adopted both of their children and I believe they have the same feelings for their kids as I do for mine. No, they did not originate from my brother’s sperm and his wife’s egg, but they are their children. I love them as I love all of my nieces and nephews, no less because we are not from the same gene pool. As a point of information, after they took custody of the first child they were to adopt (right after he was born), the birth mother changed her mind and took him back. I can tell you that they mourned the loss of that baby the same as any parent would mourn the loss of a newborn, and they will never be 100% over it.

In the case of step-parents, my sister and her husband have three children. Three children they both love equally, show love to equally, and treat equally. One of these children is not my brother-in-law’s biological child, and even after spending lots and lots of time with the family, you would never be able to guess which one it is. As a matter of fact, the one who is not biologically his is the one who is most like him.

AstroChuck's avatar

@daloon- I don’t mean to insult you but no matter how elequent you make your point sound you don’t know what you’re talking about. This is one topic that I consider myself an expert on. While I can understand how people could have difficulty believing there is no emotional difference between biological children and adopted children, I’m here to tell you there is zero difference, period. Before my second child was born I couldn’t imagine loving a child as much as my first, but I do. The same goes for my third. She’s adopted.

AstroChuck's avatar

I meant eloquent.. Sorry.

cak's avatar

I have two children, biological children. I went through hell in both of my pregnancies. I almost lost both of them and my son was born with cardiac issues. Both are healthy, now.

My husband and I started the adoption process, thinking we eventually wanted to adopt 2 children. When I was diagnosed with cancer, we were no longer considered good material. They had to consider that it would turn into a single-parent situation. My husband and I still have the letter. We wanted nothing more in the world than to adopt at least one, if not two children. We weren’t looking for the newborn – we actually were looking for the “less” adoptable ages. It broke our hearts that we have the love, the means and were ready to become parents, again.

Adopt isn’t easy and it’s not a guarantee. It’s expensive and gut wrenching.

I wanted both, biological and adopted; however, it’s just not in the cards for us – unless we do a foreign adoption. Either way, it’s not easy.

I will say, sitting there feeling the jumping, while my babies had the hiccups, was amazing. Holding them, falling in love with them, amazing. I just wish we had the chance to do that with another child.

cookieman's avatar

So glad I stirred up the pot. What a fantastic discussion.

Anyway, cak, tinyfaery, and snoopy make excellent points – and I’m still with AstroChuck.

@daloon: Methinks thou doth protest too much. I don’t want to assume anything about you (that would be rude), but I have to repeat eadinad’s question: “are you saying you don’t want to adopt because you might abuse them?”

wundayatta's avatar

Very clever cprevite! Kind of like asking, “when did you stop beating your wife?” It’s a rhetorical question designed to create innuendo (kind of like the aspersions being cast on the political candidates), and to discredit a person, so no one will believe them. It’s what people do when they can’t discuss facts, and are driven by intuitive understanding, or what they call “common sense.” I’ve found that common sense often doesn’t know what it’s talking about, and I’m often the only one who digs up the data to prove it. Seriously, it’s really worth learning statistical procedures, and how to interpret statistics.

I totally believe everyone here (including astrochuck) who says they love adopted kids as much as biological. I never said this was impossible. All I did was point you to the literature that says that abuse rates are way higher for adoptive kids than for biological kids. This in no way says that there are no parents who love their adoptive kids as much as if they were biological. But arguing that if one person loves their adoptive child as much as a biological one does not mean all adoptive parents are so connected to their children. Astrochuck is an expert in his children. He’s not, I believe, an expert in all adoptive children. It is a big mistake to assume your personal experience is universal.

I, too, know people who love their adopted kids as fully as any parent I know. If I adopted, I know I wouldn’t abuse the children. But I believe I wouldn’t feel quite the same connection with them as I do with my biological children. When my son does things, so often, I can identify instantly, because he’s so like me. My daughter is like me in other ways. That wouldn’t happen nearly as much with an adopted child, and it might not happen at all. I mean, it doesn’t happen with me and other people. I can understand other people, and empathize with them, and I can even think they are like me in some ways, but I never think they are so like me. If I had to venture an explanation for why abuse is so much more prevalent with adoptive kids, I’d guess it has something to do with the lack of identification amonst a few adoptive parents.

I didn’t look for statistics about the absolute rates of abuse, so we might find that they are really quite small. If one tenth of one percent of biological children are abused, then that equates to seven tenths of one percent of adoptive kids. Both are low rates (though not low enough), yet one is seven times bigger than the other. But that wasn’t the point I was making, so I didn’t look for any data to support it.

cookieman's avatar

I have done oodles of research and read both scientific and sociological reports/journals/articles – all in preparation for adopting my daughter. I did concede earlier that there “may be a higher occurrence of abuse amongst adoptive parents” in response to the research you sited and things I have read myself. I don’t think we really disagree on this point.

That being said, my repeating of eadinad’s question was not meant to be either clever or rhetorical.

wundayatta's avatar

Had we not been able to find the technology to make it possible for me to have a biological child, we probably would have adopted. I really wanted to be a dad. If we had decided we wanted to adopt, no amount of data in the world would have stopped us. I went through some fairly significant procedures to have a child, despite the fact they had a very low chance of success. In those days, I had hope to go along with my urge to parent.

shilolo's avatar

@Daloon. I wanted to address your earlier point about gene expression. Yes, it is true that your environment will shape your gene expression in ways we are only now beginning to understand. In addition, environmental exposures can have epigenetic effects that impact the individual directly (i.e. DNA methylation or histone acetylation), but also, remarkably, can be hereditary as well. So, to put it in a nutshell, the environment can shape the individual, as well as that individual’s offspring.

That said, the genetic makeup of the individual is relatively fixed at birth, and thus can be viewed as a blueprint upon which small changes can be made over time. My point is that while it is true that the environment can play a major role in shaping an individual, the genetic blueprint provides the overall framework. Thus, both nature and nurture are equal partners in determining one’s development.

wundayatta's avatar

@shilolo: well said. I completely agree.

I was just complaining about the use of “nurture,” which has a positive connotation that is inappropriate for what the interaction between environment and genes is really like. The environment can cause the epigenetic effects to impact the individual negatively, which seems to me to be incompatible with the notion of “nurture.”

shilolo's avatar

@daloon. I see your point. I only used the words nature and nurture because they are associated in our common, lay lexicon with genes and environment, respectively.

wundayatta's avatar

@shilolo: yes, I know. I might have done the same thing. But I guess I’m just being a little picky now, because it suddenly hit me that “nurture” is not what’s going on in so many cases. Mine, for example. I just got a disease that normally shows up in folks by the time they are in their 20s. I’m 52. This is unusual. I have got the disease on both my parent’s sides. So, it’s a genetically predispositioned disease, perhaps brought on by stress. It makes me crazy! Literally!

I’d pick on nature, too, but that’s a question for another day.

shilolo's avatar

@Daloon. Sorry about your illness (whatever it may be), but as you probably know, many genetic diseases show variable penetrance and/or reduced expressivity. In that respect, while it is unfortunate that you developed this disease, you are “fortunate” in that it was delayed by 30 years.

wundayatta's avatar

@shilolo: I suppose I’m lucky, though I wish it had never happened. Had I known I had these genes, I might have known what to do when I first started experiencing the symptoms. I might also have been more careful about certain stressors, and perhaps been able to have delayed the activation of this response further. I’m a little cagey about what it is, because there’s a lot of social stigma attached to it.

shilolo's avatar

@Daloon. No problem. Medical information is private for a reason.

susanc's avatar

Daloon, it is not like you to misinterpret written information, but you have. Please go way, way back to where I pointed out that adoption and becoming the stepparent of your love interest’s child are entirely different. Please address this, because you’ve ignored this distinction and
taken my point as fuel for an argument with which I absolutely disagree.

cookieman's avatar

Nice call susanc.

@shilolo: While your insight is fascinating (and I have no reason to believe it’s not 100% accurate), this thread has taken a left turn off the beaten path.

Could we try to stay with the original question?

wundayatta's avatar

@susanc: I’m sorry, when you said that the first time, I didn’t understand. I would have to go look, to see what the research says about that. It’s true, I was equating stepparenting with adoption. I see that that could well be a very different situation. I was thinking of it only as an age differential thing. But yes, adoption generally seems to be a choice made about the child; whereas stepparenting is a choice made about the parent, with the children tagging along. I’m sorry about not understanding that, and taking this off track.

Anyway, granting that adoptive parents can feel exactly the same as biological parents about their children; exactly the same love and care; and further granting that this may happen almost all the time, I think that it is easier to imagine oneself caring for a biological child. When imagining non-biological children, it seems to me, it might take most people a little more time to get over that expectation of a biological child. I.e., biological child: of course! Adopted child: well, ..... yes.

I think there’s a reason why adoption agencies vet parents so carefully. Sometimes, the parents want to give the children back, which obviously is not a good thing. The agencies want good homes for the kids, and, I assume, assessing the love of the parents for a potential child is part of that assessment.

susanc's avatar

I dunno, daloon. I think maybe you’re projecting something onto adoptive parents. Why would people willing to go through the waiting, the invasive applications processes, the wistfulness and the longing, the enormous excitement and the huge expense, not be just as (possibly even more) devoted and “of course!” as people who just came up pregnant in the course of nature? If “well… yes” were such people’s sorta-kinda oh-well attitude, I don’t think they’d bother. Really. But thanks for recognizing our different and separate points.

Rassi's avatar

One would suspect that having a child that is your own flesh and blood would stimulate stronger bonds of attachment than someone who adopts a child.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Some people see (substantial tearing, depression, weight gain, stretch marks, possible incontinence, etc) as part of the process if not a badge of accomplishment as scraped knuckles or a twisted ankle would be to a skater as part of the price of mastering that wicked trick on the half pipe. If you want all the fun and glory and not any of the work and pain then adopt, then you get the coo coo a cute little face someone else did the heavy lifting to give you that honor.

My opinion: I feel that having your own baby in this day and age is selfish. There are so many children without homes both domestically and internationally. To at least not investigate the option is short sighted. Giving birth is not a miracle. It is a biological function of most living creatures. Cool and amazing? Sure. Miracle? Hardly. Same could be said for not having a baby you started to create by way of <cough>abortion<cough>. Maybe the reason so many kids languish in orphanages especially state side here is that people who could afford them and have hearts big enough to love them as natural birth children get excluded by the powers that be, Having your own kid the government will hardly dare get in your business of how much money you earn, the neighborhood you live in, your job, if you smoked pot all the way through college to tell you that you can’t be a parent. You can have your own natural children and be less than perfect but to adopt you have to be as squeaky clean as the Bradys. the Cleavers, and the Huxtables all road into one. Too many people are ruled out

AstroChuck's avatar

“Maybe the reason so many kids languish in orphanages especially state side here is that people who could afford them and have hearts big enough to love them as natural birth children get excluded by the powers that be,”

All fine except there are no orphanages in the US.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@AstroChuck I was more referring to overseas, there was mention about kids without parents all over the world or babies from China….so…..

AstroChuck's avatar

Understood. I read “state side” and thought that was what you meant.

smilingheart1's avatar

@eadinad, I wonder if anyone is interested in starting a movement called “The Adoption Option.” Might go far!

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