Usually I reserve the subject of adoption for my transracial adoption blog; however, today I want to share with my diabetes-friendly readers how I respond to this question.
Here's how we arrived at the decision to adopt, instead of attempting to have a biological child, in a nutshell: I was lying in my hospital bed two days after being told I had type I diabetes. I was admitted to the hospital in DKA with a blood sugar of 700 and an a1c of 16.9. Impressive numbers, right? My first DNE entered the room and began my very first education session---how and when to check my sugar, insulin storage, what to do if I got sick, how to treat a high, how to treat a low, etc. In the midst of this, she asked me, "Do you want to have children?" I said, "Yes." She said, "You still can."
And immediately, I thought about adoption. I can't tell you why it popped into my mind so quickly, or why it marinated there for over a year until we finally started the process, but it did.
It's really that simple for me.
I get that the decision to adopt and to forgo having biological children is not easy for most people. Many of my girlfriends have gone through years of infertility treatments, finally surrendering to adoption as the way to build their families. My choice to have biological children wasn't stripped from me by my body; our choice to adopt was quite the opposite. It was given to us as an option because of my body.
As we started the mountains of paperwork and finally, started waiting for our child, I was asked numerous times, "You don't want your own children?"
The question was meant to be innocent, but it was in fact very nosy and rude, for several reasons.
1: My daughter is "my own" child. When I get her up each morning, the fact that she is adopted isn't the first thing that crosses my mind. She's my daughter. Yes, she has two moms---me who raises her, another who gave birth to her and loves her---but that doesn't mean my daughter isn't "my own.
2: Having biological children isn't easy for everyone. The question assumes that I can have biological children, with ease, or that I'm willing to risk it all (including my life) to have biological children. Assuming that I should/could take on multiple medical risks to have a biological child is, I know, a lack of diabetes education. (It's horrible to assume that every parent who adopts has a sense of their child not being "their own" or having society tell them that child isn't their "real" child).
3: Adoption is a beautiful way to build a family. It's not a second choice or "next best" for us. It's the best. It's God's plan for our family.
4: Adoption and having biological children is not the same thing; however, the result is that families are built. Each experience is unique, but one isn't better than the other.
You might wonder why I'm posting this now, nineteen months into our first adoption. The answer is that the question hasn't ceased to be asked. People ask me, "Now that you have one child, will you try to have a biological child?" They can't understand why after going with the "second best" we would not proceed to go with what they deem to be the "best" choice.
I always respond calmly and with confidence, which is the only way to educate people.
I tell them that we plan to build our family through adoption in the future. I tell them that many women with diabetes can have safe, healthy, successful pregnancies, but that was simply not what we chose to do. I tell them that I have cared for other people's children for much of my life, and adopting someone else's child is something I did with ease.
I'm not sure anyone will ever "get" my point of view on this. However, I know that my mission isn't to convince anyone that what we did was right. My goal is to educate others on the topics I care about: diabetes and adoption. And if they're willing to listen, I'm going to keep sharing.