If Childless by circumstance, why haven’t you considered adopting?

By Nina Steele 

I understand that this question gets some childless people upset, because it assumes that adoption should be the automatic substitute if a couple is unable to have children naturally when in fact for some couples having a biological child is the only option they are willing to consider. We did consider adopting and even went to an open evening to hear the facts. However while we went in with an open mind and excited that it could have a positive outcome, we came out of the session feeling totally depressed and deflated.

The impression we were given was of a very unpleasant process that could take as much as 3 years, was very intrusive and could end up having a negative impact on our marriage. We came out feeling that our life would be taken over by social workers who could probe any aspects of it, asking about past relationships, regardless of how far these relationships went in our past. We also learned among other things that whatever child we ended up adopting, would have to keep in contact with their biological parents even if the reason why they have been put up for adoption in the first place was because they were abused for example. This I found rather difficult to take in. How on earth I thought could a child be made to keep in contact with the very people who abused them. Soon after, we both agreed that adoption was not for us after all.


  1. GemmaRowlands says

    I fully admire anybody who chooses to adopt, because it isn’t an easy path. Firstly, you have to be an amazing person if you feel as though you could take on another person’s child and love them as your own. Secondly, through the whole process of the application, you have to jump through endless hoops and have tests and meetings to make sure you’re suitable. Anybody who does this is fantastic, but I do fully understand why not everybody would feel as though it was a viable option for them.

  2. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the fact that I won’t be able to have children, I’m also not in a relationship and haven’t been for the last 6 years. This I’m currently thankful for because I feel it would be an added pressure due to my circumstances.

    I haven’t ruled out adoption though if and when in the future, I’m in a relationship and if it’s something we both feel the right thing to do. I’ve heard of the hard slog it can be, I’m pretty optimistic about the idea now but like you it may be something I decide against if I get to that point.

    • Technically, you do not have to be in a relationship to be considered for adoption. You can adopt as a single person. Obviously it is up to each individual to weight the implications of bringing up a child on their own, versus doing so with a partner.

  3. The reason that I don’t want children has more to do with pregnancy, childbirth and the financial side of things rather than because I don’t want to nurture a child. So, in a way, I see that adoption could be a good thing for me in my future. I haven’t ruled it out, but I do know that there are a lot of stages to the process, and a lot of people get turned down anyway, so you really do have to want it.

    • Hi Dawn, I think you said it there ‘ you really have to want it’. Although at the end we decided against adopting because of the whole bureaucracy of the process, going to the open evening was an eye opener. There was a lady there who had adopted more than one child and she was absolutely honest about how emotionally draining the process can be. Her message was essentially that as you put it, you really have to want it and so be ready for the emotional roller coaster. She did however also mention how rewarding it can be when you finally end up adopting and crucially when it works out as in her case. Even so, she made it clear how challenging it often is once the child moves in with you because of the things they have been through and so you as the adult need to be patient. So yes anyone considering this needs to know that it is not for the faint hearted.

  4. Julez Fitzmond says

    I don’t think I could do it because I worry that I wouldn’t love the child as much as I would if they were my own. I know of a couple of people who have adopted and have said that it was the best thing they ever did, but I worry about resenting the child in the future, even though that’s a completely horrible thing to think. I don’t talk like that in front of my family because I feel as though they might judge me for feeling that way.

  5. Julez you are perfectly entitled to feel that way and I command you for your honesty. Adoption is certainly not for everyone. Some people cannot bear the thought of the child one day, seeking out his/her biological parents and the impact that this might have on them. Anyone considering adoption should be aware of all those facts before making a final decision. I have heard of many cases where children had to be put back into care because the relationship with the adopted parents had broken down.

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