Is it selfish to say no to adoption?

By Nina Steele 

We are by definition, the type of couple adoption agencies are looking for. We own our home, are both non-smokers, financially stable, we have a very happy and healthy relationship, have been married for almost 14 years and are fit and healthy. One social worker whom I have known recently, could not hide her disappointment at the fact that my husband and I chose not to adopt, particularly since it is so difficult to find suitable families for mixed race and black children as this Daily Mail article shows.

We did consider adoption and even went to a meeting for potential adopters to hear all the facts. However, we came out of it completely deflated and within days, we decided not to pursue it any further.

The main issue was the bureaucracy involved. At the time, the whole process could take as much as 3 years and the thought of having a social worker involved in our lives all that time, asking the most intrusive of questions was enough to put us off. Also, I read a few books on the subject that convinced me that instead of enhancing our lives, adoption had the potential to damage us.

Even in normal circumstances, parents struggle to bring up children, add to that the damage that adopted children have suffered and you can end up with a very unpleasant situation. I do admire all those people who have successful adoption stories to tell, because it is not for everyone.

Another issue we had difficulty dealing with was the fact that the child’s biological parents could be granted access, which we found quite astonishing, since poor parenting is the reason why children are put up for adoption in the first place. I felt strongly that all contact with biological parents, particularly in cases of abuse, should not be allowed, to avoid further psychological damage to the child.

And of course, there is the eternal fear at the back of the minds of most adopters, and it is that the child may want to find his/her biological parents when they turn 18. This often causes a lot of pain and instead of enjoying old age, many adoptive parents find themselves having to compete for the affection of children they thought of as their own.

I suppose that when it came to it, I didn’t feel I wanted children badly enough to risk the health of our marriage. It is definitely true that our childhood often determines the people that we end up becoming in later life.

My mother had a troubled love life, and ended up having 7 children by 6 different men. And so, a stable and long lasting relationship was always my number one priority. I wasn’t prepared to risk that for anything.

Does that make me selfish? I will let you be the judge of that.

Childless and happy

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