November 29, 2004,
November is national adoption-awareness month. Here are 15 reasons why adoption is preferable to assisted reproductive technology (ART):
1. With adoption, you don't have to donate your body to science while you are still in it.
2. If you adopt an older child, you can get a child with a whole mouthful of teeth who also sleeps through the night.
3. You don't have to put your body through a lot of unnatural hormonal fluctuations to adopt. If you have to get shots, it means you're going on an overseas trip to an exotic place.
4. As adoptive parents, you can be the only family in your neighborhood with three kids who are the same age.
5. With ART, every failed attempt brings disappointment and discouragement. Adoption always works: You can always get a child eventually.
6. Adoption keeps the husband and wife on equal footing. Some ART babies are the husband's, with assistance from a surrogate mother. Some ART babies are the wife's with assistance from a sperm donor. The adopted child is equally the child of both parents.
7. If you do foster care, you can tell the agency, "I don't take teenagers." Think about it.
8. You don't usually gain weight waiting for an adopted child.
9. If your child has problems, adoptive parents can get straight to the business of dealing with them, without a lot of hand-wringing over whose "fault" it is. You can relax in the doctor's or therapist's office waiting room while the birth parents whose children have similar problems agonize over which side of the family it came from.
10. Having a child by answering the phone is a lot easier and less messy than having a child through ART.
11. Adoptive parents have a head start in realizing that parents don't control who their kids are and that, as parents, we have to play the hand we are dealt.
12. You can learn about all kinds of medical and psychological conditions that your family may never have had to deal with before.
13. You can watch your kids develop talents that nobody else in your family has.
14. You can have some fun if your kids don't look like you, or like each other. One foster/adoptive mother of many responds to incredulous inquiries about her "unusual" family by saying: "Yes, they are all mine. They all have different fathers."
15. With adoption, you don't have to watch the development of cloning and wonder somewhere in the secret places of your heart whether you contributed in some small way to a society that accepts the manufacture of human beings.
Jennifer Roback Morse is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and the author of Love and Economics: Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn't Work and 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage.