QUORA: Why is having biological children usually a couple's first choice, rather than adopting a newborn?

My answer to a question about adoption on Quora:

Q: Why is having biological children usually a couple's first choice, rather than adopting a newborn?

My Answer:

Because the adoption process is:

  • Potentially very long & uncertain. You might not get matched to a child for years, or maybe you'll get matched tomorrow. Who knows? But usually it's YEARS, and way longer than a 9-month pregancy.
  • A time-consuming pain in the butt. See my blog post, "Why is it so difficult to adopt a child?" for the monstrous checklist of tasks, paperwork, social work visits, etc, we needed to do to adopt our first son from Korea.
  • Costs a lot of $$$. (at least in the USA, the average adoption costs $8k - $40K [Source: The Cost of Adoption, US News & World Report]
  • Complicated. Many domestic adoptions are "open" - meaning the biological parents have ongoing contact with the child. This is usually very positive for the child, but adds another layer of "in-laws" (biological parents, grandparents, siblings, etc) and interesting family dynamics that many couples don't want to deal with.
  • Your friends/family/community might not be supportive of adoption as your first choice. In many countries, adoption as seen as something shameful that needs to be hidden.Fortunately, in the USA adoption is generally seen as a positive thing, which is not the case in most countries in the world. But even in the USA you'd be surprised how many well-meaning friends/family advise against adoption due to their own prejudices.

When you're ready to start a family, it is SO MUCH easier (and fun!) to try for babies the old fashioned way versus adoption. And for the vast majority of people, it is indeed pretty easy to get pregnant.

It's only when couples discover they are infertile that the uncertainty, complexity, and cost of adoption start to compare favorably to the uncertainty, complexity and cost of infertility treatment.

Sue Raisty

Product management geek, born-again engineer, adoptive mother of boys, coach & mentor, mountain trail runner, tinkerer, no-bull communicator, wannabe writer, room mother & compulsive researcher.

Silicon Valley, California http://blog.sueraisty.com