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Overcoming Adoption Fear and Doubt

Adorable Baby Learning To Feed Himself For The First TimeThe main reasons for adoption are pretty clear to me now that we’ve adopted a baby. A man and a woman get to be parents. A child without parents receives parents. The birth mother knows that her child will be well cared for. To me, it’s clearly a win/win/win situation.

But some people just plain don’t want to adopt. These are some of the issues people voice:

  • I fear I won’t be able to love and bond with a baby who is not mine.
  • God made me infertile, so he must not want me to have children.
  • I don’t like the idea of not knowing the baby’s family background.
  • I don’t want to raise someone else’s kid.
  • Adoption is too much money.
  • I don’t want to go through and, furthermore, couldn’t pass a background check.
  • The baby won’t look like me.
  • I don’t want the child to grow up with a stigma.
  • I’ve got a few more years in me; I still might be able to have a baby naturally.
  • I’d rather spend the money on infertility treatments.
  • Adoption is more open now. I don’t like the idea of the birth parents knowing who and where we are.
  • I’m afraid of taking the risk that adoption demands of me.
  • There are too many unknowns with adoption.
  • My (neighbor, friend, relative) adopted, and she ended up with a real mess.

The list goes on and on. You can probably think of even more excuses.

What many people don’t realize is that this negative frame of mind about adoption doesn’t have to be permanent. Furthermore, I think most people do have some misgivings about adoption, even if they’re pro-adoption.

I, for instance, dealt with many of the excuses above, when I was adopting my baby from Guatemala. I had problems with the baby not being really mine. I wanted to give birth to a baby, to carry a baby inside of me for nine months. Also, I was naturally a little intimated by the background check and home study. I didn’t want anyone or any agency prying into my past.

Questioning adoption is a natural thing. Again, everyone who thinks and who adopts has many of these kind of negative thoughts and excuses. These “issues” come with the package of adoption. You need to face the issues that trouble you. And, in most cases, they can fade away.

Fortunately, I didn’t ultimately let my fears or worries get in the way of adopting Tommy. He’s now 11, and he’s fantastic.

We chose adoption because I was 41 and infertile. My husband and I had participated in a dozen artificial inseminations over the last three years. And it was time, according to our doctors, to move on to in vitro.

But, we were told, there were no guarantees with in vitro. In fact, the chances of actually getting pregnant were against us. And by the way, it was about $15,000.

My husband and I talked it over. We’re both from middle-class families that never had much excess cash. In vitro just didn’t seem to be a good value. There were no guarantees, and our chances were low.

At that point, all we wanted was a baby. We decided to put our money on a sure thing and adopt a child.

Here’s what adoption has taught us:

  • We can work together to reach a mutual goal. Adoption is not easy. A couple has to toil together to make the long process happen. The couple has to be organized and be able to meet deadlines. It’s a team effort.
  • We can be parents; we can love a little baby even if we can’t get pregnant. I’m not sure one knows this, that one can love a child, until one has done it. We love Tommy certainly as much if not more than a birth child.
  • To take risks. None of us can see into the future. We had to take a leap of faith that things would work out and that Tommy would be healthy and would bond to us. And again, he did.
  • We can overcome our doubts about the institution of adoption. Doubts come and doubts go. Tommy is ours. He is healthy. He loves us, and we love him. We didn’t go completely broke. We can pass a background check. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

I’m convinced that some amount of negativity about adoption is part of the adoption process. Couples who are considering adoption need to know that everyone has doubts and fears. And everyone, at some point, makes excuses for why they don’t want to adopt. You are not alone.

It’s funny how the doubts and fears disappear the more you fall in love with your child. And falling in love with him or her is a lifelong process. I suggest you sit back and enjoy the ride. You’re in good company.

Overcoming Adoption Fear and Doubt

Laura Yeager

Laura Yeager has been writing for over 35 years. Some of her favorite topics include mental health, writing, religion, parenthood, dogs, and her day-to-day life. She is a mental health writer for Her articles about writing have appeared in The Writer Magazine, The Toastmaster Magazine, and Her spiritual writing has been featured in several venues including Aleteia USA, Busted Halo, The Liguorian Magazine, Canticle Magazine and Guideposts Magazine. A graduate of The Writers' Workshop at The University of Iowa, Laura teaches writing at Kent State University and online Creative Writing at Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York.

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APA Reference
Yeager, L. (2018). Overcoming Adoption Fear and Doubt. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 11 Jul 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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