February 1, 2010

Selfishly Selfless

Filed under: Adoption, Birth mother, Infertility, Newborn — adoptation @ 10:07 pm

Because we’ve had to travel pretty far from home to adopt our son, my wife and I have been talking to a lot of people who don’t know much about us—waiters, nurses, people at various front desks, etc. Between our accents, clothes, and general affect, it’s fairly simple to tell we’re not from here, so people invariably ask where we’re from and why we’ve traveled so far.

When we tell them it’s to adopt a baby, the universal response has been to tell us what a good thing we’re doing. How great it is to take a baby and make him part of our family. How selfless we are.

Of course, the thing is that this entire exercise is born of selfishness: we couldn’t have exactly what we wanted the way we wanted, and as we moved along the list of ways to get what we wanted, adoption eventually became the means to our end. We wanted a baby, and this is how we got one.

Along the way, I’ve come to see how this is not 100% selfish, even if that wasn’t on purpose. Our son was going to be born, and the circumstance he was going to be born into (which was by no means terrible—his birth mom would have loved him like crazy and given it her all) is now, in one move, altered completely. We will love him and give him every opportunity available to us to give. We will learn (pretty quickly, I imagine) to put ourselves aside and be…well, be selfless for him. Not because we wanted to be the kind of heroic figures one local waitress seemed to suggest we are (we’re not!), but because the three of us just so happened to find each other through the adoption process.

I think the infertility path that leads people like us to that process gradually makes you think in different ways about how a baby comes into your life, and what being a parent to a child means. Today the baby’s birth mom told my wife, “I’ve never really been a big fan of ‘everything happens for a reason,’ but on this one, I believe it,” to which she replied, “It really does feel like he is the baby we were meant to have.”



  1. I know exactly how you feel. We heard that a lot too and I always felt awkward about it. It’s not like I was doing it cause I wanted to be seen as doing a “good” thing, it’s not like I was taking some orphan out of a war torn country or something. I just wanted to be a parent. It was a lot more difficult than one would think, but there it is.

    Comment by deathstar44 — February 12, 2010 @ 12:28 am

  2. We just started taking it in stride. I mean, it IS a good thing for the child (he’ll have a better life this way), so overall there’s no real downside.

    Comment by adoptation — February 12, 2010 @ 9:35 am

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