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Surrogacy?! Why Don’t They Just Adopt?

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I was recently at a dinner party and another guest asked me what I do for a living.  When I responded that I do adoption and surrogacy, her response was:  “I don’t agree with surrogacy!  Why don’t they just adopt?  There are so many children who need homes!”  As someone who has been helping build families through adoption for over 15 years and surrogacy for over five years, this was worth taking on.  I definitely have something to say.

Let’s begin with  international adoption which at its peak allowed over 20,000 orphaned children from abroad  to join their adoptive parents in the United States.  Over the years, through the efforts of organizations such as UNICEF with its ineffective all or nothing solutions that result in closing adoption programs and political decisions by foreign countries to discontinue allowing foreigners to adopt orphaned children, there are very few country options for those seeking to build their families through international adoption.  Added to the lack of programs available, there are many barriers to meeting foreign adoption requirements which often deny parents based on age, sexual preference, marital status and the list goes on.

Domestic adoption is an option but one that presents its challenges.  Typically young pregnant women seeking to place their children for adoption are matched with adoptive parents who then pay their living expenses during their pregnancy.  Birth mothers have the legal right to change their minds after the birth of their child and before they relinquish their rights so adoptive parents face the emotional and financial risks associated with this process.  Typically, a women seeking to place her child for adoption chooses the adoptive parent/s for her child.  Many of these women are not comfortable choosing gay, lesbian, single or older parents.  “Older” for a young woman of 20 can be early 40’s!

Those who have had the opportunity to have children biologically often don’t understand the challenges of those who don’t have this option.  It is easy to judge and it is easy to dismiss alternatives that exist such as surrogacy.

In her article “Meet the Twiblings” that appeared in the New York Times a few years ago, Melanie Thernstrom tells her story of becoming a parent through surrogacy in a real and poignant way.  While I wish that her experiences with surrogacy agencies had been more positive for her, I think her story has opened a lot of eyes to the nobility, grace, and love that the surrogacy story involves:

“Once there was a couple who wanted to have babies.  They tried and tried, but no babies arrived, and they were very sad.  But then a Fairy Goddonor brought them some magical eggs.  She came from a place where it never rains, and she drove a midnight blue convertible and had long golden hair (well, currently short and aubergine).  They took the eggs, and the eggs changed into the beginnings of babies, and they gave them to an angel women to help them grow.  So the angel women stowed the beginning of each baby in their bodies, where they grew and grew like pumpkins.  Do you know who these babies are?”

To read Ms. Thernstrom’s full story,  go to:




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