That Question

Today’s Blogless post comes from Kat, who tweets as @on_the_edge.

One of the questions I get asked (frequently) when I choose to tell people my children are adopted is, “What made you decide to adopt?”

Rhino hideIt used to be one of those questions I dreaded, but having developed more of a rhino hide, been to Bolshie Mum School and having discovered a confidence and assertiveness I never knew existed, I don’t mind so much now. I give the stock reply of, “We wanted to be parents and make a difference and it wasn’t happening for us in the usual way and nor was ivf successful,”


It sounds so simple doesn’t it? Almost like following a flow chart and ending up at ADOPTION.

Many people’s thoughts (including mine and my husband’s) turn to adoption after many years of trying to conceive either with or without medical intervention and the route that leads many to adoption is far from straight-forward.

I often read tweets from people agonising over whether or not to have ‘one last cycle of IVF’; fretting that they accidentally ate some of the ‘wrong’ foods; in deep despair in case the elusive two lines on the test stick never appear and then if they do appear then it’s a whole new cycle (pun intended) of fear in case it all goes wrong.

I have been there myself. Two weeks of every month eating only chicken, eggs, pineapple, raspberries and drinking whole milk and protein shakes.

It was miserable.Forbidden foods

The last two weeks of the month after I knew it wasn’t happening again, being reckless – caffeine and alcohol a-go-go, soft cheese, processed food and chocolate.


After treatment started, the control intensified, as did the paranoia. So afraid to take even the mildest pain relief, I’d sit at work with killer migraines and drive home in a daze, not remembering how I’d got there; waking in the night worried in case I’d ruined it again because in desperation I’d downed a cup of tea. Notice the recurring theme of self-blame and guilt.

I’d log on to internet ‘support’ forums (long before the days of Twitter) starting at the top of the boards; blind optimism and excitement at a fever pitch ‘Starting Treatment’, ‘BFP at Last’ and slowly making my way down the boards, the fervour notably lessening the further down you get as the bitterness and anger builds, ‘Miscarriage Advice and Support’, ‘Second and Subsequent Cycles’, ‘When Should I Give Up?’ everyone seemingly feeding off everyone else’s disappointment, resentment and heartache so in the end you crash too, to a lonely place seeing only hopelessness.

And there, stuck at the bottom of the forum, the board nobody wants to join, the members of which everyone else on the top boards call ‘inspirational’ and ‘wonderful’  and ‘amazing’ but of whom they are all secretly afraid, lest they end up in a similar position: the members of the ‘What’s Next?’ community.

It takes a lot of strength to even make the first move to log on to that board (literally and metaphorically) and even more to decide that enough is enough and decide to either adopt or foster or to live child-free.

Whichever option is right for you, none of them are easy but with support, perseverance and strength you can make it work. There is hope. Deciding to move on isn’t an ending; it’s a different way of living. And do you know what? Being on that board, being a member of that community is a breath of fresh air. Even when times are hard there is laughter, support and safety. It really isn’t so bad.

Plus, we drink alcohol, caffeine-laden drinks and rubbish food all month long. Because we can.


“Sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one” – Lisa Hammond

Did you come to adoption via infertility too? Or are you considering adoption as a route to fulfilling your family at the moment? Have you ever been asked *that question*? Welcome to a friendly bunch of people who’ve been there….

8 thoughts on “That Question

  1. Laura

    A very heartfelt and well written post. We are fortunate not to have experienced infertility: as a same-sex couple having a bio-family was never one of our expectations. That doesn’t mean that we are immune to insensitive comments and I like the response that you have developed – I will try to formulate one of my own. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Kat

      You’re welcome! I think as adopters, we kind of expect those comments. How I respond depends on my mood 😉 x

  2. Roz

    I have to agree with Laura that this is a very heartfelt and well-written post. We have been down some of the same route to adoption from infertility, but stopped at the point we were told IVF was our only option as we had decided that was not a route we were going to follow for a number of reasons. In some ways, adoption has always been on the cards for us as a couple because of an existing condition that had been diagnosed before I met my husband. However I still have those ‘what if’ moments about IVF although I know we made the right decision for us. I am still considering my answer to this question for when it becomes relevant (in approval process at moment) .

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Vicki

    I remember making that decision to move from one board from another. It was quite a gradual thing, from dipping my toe every now and then to see what happened on THAT board, to the realisation that the original boards were no longer supporting me, nor I the other posters.

    But you’re right, THAT board is good. THAT board is full of hope. And on THAT board I can drink gin!

  4. Three Pink Diamonds

    Hi Kat, we decided to stop fertility treatment and head down the route of adoption. I can remember feeling as though a huge weight had been removed once we had made the decision to adopt. I felt more hopeful and excited about the prospect of becoming a mummy!

  5. Gem from Life with Katie

    Hi Kat. What a beautifully written post. I also remember moving boards, well actually trying to find a relevant board as I’d been on a mostly American board until that point. It was a school friend who was an adopter who introduced me to the UK board she was on. By that time I’d stopped joining the pregnancy boards and stayed on the trying to conceive boards. I peeked at the adoption boards from time to time but quickly went back to where I was comfortable, except everyone else was moving on to the pregnancy and beyond boards so it started to get lonely.

    Deciding to try to adopt after recurrent miscarriage felt like the most positive thing we’d decided in years. I Don’t mind people asking me why we adopted. I share my story and have the most amazing conversations with people as a result. I do forget how painful our story is to hear sometimes because we’re so happy with where we are now. I do draw the line in answer g the question as to why my children were adopted though. That is their story to tell when they know and understand it all, not mine.

  6. Pingback: treemendouskids

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *