Hopeful Adoptive Parents on the Journey to Adoption

We are Doug and Margaret.  We met in 1999 in a writing class and then got married in 2001. Doug and I like to travel.  We have been to Asia, Central America, Europe, and all over the U.S.  In 2005, we became parents to Liam, a bright, amazing, sensitive, and caring boy.  He has joined us on many of our travels, but by far parenting has been our favorite adventure to date.  We live in Seattle in a spacious house with a yard and a garden. We have a cat named Jay and a fish named Steve.  Doug is software engineer by day and a fiction writer by night.  I (Margaret) am a former theatre artist who now works part-time as a nurse and stays home with our son.  

When we decided to pursue adoption to grow our family, the metaphor of being on a journey felt right to us because we are a family that likes to travel and experience new things. Being on this adoption journey has challenged us to grow and learn in many ways.  Throughout the process, we are often asked questions about how and why we chose this journey.  We wanted to share our story.

Doug and I have always wanted to have at least 2 children. I grew up as an only child, and while it had its benefits I always wanted a sibling. I promised myself that when I had children I would have at least 2 children. I’ve seen how special the relationship can be between people who grew up in the same family. Having a sibling can not only make your childhood special but it also gives a person a lifetime relationship. Doug grew up with two brothers (1 older, 1 younger). What I see with Doug and his brothers are 3 very different men who love each other and support each other. They have the inside jokes about their parents and their life as a family. They have a bond and a closeness that I admire.

After our son Liam was born, we decided to wait a few years before adding to our family. We had no idea that we would have fertility struggles. Doug and I did a lot of soul searching and talking. We both came to the realization that we were not done being parents. We love parenting Liam and really want to give him a sibling.

We used fertility treatments, but with no success. After the last failed IVF, we were offered the opportunity to try more interventions but the answer that came out of my mouth was “no.” At the time, we were very sure that adoption was the right path for us - not further treatment - and we are still sure.

Some people have asked me, “What if you become pregnant?” Although that is highly unlikely, it would not alter our choice to adopt even if I became pregnant. Having chosen to pursue adoption, we feel very committed to this path.

“How does your family feel about your choice to adopt?” is another question I often get. The answer is that they are very supportive. My own mother knew of my desire to have another child, and when I told her that we had chosen to adopt, she seemed totally unsurprised - as if she already knew that was what we would do. She is excited for us, and has already asked us about what gifts she can buy for the new baby. (I was like, “Mom, let’s go one step at a time.” The point is she’s excited for us). Adoption is not new to our family, either - my cousin adopted her daughter, and one of Doug’s cousins adopted his son.

“Will you love an adopted child as much as your biological child?” My answer to that is, “of course.” We will love him or her differently- not because he or she is adopted, but because he or she is a different person from Liam. Even though Liam is our biological son, we are still learning to understand who he is as an individual. For example, Liam is very bright and has lots of friends, but he does not like to be in the spotlight. He likes to wear clothes that do not call attention to him and avoids doing things like performing in front of his class. This is very different from my personality, but I honor Liam by accepting who he is and encouraging him to try new things at a pace that is comfortable for him. When another child comes into our home, we will be getting to know his or her traits, likes or dislikes, and quirks, just like we had to learn Liam’s. We love our son for the unique person he is, and we will love our second child for the person he or she is.

-Margaret O’Malley