For Those Considering Adoption…

Some people believe it’s a primal instinct for women to want to be pregnant. Not me. I never wanted to have kids. I mean, yes, I wanted to HAVE kids but I never felt the pregnancy urge and the thought of giving birth terrified me. Our plan was to have one and then adopt one. I tried for a few months to get pregnant and physically there were no issues, but I got impatient.

When we decided to switch our plan to adopt first, I remember the relief. We were going to build our family! And not only that, but we got to choose the sex of our child, I didn’t have to be pregnant, and I didn’t have to give birth.

Fine by me!

Maybe you’re considering adoption because your Fertility Road is a dead end, or maybe you just don’t have that “need” to have a biological child. However you got here is your business but I got asked to write a piece on adoption so as long as I’m here, I might as well  get “real deal” with you. I feel like I’m in a prime position to do so. I have one child that is adopted, but I also have one that isn’t.

adoption 1

First things first:

If you’re thinking about adoption, believe that any kid can be your kid. Most anyone who has made the decision to adopt probably already feels that way, but for some, adoption isn‘t a first choice. It‘s a last resort. I’m willing to bet, though, if you pull 100 families who have adopted, you will get very few who don’t feel that their kid is their kid. Sure, they may not have felt that way going in, or even when the kid was placed in their arms, but any kid you birth or adopt is going to feel foreign at first. I don’t care where they’re from or how they got to you. There’s a new person in your world and everything just changed, big time.

It is MORE than possible to connect with a child who is adopted. My older daughter is from China. Someone else made her and birthed her, but if they walked past each other, they’d never know it. She’s my kid. She may even be more my kid than the kid I birthed. She will say something totally random and I’ll say “I was totally going to say that!!” or we will walk into a room and both have an issue with the funky smell, or how I recently complained to one of my friends about how tough she is (because I am convinced that she is going to be THE DEATH of me) and he said “You know why she’s like that?…Because you are.”)


Do your research. Check out lots of countries, including your own. I knew I wanted China because right around the time we decided to start a family, I had been reading a book called The Lost Daughters of China and I was obsessed. (I tend to get obsessive about things.) I HAD TO adopt a kid from China. My husband still had me look into other places, just to make sure, but China was the right choice for us.

Consider visiting the child’s place of origin when the time is right. Not all parents (or kids) will be able to do this. In fact, not all parents or kids will want to do this, but if it’s possible (and affordable) to one day take your child back to where he came from, I have to believe it will be a meaningful trip— and even more meaningful if it’s with you. [Sidenote: If you adopt within your country, a trip to their city/state is still a good idea. You can’t be like “Oh! We’re in Florida and he’s from Alabama. Same country! Off the hook!”  NO. Sorry!

Don’t make your child someone she’s not. One of my best girlfriends adopted two amazing girls. We have very little background on either one of her girls because they were left (at different times) at a fire station. The older one has hair that definitely leans more towards the African American culture but my girlfriend is Caucasian and has no idea how to “do” her hair. So you know what she does? She takes her daughter to a salon that specializes in African American hair.

Don’t be scared to adopt because the kid you get might have issues. He will. That’s because all kids have issues. Some issues, admittedly, are worse than others, so make sure everyone involved knows going in what you are and aren’t willing to accept. No one is judging you and who cares if they are? You’re building your family your way. But once that kid is placed in your arms, you have to deal. You get what you get–same as it would be if you birthed the kid yourself. Plus, who’s to say that kid wouldn’t have issues? (No offense.)

Be open about the adoption from the very beginning. Talk about it. We refer to it a lot, we celebrate it and sometimes we even (GASP!!) joke around about it (but never in a hurtful way). I like that we openly discuss, as a family, what our daughter’s life was before we came into it. I also like that we discuss what happened while we were there and how we can’t wait to go back. If you make it some big secret, it’s going to be one big secret and who needs that?? Not me.

Don’t believe the hype. Forget the stereotypes. Your kid will be a product of you before you know it so if you’re adopting from Russia, that doesn’t ensure that your kid is going to be a professional hockey player. If you’re adopting from Japan, that doesn’t mean your daughter will automatically be obedient and/or have no sense of humor, and if you’re adopting from China, that doesn’t mean she will be good at math.

Adoption statistics

I know as an adoptive parent I’m not supposed to say that we “rescued” our kid. Actually, we rescued each other. We are the family we are because of my daughter, both of my daughters (and I love the family that we are). I will always strive to do more to connect her with her culture and heritage, but for the time being, she’s in a good place—and so are we…and yes, if it wasn’t us, she likely would have been matched up with a different family, but I think she did OK landing with us. If not, at least she’s not alone—her little sister got screwed too.

adoption 2 adoption 3


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Robyn Coden
My name is Robyn Coden and I’ve got kind of an odd lifestyle, my family and I live in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan for part of the year and then, during the summer, we move to Northern Michigan to live at the overnight camp for kids where my husband is one of the owners/directors. I have a job in promotional marketing and I love cake (sheet cake, not fancy cake). I also love “Miami Vice” (the first 2 seasons) and presents. I went to college at The Ohio State University and lived in Columbus, Ohio for 8 years, but other than that, I have always lived in Michigan—and I have always been happy here. I especially love that Detroit is making a comeback because the days we spend with our kids downtown, those are good days.


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