“I Want to Adopt; My Boyfriend Only Wants to Have Biological Kids”

Hey Wendy, first-time LW and recent fan, hoping you can help me with some advice!

I have been with my long-distance boyfriend, “Craig,” almost a year and a half. We both graduate with undergrad degrees in December (we are a little older than the typical college grad crowd) and talk about moving then and eventually marrying. I love him and he makes me very happy; he is truly the only person I feel I can be completely myself around, but we differ on one big issue: He wants biological children while I have zero interest in that.(I might in the future but right now cannot guarantee it and find it unlikely.) I do, however, want to adopt or foster (I am even graduating with a degree in social work partially to help ease the process). I have never ever had biological maternal feelings, and, to be honest, I have had every pelvic issue you can imagine and the thought of going through labor and destroying my body further honestly gives me panic attack-inducing nightmares. I also suffered from severe clinical depression, mental illness runs in my family, and I would hate myself if I willingly subjected my child to it via genetics.

Craig is very scared of the concept of adoption, and would be upset his own genetics wouldn’t be reflected in his children. I personally believe being a parent is about unconditionally loving children and trying to provide them the best opportunities possible, whereas he is really focused on the genetic part. I think this issue might be a huge fight waiting to happen. He has never said it would be a deal-breaker or that the relationship would not work out if we never had children, but I know it would upset him deeply and he might resent me later on.

I do not want to prolong a doomed relationship and think it would be better for us to break up and find new partners where we can both be fulfilled if this issue is a deal-breaker. I also do not want to move for a doomed relationship, as I will be choosing a law school based on where he ends up getting a job and don’t want to be stuck for years if we break up. I’d like to have a little more clarity on this issue before one of us uproots everything. What should I do and how should I go about it?

Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks! — Hopeful Future Adoptive Mom

First of all, please don’t choose a law school based on where your long-distance boyfriend of a year and a half gets a job. It would be one thing if you were in a long-term, committed relationship absent of major potential deal-breakers, but that isn’t the case and it would be incredibly short-sighted to jeopardize your advanced education – and future career and earning potential — for someone who, let’s face it, may not be in your life for very long.

In regards to your differing parenting desires: It’s certainly not a crime for someone to want his or her own biological children (nor is it automatically noble or valiant to prefer or want to adopt), but people’s reasons for wanting or not wanting certain things do say something about their character and I urge you to deeply consider what Craig’s reasons are for wanting biological children versus adopted children. I can’t imagine that his referring to adopted children as “used” squares with your own values. Does it reflect deeper chasm in your differing values? How about his focus on passing down his own genes? How is that different — or maybe even similar — to your wanting to avoid passing down some of yours?

It’s possible that Craig has used poor choice of words and phrases that don’t necessarily reflect his values and character. You need to find out what Craig truly meant when he said adopted children are “used.” All of us, to some extent, have fear of the unknown, and becoming an adoptive parent holds even more unknowns that becoming a biological parent (which is already so full of surprises). Having limited knowledge of your child’s genetic makeup and family medical history can be particularly nerve-wracking, as would any concern that the adoption process may be heartbreakingly jeopardized before being finalized; maybe in a potentially awkward attempt at expressing this fear, his words came out wrong. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt here; obviously, you would know more about his character and whether his word choice was a just reflection of how you know him to be.

Regardless of what Craig meant exactly by that particular phrase, it’s clear he has trepidation about something that is important to you. Whether he can be persuaded or convinced to embrace your adoption and to give up the idea of having biological children is impossible to say. What IS possible to say is that you may not know the answer to this question for a long time. It’s also possible — likely, even — that if Craig does come around to embrace adoption, you may worry that he’ll see doing so as a sacrifice for you and that that sacrifice may lead to resentment. I imagine that question may weigh on you like a heavy burden unless Craig can make a very convincing argument for a change in heart, and at this point there isn’t even a hint of that happening in the near future.

You say that Craig has not expressed that this issue is a deal-breaker for him, but you need to consider whether it is, in fact, a deal-breaker for YOU. Can you commit to a relationship with someone who, at this point, does not want to adopt children? If you cannot commit to that, please, please do not make choices now solely for the benefit of the relationship that will affect your life in the long-term.

My parents say they can’t accept the fact that I’m dating a black guy. We have been dating for two years and his family also had a problem with it but came to the understanding that we are happy and that one day we would like to get married. The rest of my family accepts it; it’s just my parents that don’t, and it’s causing a lot of fights in our relationship.

I don’t know what do to anymore. Please, can you give me advice? We both are in our twenties. — In Cross-Cultural Relationship

You do not need your parents’ acceptance. Sure, it’s nice to have, but it is not necessary for the future of your relationship, your happiness, or even your well-being. What IS necessary for your relationship and your well-being though is that you stop fighting over — and with — your racist parents. This may require you to essentially cut ties with your parents, or it may mean drastically cutting back on the amount of time and ways you interact with them. It’s a very hard, but ultimately super simple, solution to your problem. Your parents are causing tension in your relationship, your parents are being racist and unreasonable, cut out your parents.

Two things are possible when you cut out your parents (or cut down on interactions with them): They will miss you and, like your boyfriend’s parents, will eventually come around to accepting your relationship if it means having you back in their lives; or, they will double-down on their hate and cut you out of their lives with an even deeper and longer-lasting incision. Either way, you still have your relationship and the absence of people actively meddling in it and creating tension between you and your boyfriend.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. @LW1 I married my husband after discussing important issues such as this beforehand. Ive always felt I could love any child but my husband only feels he could love his biological children so therefor adoption/fostering is off our table. I accepted this because I love the man I married and its who I want to spend the rest of my life with. I know my husband will be a great father to our children and I wouldnt want to force unwanted children on him because its not fair to him and the children. Of course he could always change his mind but I dont hold my breathe. Also Craig does have a point about “used” children (poor choice of words) . I think what Craig might have meant is children with psychological/behavioral problems. If you go through the state fostering system you will encounter several challenges with children who have been abused/neglected. Not everyone can parent and love these children the way they think they can. Ive seen it first hand. A women gave back a child her husband and she adopted at 8-9yrsold . At 13-14yr old he was stealing from her and she no longer wanted him/couldnt deal with him after her husband had passed away. Her husband wanted a child so she caved and they adotped him. This was a heartbreaking moment in my career to see unfold. As a social worker you will learn that you cannot save every child and you won’t bond with every child. Same as making friends. Some people you get along some people you don’t. It takes a special human being to love and take on these children whose parents/family failed them. When you say you dont want your own biological children but would rather adopt/foster you need to make sure you have the right parental mindset in place verse trying to be someone’s hero.

    1. LW1 – I will reiterate two points here: 1.) I am an adoptive mom and it is a very, very hard process. I could write a book about what is wrong with the system but there are 30 couples waiting for every available baby right now in the US and it is almost impossible to adopt outside of the US with current immigration polices. The foster system is a wonderful possibility but most kids aren’t eligible for adoption until they are much older. You could foster for years and then give the child back. You also need to be available for court visits and family visits with the biologicial family. Your career might not lean to that. You also need to consider the cost which is astronomical.
      2.) What I would say is make sure your relationship is what you want. I see so much of you in me. I had everything planned. I do think you should have your life goals and major values lined up. But mostly you need to see how life unfolds. I couldn’t have kids and tried for years before my adoption. It is wonderful how life turned out but for sure, my life doesn’t look the way I thought it would. Both of you might need to give yourself some flexibility to life’s plans.

      1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        I was typing my response and you beat me to it, but a million times this, ESPECIALLY point 1. It takes a flexibility and strength and financial safety net that 90% of people just don’t have, and that’s OK, really.

    2. LW1 – I will reiterate two points here: 1.) I am an adoptive mom and it is a very, very hard process. I could write a book about what is wrong with the system but there are 30 couples waiting for every available baby right now in the US and it is almost impossible to adopt outside of the US with current immigration polices. The foster system is a wonderful possibility but most kids aren’t eligible for adoption until they are much older. You could foster for years and then give the child back. You also need to be available for court visits and family visits with the biologicial family. Your career might not lean to that. You also need to consider the cost which is astronomical.
      2.) What I would say is make sure your relationship is what you want. I see so much of you in me. I had everything planned. I do think you should have your life goals and major values lined up. But mostly you need to see how life unfolds. I couldn’t have kids and tried for years before my adoption. It is wonderful how life turned out but for sure, my life doesn’t look the way I thought it would. Both of you might need to give yourself some flexibility to life’s plans.

  2. I have friends who have experienced similar situations to both LW’s. Regarding children, that couple decided they could compromise on the topic (she wants to adopt, he wants a biological child), so they’re currently due with their first biological child next month (she swore she’s only doing pregnancy once!)…..they then plan on adopting a child once they get approval. I know you’re not keen on pregnancy but it is an option and just wanted to share how one couple came to a resolution.

    I also have a friend, a white woman, who is married to a black man. Her father is extremely racist and went as far as to call the priest the day of their wedding trying to stop the ceremony. To this day he still doesn’t accept their relationship but they’re happily married for several years now (and counting!). Their contact is limited, but they still have plenty of relatives and friends who are supportive of their marriage and wholeheartedly accept them for who they are. I think the bigger picture here, which Wendy focuses her advice rightfully, is being able to recognize the unhealthy relationships in your life, even if they’re family — and limit/cut them out for your own well-being. If they can’t see your spouse for the good that they are because all they see is color or ethnicity, then that’s their loss. Be happy in your relationship and future marriage if that’s in the cards.

    1. Bittergaymark says:

      In my very own childhood neighborhood… Long after I was grown up… An adopted youth raped and murdered the biological daughter of the family involved. The case was truly horrific. Obviously, this is a crazy extreme and isolated incident. But I can see how stories like this can give on pause.
      If you can’t agree on this issue — of which neither of you are “right” — you simply are not a match.

      1. Holy hell. That is awful. 🙁

        I do agree with your statement though, nobody is right on the issue; what matters is being able to come to an agreement.

      2. This is so sad. I know for my family. We said we would foster after our son was much older. We do need to think of him. It is such a sad situation but most kids are taken out of truly horrific situations and don’t always have the coping skills or moral compass because their parents were monsters.

      3. I can also link a million articles on how biological families committed terrible crimes as well. While kids in the system may be more likely to have physiological damage, only bringing up points like these help further the adoption stigma and make the process harder. I could link a lot of success stories as well!

  3. I agree with Poppy – it’s not easy to foster, or to adopt children from the foster system. (And further agree with her assessment of Craig’s poor choice of words and what he may have been getting at.) I’ve also seen this play out in a worst-case scenario – a family member and her husband adopted a 5-year-old girl who had severe issues due to really major neglect and abuse that began in infancy. What I’ve heard really curled my hair and I’m sure it didn’t even scratch the surface of what this little girl went through. They had to basically hide the child because of threats from the birth family. All the years and years of therapy couldn’t fix things. By the time their daughter was 14, their marriage had totally imploded and the daughter became violent to the point that the mom had to move out of the family home and cease contact for her own safety. I’m not actually sure whether the dad still has custody or if the child became a runaway/ward of the state again.

    Parenting is a crapshoot no matter what. If you adopt, you are risking drug addiction/abuse/neglect/unknown medical history/abandonment issues and so on. It’s hard and expensive, and not everyone is cut out for it. If you have biological children, you may risk your own health – both physical and mental. Surrogacy/donor eggs may be an option, but again, that’s expensive. Your own biological children may have developmental delays or mental health problems. You may be unable to conceive or carry a child to term. There are no certainties.

    You don’t say how old you are, but I want to say that I also didn’t really have “biological maternal feelings” until well into my pregnancy. When our daughter was conceived, we were still in the “sure, why not, let’s see what happens, I guess maybe having a kid might be nice” phase and not, “omg, must become a mommy yesterday”. If it might help with your anxiety, you can have a chat with your doctor about what your options might be to take care of your health during a pregnancy, whether or not you decide to take that path.

  4. You can still have biological children even if you are not carrying the pregnancy. Maybe look into freezing your eggs now and discuss if the option of using a surrogate at some point is agreeable.

  5. LW 2 – your parents are racist. You are allowed to call them out on their racism. If you decide to stay with this person, know that they may very well disown you, but to be honest, knowing this about your parents – do you really want to be a part of that?

    Lastly, grandchildren have a way of making people see things differently. Nonetheless, if too much damage is done – it’s something they will have to deal with. There are lots of options for adopting grandparents at your local senior home or religious congregation.

  6. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

    A few thoughts on top of what others have said, LW1:

    1.) You say you have a degree in social work and are pursuing law school. That’s great. However, both of those jobs have STRICT ethical guidelines for keeping one’s license, and if you intend to pursue a career path of practicing law in juvenile court or handling the termination of parental rights, you may be foreclosed from that practice due to conflicts of interest if you interact with one of the case management agencies in fostering/adopting. I’m dealing with this issue right now as I look into foster care myself, so I’m speaking from experience here.

    2.) One red flag that I saw in my reading of your letter is that you are talking about fostering with an eye toward adopting, not fostering and then adopting if it became necessary. And, again, I commend you for wanting to help kids in need, but if you get serious in the classes and training and whatnot for licensing as a foster care provider one of the first things they hammer home to you is that you absolutely must not only ALLOW contact with the biological family but ENCOURAGE it. Even after adoption they strongly advise that you keep contact with the biological parents to the best of your ability. The goal of foster care is that it’s temporary, not permanent, and you’re going to have to commit 100% like this is your own child knowing that in a month, 6 months, a year, 2 years you may well get a knock on the door for them to collect their things and return to their parents. I don’t think I have to tell you how soul-crushing that can be for even the most veteran foster parents, and the way you’ve described it I worry that it might destroy you emotionally. So please make sure you’re ready for that possibility before you walk in that door to sign up for foster care.

    Look, I’m not bashing you for wanting to help kids who need love the most. That’s amazing. But I also am not going to bash your boyfriend for being overwhelmed/afraid of the actual pragmatic effect of it, because if there’s one common refrain I’ve heard from the hundreds of foster parents I’ve dealt with it’s that no matter how prepared you might think you are for it you really never are. So instead of using passive-aggressive manipulation (which, I’m sorry, but taking him to see Instant Family is exactly that), just sit down in a safe and comfortable place for both of you and really talk about what your feelings are and what his feelings are. Listen to what his real concerns are, and don’t focus on his word choice as much as the meaning behind it. And then, if it’s a barrier, go your separate ways. But I suspect if you both had an open and honest dialogue about it you might be a lot closer to the same page than you think you are.

    1. To be fair, I told him what instant family was about and expressed to him why I wanted to see it with him. He agreed to see it A) Because we both like Mark Wahlberg and B) because he was open to seeing why something was important to me. I also explained to him I wasn’t sure what the adoption/foster process in the movie was about (it was unrealistic but had good intentions) and that he could ask me or one of my social worker friends questions if he had any. He ended doing some research on his own in regard to how long these things can take.

    2. Great points! I totally agree. LW, we all love where your heart is and I hope you can change the world. But , I would suggest evaluating your relationship separate from this one issue. The system is frustrating and slow and flawed. I hope you can make a dent in it but it might be in a different way than you thought.

  7. anonymousse says:

    LW1-I think some couples can change their minds as far as having biological children or not, but if you are adamant that you don’t want to birth your own offspring, and he’s very set on having his own biological children, maybe you are just not a match. How do you get more clarity on this? Talk to your bf. Don’t make plans for the future based on where he will be right now.
    IMO if you’re ready to give this relationship up, that in itself is probably a big sign that this isn’t meant to last. And that’s okay!

  8. LW1 here,

    First off, sorry if this comes off as harsh but this is an incredibly frustrating and personal issue. Just a reminder I am graduating with a degree in social work, I am VERY aware of what adoption/fostering entails and the difficulties behind it. I have interned at a government adoption agency and in my clinical hours, I have spent nearly a year working with children in the foster care system. I have met kids who have been involved in gang violence, abused children, children mentally stunted due to their parent’s drug use, kids who are excessively aggressive and violent, to children who are severely disabled mentally or physically – they all deserve care and unconditional love, they’re children. While I agree adoption isn’t noble or heroic, just a different route, there are limited people who consider it or even pursue it, I do believe myself capable.

    I also am shy to bring this issue up to other women because there is always a barrage of “You might change your mind!” or “You’re young, you don’t know!” which I find to be condescending. It also does hurt when people completely disregard my health issues, which are very valid reasons to not have children especially when it comes to my health, safety, and quality of life.

    And the adoption part is the worst, people will tell you the worst horror stories they know in an effort to discourage you/ “make you aware of the risks” as if you don’t already know. There’s also the fact that biological children can be just as “messed up” and biological children commit heinous crimes too!

    The surrogate option is nice and in some cases ideal but expensive and unrealistic, I am not privileged enough to be able to pay 10k to freeze my eggs currently let alone hire someone later to carry the pregnancy (it’s also not what I want, my goal is to adopt an already existing child but I do wish I had the option just in case). I also would never want to get pregnant and see that I still don’t have maternal feelings, I would rather regret not having children than regret having them.

    As for law school, every state I have applied in are places I would be happy to live in with the ability to care for myself independently regardless of whether or not my boyfriend and I break up. My boyfriend has also agreed to pursue work wherever I get the most scholarship money, but we all know opportunities don’t always come along for both parties. If he is willing to uproot his life to move where I have applied to schools, me factoring cities where he could be most successful is the least I can do. We may even end up extending the long distance time, which would be unfortunate but we have both agreed to try the more practical options.

    And update wise, after writing this letter I realized it was a bit pathetic to be able to write a complete stranger on the internet without being able to express to my partner my worries. We had a very long talk Friday night and I am happy to report back that he understands why I prefer the adoption route and expressed that I am someone who is capable of unconditional love and that is something he loves about me. He is a really caring guy but does have a tendency to put his foot in his mouth and just say the first thing that comes to mind, which is where the “used” comment came from. He explained before he met me it was a concept he never considered and always imagined his children looking like him, but he does have some severe health issues too (his liver effectively just stopped working for almost 2 years) and he is worried about that as well. We both agreed that we would look into adoption and fostering and if something felt right we would pursue it, and he is aware that there is zero guarantee I will ever be open to the idea of biological children and apparently accepted that about a year ago (wish he would have told me that sooner and saved me all this worry lol). We also both agreed that ending up child-free would not be the worst thing either, both of us would be happy to spend the extra money on traveling. While all of this may not work out, I do feel better about our decision to end the long-distance part having discussed this in depth. I consider myself so lucky to have a partner who is even willing to discuss this.

    Additionally, in response to Guy Friday – thank you! You brought up a lot of good points! I can assure you I have looked into the legalities and conflicts of interests, I am lucky to have spoken to several social workers who have had similar issues and have given me advice to avoid conflict. Luckily the type of Public Interest law I want to practice (I am gearing towards civil rights) should have limited conflicts! But I also may just go towards something like corporate or real estate law, who knows! Your second point is a good one as well, and one I have thoroughly discussed with my boyfriend. We are aware fostering and the overall adoption process can lead to heartbreak, but we have agreed that attempting to make a positive impact even if short-lived is worth it to us. Please do not assume I have not considered the many possible outcomes, trust me, I have done extensive soul searching and research!

    Thank you all for the input, I know everyone has children’s best interests at heart and it all comes from genuine places <3

    1. That’s great that you guys were able to talk about it! Communication is so important, especially in a LDR. It sounds like you are both thoughtful people and will be able to continue to talk things over and come to a well-considered decision. I’m sorry if my comment came off as condescending; we only have the information in one letter to go on, so there’s really no way for us to know all of the background (your extensive work with foster kids, your consultations with various doctors). A lot of commenters have been following this site for a long time, and there are A. LOT. of LWs who are…not very well educated. From just couple of sentences about getting a degree in social work and experiencing health issues, a reader might jump to a conclusion that isn’t necessarily true, but partly colored by interactions with other LWs. Glad to hear you are well-informed and taking care of yourself!

      1. No worries!! It can just be frustrating to hear it from EVERYONE so that’s what my tone reflected. It also is hard to fit an entire background into the 500 words Wendy wants! And yes I agree, many writers seem a bit oblivious. I personally know I was writing in because I knew the issue but did not want to admit it to myself. It’s also so hard to interrupt a relationship that is going really well with a “Hey if we can’t agree on kids should we break up?” talk lol.

    2. Gah can’t edit – I was kind of curious about your statement about maternal feelings, though. Like, you think you might not have maternal feelings for a biological child, but you are confident you’d have them for an adopted child? I’m not sure I understood that correctly. Do you mean you don’t feel a “biological clock”?

      1. You know when women talk about how they can’t wait to be pregnant or even if they don’t like pregnancy they’re SO excited to have a family? In movies when women hold their baby bump or when pregnant women in real life ask you to feel the baby kick? I have never really felt warm like that, I don’t see babies and coo or get mushy. There is just zero maternal urges in that sense.

        I think my desire to adopt stems from my own childhood, I was unhappy and felt like I did not belong and had no one on my side. I always had the idea of adoption growing up, to make someone feel like they belonged and now after working with foster/adopted children and seeing first hand the wonders a support system can do I feel so much more confident in my thoughts on the issue. I do have parental urges, I want to teach a kid to drive and how to make baked goods or support whatever interests they have. I imagine trips to Disney and school plays, all of that, god even the thought of taking a kid to see the ocean or snow for the first time makes me happy – just never the birth/pregnancy part. To me adoption/fostering has always seemed the better fit, I just want to unconditionally support someone, not necessarily make them lol. Hope that makes sense.

      2. I should also add, I see myself in a LOT of the kids I have worked with. I was the “difficult” child, I had mental illness, a learning disability, I got into fights all the time and was constantly suspended, I had very strained family relationships, it is honestly amazing I did not get involved in drugs as a teen. I am luckily incredibly successful and well rounded now, thanks to a lot of adults who did not give up on me. I do feel I have insight into how it felt to be treated by adults who would scoff at the thought of adoption because the kids were “difficult”. Is that a qualifier? No, but it is more reason why I want to work with kids who might be written off because of the adoption or “orphan” stigma.

      3. Bittergaymark says:

        The idea that you have like zero innate maternal instincts yet believe you will magically possess them upon adopting a child strikes me as both deluded and highly naive…

      4. Ele4phant says:

        I *think* what the LW was trying to say was that she does not have an innate desire to experience pregnancy firsthand nor does she feel it is important to share a genetic connection with her child.

        Not that she doesn’t feel maternal, at all.

        I think, if I’m right that’s still a weird way to phrase it.

      5. I think everyone feels differently in regard to their own parenting routes so if it doesn’t suit you its good that it does not affect you 🙂

      6. Bittergaymark says:

        Your glib non answer, Megan, is not exactly a very convincing argument…

      7. Sorry Bittergaymark, you’re just never gonna get what you want from me. I am choosing not to respond in the same rude tone you use, but whenever you subject your personal life to us I’ll be sure to be there with lots of opinions as well 🙂

    3. LW I can absolutely relate to the no desire for biological children – I’m almost 35 so I’m quite confident that if the clock was ticking it would have started already. I loathe people who make comments about our reproductive choices especially as there are plenty of women like my sister and cousin who have known for a very long time they cannot have children (my favorite is the people who think encouraging words or ‘pray for it’ are helpful…I have absolutely said I believe you need a uterus to become pregnant and also ovaries).

      My boyfriend always thought he wanted biological children and I thought it would become a dealbreaker but he stated just a month or so later that he had just never considered adoption and also hadn’t considered the team no kids life. He’s now on team no kids or team foster to adopt older kids (my aunt and uncle have 3 adopted kids so I know it’s a processsss) – it really comes down to communication and having the ability to consider different paths. Good luck and remember you aren’t the only one out there who doesn’t want biological child!

      1. I wish more adults could have honest dialogue like this, thank you for the wisdom!

    4. Yes, since seemed so sure you did not want to be pregnant, I too was going to ask if you were SURE you wanted to be a parent all, and not just saying you wanted to adopt bc “being a parent is something you just do” or you have vague visions of the “kodak moments.” Because I guarantee you it’s NOT something you have to do, and eff anyone who makes you think it is. But it sounds like you are pretty certain you do want to be a PARENT, just that you don’t want to be pregnant, and of course that’s totally valid. Bonus points that you are already with familiar with the system and the time, training, excessive costs, and heartbreak of fostering/adopting and still want to do it. But since you mention you’ve never had a “maternal instinct,” I would just say take one last deep dive into yourself and make sure being a parent is what you REALLY want, as opposed to maybe just helping troubled kids by being a social worker/child law specialist/etc. Make sure you’re really ready for 24/7 reality of parenting a child with a difficult history.

      So step one is to be 100% sure about yourself (that also involves being 100% sure you’re willing to be childfree and give up totally on parenting if your partner never comes around on adopting). Then step two is to be REALLY sure about your fiance. For every anecdote about spouses who came around to their partner’s differing views about kids, I can give you an anecdote about someone who married their partner saying they were fine with their views about kids, only to admit later that they were lying and went on with the marriage because they just assumed their partner would change their mind eventually. If one of both of you are going into this hoping your partner’s mind will change, that’s a recipe for disaster.

      1. I think a lot of people are missing the point that I needed to communicate clearly with my boyfriend about this issue, it was a matter of both of us understanding our options for the future. Few people are 100% sure on anything, as stated by many people in this thread who weren’t 100% about their own kids either. For the parents or want to be parents who are, good for them! But the issue was the discussion, not me, thanks for all the input though 🙂

    5. LW1, I came here to back you on this. It’s infuriating when you say you don’t want to pop out babies and the response is “But…you might change your mind!” or similar bullshit as if every woman wants to pop out babies. If you know you don’t want to have bio kids or ever be pregnant, you know!! I’ve been dealing with this for years since my husband and I decided not to have bio kids. I’m 38 now and people are still trying to tell me I’ll change my mind and I’m missing out even though a pregnancy could literally kill me and I have no desire to go through something that sounds like actual torture.

      Like you, we have decided that we would rather foster/adopt if we decide we would like to be parents someday, and the stigma against those kids pisses me off too. My husband is his parents’ only bio kid and my two brothers-in-law are adopted. My in-laws never once saw them as lesser than my husband because they’re not related by blood.

      Best of luck to you, and don’t let anyone tell you that you should change your life plan because they loved being pregnant or read some news story about a foster kid committing a crime. People who come from white picket fence backgrounds with great families commit crimes too.

  9. LW1 here,

    Thanks for all the responses and concerns! I wrote a longer more detailed response but it said awaiting moderation and never posted so here’s a shorter version.

    A few things, I am getting a degree in social work, I have interned at a government-run adoption agency for 6 months and fulfilled a year of clinical hours providing services to foster children. I am VERY aware of how the process works, how expensive it is, how long it can take and how poor of a state the children can be in. I also am aware of legal complications and conflicts of interests, I am very lucky to have been advised by many social workers who have had similar issues.

    I also know all the adoption horror stories, something people LOVE to share when I mention it, as if I was not aware. I would also like to mention that I know far too many biological kids who have committed heinous acts and made their parents wish they’d never had kids – as someone said, it can be a crapshoot no matter what – its the risk of being a parent for anyone.

    I get told quite often I could change my mind about biological kids, I could suddenly get that urge – that is true but I can’t count on that. It isn’t fair to lead someone on with the idea that I will change my mind as I get older. It is also such a frustrating thing to be told as it isn’t helpful at all.

    Pregnancy wise, I think people are so quick to overlook my health issues, having a biological child could risk my health/safety and drastically change my quality of life, I have spoken to several doctors about it. I do value my quality of life and health over the idea of a biological child, sorry if that makes me “selfish”.

    Surrogacy and egg freezing would be nice to have as an option, but freezing my eggs is not an affordable necessary option right now.

    Law school wise, I only applied to places where I would be happy to live and where I could financially support myself should we break up, I don’t think stuck was the right word, but I guess I worry about feeling obligated to make a relationship work because someone moved for/with me. The only reason I say I would move where my boyfriend got a job is because for a few years he would be the main breadwinner, it makes sense to go somewhere where he can start a decent salary job immediately while I’m stuck bartending nights and weekends while in school.

    I did spend Friday night having a LONG talk with my boyfriend, I told him I wrote in to an advice blog I was so anxious about this issue. I expressed again why the issue has always been important to me, he confessed he had never considered it before me, that he always assumed his kids would be a reflection of his and his partner’s genetics. I mentioned that I’d rather have kids be a reflection of our values and ideals, he agreed that was more important. I also mentioned the possibility that one of us could be infertile, and what would we do if we were? He immediately said adopt, like I assume most people would. We also discussed both our health issues (he has had some serious ones too). He was able to acknowledge adoption/foster just isn’t his ideal situation, but thinking of it as just a different way to have a family was helping him. He also explained the “used” comment was just him putting his foot in his mouth, he said the first thing that came to mind. While he still has a lot of questions and concerns (as do I) we both agreed to look into and pursue adoption/fostering if it felt right. We also discussed just not having children and that seemed like a valid option too. He is fully aware that I have never made promises that biological kids could be an option one day. I feel we have come to as best a conclusion on this discussion as possible for now, and I feel better about moving for/with someone having had an in-depth discussion about it.

    Everything could not work out the way we would wish, and that’s okay, we will deal with what comes as it comes but to have a deeper understanding of each other and our needs is a good start 🙂

    1. Sorry I wasn’t around to moderate your earlier comment sooner; I was in therapy! There’s overlap in your two long comments, but also some differences so I left both, but let me know if you’d prefer one be deleted and, if so, which one. Thanks!

    2. I can tell your frustration with what people are telling you and I hope my story was one that gave you a different perspective. I think what is frustrating with our current system is that it takes kids so long to be up for adoption in the foster system. Most kids are in for years before they can be adopted. These stories we have are all from personal experiences. I had two adoptions fall through. One the birth father changed his mind a week before we got the baby. Another the parents tried to extort money from us. We refused and they went to another waiting family that was willing to pay. I always thought I would have a ton of kids. But Surrogates cost $90K and adopting costs $20-30K. Twice we lost significant amounts of money to birth parents and had nothing to show for it and no recourse to get it back. It used to frustrate me so much when people would tell me to “Just Adopt” or “Just get a Surrogate”. Now we must decide if we want to fund my son’s college 529 or go back on the list. There are babies all over the world and in this country, who can use homes and it is a broken system that keeps people apart.

      1. I completely agree the system is flawed, which is partially why I got a social work degree. Adoption agencies tend to bypass a lot of the nitty gritty for people already in the system, it does not hurt to have an understanding as well. The wait list is one thing I am very aware of, my boyfriend and I talked about forgoing the baby part and opting for older children because of it. I do appreciate your stories and advice, I would rather hear it from people who have a personal experience rather than just opinions.

  10. FWIW my mum was one of those kids taken from their parents and placed in the system. She’s AWESOME. I shudder to think what would have happened to her if she’d been condemned as some broken kid with no chance of being normal, probably nearly as bad as what would have happened if she’d been left with her bio family. What you’re aiming to do is very noble LW, I hope you’re successful.

  11. LW, you strike me as wanting to fill all the gaps – in your letter and in your many posts too. You say you know already everything, you are aware of everything… You don’t, you don’t know what it is to have yourself children (either your own or adopted/foster), what it implies, for you, emotionally. All what you say is theory. I understand completely your physical problems and fear of damaging more your body/enduring more pain. I totally respect people who don’t want to have children themselves and prefer to adopt or foster. That is generous and remarkable. But I disagree with your “genetic” argument about all the bad things you would inoculate to natural children: come on, education, context and personal experiences are so much more important than genes! One is not determined by one’s family’s mental illnesses, much more by the behavior, difficult relationships and crises that might be connected to it. This is not “Brave new world”. If you feel frequently overwhelmed, maybe you should consider what it would imply for you, and for kids you would adopt or foster, because the emotional relationship mother- kid is very strong, challenging, demanding. Maybe you should question what you call the absence of “maternal biological feelings”: I am not sure there is such a thing. The maternal feelings are perhaps rooted in biology, but also in psychology, and the attachment towards an adopted kid will be very much like that. It will be just as powerful.
    Genetics are overrated in your dialogue with your BF. He has a common opinion about having children, the most common one (though I strongly disagree with the “used” concept which is awful).
    I think you should just go your separate ways and maybe you let life show you where is YOUR way. Get your degree at law school, and see where you are in some years: do you feel you have the emotional balance that having children (adopted or your own) requires? Do you have a good, strong relationship with a partner who connects with you and agrees on most important priorities in life? Then go for it. Or just adopt/foster by yourself.

    1. I find your comment very thoughtful but also to completely disregard valid health concerns I have. Mental illnesses are serious, some are life-threatening, to tell someone that experiences and lifestyles outweigh them is just insensitive and not how they work.

      1. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

        Don’t many of the older kids who become available for adoption have mental health issues. I agree with you that mental health issues are serious and need to be considered but I don’t see how you will avoid them by adopting children from foster care.

      2. Most people interested in adoption are aware of mental health issues in children in the system, there is a difference between a child who already exists with mental illness versus making another child with mental illness, etc.

  12. I kind of get the feeling LW1 – and I could be wrong – you had to talk your boyfriend into it? He wanted to have his own biological kids, which is his right. And I feel like right now he just gave in.
    Do you want to adopt with someone who gave in, or who enthusiastically shares your perspective from the get-go?

    1. I was really worried about that as well, this actually ended up being a long conversation as to why he even wanted children in general. At some point, he admitted he wasn’t even sure if he wanted kids because he wanted them or because he had been made to feel socially that he did. Which is normal I think, I think society pushes family so hard that some people just feel it’s the next step. We really just discussed all of our options and I told him what I was comfortable with right now, he agreed to try and look into things with me and we did come to the conclusion to move forward if something felt right.

      But I did ask him if he was just saying things to avoid a breakup, mentioning that wasn’t fair to either to us, especially if he might resent me down the line. He assured me that wasn’t the case so I am going to believe him for now, we will see how it goes down the line.

  13. Do not choose a law school (assuming you are in US) based on where your boyfriend will live. I am a lawyer and am living with very large debt due to law school and I have a decent job but the debt is real and soul crushing. Your choice of law school should be based on (1) did I get into a top 10 school, if not (2) what school will give me the most money and where I can graduate with the least debt.

    1. Please read my previous responses! I cover that 🙂

  14. Avatar photo Skyblossom says:

    @Megan I am curious as to how you define maternal instinct. What does it mean to you?

    To me maternal instinct is loving a child unconditionally and always striving to do your best for them. It means loving them no matter who they turn out to be and respecting them for who they are. To me it has nothing to do with being pregnant or giving birth but it seems essential in order to do a good job of raising any child. Parenting requires a lot of self-sacrifice and I think that maternal/paternal instinct is what drives parents to make that sacrifice.

    1. If you read my letter I pretty much said exactly what you said 🙂 It is about unconditional love and support to me, less about blood.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “USED” children??!

    That’s kind of a worrying attitude. It makes your man look like he thinks that children are supposed to be “useful” to their parents in some capacity. Kids aren’t toys–opening their packaging doesn’t decrease their value.

    1. No, not that children are supposed to be useful to their parents, but that if the children have ever had another parent, such as a birth parent for even a week, the are ‘used’ and can never be as bright and shiny as your own child. It is an odd child-like version of virginal purity of affection and knowledge.

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