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10 Reasons Not to Adopt a Child

It's About Meeting the Child's Needs First


Portrait of mother consoling daughter, studio shot
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Adoption is a beautiful gift that a family can give to a child in need of a home. But this gift can be easily tarnished if the adoption is brought about for the wrong reasons.

There are some adoptive situations that are unique to foster care adoption. These situations arise due to the foster child being placed in the foster home, or the child has spent some time with the family in pre-adoptive visits.

So, before you go forward with adopting a child, make sure your reasons are not on this list of ten reasons not to adopt.

  1. Guilt. - Some pre-adoptive parents may feel guilty if they decide not to adopt a child that has been in their home as a foster placement or through pre-adoptive visits for a foster care adoption. The guilt may be strong enough for some families to consider going forward with adoption. The families may feel badly about the child having to move again or guilt about the child not having a family after being a part of the family as a foster placement.

  2. Pressure from friends or family. - Some pre-adoptive families may feel pressure from friends or other family members to adopt a foster child that has been placed in their home. The child himself might also pressure the foster parents to adopt.

  3. Infertility issues. - Struggling with infertility and feeling a strong need to parent a child and not fully grieving the loss of the ability to have a birth child. It’s important not to skip the step of grieving the loss associated with infertility. It would not be fair if a child enters a family as a sort of replacement. It’s only a matter of time before the child doesn’t meet the expectations of the parents and the adoptive placement begins to fail. The adoptive parents may also begin to resent the child and feel unfulfilled as parents. The child will also feel this resentment from his parents.

  4. Needing a playmate. - Adoption is not a way for a child already in the home to gain a playmate. The adopted child is not added to the home in order to meet the needs of the adoptive family. Again, expectations may not be met and the child will feel the family’s disappointment. There are other ways for a child to gain a playmate. Consider neighborhood children, joining play groups, or putting your child in activities or clubs.

  5. Save a relationship. - Adoption is not a way to save a failing marriage. Just like couples who think a pregnancy will save a marriage, an adoption will not save a relationship. Adoption may distract a couple from core issues, but that distraction will only last for awhile. In time the issues that brought about discontentment within the home will return once the new wears off the adoption. This is another unfair situation to bring a child into.

  6. Fear of empty nest. - Some people, especially mothers, grow concerned about what life will be like once all of their children leave home – empty nest syndrome. It is then that some may consider adding more children to the family so that never happens. Adoption is not the answer. This would be another situation of the adoptive family looking for a child to meet their needs. Look at other ways the empty nest may be a blessing and open new doors and opportunities.

  7. My spouse wants to adopt. - Don’t agree to adopt a child just to please a spouse who really wants to adopt. If you are not interested in adding to the family through adoption, then don’t do it. This is another situation where the child will feel the dissension within the family.

  8. Meeting the family’s need. - Adoption is not a way to gain attention for yourself, or to meet any need you may have, not even your need to parent a child. Adoption should not be about you needing a child. Adoption is about you being ready to parent a child who needs a family.

  9. Something or someone is missing. - The adoptive family feels the need to fill a hole within their own lives. A hole that may be due to the loss of another child. Again, the child should not be there to fill your family’s need. The adopted child should not be expected to fill the spot of another child.

  10. A calling. - Adoption is not a way to repay a debt to society, a good deed, or a “Christian Duty.” Again, it’s about providing a home for a child that needs a home and you being willing and ready to parent that child through the good and the bad. These reasons may spark or trigger your interest in adoption, but will not be enough to sustain you as a family while parenting your adopted child into adulthood.

Now that we've explored why not to adopt, here are five reasons to adopt a child.

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