I've always wanted to adopt, but...

"I've always wanted to adopt, but...I think I'll have my own {biological} child first.

We live in a  culture that places much significance and importance on appearance thus I understand the logic of this comment and the desire to build a family where the genes and biology match. However, when an adoptee hears the statement "I really want to adopt, but I want to have my own children first..." it sounds similar to how many of us order our meal at a restaurant: "The special sounds good, but I think I'll order the usual this time." While our taste buds long for the explosion of unusual and interesting flavors, we often stick with the familiar. No surprises (though we tend to forget biological children come with many surprises too!).

As thousands of beautiful children wait for their forever home, I'm grateful they aren't hearing all of the people in the world who are continuously uttering the phrase "I really want to adopt, but..." I'm thankful that they aren't hearing that they are unwanted at the current moment because even though they were born with a story and a purpose in this life that it is just too risky accepting someone with a different genetic makeup. An adoptee can't help but wonder, forever, what's wrong with me, was I born defective? Is biological-ness that much better?

As a wife without children currently, my husband and I have had and continue to have this very conversation. From our point of view there are many factors that go in to building a family; career, stability, traveling desires, further educational pursuits, etc.  However, for the child waiting for a home, there aren't that many factors. They just want to be part of a home where they're loved. Only when I think about the children who need a home do I begin to realize that parenting and desiring children isn't just about me and having all of my wishes satisfied. It's about children being able to have a family.

How can our culture better support adoptees who are added to a family as a "back-up plan?" Or perhaps a better question is, how can we become a culture where adopting is a norm, an accepted way to build a family whether infertility is an issue or not. A culture where a child can have a family simply because they are a human life deserving of a chance to grow up, play, laugh, make mistakes and contribute to society in a positive way. How about a culture where we routinely hear people say:

"I've always wanted to have biological children, but...I think I'll adopt first.