Why not surrogacy?
I was interviewed last week. As part of a university research project into fatherhood.
The questioning, as always in these cases, was friendly. Encouraging. It also caused me to consider a number of the answers. Challenged my views. My perceptions.
That is all quite usual. Less so were questions about my motivation in becoming a father. In and of themselves not unusual or out of place, but fascinating nonetheless in the respect that they caused me to contemplate my past actions. Interrogate the decisions we made.
I've written a little about how we have challenged ourselves over our decision to adopt here.
The question I was asked last week took that theme further. Why did I (we) choose adoption ahead of other routes to parenthood? Why not co-parenting? Why not surrogacy? Why not take one of the biological routes to fatherhood?
Coincidentally, I read an article this week by two Dads, also from Hampshire, who described for Gay Star News the reason why they chose the surrogacy route over adoption. Their story of overcoming considerable odds to create a family is inspirational. Particularly given the circumstances that closed, for them, the route to a family through adoption.
Clearly, we were lucky enough not to face the hurdles and the corresponding disappointment, faced by the couple in the article.
Equally though, very early on in our deliberations about creating a family, we ruled out any route other than adoption.
At the time the decision to pursue an option of 'adoption or nothing' seemed instinctive to both J and I. Answering the researcher's questions made me consider more deeply whether that really was the case, and what was our motivation in ruling out alternative, biological routes.
Altruism played its part. Not only in the sense that we wanted to offer a home. Security. A future to a child who previously had no secure combination of those things.
We also felt firmly that a route to a family involving a commercial transaction wasn't for us. We both felt instinctive discomfort at the thought.
If money had to play a part in our journey to a family, we wanted to use our very fortunate financial position to support and enhance its future.
Additionally we believed we had a joint skill set well suited to helping a child overcome previous trauma. The more we investigated adoption. The more we researched the all too frequent challenges presented by the adopted child. Their likely needs. Their possible demons. The more we were certain adoption was the route we should follow.
We knew, together, we could manage the challenges adoption would present. Not only that. We could overcome those challenges. Meet any needs. Dispel any demons.
We could both create the warm, loving, kind family we craved and our child would deserve and also change the outcome for our son or daughter. Change their life for the better. Change their future prospects immeasurably.
We therefore chose adoption. It was the right choice for us. I hope and pray it was also the right choice for our children.
In no way do I disparage those who choose different paths. The journey to a family for anyone in the LGBT community is always going to be a distinctly personal, challenging, emotional one. It therefore must be a unique one. One that fits the person. One that is entirely individual.
Adoption was right for us. It may not, indeed will not, be right for everyone.
Do consider it though. For us it is totally, absolutely, unreservedly the best thing J and I have ever done.