Skip to main content

Adoption: Arguments For and Against

I was adopted as a child and grew up to adopt my son. Here, I share an insider's experience of adoption, from both these perspectives.

Allow me to give you a little background so you won’t think I’m just whistling in the dark without the qualification to speak. I was adopted when I was nine months old after spending those first nine months in a series of foster homes. I was adopted by loving parents who raised me with love and who continually supported me.

When I was 36 my wife and I adopted a baby boy, three days of age, and that child is now a healthy, intelligent, and loving man of 27. When he was 6 his mother and I divorced, and shortly afterward he came to live with me, so I single-parented him for the remaining years of his childhood and teen years.

In other words, to borrow an oft-used phrase, I have game with regards to adoption. I do not claim to be an adoption expert but I do claim to have a certain perspective regarding this topic and it is that perspective I will give you now.

Arguments For and Against Adoption

Adoption Is Not for Everyone

One would think since I have had nothing but positive results from adoption that I would be a complete flag-waving advocate for adoption but that simply is not the case. I believe there are some couples who do not have the right stuff to adopt just as I believe there are couples who should not be parents in any way, shape, or form. To slap a label on adoption and automatically label it a sure thing for all would be to certainly harm many adopted children and my number one concern will always be the children.

There will always be serious considerations concerning parenting in general but with adoption, one is making the commitment to love a child that is not biologically yours. That may not seem important while inhaling the wonderful thoughts of parenthood but it is a very real factor that needs to be addressed. I am wired in such a way that allows me to love a child no matter his or her origin but please do not assume all adults are wired that way.

Biology Will Eventually Become an Issue

While on the subject of biology, when one adopts a child one is on very thin ice indeed; there will come a time when you need to tell the child that they are adopted and this is a landmine waiting to explode. Some children handle that information well; some are affected their entire life by the knowledge that the people they believed were their biological parents are not while their real biological parents did not choose to keep them for whatever reason. Feelings of distrust, resentment, and abandonment, to name just three, are quite common and may require years of healing.

There Are Challenges in Adopting Older Children

Many would-be parents opt for adopting an older child and I would love to say that this always works out but that would be a lie. Older children who have been in foster homes come with their own baggage and the degree of psychological scars that they carry can be unsettling at best and a deal-breaker at worst. This is not a decision to be taken lightly and may the gods bless anyone willing to adopt an older child and work through the emotional problems that are inherent in this process.

There Are Challenges in Adopting Overseas

Déjà vu all over again! Are you intimately familiar with the child’s native culture? Are you prepared for the fallout that will come as this child tries to reconcile a life in a foreign land so far from his/her native land and biological family? I am fully aware that there are many success stories regarding these types of adoptions but I am also painfully aware of living nightmares that have happened.

These are but a few of the considerations that need to be considered before adopting and please, if there is an inkling of doubt, do not adopt. You are committing to a lifetime of love and care and if you are not prepared to give the adopted child 100% effort, despite whatever problems may arise, then do not adopt.

My son whom we adopted in 1984.

My son whom we adopted in 1984.

I was adopted in 1948, and in 1984, I adopted my son.

I was adopted in 1948, and in 1984, I adopted my son.

Adoption: Some People Get Lucky

I was lucky. My son was lucky. We were both raised with an abundance of love. We were both told about our adoptions in the most loving of ways and it did not adversely affect either of us. Neither of us ever doubted that we were loved and both of us were given permission to seek our birth parents if we chose to do so. There were no secrets and that is the only way to raise an adopted child; openness and compassion are the keys to avoiding problems that are inherent in the very nature of the institution of adoption.

For those of you who can consider all of the pitfalls that may occur and still say truthfully that you are willing, eager, and committed then I say to you there is no finer thing you could do in life than to adopt a child. To give love to a human being that is not biologically related to you and to sacrifice everything for the safety and well-being of that child is one of the finest forms of humanness I can think of.

Final Thoughts

My father died in 1969 when I was twenty years old. My mother died in 2003. I was on hand with them when they took their last breaths and for that, I am grateful because during their lifetimes they dedicated every breath to me, their adopted son. A man could not ask for better parents and I would not be the person I am today if it were not for the love and sacrifice of those two fine people.

My son will tell anyone who listens that the person he respects most in this world is his father, and he has told me on numerous occasions that he would not be who he is if it were not for my love.

Those are success stories of the highest order with regards to adoption. It is a wondrous institution that has saved millions of lives around the world and it is my fervent hope that millions more will be saved, nurtured, and loved as my son and I were. Would I change anything if I could do it all over again? Not a damn thing! You see, I truly am one of the lucky ones!

This has been in response to a question I was asked: "What are the reasons you would or would not adopt" I hope I have given you something to think about.

A happy, well-adjusted adopted child

A happy, well-adjusted adopted child

Too many children in foster care are falling through cracks. Be a hero, take the time learn about adoption today.

— Bruce Willis

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: When I am an adult, I was thinking of adopting. What age do you think is good for adoption?

Answer: I really think, for adoption, the younger the better, it just simplifies matters so much. The older the child the more problems you are apt to have.

Question: I gave my two children up for adoption fourteen years ago because I have bipolar/ schizoaffective disorder. I regret having not fought the state to this day. What do you think about this?

Answer: I think you did the best thing you could, considering the circumstances. Your act was out of love and concern for them. Well done is what I think of it.

© 2012 Bill Holland


Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 19, 2020:

Thank you Peggy! It all turned our all right, me thinks.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 18, 2020:

You are indeed lucky, and so is your son. It is great that you are sharing your story about being adopted with us. It is a lifelong commitment that should not be taken lightly.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 26, 2020:

I'm happy to hear that, Lakiya! Thank you for the kind words, and blessings to you always.

Lakiya Vaughn on February 25, 2020:

I love this article because it reminds me about myself. I was adopt at age 4 and I'm 15. Also I'm writing a paper about adoption and it really help me understands more and more about adoption. When I'm older I'm going to adopt a child. This really inspire me. Thank you.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 07, 2019:

Thank you PS! It is a slippery slope, that adoption thing. So much good can come from it, but there are sad stories as well.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 05, 2019:

Well chosen words Bill Cautiously is the way to proceed I have friends who were adopted and who have adopted and thankfully the story has turned out well for both But as you say adoption is not something that should be entered into with out serious consideration. thank you for sharing with us As usual many Angels are headed your way bringing blessings and hugs and all ps

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 21, 2018:

Contented is nice as hell, Sis! Stay that way for awhile...and if your travels ever bring you to Olympia, you sure as hell better visit your brother.

Suzie from Carson City on June 21, 2018:

Oh Yes, buddy. These days, when I make my few, brief visits per week, I am faithful to my special list of HubPals...& thereafter, where ever I'm directed. Someone has to keep an eye on you.

I'm "collecting" a bucketful of ideas, topics and/or somewhat unique information in my travels, for that as yet undetermined day I make friends with my muse once again. I still am not sure what happened between us (muse & I)...but I'm not stressing about it. In fact, I'm feeling pretty contented. HEY! to Bev.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 21, 2018:

Sis, I can always count on your lurking in the HP shadows, keeping an eye on me. I hope your summer has been a good one so for this article, I'm always shocked when someone reads one of mine and is positively affected by is a small world because of the internet, isn't it?

Suzie from Carson City on June 21, 2018:

Thanks to Chloe for reviving this! Well bro.....just ANOTHER brilliantly written article about a vital topic for countless individuals. The information here is priceless coming from "you," especially, as a man who can not only explain the options, reasons and results, but speak from your heart on the big picture.

I could not respond to your Question, bill bro, for obvious reasons. The reality is, I've been looking for someone to adopt me! Love ya, Sis.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on June 21, 2018:

Chloe, that's a tough age to be adopted. I wish you the best....any old time you need to "talk," drop me a line.

Chloe the adopted on June 20, 2018:

Thank you Bill, i honestly appreciate the fact that have adopted one of us. I'm glad that you and your sons have grown up beautifully, not many people get the luxury of getting along with their adopted child. I am, myself, adopted and it was difficult for me to 'adopt' my parents but I'm grateful that they have taken me under their wings. My half-brother and I were adopted last year and i was 14 years old. I am so happy that you have adopted one of us.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on April 04, 2017:

Nathaniel, I'm so glad to hear that. Thanks for sharing that with me.

nathaniel on April 04, 2017:

I am a 11 year old who was adopted and this statement has really inspired me from both sides and i cant wait to share it with my two adopted sisters.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2015:

Hopefully he will, Emily. I hope you get your chance. We need more people like you. Thank you and blessings always.

Emily from GA on January 04, 2015:

I enjoyed reading your hub, it was very organized with lots of information. I, personally would love to adopt, it's something I've wanted to do since I was a little girl. My husband, however, is not for it so much. Hopefully he'll come around someday.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 09, 2014:

K, I'm very happy to hear you were adopted by a loving family. Thank you for sharing your experience with us all, and best wishes to you in the future.

K. on December 09, 2014:

I'm an oversea adopted child. And I'm freaking glad I wasn't adopted by someone in my country. I would've probably never been adopted because my country had to many laws against national adoption. It was easier for a foreigner to adopt me than someone who lived in that country. I also would've been kicked out at 18 with very little education and no help. I would've probably become a prostitute in all honesty. I was abused as an orphan and if I stayed I would have continued to be abused, but I was adopted into a loving and caring family. I fully support oversea adoptions. Yes I want to visit my home country once it becomes safe and stable again.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on December 01, 2014:

Thank you, Jo, for the kind words and for sharing your opinions and thoughts. Yes, it is a very broken system, and I hope one day to see it running efficiently and fairly.

blessings to you always


Jo_Goldsmith11 on December 01, 2014:


Yes you and your son are the lucky ones! :-) And thank goodness the end result worked out well all the way around. As for my personal feelings on adoption. It has taken me many years to be able to respond to this beautifully written hub on adoption.

The mothers who have children "stolen" from them by a broken system and the system collects funds to benefit and profit from children being adopted, even in the cases of the one parent doesn't deserve the enormous pain of having their child taken.

I believe that for the most part, adopted children are given a second chance of a life which will hopefully be better, than what they may have had with the birth parent (s).

Up, shared and Blessings!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on February 02, 2014:

greeneyedblondie, a high school Hubber....we don't see many of those here at HP. Welcome and thank you for commenting....we need more active members in this community of writers.

greeneyedblondie on February 01, 2014:

Thank you for this. I'm really not a fan for overseas adoption either. There are many children here in the USA and I'm sure there are in other countries too just waiting for a family in their native country to adopt them. Thanks for touching up on that.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on January 10, 2013:

rd, I'm glad it helped. If this hub helps one person then it was well-worth writing it. :) Thank you!

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on January 10, 2013:

This is indeed helpful. Great hub :) Voted up and awesome!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on November 12, 2012:

Thunder my friend, if you raise a child with love then you have no worries about how they feel about you.

Thank you for your kind words; if this hub helps any adopted child, or parent, then it was well-worth writing. :)

Catherine Taylor from Canada on November 12, 2012:

Oh bb, how is it that I am just coming to this hub now? So well written and honest. You above all others have such a unique perspective on this subject, thank you for sharing it. I only hope that my adopted children feel the same about me that you and your son feel. Stellar hub!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 26, 2012:

Virginia, I agree completely and thank you for the addition and perspective.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 26, 2012:

Peeples, a great addition to my hub and thank you for your insight. I am a huge advocate for adoption, the poster child for a good adoption, and I can't imagine what life would have been like if my adopted parents hadn't done what they did. Thank you so much!

Virginia Kearney from United States on March 26, 2012:

Peebles--I know a family that adopted from China. The father was someone who had "aged out" in foster care and never been adopted. He wanted to provide a chance for a different life for another child. What a great perspective to add to this conversation.

Peeples from South Carolina on March 26, 2012:

Great hub but if you don't mind I wanted to add something. While adopting an older child is a hard, draining thing to do it comes with a great reward when the child grows up. I have wished my entire adult hood that someone would have adopted me, that I would have had a family to lean on when I divorced, and a mother there when my babies were born. I'm sure I would have been a handful at the start but I know I would have been the most grateful adult ever.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 07, 2012:

Teaches, I know of no other way. Writing is my passion and that is how I must write. I hope you are right and my stories do reach others and help them. That would be the crowning glory of my writing career. Thank you kind lady!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 07, 2012:

Dana, thank you and I'm glad you stopped by to read my article. Bless you for considering adoption and I wish you the best as you take that big step in life.

Dianna Mendez on March 07, 2012:

It is so nice to hear adoption success stories. You have listed some suggestions that will help parents with interest to make an informed decision. Thanks for sharing from your heart and for being honest in your telling of your experience. Voted up.

danajconnelly from Family and Parenting on March 07, 2012:

"I've got game..." Awesome. This was a great article. Ive been working on a hub related to this but find too many of my personal views creeping in. I like how you remained informative without proselytizing. I consider the fact that there are reasons why some cannot conceive naturally. In my field there seems to be a definite trend of those who conceived via IVF having children (sometimes multiple births) with developmental delays or serious health issues. Also having children after a certain age increases such risks. I plan to adopt an older child in the next few years.

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 07, 2012:

ViriniaLynne, as you may surmise I love adoption and bless you for adopting children from China. If my hub helped in any way then I am happy and grateful. Thank you!

Virginia Kearney from United States on March 07, 2012:

Terrific Hub--you really cover a lot of ground and make some very good observations from the perspective of adoptive parent and adoptee. I teach college age students and find that many of them are very interested in considering adoption as part of their way to create a family. I'd never have thought of it at that age and had only negative views of adoption from various ones I had observed. Through different circumstances, we were led to adopt from China in 2002 and 2004, when that was quite an open option. We have had a very good experience but know that it will be a lifelong process of helping our girls grieve and understand their grief. Thanks for answering my question with a Hub!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 06, 2012:

Darn it Cyndi, I thought alcoholism was my specialty??? :) Thank you my dear; it means a lot to me when you visit and comment.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 06, 2012:

Great information here. I love what you have to say on this subject - it's your specialty. :)

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 06, 2012:

DanaTeresa, an excellent point you make. I found myself at 1500 words with several points left to discuss. I guess there will be another hub coming to finish this one. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I hope one day, if it what you want, that you do adopt. Some child will be quite lucky. Thank you!

Dana Strang from Ohio on March 06, 2012:

Exellent hub. You bring up many points that are very important to consider.If I ever decide to be a parent, I will be adopting. No need to pass on these genes. And I am one of those lucky people that can love other childred with all my heart. I have helped raise 3 cousins and love them unconditionaly.

Regarding foreign children and older adotions, you are right to urge caution. I know a family that adopted a small child from Central America. He had horrible separation anxiety. It was heartwrenching to see it. Things eventually worked out but it was certainly not easy.

One additional thing people need to condier is how to handle it if and when the child wants to find their birth parents. In some cases this is not possible, in others it is. My (step)sister entered our family at about 4 years old. Her mother cut off all contact with her father so she never knew him. Jut before she got married my sister made the decision to contact him and meet him. She asked him to the wedding. She did it very gracefully. She let our dad know that she will always consider him to be her dad. And our dad walked her down the asile. Her biological father, and his daughter, attended the wedding.

Keep on hubbing!

Bill Holland (author) from Olympia, WA on March 06, 2012:

And Aurelio, that is exactly what my parents did and what I did with my son. It is the only approach that will work; springing it on a child when they are pre-teen or teenage is destined for trouble. Thank you my friend for your comment.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on March 06, 2012:

Thank you for this honest assessment from adoption -- you have much credibility on the topic since you approach it from two sides. Isn't it possible to simply treat the adoption as a casual topic when the child is very young, like discussing the color of his hair? That way, there's no need to have a big revelation when he is older. Voting this Up and Useful.