10 ways adoption is like marriage

Marriage, I think, provides an interesting metaphor for adoption (I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before). ┬áHere’s a list of notes I jotted down the other day on actual paper, a list of ways adoption is like marriage:

  1. In both cases, you choose. It’s not like family, like your parents or your cousins who come into your life outside of your control. Marriage and adoption are conscious decisions.
  2. Everyone agrees both decisions are huge decisions.
  3. Since they’re decisions, your motives will be questions.
  4. When you adopt, like when you get married, you bring someone into the family from a different family, from a different background, from a different history.
  5. When you adopt, like when you get married, you care because you care, not because of some bloodline that supposedly connects you.
  6. When you bring someone into the family from outside, you blend the two histories – they become one.
  7. When you blend histories, you also blend problems. Problems that were once only one person’s problems now become family problems, and everyone’s responsible.
  8. Both marriage and adoption are legal as well as social processes, which means paperwork.
  9. Both start kind of romantically, like with this beautiful utopia in mind, but can only continue with sustained effort and commitment.
  10. Culture both admires and avoids both of them.

In the end, adoption is like marriage because, when you strip away the fanciness, care is like care no matter which relationship you prod.