Adoption Is Not An Option

"Why not an orphanage? Yeah, a little weird seeing how the film opens up with them at the orphanage, so it's not like this never crossed their minds. If having a child meant so much to you, why didn't you just do that before?"

Adoption Is Not An Option is when an individual or couple desperately wants a child, but the issue of adoption is never throughly discussed, and usually not even brought up at all. It's likely that the viewer or reader is supposed to infer that the couple only wants a biological child, though that can lead to some Unfortunate Implications. Keep in mind that there are other reasons for why a person or couple may not be able to adopt, such as adoption costing a lot of money, or the person not being allowed to adopt for whatever reason, but this trope occurs when either no reason is given, or the couple/person doesn't consider adoption as a legitimate option even if they're capable of doing it if they want to.

Contrast Happily Adopted. See also Adoption Diss, when a character is insulted by another for being or being perceived as being adopted, which often ties into this trope.

Please be careful when adding Real Life examples, no need to start any flame wars.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Film  

  • In The Time Traveller's Wife, the titular wife has trouble getting pregnant with her husband's baby due to his genetic makeup, but never considers adoption.
  • Steel Magnolias. Shelby has been told not to have children due to her severe diabetes. Her fiance accepts this, declaring that they will adopt instead, but Shelby's poor medical history makes this impossible as well.

     Literature 
  • In the Erich Segal novel Doctors, Barney presses his girlfriend about why she won't marry him. She finally admits that she can't have children. When he tells her that they can adopt, she refuses, claiming that he is the one who would eventually resent the child for not being biologically his. Given that she was already antsy about his long time friendship with another woman, it's likely she just wanted out of the relationship period and used the "kids" thing as an excuse.

     Live-Action TV  

  • In the original TV version of The Fugitive the argument that led Dr. Kimble to leave home on that fateful night involved this. Mrs. Kimble had previously had a miscarriage and couldn't have another child; Dr. Kimble wants to adopt but she refuses on the grounds that it would be "a lie."
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Marshall and Lily are having complications with conception, yet adoption is never discussed by them.
    • Subverted when Marshall's parents suggest adoption when they learn about the situation.
  • The New Normal:
    • Adoption is surprisingly absent, especially for a show about a gay couple having a baby. The first episode has the couple in question decide they want a child and go right to a surrogacy agency without the word adoption being mentioned once.
    • In a later episode the couple's friends, a lesbian couple, bemoan that since both of them have fertility issues they will never have children.
    • It's not as though there is a legal hurdle for them adopting on the show as there are in some states, it takes place in California.
  • Averted in Friends. When Monica and Chandler find out they are an infertile couple, their doctor suggests that while they might keep trying to conceive, they can consider adoption. They really like the idea, and they happily adopt baby twins.
  • Averted in Cold Feet. Rachel is infertile because of an abortion she had, and she and her partner seriously consider adopting. They would like to have a baby, but chances for adopting a baby are low, so they decide to adopt an eight year old girl. However, during the adoption process Rachel gets pregnant, and even though they still want the girl, the adoption gets cancelled because said girl had some issues with her biological family and new babies in the family.
  • Averted on Six Feet Under: Keith and David are a gay couple and they considered adoption several times.
    • They were taking care of Keith's niece Taylor and wanted to have full custody. It was aborted, explained by Keith's anger issues.
    • In season 5, David really wanted to have children. He preferred adoption while Keith favoured a surrogate mother. They went with both ways, hoping that at least one of them would work out. They adopted two brothers who were about eight and twelve years old.
  • Downton Abbey: After Mrs. Bates suffers several miscarriages, Mr. Bates brings up the possibility of adoption, but Mrs. Bates insists Mr. Bates is "tribal" and couldn't love an adopted child as much as a biological child.
  • On My Name Is Earl, in the episode "Guess Who's Coming Out of Joy?", Ray-Ray wants to have a baby with his wife Liberty, but she doesn't want to have a baby, because she's training to be a professional wrestler, and pregnancy would force her to put that on hold. Not once do they even consider adoption...at least, not in the conventional sense. (Meanwhile, Joy wants to get pregnant so that the jury will be more sympathetic to her, but Darnell thinks (rightly) that that's a terrible reason to bring a child into the world and refuses to have sex with her.) Earl brings up the possibility of a surrogate. After an airing of grievances with Joy, Liberty agrees to let her be a surrogate. This was to explain the bump that Joy would be sporting as a result of Jaime Pressly's real-life pregnancy.

     Western Animation  

  • For a period of time in King of the Hill, there was a recurring subplot where Hank and Peggy kept trying to have a baby. Following this trope, adoption is never discussed. In an unrelated episode, Hank mentions that his father Cotton hates adopted kids, which may imply some kind of values thing, but it never was brought up while they were trying to concieve.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One episode revolves around Manjula and Apu having trouble conceiving. Adoption is never brought up, likely since it was only over one episode and they probably hadn't been trying long enough to consider it. Becomes a moot point when they do end up getting pregnant — with octuplets.
    • Averted with Marge's sister Selma. She was shown throughout the series that she would like to have children one day. When she was married (for one episode) to an actor Troy McClure, they had troubles conceiving... because Troy had troubles having sex. He suggests adoption, but Selma actually doesn't want to bring up a child in their love-less marriage. Much later in the series, she adopts a Chinese girl as a single mother.

     Real Life  

  • Royals in various countries did not see adoption as an option when it came to getting an heir, as only someone of their royal bloodline could take the throne in their eyes.
  • Possibly a Truth in Television trope for some people, if some of the stories about people bankrupting themselves for IVF attempts are anything to go by.
  • This can also be a cultural issue: there are cultures where, for various reasons, people simply don't adopt children.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AdoptionIsNotAnOption