Every single person on the face of the planet does it. Including me. When you hear of a couple suffering from infertility, or inability to maintain a pregnancy (recurrent miscarriages), your mind automatically goes there: "Why don't they just adopt?" It's a natural human instinct - to want to solve the "problem" of childlessness, and to want to ease the pain of the childless couple. It comes from a good place inside. But here, I will try to explain why those thoughts should STAY in that good place inside, and never be spoken.
First of all, I think everyone who has been through the adoption process, or knows someone close to them who has, will attest to the fact that there is no "just" about "just adopting." On the contrary, it is a lengthy process that will humble the most confident and able among us. The most intimate details of your life will be examined: your childhood, your relationship with your spouse (including sexual), your finances, your home... all for a person you barely know to judge. Don't get me wrong- I don't believe this process is flawed in and of itself, and God bless the Social Workers who work day in and day out to ensure that the children involved get the very best they deserve. And, I know of NO adoptive parent who has said, "You know, given the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn't do it... it was just too grueling!!" But, the process certainly is not for the faint of heart. And it can take years of heartache.
Process aside, I think that when we as humans consider adoption as the natural follow-up to infertility, we underestimate God's hand in our suffering. St Paul said that in his weakness He was made perfect - and it is only through the darkness that God can truly bring out His glorious light, only in the suffering that He can truly show His goodness. God is at work in each and every one of us, and He is HARD at work in all of those who suffer. I submit as solid proof of this fact my own journey over the past 5 years.
Mr TCIE and I have been open to God's will in our lives since we married 5 years ago, and we hoped and prayed that His will would include children. We were unlike many couples I know in that we had felt called to adopt before we were even engaged. Childless living was not even an option, nor did it ever cross our minds, before we married.
Now, God's hand in our life is so evident. And never was it felt more than in our darkest hour - from 2009 through 2010. Through our suffering, God has found ways to bring forth the Truth, and to use us as instruments in proclaiming His good news. We have found, despite (or better, because of) the cross we've carried, joy and peace. Yes, we still suffer from childlessness, but we have hope that His will is greater than anything we could ever envision for our own lives.
When you suggest or ask about adoption of the couple who has not been called to adopt, you add insult to injury. I can safely venture a guess that in the 21st Century, most if not all couples know what adoption is, and if they are childless, they've already "looked into" it. When you suggest or ask a couple about adoption when they are already pursuing it, you put them on the spot because there are so many unknowns and uncertainties about the process. And when you suggest or ask about adoption of the couple who cannot adopt due to medical or personal reasons, you pour salt and lemon juice into a very deep, open wound. Your best bet is to offer your silent support on the subject of childlessness, unless the couple brings up adoption first.
Some childless couples will feel the call to adopt. Others may not get that call, and may instead feel called to childless living. Still others may receive the call to adopt many years from now. And some may have a surprise pregnancy in their future, in God's time. Each plan is paved out by God, and each plan is specific to those two people.
This is what God wants to do for each individual couple (is that an oxymoron?) who suffers with infertility/childlessness. He wants us to deepen our faith, grow in His love, and become His hands on earth. Our focus as humans should not be on a pregnancy or an adoption as the "result" at the end of the infertile couple's suffering, but rather, on life everlasting. Should a couple adopt children or conceive after years of infertility, all glory and praise be to He who gives life - but these are blessings only, NOT the Resurrection of the cross of childlessness. Our Resurrection will come in heaven, not on this earth.
Lastly, we do a great disservice to adoption when we automatically connect it to infertility, and don't honor it for the beautiful and amazing blessing it is on its own. Logically, our human minds will always connect the two. But in our words and actions, they should remain two separate and distinct entities.