Today on Adoption Mythbusters we are honoring National Adoption Awareness Month by busting some adoption myths (check out my busted infertility myths here).
Let's get started.
All adoptees will have emotional or developmental problems
It is impossible to know the challenges any person will face in their life. Research has shown, though, that adopted children are on par with their peers. In fact, adopted children have higher self-esteem, less drug use, and better grades in school. I think this is because adopted children often end up in strong, two parent families above the poverty level. Children who were adopted at an older age may have challenges resulting from adverse conditions before the adoption like neglect, abuse, or attachment problems. These conditions are not the result of adoption and an education, loving, consistent adoptive family can help a child overcome these types of challenges.
The "real" mom can come back and take the baby any time
There are too many Lifetime movies about this. :) Once a birth parent terminates their rights, there is no legal way for them to regain custody of a child. If they did, it would be called kidnapping. Each state has different laws on the processes and time frames of parental termination, but you can be assured that once those rights are terminated and once an adoption is finalized, adoptive parents have all parental rights and responsibilities.
Adoption is impossibly expensive and a very long process
The Honda website lists a new Honda Accord between $23,180 and $31,830. Thousands if not millions of people buy cars like this all the time. Adoption has a similar price tag. Is it expensive? Sure, but not prohibitively so. If you can figure out how to spend that much on a car, you can make it work. :) Every adoption is different. Some can be under $1,000 while others are closer to $50,000. As an adoptive parent, you are in control of how much you spend on your adoption.
Waiting times are hard to predict, but many adoptions occur within two years. It seems like a long time (especially while you are waiting!) but it isn't too far off from biological families that have to make the decision to have a baby, perhaps stop birth control, try for a few months, then wait 40 weeks for the baby to arrive.
Parents love adopted children differently than biological children
Love is a pretty powerful emotion. It transcends biology. I am not related to my husband but love him immensely. I have friends that I love dearly. And a few distant family members I could care less about - j/k. :) The news is full of stories of parents who hurt or kill their babies, leave them in dumpsters, whatever. Loving a child is not a biological imperative. And that's why adoption is epitome of love!
Birth moms are teenagers or drug addicts
While birth moms come from all situations, they tend to be in their twenties and already a parent. They are often single. Most do not have substance abuse problems. They are simply at a point in life where they are struggling and mature enough to realize they can offer their beloved baby more through adoption.
Birth dads are deadbeat jerks
Birth dads are often misunderstood. Sometimes, the birth dad is never identified. Sometimes birth dads are married to birth moms and adoption is a choice husband and wife make together. Sometimes birth dads are part of the adoption journey every step of the way. And, yes, sometimes birth dads contest adoptions for all kinds of reasons. Birth dads are often mysterious and misunderstood, but like birth mothers, they come from all situations and are wielders of unconditional love.
Adoptees can't learn anything about their biological families until they are 18
Thanks to open adoption, a wealth of information regarding biological families is available to adoptees before they reach 18.
If you want to adopt a baby, you have to have an open adoption
Making an adoption plan is very personal for both the birth parents and the adoptive parents. Each group must decide on their comfort level with contact. Some birth parents wish for a "clean break" and opt for a closed adoption. Some adoptive parents don't feel comfortable with openness and opt for closed adoption. Semi-open adoptions exist with a small amount of information being shared. Rather than having an agency or the government determine how adoptions should be, those involved with adoptions control the amount of openness and contact. And that's how I think it should be!
If you have any questions or issues I didn't address here, leave me a comment or ask me about it in the FormSpring widget on the right side of the blog.
Thanks for joining me on this very exciting Adoption Mythbusters adventure!