5 Misconceptions of Adoption
There are so many misconceptions regarding adoption. Mostly, those around us are simply unaware and uneducated about the topic. In the past, society has not always celebrated this occurrence or recognized that families are now made in so many different ways. We’re evolving from decades of living in a society that only recognized the “traditional” family and way of life. The concept of families is changing and more people are open to “different” types of families. I believe and observe that our historically narrow views widen with each new generation. It seems that younger generations are so much more open to different ways of living or making a family. For us and many others, adoption is as normal as a family can be. Our lives are packed with overwhelming love and all the normal day-to-day parenting things just as any other family.
Here are some common misconceptions that I’ve heard since adopting.
- “I could never a love someone else’s child.” There are so many things I could say. I’ve heard this many times from strangers and even friends. And my response is always something like “If you can’t love someone that isn’t biologically related, I feel sorry for you. There is so much love and people to love in this world if you have an open heart.” We all claim we fall in love with our spouses who aren’t of biological relation, right? Many of us have friends that are so close to us we love them like (or more than) family. We love pets. We love our friends’ kids. Well, take that kind of love and multiply it by TEN when it comes to loving a child – your child – even with no biological relation. When you’re handed a tiny being you know is yours forever, the love is so overwhelming and profound and it’s never out of obligation. This kind of love is a choice. We hear rare, crazy stories of babies accidentally being switched at birth but did that stop a family of falling so deeply in love with that child? Absolutely not. As humans, we are so capable of deep, meaningful love regardless of biological relation. I believe that the love of a child is the most profound of all. Sometimes I think my love for my kids is deeper and stronger than those who haven’t experienced adoption because not only are they my children but they came to me in such a powerful, deliberate way. As if the entire Universe conspired to bring us together.
- Birth-mothers are always teenagers. This is simply untrue. Society and reality shows such as MTV’s “Teen Mom” tell us that the only women that would find themselves in a possible adoption situation are irresponsible teenagers. When, in fact, many birth-mothers are past their teen years and for all types of reasons, feel that adoption is best for their child. Women of all ages can find themselves in a situation of an unplanned pregnancy. It is not ours to judge but to love on them and support them in any way we can – regardless of their age or circumstances.
- The adoption process stops once consents are signed. Not at all. I remember when we first brought each of our girls home and we often got comments like “So, you’re done with everything now?” or “Do you still have to talk to her real parents anymore?” and other ignorant questions. Sure, you may consider the adoption process to be completed once the adoption is finalized. But adoption is forever and I believe that the birth of a child is just the mere beginning of a lifelong relationship and commitment to their origins. In our home, we’ll forever talk about adoption, advocate for adoption, and we’ll be honest with our kids about everything we know. We’ll try our hardest to maintain a relationship with our children’s birth-families and we’re still getting to know them too. Especially if you’re partaking in an open adoption, you’ll forever be bonded with their first families.
- Adoption is free. Not at all. Some families may choose to adopt through foster care and in many cases, that is of no cost. However, if you choose infant domestic adoption or international adoption, you will soon be made aware of the costs associated with it. The average cost of adoption in the United States is approximately $40,000. In most cases, these fees are due upfront or as matches/placements happen. This presents great financial stress for most hopeful adoptive families. And sadly, paying such funds never guarantees that you’ll come home with your precious little one. In cases of failed adoption, these fees are usually still owed and do not get refunded.
- Couples only adopt after infertility. This is not true. Sure, infertility is a common way that families open their hearts to adoption. As painful as it is, I believe this is God’s way of leading people to their children by adoption. But many couples have always wanted to adopt and do so before or after pursuing biological children. Many couples, like my husband and I, choose adoption over fertility treatments in which we were told were likely to result in a pregnancy. Some families choose to adopt because they had an adopted sibling or cousin or best friend. There are all kinds of reasons that people open their heart to adoption. Don’t make assumptions.