Adoption is everywhere. We see it on television, on the news or on shows such as ‘This is Us’; we read about it on the Internet and social media; we hear about family and friends’ own adoption experiences. But who gets it right? Do we know all the truths about adoption today? Can we separate the real facts from the many myths surrounding adoption?
Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency with over 30 years of professional experience. We have facilitated both open and closed adoptions and helped thousands of women make positive, thoughtful adoption plans for their babies. We have assisted all kinds of adoptive parents in creating the perfect home environment for their children. Our compassionate, expert social workers have also helped many adoptees prepare for, search for, and meet their biological parents.
Over our years, however, we have heard many myths surrounding the subject of adoption. We have also heard from many people conflicted by these myths. It is our aim to share the truth about adoption.
Whether you are considering adoption or want to provide real, adoption facts for family and friends, you are in the right place. Below we separate adoption facts from five all-too-common adoption myths.
Myth: “Adopted children have more problems.”
Fact: About 9 out of 10 adopted children have positive feelings about their adoption. And despite the common misconception that adopted children are troubled, 88 percent of those aged 6 or older exhibit very positive social behaviors. Over half of school-age adopted children are excelling in subjects such as reading, language arts, and math. The majority are also in very good health, live in safe neighborhoods, and are being raised by two parents.
There is no sugarcoating the fact that some adopted children will carry complicated feelings of anger, loss, loneliness, or even low self-esteem as they try to understand their adoption story. There is no denying that they will face unique challenges and have questions about their biology. At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the fact that most adoptees have experiences no different than those of their non-adopted peers. Long-term studies have also shown that adopted children in the United States are no different in terms of their emotional health, psychological well-being, self-esteem, and attachment to family, either.
Myth: “Adoption means ‘giving up’ a child.”
Fact: Birth parents do not ‘give up’ their child, but rather, ‘give more’ to their child: Through adoption, they are able to give their child more opportunities, more resources, more devotion, comfort, and stability than they could provide at the time of their pregnancy. Adoption is a loving, thoughtful, and selfless decision. Rather than ‘giving up a baby for adoption,’ we say, ‘make an adoption plan.’ These thoughtful expectant parents are planning for their child’s life.
If you are pregnant, know that choosing adoption does not mean you do not love your child. It means that you love your child enough to give him or her the best possible life you can give. If you are adoptive parents, understand that your child’s birth parents did not ‘give up,’ but rather, found the courage and strength to make another plan for their baby’s life—a plan to fill it with loving parents, a stable home, a good education, holiday traditions, extended family support, and many other opportunities with you.
Myth: “Adoption means goodbye forever.”
Fact: It is common belief that adoption always means goodbye. Many expectant/birth parents worry that they will never see or hear from their children again should they choose adoption. The truth is, adoption does not have to an end-all, and expectant/birth parents can make this choice. If they would like to keep in touch with their child’s adoptive family, they can make an open adoption plan.
Open adoption involves some level of ongoing communication between adoptive and birth families: In a fully open adoption, they might have direct contact with one another through email, texting, phone conversations, Skype, or even yearly in-person meetings. In a semi-open adoption, they may exchange letters and pictures or choose to mediate any contact through their adoption agency. At Adoptions With Love, every prospective adoptive family agrees to a semi-open adoption, and most families are now open to some direct communication with the birth parents over the years.
Myth: “Open adoption is too confusing for children.”
Fact: Open adoption does not confuse children. It does not make them question who their “real parents” are. Rather, open adoption helps children better understand their adoption, as well as their birth parents’ choice. Today, 84 percent of children in open adoptions are very satisfied with their levels of contact with their birth family.
In open adoption arrangements, children understand the difference between their parents – the people who help them with homework, who take care of them when their sick, who love and support them above all else – and their birth parents – the people who not only gave them life, but gave them the best life they could possibly provide. Adopted children also understand the responsibilities of each parent, as well as their unique relationships with them.
Open adoption, in reality, can help reduce confusion over time. Because it establishes an open and honest platform for communication, adopted children can ask questions, get answers, and form their identity having a better, more available connection to their biological parents.
Myth: “All birth mothers are teenagers, addicts, or poor.”
Fact: Fact is, there is no single face of unplanned pregnancy: it can happen to anyone of reproductive age, of any background, education, or upbringing. However, research states that young women between age 20 and 24 are most likely to face an unplanned pregnancy. And many of these women are college educated: 70 percent of pregnancies among single, educated women in their twenties are unplanned.
The women who choose adoption may not feel ready to raise a child, but that does not necessarily mean they would not make great parents. Choosing adoption just means that these mothers loved their child enough to make a well-thought-out plan for his or her life.
Birth mothers are strong, selfless women who feel that adoption is the best possible choice for their babies. Some are single and desire their child to grow up in a two-parent home. Some do not have the finances needed to raise a child for life, and some are already raising children (most women that make an adoption plan are already parenting children). Some are simply not prepared to raise a child at this time, and wish for their child to be with loving, devoted parents who are ready to raise a child. No matter their background or reasoning, birth mothers are worthy of respect.
Help Adoptions With Love dispel the myths surrounding adoption— Please share these adoption facts with family and friends. For information on adopting a child or making an adoption plan, please call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.