For those of us who have adopted or are planning to adopt, we may have heard some disheartening comments from family, friends, or acquaintances:
“Do you think you will love your adopted child as much as a child you actually conceived?”
“Aren’t you ever afraid that the birthmother will come back to retrieve her child?”
“How much did your child cost?”
Any of the above comments don’t necessarily mean that the person inquiring is rude or harsh, but they are most definitely uninformed. Many people today are unaware that domestic newborn adoption is common in the United States. It’s this misinformation that causes troubling myths to sprout up in the adoption world, and we want to set the record straight.
Myth #1: Endless Wait and Staggering Costs
The time it takes to complete a successful adoption - or even get connected with a birthmother ranges from family to family. While some adoptive parents are able to adopt in just months, it’s not uncommon for the process to take a couple of years. There are many factors that play into the time it takes to adopt, including miscarriages, the birthmother changing her mind, or financial obligations.
But what about cost? It’s no secret that newborn adoption comes at a price. But of course, you are not “buying a baby” — an act that is illegal around the world and in every state in the United States. All aspects of the adoption process are regulated by state laws and reviewed by judges. The fees associated with newborn adoption cover an array of items, including home studies and medical care for the birthmother.
Myth #2: The Scary Birthparents
One of the most troubling adoption myths is that the birthparents can resurface at any time and reclaim their children. In truth, less than one percent of domestic adoptions are contested in the courts. That doesn’t mean that domestic newborn adoption doesn’t involve legal risk. After the birthparents give consent to release their baby for adoption, they have a small time frame in which they can change their minds. By the time an adoption is finalized, both parties (birthparents and adoptive parents) are 100% cognizant that the adoptive parents are recognized as the child’s family under the law. While post-placement revocations are devastating for everyone involved, they are extremely rare.
Myth #3: Birthmothers Don’t Care
Many people are more comfortable with the idea of adoption when they assume all birthmothers are teenagers. It makes the decision to place a child for adoption more “acceptable” or “understandable.” While many birthmothers considering adoption are in fact teenagers, the reality is that many are also over the age of 18. For many, an adult placing a child for adoption may seem callous or uncaring. However, they do care. When a mother can see that she is not in the position to parent, choosing adoption is the most caring and selfless thing she can do.
Myth #4: Developmentally Challenged Adoptees
Perhaps the most troubling adoption myth is the one that says adopted children are troubled both developmentally and emotionally. However, research suggests that adoptees may be just as well-adjusted, if not better, than their non-adopted peers. Adoptive children tend to grow up showing more openness towards other races, ethnicities, and types of people. They also tend to be proud of who they are, and show a healthy attachment to their adoptive parents.
Myth #5: Open Adoption Causes Trouble in Paradise
For those who haven’t done their homework, open adoption might seem like an invitation for birthmothers to intrude on adoptive families down the road. Adoptive parents who choose an open adoption might receive harsh feedback from family and friends who don’t see how contact with the birthmother on any level can be positive. In truth, children often have a very clear understanding of relationships. Children can love the person who gave them life while also loving the people who take care of them so they can live that life.
Newborn adoption is not an easy process. It becomes especially more difficult when you do not have complete support from your friends or family, or when they are simply just uneducated about adoption. Join us in keeping the facts about newborn adoption alive!