Adoption is often full of myths and false stories. Understanding some common adoption myths will help you distinguish fact from fiction and have a better understanding of the overall process.
Myth: There are no newborns available to adopt here in the United States.
Truth: Tens of thousands of families adopt healthy, newborn babies each year. Domestic newborn adoption is one of the most common types of adoption.
Myth: It is faster to adopt internationally than domestically.
Truth: On average, it takes about one year to adopt a child domestically. Completing an international adoption is estimated to take as long as two years, if not more. There are certainly exceptions to this rule, but in general, domestic adoption is usually a shorter process than international adoption.
Myth: Adoption is too expensive for me.
Truth: It is true that adoption can be quite expensive, but you don’t need to be wealthy to adopt. There are loans, grants, and other types of financial assistance available for prospective adoptive parents that can help significantly if you decide to pursue adoption.
Myth: Adoptive parents and birth parents raise the child together.
Truth: This is a common adoption myth, particularly when it comes to the concept of open adoption. The reality is that in an open adoption, both sets of parents do agree on some level of contact, but definitely not co-parenting or anything close to it. With many open adoptions, in-person visits happen no more than once or twice a year. After the adoption process is finalized, the birth parents’ rights are legally terminated and the adoptive parents become the legal parents of the child.
Myth: The birthmother stereotype.
Truth: Many people maintain the misconception that birthmothers are young girls who are giving up on their baby by choosing adoption. It is important that this adoption myth be put to rest. Placing their child for adoption is a painful decision for any woman to have to make, and it should not be judged. Women choose adoption for a variety of reasons, none of which involves them giving up on their baby. Furthermore, not all birthmothers are young. In fact, many are women in their twenties, thirties, or fourties. Most expectant mothers have financial struggles and some already have children, but almost all expectant mothers who are pursuing adoption are doing so because they want to give their baby a better opportunity for a life they deserve.
Myth: Adoption is easier than pregnancy.
Truth: No one can say which path to parenthood is easier. Every situation is different, but the feelings are the same. Adoption is a perfectly legitimate way of creating a family. It is not the second-choice way to have a baby. Adoption is simply another type of miracle that brings families together.
Myth: Adoption is for people who can’t have children.
Truth: This is an offensive adoption myth. Choosing adoption is a personal decision, just like the reasons for it are personal. There are many families that have adopted children who also have biological children. Aside from infertility, families chose adoption because they have other health issues and can’t risk another pregnancy, because they felt called to adopt, because they were adopted themselves, and many other reasons.
Myth: Open adoption is confusing for the children involved.
Truth: The complete opposite is actually true. Open adoption allows children to better understand the different roles of their adoptive families and birth parents. In addition, they are usually much better able to understand and accept the reasons why their birth parents choose to place them for adoption in the first place.