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Clearing Up Adoption Myths

Posted on November 12, 2017 by Adoption Circle Staff

Most of us are impacted by adoption in some way, whether we know it or not, making it important to understand adoption in a true light. Here, we dispel some of the most common adoption myths. 


The myth: Birthmothers are usually young high school or early college students who got pregnant unexpectedly. Many people have the idea, maybe even a fantasy, that most birthmothers have their sights set on college and grand careers, and that parenting a child at a young age just does not fit into their future plans.

The reality: Most birthmothers are in their 20s or early 30s and are already parenting other children. Many birthmothers are single mothers who feel they lack the resources to care for another child while providing for the children they are already parenting. Yes, some birthmothers are young, with high educational and career goals, and they choose adoption as a way to focus on other dreams. Other women are well into their careers and choose adoption for a different reason. The truth is that birthmothers and birthfathers come from all walks of life and choose adoption for various reasons. They all have hopes and dreams for themselves and their children. In many ways, birthparents are just like the rest of us. We are all humans, who live day-to-day doing our best and trying to make the right choices.


The myth: Birthparents do not want their children. 

The reality: Birthparents love their children. Birthparents who choose adoption do so while considering their own future, as well as their child's future. Choosing adoption requires sacrifices, as does parenting. In that regard, it is neither a selfish or selfless choice; It is seen as what is best at the time. Adopted children are not unwanted children. 


The myth: It is best that adopted children never find out they are adopted. 

The reality: It is emotionally healthier for children to know their adoption stories. While it is true that children who are adopted often struggle with identity and self-esteem, knowing their birth story and why the choice of adoption was made for them helps clear up that myth that the child was unwanted. Open adoptions help with this, but even in closed situations, the adoption should never be a secret. 


The myth: Having an open relationship with birthparents is confusing for the child. 

The reality: Openness has been proven by research to be healthy for all parties involved. An open relationship allows children to have access to important people who love them and more clear social and medical family histories. Openness does not cause competition or confusion between two families. Rather, it is an extension and blend of family. With realistic expectations, clear boundaries, respect, trust, and open hearts, open adoptions are healthy and full of love. 

The myth: Openness always includes face-to-face visits between adoptive families and birth families. 

The reality: Openness is an ongoing relationship between adoptive families and birth families. It is on a continuum and is not stagnant. Openness looks different for every family, and it typically changes over time. Openness can range from occasionally sending and receiving pictures and letters to having consistent visits. Most open adoptions fall somewhere in between. Families often have contact and send photos through text messaging and phone calls. Some families use Skype and FaceTime. Others visit once every so often, but do not have face-to-face contact consistently. An open relationship is one like any other -it ebbs and flows based on circumstance, and it grows naturally and organically. 


The myth: Adoption is a coercive, multimillion dollar industry. 

The reality: Most adoption agencies are nonprofit agencies. That means the money the agency receives goes right back into paying the adoption professionals and providing services for birthparents, adoptive parents, and the children served. Adoption professionals are usually social workers or attorneys who must follow state and federal laws, as well as a set of ethical standards based on their practice. Each state has laws that serve to protect all parties involved in an adoption plan from pressure, coersion, or emotional abuse. Adoption professionals act in the best interest of the child, while working to meet the individual needs of birthparents and adoptive families.


Adoption is close to home in some way for most people. By clearing up adoption myths, we can change the perception of adoption, and promote empathy and understanding for all members of the adoption triad. Share this with others who might want to know more about the realities of adoption! 

Learn more about adoption www.adoptioncircle.org! 

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