Adoption Myths

There are several myths related to adoption that often interfere with birthmothers, birth families, and prospective parents pursuing adoption.  It is important to learn about adoption from a variety of perspectives and understand the challenges that are there along with the blessings that are there.  Here are some myths along with the truths that should be explored:

Myth #1 – The birthmother will regret her decision for the rest of her life: Adoption is so painful that most women regret the choice all their lives.  A birthmother who chooses adoption will have serious emotional problems; adoption is a more traumatic experience for a woman than abortion.

Fact #1 – For the birthmother facing an unplanned pregnancy, making an adoption plan can be very positive.  Adoption does involve a major loss for a birthmother.  However, each option she can choose involves some gain and some loss.  With support and counseling adoption based on the best interests of their child and themselves are able to make it through the grieving process in a positive manner.

Overall, women who have placed a child in adoption do very well, moving on to good jobs, continued education, marriage, and having children within that marriage.  When the adoption experience is handled properly, many birthmothers feel good about their decision years later.

Myth #2 – Birthmothers are uncaring and soon forget about their babies.  A birthmother who cares about her child would not think of adoption; adoption is an irresponsible solution. Pregnant women who choose adoption take the easy way out.  A birthmother will eventually forget about the child she placed in adoption.

Fact #2 – Birthparents are making loving parenting decisions when they plan adoptions.  Birthparents who make adoption plans are fulfilling their parenting responsibilities to make sure their child’s long-term needs are met in the best possible way.  In order to do this, they must put their child’s needs above their own – a sign of maturity, responsibility, and selflessness.  Adoption is by no means taking the easy way out.  It is a difficult decision, and you women, especially, need to be supported in this decision by those around them.

Some young women facing unplanned pregnancies have found it helpful to learn about adoption first hand through a birthparent who has been through the process.  Birthmothers never forget their children.  They always hold a special place in their hearts.

Myth #3 – Adoption damages the child. Adopted children are not well-adjusted; have mental health problems; are damaged by the experience; will grow up to have serious psychological problems; feel bitter or rejected.

Fact #3 – Adopted children do well in life. Numerous studies have been done on adopted children, teens, and adults.  What these studies have shown is that adoptees:

  • Benefited from lots of support from their family, friends and others;
  • Were involved in many positive, structured activities such as sports, music, church programs, and community organizations;
  • Saw themselves as being as strong as their peers in personal identity and self-esteem;
  • Showed high levels of caring values and behaviors, such as volunteering

Myth #4 – Most adoptive parents are unfit. Adoptive parents are not as fit to raise a child as its biological parents; no one can love a child as much as a birthparent; God is punishing childless couples or He is sending a message that they should not be parents; adoptive parents are abusive.

Fact #4 – Adoptive parents are as fit and capable as any cross-section of biological parents. TV shows have often portrayed adoptive parents as cruel and unfeeling, and abusive adoptive parents seem to make headlines in the newspapers.

Actually, adoptive parents are screened more carefully and are more mature (usually older) on the whole than parents who have children biologically.  They really want to be parents or they would not be willing to go through the many things necessary to adopt.  Research shows that their children turn out just as well as non-adopted children.

While we must not downplay the tragedy of child abuse, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that it occurs particularly or even frequently in adoptive families.  In fact, there is evidence to the contrary.  Biological children face as much or more abuse than adopted children. This is a dangerous myth which needlessly perpetuates birthparents’ worries, and many times deters them from considering adoption at all.

There are many examples of parents who have built their families through adoption.  The overwhelming majority cannot imagine loving a child or children more than the ones God has given them through adoption.

Myth #5 – The adoption process is secretive.  A birthmother will never know anything about her child and his or her adoptive parents; adoptive parents know very little about their child’s background; birthparents have no say in the choice of adoptive parents.

Fact #5 – The adoption process today seeks to share information on a level that will benefit all those involved – birthparents, adoptive parents, and most importantly, the child.  Virtually all agencies today consult with birthparents to determine what type of family they would select.  Many agencies provide the birthparents with family profiles from which they may choose.  As a birthmother requests, pictures, letters, and mementos may be shared for a time after the placement of their child occurs.  Adoption today is very open and the amount of contact between the birthparents and the adoptive parents and their child is worked out on an individual basis.

Today it is rare for a child not to be aware of how he came into his family.  The agonizing over “telling a child he is adopted” of days past seems to have led to the myth that adoption was something bad to tell about.  Today, details of how a child came into a family are shared from day one, in age-appropriate ways that stress love, permanence, and respect for birthparents who made such a difficult and loving choice to give their child a family.

Taken from Pierson, Anne and Ring, June, “Five Myths About Adoption,” Loving & Caring


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