Adoption is a beautiful way to grow a family but, unfortunately, many people don’t understand it as well as they should. If you’re considering adopting a baby or a child from foster care, you may be unsure of what’s ahead of you. What is the process like? Is it really worth it?
Some of this wariness may come from common myths that you’ve heard about adoption. Adoption has changed a lot over the last half-century, but many people still rely on those outdated notions when they think about adoption. If you’re considering adoption, it’s important that you have the truth about what the process actually means.
To help you out, we’ve shared the truth about some of the common adoption myths you may hear:
“Adoption takes children away from their mothers — and has negative effects for all.”
First off, know that adoption is always voluntary for pregnant woman, and choosing adoption does not mean they are “giving up” their children. Instead, they are choosing to give their child the best opportunities in life by placing them in a supportive, loving home with a family who is emotionally, financially and practically prepared to raise a child. While adoption is a difficult emotional process, it’s one that the majority of birth mothers don’t regret.
In addition to a safe, stable home, adopted children today have the benefit of growing up knowing about their adoption and even having a relationship with their birth family through an open adoption. With adoption, adoptive families can finally have the child they’ve been dreaming about, and birth parents can continue with their life goals knowing their child is well-cared for.
“Birth mothers are paid to place their children for adoption.”
Pregnant women considering adoption cannot receive payment in exchange for placing a child for adoption. However, because the adoption and pregnancy process can be financially difficult for women, state laws do allow her to be paid certain expenses during her pregnancy. This includes medical, legal and counseling expenses. If she chooses to pursue an agency-assisted adoption she can also be paid a set amount of financial assistance for things like rent, groceries, transportation to appointments and more.
“Only perfect couples can adopt a baby.”
Adoption professionals know that the only requirement to be a “perfect” family is being one that is willing to love a child with all of their heart. Every other aspect is only incidental.
That’s why, no matter whether you’re older or younger, single or married, LGBT or heterosexual, renting or homeowners, you will be able to adopt a child. As long as you pass the requirements of your adoption professional and meet all state adoption laws, it doesn’t matter who you are — just that you’re committed to adoption and to raising an adopted child with all the love and support you can give.
“The only children available for adoption are sick or have special needs.”
While there are children waiting for adoption from the foster care system who are considered “special needs,” this doesn’t always mean they have developmental disabilities or conditions. In many cases, they are just older children, are part of a sibling group or have a certain racial background. In other words, they’re completely perfect children just waiting for a home and a family to take them in.
If you’re considering a private domestic adoption, know that there are also plenty of healthy babies that are adopted each year. Many prospective birth mothers choose adoption because of their own situation, not because of a child’s medical condition or a disability they can’t manage. While prospective birth mothers come from many different situations and medical backgrounds, the vast majority of babies adopted in Texas and throughout the U.S. are perfectly healthy.
“Most birth mothers are pregnant teenagers.”
Actually, many women who choose adoption are in their 20s and 30s and already have children they are currently raising. Therefore, they know the commitment required to raise another child — and understand that it’s not possible for them at this point in their life. Of course, there are some birth mothers who are teenagers, but you should be prepared for interacting with a prospective birth mother who is between 25 and 35 years old.
“The birth mother will want her baby back and show up on your doorstep one day.”
As mentioned before, open adoption prevents situations like these because birth parents are in touch with adoptive parents (either directly or through mediated contact) for their child’s whole life. They can see their child grow up happy and healthy, and any questions they may have are answered through this communication. Many even have personal relationships with their child.
Birth mothers understand that adoption is a permanent decision; they’re advised about it by their lawyer before they sign their adoption consent. They know that they’re making the best choice for their baby and rarely regret their decision. When you work with the proper professional as adoptive parents, you can always be reassured that your baby’s birth mother thoroughly understands the consequences of her decision — and won’t be legally allowed to take her child back.
“Open adoption relationships are confusing for adopted children.”
People who are unfamiliar with how open adoption works may think that their child won’t know who their “real” parents are. This is far from the truth.
First, the term “real” enforces negative ideas about adoption. Adopted children think of their adoptive parents as simply their “parents” and their biological parents as their “birth parents.” Although they will always respect their birth parents for making the brave and selfless choice to place them for adoption, they know that a blood relationship doesn’t make a “real” family — love does, which is why they are never confused about who their parents are. Open adoption is not co-parenting, so while adoptees will have a relationship with their birth parents, it will be nothing near the relationship they have with their parents.
“It takes too long to adopt.”
How long your adoption process takes will depend on several factors: what kind of adoption process you choose, your preferences for an adopted child, your budget and more. On average, you can expect to have a child placed with you within 12 months of starting the adoption process. Of course, some international adoptions can take years of waiting, but if you’re flexible in your adoption preferences, you can expedite the waiting process by choosing foster care adoption or private domestic infant adoption.
These are only some of the misconceptions out there about adoption — and it’s clear why a misunderstanding of the process can make prospective adoptive families wary. That’s why it’s so important that you research fully if you’re considering adoption, including talking to adoption professionals to get a better idea of what the adoption process in Texas might really be like.
The lawyers at Brown Pruitt are willing to answer any more questions you have about adoption myths you may have heard or about the adoption process in general. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you bring home a child that’s perfect for you.