By Rachel Bell
Adoption can be a difficult and complicated subject, made more difficult by common myths about the process. Because adoption is one of the options available when facing an unplanned pregnancy, our Bella advocates are there to provide information and answer questions about adoption during an Options Consultation. Here are six of the myths we hear most often in those conversations, and their answers.
Myth #1: Adopted kids are unhappy
While “happiness” is a difficult factor to quantify, and every person and situation is different, studies show that the “miserable adoptee” stereotype is just that— a stereotype. Take this study, for example, which shows adopted kids scoring higher in areas such as caring, social competency, connectedness, and optimism. Or look at the 2007 report on adoption from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which found that adopted children are more likely to have health insurance, and more likely to be read to every day. There are also countless famous, successful people who were adopted— Steve Jobs, Halle Berry, Nancy Reagan, or former president Gerald Ford, to name a few. There are no guarantees in life, but adopted children are often well-adjusted, content, successful, and secure.
Myth #2: Adoption is cruel because there are too many kids in foster care already
Foster care is different from adoption— foster care is a temporary arrangement for a child, while adoption is permanent. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and you decide on adoption, your child can be placed into a stable, loving home shortly after birth, without going into the foster system. In fact, according to American Adoptions, there are up to 36 waiting couples for every baby available for adoption! If adoption is the right path for you, there are many willing, responsible, loving couples ready to care for your child.
Myth #3: I won’t be able to have a relationship with my child
There are lots of different adoption plans to fit your needs and desires. You can choose closed, semi-open, or open adoption plans. An open plan would allow you to visit and develop a relationship with your child if you choose. Bella and your chosen adoption agency can help you go over the different types of adoption and choose the perfect plan for you!
Myth #4: Adoption is too expensive
While it is unfortunately expensive to adopt a child, many adoption agencies provide their services at no cost to the birth parents. Some adoption agencies are even able to help with medical and living expenses while you make your adoption plan— and of course, there is no charge for Bella’s consultations or referrals either. You do not need to have money to choose this option for yourself and your child!
Myth #5: I won’t have any control over who raises my child
Many adoption agencies allow you to choose from a selection of potential parents who meet their standards. These standards are high— people who want to adopt must go through a filtering process that is full of assessments. Out of these, many agencies allow you to hand-pick a couple you feel most comfortable with as the future parents of your child. Some agencies even provide the option to select a friend or relative as the adoptive parent. With the many options now available, you have the power to make choices regarding your adoption plan.
Myth #6: “Giving up” my child is selfish and irresponsible
Adoption isn’t giving up a child; it’s giving to a child! We understand that you might not feel financially or mentally ready to be a parent. If you feel that adoption is right for you and your baby, you are making the selfless decision to give your child the best possible life you can provide. Through the adoptive parents you choose, you are providing stability, resources, and care. It’s normal to feel scared or conflicted, but you are not selfish or irresponsible. Adoption can be a giving option; not only to a child, but also to a couple who is longing to love! Don’t let self-defeating thoughts keep you from whatever decision you feel is right.
Of course, just because you can’t provide everything an adoptive family could doesn’t mean you aren’t the best person to raise your child. In the end, only you can determine what is best. Adoption is not an easy choice to make— but for some women, it is the most fitting and fulfilling choice. At Bella, we are here to give you all the information you need to decide if adoption is the right choice for you—and if it is, we’ll help you through the process, answer your questions, and refer you to the perfect agency so you can create a plan. You are strong, and you are not alone!