November is National Adoption Month in the United States. The month is all about adoption awareness and truly understanding what domestic adoption really means. Nicole Witt, founder of The Adoption Consultancy and Beyond Infertility, hears a lot of crazy adoption notions and is ready to set the record straight.
t In my line of work as an adoption expert, I hear a lot of misconceptions about adoption. Reluctant couples will share their worries about adoption based on things they have heard. Strangers will develop their own beliefs about what I do for a living. Since November is National Adoption Month, I want to raise awareness and set the record straight on what domestic adoption is all about.
t Before I get into adoption myths, let me explain what I do. I help couples through every step of the adoption process, educating them on their options and advising on how to best attract a birth mother’s attention. I know the ins and outs of the domestic adoption process and have heard a lot of crazy adoption beliefs. Based on my experience, here are three of the biggest adoption myths I continually hear and what the reality is.
All birth moms are either homeless drug addicts or high school girls
t The reality: Birth mothers come in all shapes and sizes with their own varying reasons for placing their child for adoption. The most common birth mother situations I see are women in their 20s who are already single parents. They’re not drug addicts, not homeless, not in high school. But they understand the reality of what it takes to raise a child and know that they just can’t provide for another one!
t The adoption process is as tough and nerve-wracking on them as it is for prospective parents. Many couples I deal with fear that the birth mother will decide to keep the baby at the last minute. Yet many birth mothers fear the couple will decide to forgo the adoption right before the baby is due, leaving them stranded! Both instances are rare, but the point is birth mothers have the same anxieties that adoptive couples do during the process.
It takes years to adopt a healthy newborn
t This is an extremely common belief. Movies and TV shows have depicted newborn adoption as a years-long process. That is simply not true! When you choose a great team of adoption professionals to help you, and when you have realistic expectations and appropriate flexibility, you can often complete your domestic adoption within three to 12 months. That’s less than a year, sometimes even quicker than a pregnancy! When you have the right team helping you with every step of the process, it does not take as long as you would think.
I won’t love the child the same way
t This is the myth I usually debunk the most quickly because it is absolutely not true. Being a parent is not about genetics. It is about the connection and love you feel for your child, as well as the responsibility you cherish in raising him or her. Adoptive parents fully bond with their child and experience the same endless love every parent experiences.
t When you are considering adoption, don’t worry about loving your child. It is automatic and extremely fulfilling. Just as with a biological baby, it may not happen instantaneously but it will happen. You will experience the same highs and lows as any other parent, from bringing the baby home to crying as they move out of the house. Many parents even make arrangements with the birth mother to see the baby being born, completing the entire parenting experience.