If you aren’t personally connected to adoption, the process may seem like a little bit of a mystery. As a mom through adoption who has “been there, done that,” I’ve noticed some myths about adoption that are pervasive.
So let’s debunk them:
1. I could never afford it
I think a lot of people shy away from adoption — we did at first — because of the money. While adoption costs vary (that is, private domestic, international or foster care adoption), there are ways for the “average family” to afford it between grants, loans and employer benefits. There’s also an adoption tax credit, which changes from year to year, so consult a tax professional about that.
The most common route to parenthood is sex followed by a nine-month waiting period. Many Americans have some sort of health insurance that at least partially covers having babies. The cost of most adoptions is comparable to paying completely out of pocket for prenatal care and a hospital delivery. In that respect, I think it kind of sucks that there’s not some sort of insurance option for families that choose adoption.
If you really want to adopt, finances might be a struggle, but they don’t have to be a total roadblock.
2. I could never love an adopted child the same as I would “my own” child
Your adopted child will be your own. I can’t speak to how other parents feel about their children; maternal love is an intensely personal, unique thing. I can tell you this, though: I have three children. Two of them are adopted, one isn’t. I love them all the same. I love them differently because they are different, but I don’t love the adopted ones any more or less because they weren’t born from my body. I don’t distinguish them as “adopted” in my mind. They’re not my adopted kids… just my kids.
3. Adopted kids have lots of problems
It’s unfair to slap this sort of label on adopted kids… or any subgroup of the population. That’s the same as saying black kids or kids with freckles have lots of problems. Regardless of how you get to parenthood, there are never guarantees.
4. Adopting kids from another ethnicity is just asking for trouble
I’ve always thought the “we don’t see color” people were full of bs. There are some things you have to know and get used to when you become a multiracial family through adoption. You may commit to learning about another culture and allowing those traditions to become yours. You may have to get used to stares and rude comments. It’s definitely something to consider before you adopt, but to automatically assume there will be problems? No.
My kids are Asian. I’m not. Will they experience problems because of this? Maybe. Will I have to help them deal with prejudice and narrow-mindedness? Probably. All parents help their kids navigate life and solve problems. Parenting kids of a different ethnicity might bring different problems in parenting to be solved, but problem-free parenting doesn’t exist, right?
5. If you adopt, you will get pregnant
Um… not if you don’t have a uterus, you won’t. I had so many people say this to me, and I took an evil sort of pleasure in letting them know I no longer possessed the necessary equipment.
But seriously. I know not everyone adopts because of inability to have babies the “regular” way. That said, it’s a common plan B. If you’ve battled infertility, then come to terms with that door being closed before you start the adoption process. Be all in. Sure, surprise pregnancies happen, but don’t board the adoption train thinking that’s going to solve your reproductive problems. Adoption is not a fix for infertility.
If you have questions about adoption, talk to a lawyer or a reputable adoption agency. There are so many ways to become a family through adoption, and there is no cookie-cutter approach. There are myths and stereotypes surrounding adoption, but if you (or someone close to you) are pursuing adoption, keep an open mind, and be willing to let go of those preconceived notions.