There are a multitude of misconceptions about adoption that can cause worry for both prospective birth parents or adopting families. Adoptive parents might wonder if they will be able to love an adopted child as much as their biological children, and sometimes birth parents worry that their adopted child will have ill feelings toward them.
However, some are working to fight that preconceived notion. The U.S. Department of Health and Services has published the most recent statistics from the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP). This is the first of its kind, an empirical study with verifiable data that can be used to fight common misunderstandings that birth parents and adoptive families have about the adoptive process. These stats show that many of the more widespread misconceptions are simply incorrect.
Here a a few general adoption misconceptions:
“Will the adopted child enjoy as much love as a biological child?”
This is an expected feeling that both the adoptive family and birth parents share before adopting. Any fear of the adoptive family not caring for a child simply because it doesn’t have their genes are quickly gone as soon as the adoptive parents first sees their child. This is true for almost every adoption!
Just watch how the adoptive parents interact with the adopted child: Nearly 75% of adopted children ages one to five are read to or sang to every day, compared with only half of non-adopted children who receive the same attention from their biological parents. That’s amazing!
Moreover, well over 50% of all adopted children eat dinner with their families at least 6 days per week.
It’s no surprise that adoption statistics show how much adoptive parents cherish the time they have with their children. And it shows, because they appreciate every day the opportunity to be a mom and a dad. They are the first ones at their son’s team’s practice, and they are in the front row of their daughter’s play. Their lives simply revolve around their kids.
“My child will hate me because I placed her for adoption?”
This notion comes about from people and media that are inexperienced in adoption, or simply too caught up in Hollywood depictions of the adoption process. A family member or a friend who might not agree with a pregnant woman’s desire to place her child for adoption might try to claim that the child might hate the parent if this were to happen. And some television shows and movies have unjustly portrayed adopted kids in this way as well.
But here are the facts: around nine out of ten adopted children ages 5 and older have good, positive feelings about their adoption. Most adopted children are raised in happy homes by loving adoptive parents, so why would an adopted child hate his birth parents, the ones who provided him with a great life and his mom and dad? Think about it.
A few more points about adoption myths:
-The best way to ensure that your child knows that you love him or her is to give the adoptive parents something – a letter or a life book – that will show your love and express how you feel. In the letter you can explain why you made the decision to place for adoption.
-In “open adoptions” you can over the years show your love and affection by staying in touch. Look up studies on how adoptive children feel and quote from it. (Adoption Institute, Adoptive Families, etc.) Follow up with communication over the years that can be passed on to your child as he grows.
-Cases where the adopted child doesn’t know why the adoption plan was made are more likely to result in anger towards the birth parents, so make sure that you provide a letter and pictures, and express how you feel.