Myths about adoption

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November was national adoption month and many organizations are taking a look back at the activities of the month to see what can be learned. Kathy Brodsky of the Ametz Adoption Program put together a list of ten myths about adoption. Let’s take a look:

1. There are no kids to adopt.
TRUTH: There are plenty of children of all ages ready for permanent homes! Within the US foster care system there are 129,000 children in need of adoption. There are also many children adopted privately every year.

2. If I adopt internationally, I don’t have to worry about birth parents ringing the doorbell.
TRUTH: Not exactly. With the expansion of internet-accessible records and international search agencies, the possibility of interaction with birth parents is real. Having contact could mean anything from once in a lifetime to a monthly phone call and is usually an indicator of people interested in the welfare of your child. It is up to your family to decide.

3. It takes longer for non-traditional families (singles, gays and lesbians, and older couples) to adopt.
TRUTH: While some agencies and countries have restrictions, there are others ready to advocate on your behalf. Brodsky advises that you be up front with the agencies you are working with and make sure they support your decision. Get involved every step of the way.

4. Adoption is very expensive.
TRUTH: The costs of adoption vary. They may include legal fees, birth mother costs, travel expenses, advertising, even report fees including home study and post adoption. Always get a detailed estimate of the cost of adoption before you proceed and get all your questions answered about those costs. A rough estimate of what an international adoption costs is about $20,000-$45,000. A domestic adoption might cost $10,000-$30,000. Foster care adoptions cost $0-$5,000. Take advantage of state and federal tax credits which are available as well as subsidies and reimbursements for kids with special needs. (See

5. All adopted kids have problems.
TRUTH: Any child, birth or adoptive, can have unforeseen health and behavior issues. There is a lot of debate on this issue, but recent studies show that the majority of adopted children grow up to be successful in adult life. It is important whether your children were born to you or adopted by you, to get help from doctors or support services when you feel you need it.

6. No one will tell me the best way to adopt; I feel alone.
TRUTH: There are many people ready to help and advise with adoption. As you would expect, agency personnel, attorneys and social workers are eager to answer questions. Ask for names of other adoptive parents willing to talk to you and answer questions about their experience.

7. I can get all the information I need on the Internet.
TRUTH: Nothing replaces personal interaction with something as personal as adoption. The internet is a good place to start, but does not replace the personal attention you will receive from relevant agencies. Additionally, the latest information will be available from those offices, while outdated or rumored information fills the internet.

8. Once I adopt, I can blend into the crowd and not discuss adoption again.
TRUTH: Maybe, but it’s not recommended. Most of your days you’ll be a typical parent. However, with an adopted child, there are special considerations. Something as simple as wondering why he doesn’t look like you to something as complicated as a genetic disorder could start that conversation unexpectedly. Brodsky makes a point that the information belongs to the child and he or she should know at some point.

9. If I am comfortable with adoption, my friends and family will be as well.
TRUTH: Not always. Everyone individually has a comfort level with adoption. Your job as an adoptive parent is to raise your child well and educate the people in his or her life about adoption so that your family is treated with respect.

10. If you tell the school your child is adopted, they will identify that for any academic, behavioral or social issues that arise.
TRUTH: Don’t make assumptions with regard to educators. Ask lots of questions during enrollment about diversity, learning issues, and support services. These are basic questions which will help you decide if the school is right for you no matter what your circumstances are. You will decide when or if it is appropriate to share adoption information, but by discussing it, the teacher will have an opportunity to modify some classroom projects (like family trees) or know they should be sensitive to how the project effects your child. Remember, educators want to see your child grow and succeed.

Source: American Fertility Association


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