November is National Adoption Awareness Month. As you already know, adoption is very near and dear to my heart, as it is through adoption that Bill and I chose to create our family.
Before I decided to become an adoptive parent, my knowledge about adoption came from what I heard on the mainstream media. I thought adoption would be a fairly easy process (Ha! There's no such thing as "We'll just adopt."). I was terrified of going the domestic route because I though the birthmother could come and claim the child at any time. I was very skeptical about the concept on an open adoption, thinking that it would cause more problems and confusion for the child.
I couldn't have been more wrong about all of those things, but I know there are many other people out there who share those same misconceptions about adoption. Since I liked so much the format my friend Anne Reinertson used on her post about raising Down syndrome awareness - and with a little help from AdoptiveFamiles.com - here are some interesting myths, misconceptions, and facts about adoption. I hope you find them to be informative!
Gone are the days when people could just walk into an orphanage, choose a child, sign a form, and come out a parent. Today's adoption process is much more complex and time consuming, involving multiple background, criminal and medical checks, parenting classes, and social worker visits. This is meant to protect the child and educate the prospective parents on the process and challenges that may lie ahead.
You hear a lot about international adoptions, but every year more than 25,000 babies are placed and adopted at birth in the United States. That's more than twice the total number of children adopted internationally in 2009!
Despite the rare cases you hear about on the news, post-adoption revocations are very uncommon. Once an adoption is finalized in court, adoptive parents are recognized by law as the child's only parents.
Most people think the average birthmother is a troubled teen. In fact, most birthmothers are single women over the age of eighteen who do not have the necessary resources to care for a child.
Adoption can be expensive, but there are also many programs that are no more expensive that giving birth. Some domestic adoptions may cost as low as $15,000 before the adoption tax credit (in 2010 the adoption tax credit was extended to $13,170 per eligible child).
The notion that adopted children are more likely to be troubled than birth children couldn't be more wrong! Research shows that adoptees do not suffer from any more psychological problems and are as well-adjusted as their non-adopted peers.
Many people believe that you cannot love an adopted child as much as a biological child, or "your own child". I am not an expert in this matter as I do not have biological children, but I can tell you this much from my personal experience: I love my sons with all my heart and soul.
My heart aches when they are in pain, and swells when they are happy. I worry constantly about their well being, and would do anything to protect them from the ills of this world. They are my first thought when I wake up in the morning and my last thought when I go to bed at night.
Our boys love us and look to us for guidance, protection, and comfort, and we are dedicating our lives to always providing those things for them. They are the most important people in our lives. In short, they are - completely and unequivocally - our own.