One in three people have considered adopting, yet only 2% have actually done it. That is a HUGE discrepancy! The two main reasons people have disclosed on why they don’t adopt is fear and believing myths about adoption. Today we are going to break down some of those myths, reduce some of your fears and hopefully get that 2% to increase!
The Top 10 Biggest Myths About Adoption Explained
MYTH #1: Adoption is only for those facing infertility
FALSE! It is true that many people who face infertility choose the path of adoption, but that doesn’t mean only those people should be adopting. The face of adoptive parents includes so many! Adoptive parents can be young without any children yet, they can have several kids, their kids can be grown, or they may not have ever had children before. Adoptive parents can adopt and then have biological children, or vise versa. The fact is, the amount of woman facing infertility doesn’t even come close to the amount of children waiting for adoption and there will always be a need for others to adopt as well.
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MYTH #2: You must be married
FALSE! Those who want to adopt can be married, single or common-law, there are no local requirements for applicants to be married. The one exception to this myth is some international countries do set out marriage requirements. Each international country places their own rules and regulations on adoptions, and there are still a few countries that require applicants to be married, and some for a certain amount of time (usually 1-5 years). The amount of options for single parents, however, has grown drastically!
MYTH #3: You have to own your own home
FALSE! Applicants can apply to adopt and can rent, lease or own their own home! Home ownership, however, is not a requirement. The main requirements around adoption are having a window in the future child’s bedroom. Some countries and provinces/states also require a certain amount of square footage per family member, and some require only same genders to share a room, or each child to have their own room. Be sure to check with your local agency to find out the regulations where you live, as they can differ.
MYTH #4: Adoption is expensive
This myth is half true. Many people don’t know that adopting out of foster care is FREE! There are no fees associated with the process other than a possible medical exam (around $30 in Canada), or the odd other fee in the double digits. In Canada, they also provide funding after the adoption of a child in foster care. If you qualify financially (usually under $100,000 annual income) then you also receive a monthly amount per child if you adopt siblings, or adopt your foster child. In addition, any adoption through foster care can qualify you for post-adoption assistance (income tested). Post-adoption can cover such costs as counseling, medications, speech therapy, occupational therapy, respite and more.
Domestic and international adoption, however, are another story. In Canada, a domestic adoption can run you anywhere from $15,000-$30,000, while an international adoption can run you anywhere from $25,000-$80,000. In the United States these numbers can be much lower, but still a large sum none the less. There are lots of options to assist with these costs including: adoption grants, fundraising, adoption loans, selling things and more. Don’t let the cost of an adoption scare you away, but if these numbers don’t work with your family, then consider adopting out of foster care.
MYTH #5: Kids waiting for adoption have “problems”
FALSE! Kids waiting for adoption are just that; kids. They play with toys, they love hugs, and they have dreams and desires for their future. Kids waiting for adoption want the same thing all children want, a family to love them. It is true that many kids waiting for adoption have special needs, but that is not reserved for only kids through adoption. Some of the common disorders in kids in foster care include ADHD and FASD, both disorders that are also found in many other children outside of adoption. Often children waiting for adoption do have challenges around trauma; whether that be from past abuse or neglect, moving in between many homes, leaving their place of origin, or losing their biological family. Behaviors can arise from a child struggling with trauma, but through an attachment focused approach a parent can work with their child towards healing. There are so many great books on attachment, trauma, and parenting a child through adoption, and they all help equip a parent to parent to the best of their ability.
MYTH #6: Closed adoptions are best
FALSE! Twenty years ago and before, adoptions looked very different. The vast majority of adoptions were “closed” meaning the child did not know their biological family and had no contact. In fact, many, many children did not even know they were adopted until they were well into their adult years, and some into their senior years. Due to this history, many people still enter the adoption process believing that closed adoptions are best, or at the very least they will wait until their child is older to reveal anything. Current research shows that belief couldn’t be further from the truth. Children want to know who they are and where they come from. They want to know who gave birth to them, where their history comes from, and their DNA. As a child grows and forms their identity, if they don’t know these pieces of information yet know they are adopted, they are left with huge gaps. This can lead to fantasizing about perfect parents, depression, and other related mental health conditions. I won’t go into full details on this post, but even if safety concerns warrant no contact, a child knowing who they are via pictures and information, can make all the difference. Parents should also be aware of the importance of telling their child they are adopted from the very beginning. Ideally, the child should have no memory of “finding out” they were adopted. Usually language around adoption from infancy on, is a great way to begin, and depending on the child, around 2-3 years old more conversation can begin.
MYTH #7: It is best to wait until your biological kids are grown
FALSE! Although there is no wrong time to adopt, if you are currently parenting children, this is a beautiful time to adopt. It allows the child through adoption to grow up in a family with siblings, which comes with so many benefits, and also allows your own children to grow in the many ways having a sibling through adoption brings. There are always excuses to delay adopting, but waiting until your own kids are grown doesn’t have to be one of them.
MYTH #8: You can’t love a child through adoption the same as a biological child
FALSE! I want to say this one again, false…false…FALSE! Now, I have never given birth. So personally, I can’t compare. I DO know, however, that there is absolutely no possible way I could ever love my children anymore than I already do. I would die for them. Plus, every person I have ever spoken to who has children through birth and adoption, states the same thing. They don’t love one child more than the other, and feel the same bond or attachment with each child. The one difference that can be found in adoption, is the time to get to that point (though it can be argued that those facing post-par tum depression have the same struggle). The younger the child, usually the faster the attachment time frame. The older the child is at placement, the longer it can take. This is largely dependent on each parent-child relationship, but it is not uncommon, for example, for it to take a year to love and attach to a newly adopted child who is, for example, ten years old. There are always those who bond and attach to their child instantly, and others who adopt infants and take several months. There is no right or wrong way, but just know that it is common to take time to get to a strong place of attachment.
MYTH #9: Most children for adoption are babies
FALSE! Children available for adoption are of ALL ages! Private/domestic adoptions are typically of newborns and involve the birth mother choosing the prospective family. Children available for adoption through foster care and internationally are usually between the ages of 1-18 and are matched through government officials or social workers. Teenagers are often a demographic forgotten about in adoption but are in desperate need of a family before they age out of foster care or an orphanage. To find out more you can read my post on teen adoptions. School ages children are also waiting, as well as babies. There is a need for adoptive families for all ages!
MYTH #10: Adoption is basically “buying” a baby
FALSE! I know it can look that way, and with the enormous cost of adoptions today, many question where all their money goes to. Every type of adoption is different, with different fees for different programs, different costs with each country, and more, but here is a list of some of the many expenses associated with the adoption process:
Agency overhead (salary, building cost, training, admin/office etc.)
Home study and Training
Birth mother costs (hospital, living expenses)
Local agency, secondary agency and government agency program fees
This is not to say that unethical adoption agencies do not exist, that human trafficking and the buying and selling of children does not occur, or that bad people don’t exist in this world. MOST agencies, however, work very hard to follow all guidelines and recommendations and are merely trying to maintain their organizations and cover their cost. Many adoption agencies are charities or not-for-profits. Additionally, in recent years, international adoptions have slowed down dramatically, leaving more financial pressure on the remaining adoptive families to support the overhead of the adoption agencies. It is always great to ask questions of your agency though and find out where your money is going, but be confidant in the fact that adoption truly does have a lot of expenses attached to it!
Hopefully this has dispelled some myths surrounding adoption for you and made you pause and consider it just a little bit more. Be sure to share this post so these myths can be broken for others too. To find out more about the different types of adoption, click here!
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