Myths and Fears About Adoption

“A birth mother who cares about her child would never consider adoption.”

The truth is, a birth mother deeply loves her child, which is why she sacrifices her own feelings and desires to give her child a better life. A woman who chooses adoption for her baby does so because she has come to a place where she understands that she is not able to give her child the life that she wants for him or her whether for financial, physical, emotional, or spiritual reasons. Adoption is often an emotionally painful process and involves sacrifice, causing the birth mother to focus on the needs of the child instead of her own personal feelings.

“My child will grow up not knowing who I am and/or hate me.”

Through open adoption, a birth mother and her child have the opportunity to be involved in each others lives. Openness in adoption can include corresponding via pictures, letters, e-mail and phone as well as face-to-face visits at an agency, park, restaurant, or even in each others home. The level of openness is decided between the birth and adoptive families. Openness is much more common today, and many adoptive and birth families are benefitting from open relationships with one another. Openness also decreases the chance that the child will have negative feelings toward the birth mother because she will have the opportunity to express her reasons for her adoption decision as well as her love for her child through letters and/or in person.

“All adopted children will grow up to have psychological problems.”

The majority of the research on open adoption does not support the misconception that adopted children are more psychologically at risk than non-adopted children in terms of adjustment, delinquency, and mental health. In general, parents face similar problems with their adopted children as compared to parents and their biological children. Some people might believe this myth based on stories that they have heard or what they have seen on television which can be an inaccurate and biased source of information.

“If I choose adoption, my child will move from home to home.”

Adoption is not foster care. Adoption is a permanent placement of a child with his or her adoptive family.

“Adoption is an irresponsible solution to an unplanned pregnancy.”

Some birth parents think that they must suffer the consequences of parenting for their irresponsible behavior. Therefore, they believe passing the responsibility of parenting to an adoptive family would be irresponsible and wrong. It is important to realize that adoption is a responsible choice to an unplanned pregnancy because a birth parent sacrifices her desires by considering the needs of her child first. Responsible decision-making requires knowledge about one’s alternatives, recognizing the consequences/implications of each choice, and making a plan that is in the best interests of the child. Responsible behavior is not about punishment but about making a well thought out plan for the baby.

“No one can love my child as much as I do.”

The reality is that adoptive parents can love a child as fully and selflessly as biological parents. Many adoptive families are not able to have children biologically and they want to welcome an adoptive child into their home. Good parenting is a matter of consistently and continuously nurturing and loving a child, not a matter of biology. Bonding is not a one-time event but an ongoing process that continues throughout the lives of a child and his or her parents. Additionally, bonding is only one piece to parenting and does not ensure success if the biological parent is lacking in emotional, spiritual, physical, or psychological stability.

“I will eventually forget about my child.”

A birth mother can never forget about the birth of their child. Assuming that a birth parent will forget about her baby is like assuming that they would forget about the death of a parent or child. Healthy grieving eventually brings birth parents to a place where they can move on but this does not equal erasing the memory of their child, pregnancy, or birthing/hospital experience. Most of the time, these memories are very important for birth parents to hold on to as they remind them of an important benchmark in their lives, the growth and sacrifice that they experienced and, most importantly, the child that they brought into this world. Remembering their baby is healthy for the grieving process and helps birth parents to move on by acknowledging their loss and coming to terms with it.

“What if the adoptive parents don’t follow through with the open adoption plan.”

Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights from a birth family to adoptive family so ongoing openness is not guaranteed. However, follow-through in an open adoption plan is more likely to be consistently followed when birth parents are going through a reputable agency that prepares, educates, and monitors their adoptive parents as well as encourage them to honor the requests of the birth parents. Also, meeting the adoptive family prior to birth gives everyone a chance to get to know one another and discuss what levels of openness are most comfortable for all parties involved.