If you’re thinking of adopting a child to start (or build!) your family, you might be intimidated after seeing adoption horror stories in the media. The truth is, many of the stories you see portrayed in the media are sensationalized to gain viewers, and are actually adoption myths. Closed adoptions are now rare and modern, open adoption is common.
Open adoption is focused on what is best for the child, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents. Adoption has changed a lot in the last 50 years, but, unfortunately, many people don’t realize modern adoption looks very different.
Today, Lifetime sheds light on eight of the most common adoption myths. Read on as we help you separate fact from fiction!
Myth #1: There are no healthy babies available for adoption.
The truth is, Lifetime Adoption has anywhere from 110 to 120 successful domestic adoptions in the United States every year. And, most of these adoptions are of healthy newborn infants.
There are also adoption opportunities involving toddlers, sibling sets, and children up to the age of six. In addition, you will find more opportunities to adopt older children from international adoption agencies and the foster care system.
Myth #2: Adoption is too expensive for us.
Sometimes couples who have already undergone expensive infertility treatments think that they wouldn’t be able to afford adoption.
The truth is, adoption costs vary depending on the attorney, home study, and travel fees. Some adoptive parents will pay travel fees, while others won’t need to travel. And some choose to help their birth mother with pregnancy costs like co-pays, while others don’t.
Lifetime has a one-time, flat fee that helps you budget for your adoption. We don’t charge anything to apply, and our fees are very affordable compared to many other adoption professionals. There are also many different financing options you can choose from as well as fundraising ideas.
Myth #3: It takes years to adopt.
The adoption myth of the process taking years and years isn’t typical for Lifetime’s clients. In fact, most Lifetime Adoption families match in less than 12 months.
The reality is that the more open you are in your preferences (race, age, and gender of the baby), the more quickly you can match. It is important to listen to your adoption coordinator’s suggestions and keep a positive outlook. Every adoption story is unique, and you will have your own adoption journey.
Myth #4: Only perfect couples are chosen by birth mothers.
Whether you’re single, married, divorced, disabled, rich, poor, professional, retired, aged 21 or 50, you can adopt a baby.
Birth mothers choose the family for their child, and their preferences are as unique as they are. But, most importantly, biological parents want to find loving homes for their children.
Myth #5: All birth mothers are unstable teenagers.
The ages of birth mothers include everything in the range of childbearing years. Some are in their teens, but Lifetime also helps women who are pregnant and think about adoption in their forties.
A typical birth mother is parenting other children, is in her twenties or thirties, and wants a better life for her child than what she can provide. She may have a man in her life, but he’s probably not taking the role of a father to her kids.
She knows that adoption is a difficult choice, but she knows it is the best decision for this child. She knows that even though ongoing contact may be painful, her child should know their adoption story. Plus, she needs the reassurance that her child is growing up happy, healthy, and with the family that she selected for them.
Myth #6: Many birth mothers are out to scam adoptive parents.
Adoption scams are actually very rare. However, it is important to take precautions, such as working with a licensed adoption agency. An adoption professional knows what questions to ask and verifies the information provided.
Lifetime Adoption specializes in American adoptions, and our coordinators know what “red flags” to look out for. They work diligently to protect our adoptive families and care for our birth parents. In addition, through Birth Mother Blessings, we can provide maternity clothes and other necessities for birth mothers.
Myth #7: Your child’s birth parents will come back and reclaim them.
Lifetime Adoption offers ongoing counseling for the birth family. This is an important resource for the birth parents who choose adoption both during the pregnancy and after and is one of the reasons we have a low reclaim rate of around 3-4%.
Once the adoption is final in court, the child is as much yours as if you had given birth. You are the real parents. You will have an adoption attorney who will ensure all legal documents are filed and in order and who will schedule your finalization hearing at the courthouse.
Myth #8: We won’t know anything about our baby’s birth family or where they come from.
Most of Lifetime’s birth mothers choose to have an open adoption. which can range from updates on their child sent through email, letters, photos, and social media to annual visits.
As an adoptive parent, open adoption comes with the benefit of knowing your baby’s medical and genetic history. We have many adoptive families that form a very special bond with the birth parents. It has also been found that having an open adoption is a great benefit to your child. According to Childwelfare.gov, adopted children who maintain some contact with their birth parents:
- “Relate to birth family members as real people with strengths and flaws rather than idealizing or denigrating them
- Develop a deeper understanding of their identities and a greater sense of wholeness
- Gain access to important genetic and medical information
- Preserve connections to their birth families, including their cultural and ethnic heritage
- Understand the reasons for being adopted, which can lessen feelings of rejection and promote a sense of belonging
- Increase the number of supportive adults in their lives
- Create a foundation for lifelong relationships”
(Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2019. Helping your adopted child or youth maintain important relationships with family. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau.)
A great way to learn more about open adoption and which kind of adoption is right for you is by hearing what others have experienced! You can read about adoption success stories and about adoptive family’s experiences. Tune into Lifetime’s free webinars on open adoption and other adoption topics.
Adopting a child is an exciting decision that will change your life forever. If you are ready to start the adoption process, our experienced and caring team at Lifetime Adoption will help you get started. Contact us today for details.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on December 1, 2017, and has since been updated.
Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).
Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.
“Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!
Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.
I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.
It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”