Our journey to create a family was a long and painful one, filled with miracles and blessings. While adopting Seth, we discovered a very disheartening truth: there are many negative feelings linked to the word adoption.
So, to dispel some of the myths I have come across during my experience, I decided to write this post about adoption myths.
Adoption is for people who can’t have kids.
This statement seems innocent enough, but it is, in fact, quite horrible. It’s true that most adoptions occur because the couple is unsuccessful or unable to get pregnant or have biological children. However, I have met many families that have adopted children as well as had biological children. My own family is an example. My mother gave birth to five of us, and we all knew someone was missing. For years, the question (after a head count) was always, “Who’s missing?” It wasn’t until years later when I was 20 that they began adopting other children. Five more joined our ranks, and now we feel complete.
Adoption is a second rate way to get a baby.
Adoption is not a second choice way to “get a baby,” it’s a miracle that brings families together.
This is a hard one to explain unless you have adopted or are deeply connected with an adopted child. Let me just say this. No adoptive parent loves their child any less, or considers them any less “theirs” because the child is adopted. We don’t know why we are asked to create our families in this way. All we know is that there is a reason, and we may never know it.
Birth mothers are all druggies.
This is simply not true. Birth mothers are brave, courageous women with so much love in their hearts that they sacrifice a life with the child in order to give them something better. I’ve always loved the quote, “I didn’t give him up, I gave him something better.” They are unselfish, loving, and strong. Where would most of us be if not for our children’s birth mothers?
They come in all shapes and sizes. They can be teenagers who still have a life to live and a little growing up to do. They can be a little older and realize they can’t offer the child a family and home like someone else could. Seth’s birth parents are married with three other children and realized from conception that they were not able or meant to raise him. So they did the hard thing and found us.
Birth parents deserve our respect and love, always.
I could never love someone else’s child.
I’m not going to say that I did not have this fear before we adopted. Tyler and I spent many nights discussing this very issue. What if Seth was born and we realized that we didn’t really feel the way we should toward him? What if we had other children…would we love him any less?
In all fairness, I think it’s a valid fear, but it is, in fact, a myth. When that child is placed in your arms, they are placed in your heart and soul. They become yours, and you become theirs.
I love him with all my heart, and I honestly believe with my whole soul that if I had given birth to him I could not love him any more. My relationship with my daughter – who is biological – is exactly the same. I couldn’t love her any more.
So maybe, in a way, it’s true that you can’t love someone else’s child. When you adopt, that child is yours.
Now that you’ve adopted, you’ll get pregnant.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me this, or hinted it to me, I’d buy my kids a pony. The fact is you or I could very well get pregnant after adopting. I hope so. But if not, I have to be ok with that. It’s something I have to come to terms with.
I did not adopt so that I could get pregnant. I adopted because Seth was meant to travel a different path to our family. So while most people have good intentions when they say this, they have no idea how hard this is to hear. It gives false hope and minimizes the importance of the adoption and the adopted child.
Adoption is easier than pregnancy.
This is comparing apples to oranges. The end result is the same: a baby. But it’s not possible to compare them. And every situation is different. My sister-in-law has very easy pregnancies and deliveries. My one and only pregnancy was a mother’s nightmare. I was on bed rest for five months and ended up losing one of my babies. Long story short, you just can’t compare. So don’t try.
If you have never adopted, you don’t know the baggage that comes along with your child. If you’re hoping to adopt or want a shoulder to cry on, shoot me a message and we’ll chat. ([email protected])
If someone ever says this to you, chalk it up to ignorance. They simply don’t know. Say what you want to defend yourself if you feel it necessary. (I pointed out the parts of pregnancy I wished I could experience, but mentioned the blessings that came from it.) But don’t be too offended. That won’t help you or educate them.
If you have never adopted and think it’s easier than pregnancy, please don’t say anything. You will most likely just hurt someone’s feelings in the process.
Adoption will fix everything.
Most couples don’t get married and say, “Oh, I think we’ll adopt now.” There is some level of infertility treatment and/or medical testing and such that goes along with the choice of adoption. And along with those treatments and testing comes heartache and pain.
Even after adopting, my heart continued to ache for my other children. Now I have two kids, and my heart turns tender when I get a pregnancy announcement. It sometimes takes me a moment or two to realize that I have blessings aplenty and I just need to be grateful.
I think after we adopted Seth, I expected all the hurts to go away. But they don’t. That’s just something I will continue to deal with for the rest of my life. Am I ungrateful for my kids? No. Do I love them more than anything else in this world? Yes. But my heart is still healing from loss and disappointment.
Be patient with adoptive mothers who express continued sadness over their “loss” of not being able to bear children. It’s programmed within us to have that desire, and it’s not a bad thing. We all deal with it a little differently. And just because we get a little sad sometimes, doesn’t mean we are ungrateful for our children. Our miracles.
And mothers…be of good cheer! We do have our miracles! And we will continue to have them as long as the Lord sees fit, for he is truly mindful of us all.
Do you know someone who has adopted? Have YOU adopted? What advice would you give to new adoptive parents? Or what myths have you busted?