Even though there are approximately 135,000 adoptions in the United States every year (which includes those from the foster care system as well as from other countries), there are still a lot of myths about adoption. These misunderstandings become more pronounced when it comes to open adoptions, simply because having more than two parents in a family is beyond what most people typically think about. However, open adoptions are growing more and more common, and the families within them each have their own ways of nurturing the relationships. These families are more than functional: they’re thriving.
Here are seven myths about open adoption to help you better understand why people choose an open adoption and how it benefits the children and the parents.
Myth: Birth Mothers Who Choose Adoption Don’t Love Their Children
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, adoption is an indication of how much a birth mother loves her child. She may choose adoption for a lot of different reasons, but they all stem from love.
For example, she might want her child to have more opportunities than she’s able to provide, or she wants to make sure the baby has a safe, stable environment in which to grow up. Just because she can’t provide that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to get to know her child. An open adoption gives the adoptive parents responsibility over the child’s needs, but it allows the birth parents to be involved in the child’s life as well in a way that works for the adoptive family, birth family, and the child.
Myth: Open Adoption is Confusing for the Child
Children are much more intelligent and understanding than we give them credit for. With open and honest communication, a child has no difficulty understanding adoption. More importantly, they have no difficulty understanding love. As the child grows, he will be able to understand more details about the adoption and his relationships. Be ready to answer the questions he has as he gets older.
Myth: Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents Will Disagree About How to Raise the Child
Open adoption is not shared custody. The birth parents have no legal rights concerning the child; all parenting and child welfare decisions are up to the adoptive parents. The birth parents can continue to be involved in the child’s life, and they may not always agree with what the adoptive parents choose for him. However, they know they must respect the adoptive parents’ choices.
During the adoption process, birth parents and adoptive parents work together to come up with a plan that works for everyone involved. All open adoptions are different to reflect the unique needs of the adoptive parents, birth parents, and child. This agreement is mediated by the agency. Sometimes, the plan for the open adoption changes as the child’s needs change. The birth parents and adoptive parents work together to adjust the arrangement to suit the child.
Myth: Placing a Child for Adoption is the “Easy Way Out”
Deciding to place a child for adoption is a very difficult decision and a selfless one at that. The decision to choose life and to choose a family that will give the child opportunities that they wouldn’t have had otherwise is a gift for the child, but it is absolutely not an “easy way out.” By making the decision to place a child for adoption, the birth parents understand that the child will have a better future being raised by parents more prepared for a child at this stage of their life. Choosing an open adoption allows the birth parents to continue to be involved in the child’s life as he or she grows all while the child gets to live the life the birth parents envisioned for him or her.
Myth: Adopted Children Grow Up Hating Their Birth Parents
One of the most beautiful things about an open adoption is that the child gets to grow up knowing their birth. The child grows up feeling so much love because they really get to grow up with two full families. There is absolutely no hate from the child in an open adoption because there is an immense amount of transparency. The child gets to understand from a very early age that the decision to place him or her for adoption was a decision made out of love, sacrifice, and a desire for the child to have more than the birth parents were able to provide.
Myth: There Aren’t Enough Families Looking to Adopt in the United States
Actually, the complete opposite is true. There are always families waiting to adopt a child all throughout the United States and especially in Nevada. It’s our job to find the right family for every child. No matter what your preferences, background, or ideal characteristics of an adoptive family are, there is a family out there for your child. Don’t hesitate to place your child for adoption thinking that the right family doesn’t exist.
Myth: The Child Will Leave the Adoptive Parents to Live with the Birth Parents
The adoptive parents are the child’s parents. She is raised in that house under those rules. Birth parents are a loving presence in the child’s life, but it’s unusual for her to want to live with them. To do so would be to leave her family: her parents, her siblings, her toys, her schedule, and more. Her whole live revolves around the adoptive parent household.
The presence of the birth parents should not be seen as a threat. Open adoptions give the child an opportunity to enjoy an extended family with more people and more love.
An open adoption is not right for everyone, but when it is, it can create rewarding relationships and experiences for the parents and the child. If you’ve heard something about open adoptions and you’re wondering whether it’s true or not, please contact us. We’re happy to answer your questions and clear up any other myths and misunderstandings about open adoption.
If you’re considering placing your child for adoption, whether it’s a closed, semi-open, or open adoption, our team is here to help you make the best decisions for you and the child. Contact us today and meet with one of our amazing caseworkers. We’re here for you.