Several myths related to adoption often interfere with birth mothers, birth families, and prospective parents pursuing adoption.  It is important to learn about adoption from various perspectives and understand the challenges that are there and the blessings available to those going through adoption.  Here are some myths along with the truths that should be explored:

Myth #1 –

The birth mother will regret her decision for the rest of her life: Adoption is so painful that most women regret the choice all their lives. A birth mother who chooses adoption will have serious emotional problems; adoption is a more traumatic experience for a woman than abortion.

Fact #1 –

For the birth mother facing an unplanned pregnancy, making an adoption plan can be a very positive choice.  Adoption does involve a major loss for her, and it will probably be accompanied by sorrow.  However, any option she chooses involves some gain and some loss.  For some, the decision is harder than expected, and for others, they know it is the right thing all along.  Counseling, adoption support groups, and supportive family members often make the grieving process much easier to manage.

Overall, women who have placed a child in adoption do very well, moving on to good jobs, continued education, marriage, and having children within that marriage.  When the adoption experience is handled properly, most birth mothers feel good about their decision years later.

Myth #2 –

Birth mothers are uncaring and soon forget about their babies.  A birth mother who cares about her child would not think of adoption; adoption is an irresponsible solution. Pregnant women who choose adoption take the easy way out.  A birth mother will eventually forget about the child she placed in adoption.

Fact #2 –

Birthparents are making loving parenting decisions when they plan adoptions.  Birthparents who make adoption plans fulfill their parenting responsibilities to make sure their child’s long-term needs are met in the best possible way.  To do this, they must put their child’s needs above their own – a sign of maturity, responsibility, and selflessness.  Adoption is by no means taking the easy way out.  It is a difficult decision, and women, especially, need to be supported in this decision by those around them.

Some young women facing unplanned pregnancies have found it helpful to learn about adoption firsthand through a birth parent who has been through the process.  Birth mothers never forget their children.  They always hold a special place in their hearts.

Myth #3 –

Adoption damages the child. Adopted children are not well-adjusted; have mental health problems; are damaged by the experience; will grow up to have serious psychological problems; feel bitter or rejected.

Fact #3 –

Most adopted children do well in life. Numerous studies have been done on adopted children, teens, and adults.  What these studies have shown is that adoptees:

  • Benefited from lots of support from their family, friends, and others
  • Were involved in many positive, structured activities such as sports, music, church programs, and community organizations
  • Saw themselves as strong as their peers in personal identity and self-esteem
  • Showed high levels of caring values and behaviors, such as volunteering

Myth #4 –

Most adoptive parents are unfit. Adoptive parents are not as fit to raise a child as its biological parents; no one can love a child as much as a birth parent; God is punishing childless couples, or He is sending a message that they should not be parents; adoptive parents are abusive.

Fact #4 –

Adoptive parents are as fit and capable as any cross-section of biological parents. TV shows have often portrayed adoptive parents as cruel and unfeeling, and abusive adoptive parents seem to make headlines in the newspapers.

Actually, adoptive parents are screened more carefully and are more mature (usually older) on the whole than parents who have children biologically.  They really want to be parents, or they would not be willing to go through the many things necessary to adopt.  Research shows that their children turn out just as well as non-adopted children.

While we must not downplay the tragedy of child abuse, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that it occurs particularly or even frequently in adoptive families.  In fact, there is evidence to the contrary.  Biological children face as much or more abuse than adopted children. This is a dangerous myth that needlessly perpetuates birth parents’ worries and often deters them from considering adoption at all.

There are many examples of parents who have built their families through adoption.  The overwhelming majority cannot imagine loving a child or children more than the ones God has given them through adoption.

Myth #5 –

The adoption process is secretive.  A birth mother will never know anything about her child and his or her adoptive parents; adoptive parents know very little about their child’s background; birth parents have no say in the choice of adoptive parents.

Fact #5 –

The adoption process today seeks to share information on a level that will benefit all those involved – birth parents, adoptive parents, and most importantly, the child.  Virtually all agencies today consult with birth parents to determine what type of family they would select.  Many agencies provide the birth parents with family profiles from which to choose.  A birth mother can request pictures, letters, and mementos to be shared for a time after the placement of their child occurs.  Adoption today is very open, and the amount of contact between the birth parents and the adoptive parents and their child is worked out individually.

Today it is rare for a child not to be aware of how he came into his family.  The agonizing over “telling a child he is adopted” of days past seems to have led to the myth that adoption was something bad to tell about.  Today, details of how a child came into a family are shared from day one in age-appropriate ways that stress love, permanence, and respect for birth parents who made such a difficult and loving choice to give their child a family.

Adapted from Pierson, Anne and Ring, June, “Five Myths About Adoption,” Loving & Caring