Sunday, November 22, 2009

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month.  In celebration, here are my thoughts and personal experiences with some adoption myths:

Myth Number 1--Adoption takes forever if you want a newborn.  My experience:  We applied to the adoption agency May 17th and brought a newborn baby home June 14th.  (As they say in the weight loss ads, results may not be typical.)

Myth Number 2--Adoption costs a lot of money.  My experience:  Our adoption cost approximately $12,200, $10,000 of which we got back as an adoption tax credit.  Two hundred dollars of what we paid was for medical fees that our HMO should have covered for Lil Sweetie's newborn care in the hospital after she was born.  However, our crappy HMO went bankrupt and the adoption agency asked us to pay the medical expenses even though we were not legally obligated to, so that the adoption agency would maintain a good working relationship with the hospital.  So we did. 

Myth Number 3--Adoption fees are unethical; it is in essence "buying a child."  My experience:  Adoption fees cover all kinds of expenses of the birth mother and the adoption agency.  Our adoption agency helps many women who decide to parent their children.  It provides support groups for birthmoms who struggle after placing a child for adoption.  It serves as a go-between for semi-open adoptions like ours.  It provides educational and social events where adoptive families can meet other adoptive families.  It provides search services for adults who were adopted and wish to search for their birth families.  I have no regrets or concerns about the adoption fees we paid...we have gotten way more than our moneys worth of services for that fee.

Myth Number 4--Adoption itself is unethical.  My experience:  Actually, I think there is some truth to this one.  It all depends on the adoption professional you choose to use.  Our local adoption agency is incredibly ethical.  Pregnant women who come to them in crisis are offered options and support, regardless of whether they choose to parent their child or place the child for adoption.  I love that the adoption agency continues to provide services to Lil Sweetie's birthmom seven years later.  However, some adoption agencies and lawyers pressure women to place their children for adoption, and do not offer any support or services to the birthmom once she has terminated her parental rights.  I would advise anyone considering adoption as either a birthparent or an adoptive parent to choose your lawer or adoption agency wisely.

Myth Number 5--Birthmoms are either young girls who got themselves in trouble, or crack whores.  My experience:  Birthmoms are teenagers, women in their 20's and 30's and 40's, military personnel who aren't yet ready to parent, rape victims, drug addicts, deeply religious women who have never tried drugs or alcohol, women whose families are complete.  There is no typical birthmom.

Myth Number 6--The birthmom will come back and reclaim the child later.  My experience:  Birthmoms don't want to or aren't able to parent the child, that's why they place the child for adoption.  And at least in Oklahoma, the adoption laws do not allow an adoption to be "undone" unless the birthparent can prove fraud or duress.  Generally speaking, in Oklahoma, if the termination of the birthparents' rights is done correctly, the adoption cannot later be set aside.


rlvd said...

Thank you so much for this post. You covered really good points that are helpful to a lot of people. Clearing myths is always good- especially on such an important issue! Thanks for sharing about your personal experience.

Dawn said...

Great post. Thank for your clear writing and myth debunking. There is so much misinformation "out there".

Dawn Davenport
Host of Creating a Family