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Six Myths about Adoption

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a blog by Ellen Glazer, October 7, 2010

I can easily remember a time when couples struggled with infertility for a year or so and then moved on to adoption. While this sometimes meant that people were adopting with unresolved grief over their infertility, it also meant that adoption wasn’t seen as some distant “booby prize” for those who were not able to triumph in their battle with infertility. Adoption seemed to be a natural “next step” and one that folks took without feeling defeated, diminished or “like failures.”

Adoption Viewed Differently These Days

Times have changed. Although I meet some couples in my adoption work who simply said “no thank you" to assisted reproduction, most who choose adoption after infertility do so with great struggle. The prevailing message in today’s world of infertility treatment is: "Keep trying — fortitude and perseverance will pay off.” While adoption is not explicitly labeled a “last resort,” that is often the feeling one gets in the world of infertility.

This blog and others will begin to tackle some of the myths that surround adoption. These myths include:

  1. Adoption is second best,
  2. All adoptions are open,
  3. Adoptions often fall through,
  4. You have to “market” yourself in order to be able to adopt,
  5. Adoption is unaffordable, and
  6. You have no control in adoption.

I’ll begin here with "adoption is second best" and address some of the other myths in subsequent blogs.

Ask an Adoptive Parent

If you ask an adoptive parent if adoption is “second best,” I think that most feel that they got their “first best” child through a second choice path to parenthood. Most would not have chosen adoption, but now that they are adoptive parents, they are “over the moon” with delight.

In the words of one woman who, with her husband, struggled with infertility for over a decade, tried to resolve without children and very reluctantly came to adoption said, “If someone told me I could be pregnant, but I couldn’t have the children I have, I would say 'no.' These are my children — I don’t want others.”

This is not to say that adoption does not involve losses. There are a pile of them: the loss of genetic continuity, the interruption of a blood line, missing the pregnancy experience, the costs of adoption, etc. But when prospective adoptive parents take stock of their losses, many realize that although much has been lost, something very big, grand and awe-inspiring awaits them: parenthood.

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Comments (3)

I like this post. Adoption usually isn't a couples first choice, but it is about the process, not the child. I wouldn't want any other child but the one I have and she just happened to come to us through adoption.

Different people will feel different loses. Some put more emphasis on bloodlines or going through the pregnancy experience, but mostly I find that more people shun adoption because they think they won't be able to bond with a child that is biologically their own. I'd love to see this issue addressed as a really big misconception.

Great article though I think I must take issue with your closing statement:

"There are a pile of them: the loss of genetic continuity, the interruption of a blood line, missing the pregnancy experience, the costs of adoption, etc. But when prospective adoptive parents take stock of their losses, many realize that although much has been lost, something very big, grand and awe-inspiring awaits them: parenthood."

Is the loss of genetic continuity and a blood line all that important? Not unless you're royalty me thinks. The pregnancy experience? Well, people who have biological children will never know the joy of the adoption experience. One for one trade I say. I will concede the cost issue, though with the current tax breaks for adoption as well as many employers now offering adoption assistance, it isn't as daunting as it once was.

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