Quite often, society makes uneducated judgments about adoptees. All adoptees have suffered. Their biological parents don’t love them. Adoptees will struggle with social exclusion for the rest of their lives. The list goes on.
For too long, these stereotypes have been accepted when, in reality, they’re far from the truth. Adoptees are not characters from a made-for-TV movie. They are real people with real families, and there is so much more to them than having been adopted.
Adoption Choices of Colorado wants you to know that, while adoptees know these assumptions to be false, they want to debunk them for you, too. Here are the top 5 myths all adoptees wish you knew!
Myth 1: All adoptees are troubled
Adoptees, as a whole, do not have psychological problems. Like everyone else in the world, they take life as it comes – embracing the good and overcoming the bad. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with adoptees, although they may be made to feel that way by others who view adoption negatively. Though some adoptees have indeed suffered trauma, children who are adopted are not necessarily destined to become troubled toddlers and teens with attachment disorders. Adoptees are people. Sometimes they wake up grumpy. Sometimes they melt down when they’re tired. Every tear of an adoptee isn’t evidence of trauma. Try not to project the experiences of the few on the many. There are multitudes of adoptees whose lives did not begin with trauma; rather, they began with love.
Myth 2: Adoptees’ birth mothers don’t love them
Your mother gave you away because she didn’t love you. This hurtful declaration is one that many adoptees are unable to escape. Adoptees are not “given up.” A phrase such as this is comparable to tossing out unwanted trash, and adoptees are anything but. Birth mothers agonize over whether or not to place their child for adoption, giving their child more than just a second’s thought. In fact, birth mothers want to raise their children, but they set their desires aside so that their child can be placed in a supportive, stable, and loving environment. Choosing adoption is a strong and selfless choice. Don’t let society and self-criticism skew this beautiful act. One that, in actuality, is full of love and meaningful consideration.
Myth 3: If adoptees search for their biological families, then they don’t really love their adoptive families
Part of knowing who you are is knowing where you came from. For adoptees, their beginning started before they joined their adoptive family. Some deny their desire to search for their biological families for fear of hurting their adoptive parents’ feelings. This is a common theme, even among adoptees who have their adoptive parents’ support. But just because adoptees long for a biological connection doesn’t mean they are trying to replace their adoptive families. This longing is natural. It’s an innate desire to want to know where they get their quirks from, why they look the way they do, etc. Generally, a search for birth family has nothing to do at all with the adoptive family. It has to do with biology, with the desire to know the answer to the question, “Who am I?”
Myth 4: Open adoption is confusing for the adoptee
Contrary to what you may have been told, open adoption isn’t confusing to adoptees. In fact, it helps adoptees feel secure in their identity. An open adoption is one in which children and birth families are in contact, either through meetings or letters and pictures. Openness gives birth and adoptive families an opportunity to develop a relationship that can benefit them and the adopted person. It gives children access to their genetic heritage and can help the child develop a stronger sense of self. It’s also a truthful way of forming family bonds.
A child can never be loved by too many people — but open adoption does not mean co-parenting. A child knows who his or her parent is, and that is the person who is there to offer comfort day in and out. Children have the ability to navigate incredible complexities in relationships, as long as they know they are loved. The world is increasingly full of diverse family arrangements, and children are generally more open to this diversity than the adults in their lives.
Myth 5: Adoptees don’t “fit in” with their families
An adoptee’s status as a family member is not less than his or her biological counterpart, and outsiders should not make them feel otherwise. Parents and children, adopted or not, will always have some struggle. Parenting is hard, and even parents raising biological children wonder where their kids “came from” sometimes. Both biological and adoptive parents can struggle at times in their relationship with their children. Based on personality factors and their own individual backgrounds, many parents find it easier to connect with some children than others. But that isn’t due to any inherent “blood is thicker than water” idea.
What Adoptees Wish You Knew
Adoption Choices of Colorado wants you to know that, while there is so much more, these are the top myths adoptees wish you knew. They’re tired of being boxed in. Whether you’re a member of the adoption community, or you’re someone who’s never had much experience with adoption, learning how to speak about adoption with respect and kindness is a wonderful trait to possess. Like everyone, adoptees bleed when cut, love with and without fear, take offense, shed tears, feel regret, and celebrate when happy. They are individualistic. They are human. They wish you knew.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Patience Bramlett, a University of Southern Mississippi news editorial graduate, is a seasoned and award-winning freelance writer. She is also a passionate reader, whose only wish is to live life without fear of the unknown. Her motivation and inspiration to live her best life stems from the words of John Lennon:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
This year, she’s joining Adoption Choices Inc. as an Editorial Intern. Fueled by her love of family, she hopes to educate those looking to grow their families through adoption.
When Patience is not exploring Colorado with her husband, she’s drinking coffee, forever figuring out how to tame her hair, growing her library, and trying to break into the publishing career.
“Adoption Myth 4: If Adoptees Loved Their Family, They Wouldn’t Be Searching.” Graceful Adoptions, 30 Dec. 2015, https://gracefuladoptions.com/adoption-myth-4-if-adoptees-loved-their-family-they-wouldnt-be-searching/.
Andriola, Tom. “10 Things Adult Adoptees Wish You Knew.” Adoption.com, 22 Feb. 2016, https://adoption.com/10-things-adult-adoptees-wish-you-knew.
Davenport, Dawn. “Myth of the Troubled Adoptee.” Creating a Family, 2 Oct. 2016, https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/myth-of-the-troubled-adoptee/.